The Fourth Trimester & understanding the womb world!
There is a lot of really great information out there and some not so great. It becomes very overwhelming on what to believe and what not. I wanted to share with you a couple great resource for new parents that will change your world if you have a very sensitive child that cries a lot.
Many researchers and doctors are starting to talk more and more about how babies should really get a fourth trimester in the womb so they are more mature and developed when born. Since this is not a possibility it is our job to create this for them after birth.
It is often compared to the kangaroo that carries her baby in her pouch so it can continue to grow and develop safely. Our job as parents is to help reenact the womb sensation so that our child can feel safe, warm, and secure and continue to mature. At about 3-4 months you will see the transition and they will be ready to come out of their pouch.
This is a very unconscious and common act in many other cultures. They carry around their child for months sometimes a year before they feel they are ready to handle the world or even touch the ground.
Understanding the womb world: "The baby sense secret" by Megan Faure
Touch: Babies start to develop touch at three weeks. As they grow they feel this tight pressure or hug that keeps your baby in a tight little ball that offers deep pressure on his back and his bands guided toward the midline so he can suck on his hands.
Sight: Baby has very little visual stimulation in utero and depending on your clothing often quite dark. At birth there sight is the least developed of their senses and project a fuzzy picture.
Sound: Your baby's ense of sound develops from the seond timester and well before birth can hear and respond to loud noises. The sounds up to birth have to travel though water so they are slower and at a lower frequency. The clearest most recognized sound is your voice. It is however very loud in the womb due to amniotic fluid, blood flow, heart beat, digestive system etc. This is why white noises or the :"ssshhing" sound can be very helpful. Silence is commonly disturbing and unappreciated by babies.
Movement and Gravity: The vestibular sytem (balance) in the ears begins to functions at about five months. It is relatively adavance at birth but reaches full maturity in the adolescence years. Your baby also has a false sense of gravity because they float in amniotic fluid. They are also lulled constantly by your daily movement. At birth the affects of gravity hit them full force and they finally realize how heavy there body is and how hard it is to move and control those movements
Smell and Taste: Your babies smell and taste begin to function at 28 weeks. During pregnancy if you eat something sweet the taste crosses the placenta and sweetens the amniotic fluids. By the last trimester your baby is able to tatste and smell all the foods you eat and even smell odors from the outside world. There sense of smell is extrememly sensitive at birth and can be very overwhelming.
With this information you now can not only sympathize with your newborn but also help ease the overwhelming and overstimulating world. Keep your touch firm, use skin to skin, keep visual things non-stimulating, carry your baby facing you, play white noise and don't keep your house silent, decrease as much of the overstimulating smells as you can and wear your baby also to rock and sooth.
If you have implemented the above suggestions and are not finding relief, try this approach. For those of you who have done a bit of reading you have probably heard of The 5 S's and maybe even tried them yourself. The book that inspired this and really put it all together is the "Happiest Baby on the Block" by Harvey karp. He emphasizes how important it is to do them in a specific order and often all together. For those busy parents that don't have time to read the book here is a short version.
Swaddle the baby tightly and securely so he cannot wiggle around and unravel.
Side laying. Babies although they should sleep on their back do not prefer it at first. They have the sensation of falling. So when soothing a child lay them on their side or stomach so they feel grounded and safe and when you put them down to sleep always on the back.
Loud "sshhing" sounds about 3-4 inches from the ear. In the womb it is very loud from all the stomach rumblings and blood flow. Infants like and need loud consistent sounds, like vacuums, washing machine, heart beats etc. However the "sshhing" sound seems to always work the best. Try to match the tone of his scream to start, then calm it down as the child quiets.
Swinging. This means anything from rocking bouncing patting, walking etc.
Sucking. It could be a finger, bottle, pacifier, breast, whatever works for you.
As Harvey explains your infant is used to being carried, rocked, nourished, warm etc. 24 hours a day so anything you can do to offer that comfort is greatly accepted by them. It also means you cannot spoil your child because it is already a cut back from the 24 hours they are used to. With time and development they will soon want to explore their world and be out of your arms so cherish these months while you can.
The other thing to remember is not all babies cope with their new world the same. Some adjust very easily and although these techniques might be enjoyable to them as well they may not need them. These steps are to help the very sensitive babies find peace.
*The other thing to always remember is always listen to your doctor first and foremost and if in doubt check with your health care provider about possible medical conditions.