Whether you just found out you’re expecting or you’re just curious about what welcoming a baby into your home looks like, you’ve come to the right place. Feeling empowered and confident is a huge step when it comes to the fourth trimester. It doesn’t matter if you have all the baby gear or just the bare minimum, what’s most important comes from within, knowing you are more than able to care for and love your child.

The second most important thing is finding your village. You’re already in a great place to start that journey, Sittercity. Your village can look many different ways. It’s the team of folks who support you and your child as you figure life out together. Here are the different types of support you can find for your fourth trimester.

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What’s the Fourth Trimester & Why Does it Matter?

The fourth trimester is the 12 weeks following the birth of your baby. Most think of trimesters as the 9 months a mother is pregnant, and that’s true. The “fourth trimester” was coined in 2002 to highlight the fact that even though the baby has been born, it’s still a very critical period for both the baby’s and mother’s health and wellbeing.

Why Families Need A Fourth Trimester Support Team

Every pregnancy is different, even from your first child to your second. The same goes for birth. It’s important to give yourself time and space to recover regardless of how your pregnancy and birth went. You deserve care just as much as your child. Having a support team for the fourth trimester is crucial in your healing and recovery process. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Building Your Fourth Trimester Team

You are your baby’s guide, but who is your guide into parenthood? Your team! Who you draft onto your team depends on the support you’ll need. You deserve care just as much as your child. No matter what kind of support you choose, having a village and adequate support during this time will reduce the stress and anxiety that inevitably comes with having a baby.

Newborn Care Specialist / Night Nanny

A nanny who has specialized experience with newborn care. They are just like a typical sitter or nanny, but they come with insights and expertise into babies, up to 16 weeks old. Most Newborn Care Specialists have completed certifications or training related to newborn care.

Typical Job Responsibilities

  • Overnight Care
    Get more sleep with your NCS handling middle-of-the-night wake-ups, even if mom is nursing. They can bring the baby to mom to feed then let mom go back to sleep while they change, burp, and soothe the baby back to sleep.
  • Cleaning Baby Bottles & Pump Parts
    They’ll have your breast pump ready to use for the day or throughout the night. They also know how to and will help with properly storing milk (breastmilk and/or formula).
  • Baby’s Laundry
    They’ll make sure that clean spit-up cloths, baby clothes, and reusable diapers are always in full supply.
  • Newborn Education
    They’re experts you can lean on regarding feeding times, sleep schedules, safe sleeping, developmental milestones, and more.
  • Nursery Organization
    They’ll keep your nursery and other baby stations around the home fully stocked and tidy.

Hiring Insights

  • Can be hired for a one-time need, occasionally, part-time, or full-time.
  • Can be particularly helpful when one or both parents must get back to work soon after the baby arrives.
  • Can be hired for up to 16 weeks, depending on the caregiver.

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Postpartum Doula

A postpartum doula focuses on parental recovery—making sure that you’re recovering well. Sometimes, they can just be someone to talk to about how you’re feeling.

Typical Job Responsibilities

  • Parent education and emotional support.
  • Meal preparation and light housekeeping.
  • Running errands for the parents.
  • Troubleshoot potential issues related to postpartum and newborn care.

Hiring Insights

  • Mainly hired for part-time care, shifts that are less than 8 hours.
  • Can be hired right after you give birth or a few months or even years after your baby is born.
  • Be honest and specific about your needs and expectations.

Lactation Consultant / Counselor

If your baby-feeding needs are more specific, an IBCLC (Internationally board-certified lactation consultant) or CLC (Certified lactation counselor) is an option. They can help troubleshoot all things breast/body feeding. They can assist with things like latching or clogged ducts which are common issues parents have when starting the breast/body feeding journey. Although you have a session with one at the hospital after birth, having a follow-up visit can be helpful.

Typical Job Responsibilities

  • Lactation support
  • Troubleshooting breast/body feeding issues
  • Breast/ body feeding education

Hiring Insights

  • Can be hired for a one-time consultation or a few sessions.
  • Could be covered by health insurance depending on your plan.
  • You can choose between virtual or in-person support.

Housekeeping & Meal Services

Having someone come and clean your home while you’re recovering could make the world of a difference during this time. While your body is recovering it’s important to remember laborious and strenuous activity is discouraged and can even cause more harm than good. If you’ve had a cesarean, it’s key that you be mindful of things like bending over, to not hurt your incision site. This can make things like cleaning a toilet bowl almost impossible. Thus, having a housekeeper isn’t just helpful, it’s literally good for your health!

Typical Job Responsibilities

  • Cleaning home: mopping /sweeping floors, laundry, washing dishes, etc.
  • Tidying up rooms and spaces.
  • Meal service plan: delivering nutritious meals for the day or week.

Hiring Insights

  • Can be scheduled for weekly, biweekly, monthly, or one-time
  • A housekeeper focuses on specific needs of the house, i.e. living room, kitchen etc.
  • Meal service plans are very customizable and can be frozen for later consumption.

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Figuring out what you really need and being honest about that will help your village show up for you better. It’s also okay if your needs change once the baby arrives or down the line. You don’t know what you don’t know, so give yourself space to navigate this new territory. When you’re ready to find your village, Sittercity is ready to support you in that search. The newborn phase is just that, a phase, it’ll come and go and then a new phase will begin. That’s the beauty of parenthood. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be there.

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