While I was pregnant last year, I spent all of my time preparing for the labour.  Admittedly, even after experiencing two births - one at home and one at the hospital – I was still super nervous about her arrival.
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The length of the labour.
The contractions.
The ring of fire (they call it that for a good reason)!
The risk that something could happen.
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Especially when people continued to tell me that 3rd babies were “wild cards”. 
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Grrreat.
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Needless to say, in the final months of my pregnancy I did lots of work to get ready for the birth.  Then on November 8th, Mackenzie, our sweet little girl arrived.  We were now a family of five (whoa!).
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The birth was an amazing experience - it was speedy, she was healthy, and her freaked-out mama survived! (here are my 3 birth stories)
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healthy new mom
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Sure, labour is physically and emotionally challenging. However, it is only a blimp in time.
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It’s the s#$% that comes AFTER the birth that is reeeeeeally hard.  
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That “ring of fire” I was dreading for months only lasts minutes in most cases.
The transition of an unpredictable newborn in the 4th trimester lasts for months.
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Even though I had been through the ‘new mom’ phase before (twice), I forgot how draining the 4th trimester can be!
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I felt like a sleep-walking zombie.
I had to redefine productivity (showering 3x a week = success).
I felt terrible not being able to give as much attention to my older girls.
I cried (a lot). 
I had no motivation to cook.
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But we made it through unscathed.
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Here are the 10 things that saved me in the 4th trimester:

  • Freezer meals and snacks. Thoughtful family and friends stocked our fridge and cupboard with healthy grub including cookies like these, crackers like these, meat sticks like these, grain-free granola like this, and other nutrient-dense foods like these and these. We also did some of our own batch cooking and freezing meals before babe which saved us from having to meal prep for a few weeks.

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  • Family and friends. Who kept me company and helped take the load off as we adjusted to life with three (especially my own mom).  I got out for walks, grocery shopping, and took showers (win!).  Plus having babysitters ready and willing to take on 3 kids so Keith and I could get out for some adult time (see below)!

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4th trimester

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  • Getting to bed by 9:30pm.  I’m a night owl so this was tough for me!  However, those early hours are critical during nights when Mackenzie doesn’t sleep well.  I’m guaranteed at least 5-6 hours when I hit the sack early which makes all the difference. I’m a better person when I get that solid sleep, and have way more energy to keep up with my three littles.
  • Hydrasense. Being around two older sisters who are exposed to germs at school and daycares (among all the sisterly love and mouth kisses), it was inevitable my littlest one would get sniffly. This snot sucker has been essential with a congested infant, who’s too stuff up to nurse or sleep (which means mom doesn’t sleep either!).  They also reduce the risk of nasal infection.

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Family nutritionist toronto

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  • Supplements. Probiotics, cod liver oil, a prenatal mutli, vitamin D, vitamin C and a B complex were my go-to’s.  After having a baby it’s important for moms to round out our diet and boost our immune system so we can keep chugging along.
  • Smoothies and lots of water.  I needed an easy, balanced breakfast I could whip together and drink with one hand (while holding a baby in the other).  I made sure to include a ton of greens, easily digestible collagen powder and good fats.  A nursing mom needs those calories and extra hydration!  When I didn’t, my skin/lips, mental clarity, and digestion took a hit.
  • My husband. Who was a full-time (and AMAZING as always) parent with the older girls. He also stayed with the baby at night so I could bank a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. So key!  Getting alone time with him was an added bonus (thanks to #3 - family and friends!).

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  • My midwife. She happily popped over whenever I needed her in the first month.  She was there to provide breastfeeding support and give me a dose of motherly confidence when the days felt long. Going to miss the ladies at Riverdale Midwives!
  • Cabbage leaves and lecithin. To save my boobs and expedite their recovery during the engorgement phase (worst few days ever!). Lecithin is another supplement I had on hand to help prevent blocked ducts (as it appears to reduce the stickiness of breast milk).
  • My Picky Eater Protocol.  Mealtimes used to be draining. Honestly, I’m not sure how I would survive meals with a newborn if I had finicky eaters to feed as well. I’m so glad we nipped picky eating in the bud when Sienna was young. Today I can simply put the food on the table and the girls will sit and eat well if they are hungry. It’s not perfect all the time (as expected with 2 and 4 year olds) but it goes as smoothly as any parent would hope. And I get to eat my meal without the stress of worrying about my kids.

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The takeaway:
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Ask for help…
Ask for food…
Ask for time…
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Every stage with little ones comes with its own challenges (and joys of course).  But who says we have to go at it alone?
Gosh, I know I am a much better mother when I am well-fed, well-slept, and have time for self-care.  So everyone benefits!
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What are your sanity saving tips for new moms as they go from the 3rd to the 4th trimester?