Emily reflects on the first term of our Fourth Trimester Course.
As a second-time parent, I had thought I would feel (at least slightly) less clueless this time around. Becoming a parent for the first time had been exciting and surprising and overwhelming. Every day for the first few months I seemed to have 50 new questions that I didn’t know the answers to. I had attended a Health Visitor-led course, providing facts and information about topics such as feeding, sleep, weaning (which in all honesty, probably answered only a fraction of my questions).
During my second pregnancy, I felt that the excitement of the first time around had been replaced by a sort of foreboding for what I knew lay ahead in the first few months with a newborn. Perhaps I had a better idea what to expect, but I also now knew how valuable a support network can be. Many of my first-time mum friends were back at work, and I felt I was craving the company of people who were going through the same things as me. This is where the Fourth Trimester course sounded like a great fit for me.
A group of both new and experienced mums, getting together to swap experiences, encouragement and parenting strategies. Once a week for 4 weeks, we were presented with evidence-based information and signposts to further reading, then the conversation was steered through infant sleep, coping with crying, feeding (breast and bottle), and self-care. This included a session led by an infant feeding expert. The course emphasises that there is no one ‘right’ approach to parenting; you find the best fit for you and your baby.
One of the most valuable things you can have on this parenting journey is the support and encouragement of other mums, and I’m happy to say that most of the mums I befriended on the Fourth Trimester course are still an amazing support to me, 4 months on (I really hope I am for them too).