• Jodi Keane


Updated: Apr 18

Having a baby, especially the first time, is a huge time of change.

We, as a society, readily glamorise pregnancy birth and beyond but it is not always easy. It is okay to find the newborn phase easy, it is also okay for you to feel it is hard- mums, births, families and babies all differ and this can change your experience, whether your first or your fourth.

You are very normal if you feel tired, easily irritable, worried you may be doing things wrong and unable to keep up with:

a. normal life

b. your baby and

c. everything else

once you come home from hospital. Your lifestyle will change and this is normal.

The changes are also physical.

In the first six weeks after your baby is born your uterus shrinks from the height of your breastbone back down into your pelvis, your excess blood and fluid volume accumulated during pregnancy is shed in extra urination (wee) and sweat, and your pelvic floor and vaginal opening start to heal and return more towards a non pregnant state. Your breasts, if you choose to breastfeed, will also establish regular milk production and your oestrogen and progesterone hormones adjust to a very low level after being at a very high level for many months. This can cause menopausal symptoms including night sweats and hot flushes.

You are also likely to be quite sleep deprived as most babies naturally feed frequently around the clock when newborn.

You and your baby are also getting to know each other- your baby will have a limited range of responses to show how they are feeling and crying is common.

This phase is not forever.

Your baby will also start to smile and sleep more when they are physiologically ready to (this is different for every baby) and your physical recovery will continue long beyond your 'six week check'. It takes nine months to grow a baby and often as long to return to your new normal. This time is informally called the 'fourth trimester' and this is a good way of remembering it takes time for big physical change.

Please remember that if you have had a complication such as heavy bleeding with your birth, unplanned surgery, tearing or your baby has had health issues you may have additional needs and help is available.

Contact rooms or email if there are questions as we would like to know and help.

Additional resources and information for your fourth trimester journey are listed below. Please also see the pregnancy and parenting fact sheet section for further information.

Baby care and common concerns

- crying baby checklist

- crying baby

- PURPLE crying- my baby keeps crying is something wrong?

- reflux and vomiting

- positional neck problems and flat spots (plagiocephaly)

- normal poos

- safe baby room

- safe sleeping

- Going home with a new baby (monash women's public information sheet- has good general information also)

- Child car restraints

- Baby bath

- Baby swaddling/wrapping

Life as new parents

- what were we thinking?

- raising children network- new babies and how they work!

- Dads and pregnancy

- Becoming a Dad

- CHOICE new parents APP links to apps for conception, pregnancy and parenting.


- Australian breastfeeding association

- ABA helpline:

- Breastfeeding positions

- how to hand express in the early days

Postnatal care and needs

- contraception, videos on options, changes in bleeding pattern and effectiveness and what you can expect

- constipation

- maternal and child health nurse

- your pelvic floor

- perinatal anxiety and depression PANDA hotline

- general information on sexual and reproductive health

Bottle feeding

- how to bottle feed

- bottle feeding safety


- Community resources - Australian Multiple Birth Association (amba.org.au)

Complications and conditions

Gestational diabetes follow up- now what? (monash women's public information sheet- has good general information also)

caesarean section (monash women's public information sheet- has good general information also)

third and fourth degree tears (tears into the bottom muscle)- what happens next? (monash women's public information sheet- has good general information also)

Also read HERE for the excellent Monash Women's page on resources and advice for new families.

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