We often hear about the 4th trimester as being a time for babies to adapt to the important transition from womb to world. We don’t hear as often how vital this time is to honour the transition for mothers as a time of healing and adjusting to their intense new role of nurturing and nourishing a newborn.

Pinky interviewed Kelly, naturopath, mother and co-owner with her Sister Nicole Farrell of Sisters and The Sea for her top tips as both a mum and a naturopath for thriving in the 4th Trimester.

Why is it so important to honour the 4th trimester?

The 4th trimester is an incredibly important time for mother and baby. This is a time when the new baby is adjusting to life outside of the womb and just as importantly the mother is recovering from the birth and pregnancy. She is bonding with the new baby, establishing breastfeeding and adapting to the changing family dynamics. This very special period of time needs to be honoured so that family members and society regard this time with the utmost importance and prioritise support and care for the mother and baby in this time.

So many cultures have rituals and rites around the 4th trimester but women here seem to feel more pressured to ‘bounce back’ after birth – where do you think this super woman pressure is coming from? And how can women resist this?

We think this has come from several different factors. Our fast paced modern society seems to have lost its way with up holding traditions and living within a village. Families are separated by distance and pressure is placed on the partner to return to work as soon as possible. Many first time parents have never held or cared for a baby before having their own!

Our media loves to comment about post pregnancy bodies for celebrities with pictures splashed across magazines and television. We do feel however that the tide is turning and the last few years has seen a resurgence in women and the media portraying the actual reality post having a baby. Social media seems to be pushing this trend and there are a growing number of inspiring women sharing their experience.

Women can resist this by not buying into the images on mainstream media. Un-following anyone that makes you feel less about yourself on social media and practising self care skills and self talk that is empowering and confidence building. Ultimately understanding what is healthy for you and finding ways to nourish and care for yourself the best way that you can, with as minimal comparison to others as possible.

How would you advise women to prepare for the 4th trimester – before they have their baby?

By defining what you and your partner’s expectations are and being clear to everyone in your immediate circle (family and friends) about how BEST they can support you and your baby is very important! If possible be clear to immediate family about roles and jobs they can do to help out. You could organise a few people to each do a meal drop. Also let people know if visiting is ok or to give it sometime before they can visit. If you are ok for visitors have a list of jobs that can be done so each person can do one thing to help as well as cuddle the baby!

Talk to other mothers or read up on others experience and try to envisage how you would like to be in this important time. Being able to have plenty of rest and nourishing food is so important for this time as well have some special self care strategies up your sleeve! Our new Mums 4th trimester pack is specifically designed for this time.

Can you tell us about your own 4th trimesters – as mothers and naturopaths?

I had a lovely 4th Trimester when my first son was born. I had finished up work a month before giving birth and spent that time relaxing, resting and talking to others I knew with new babies. I was especially lucky that my sister had her first boy before me to pass on some wisdom!

I also cooked several meals and stocked up our freezer. After our son was born my mum arrived to stay with us for a week. This was great. She helped by cooking and cleaning. She also came back to stay two weeks later and then left us with plenty of food in the freezer. I didn’t cook once in that first month!

I drank a herbal tea for breastfeeding and used my naturopathic training to eat nourishing foods that helped me to heal and support breastfeeding. I also continued on supplements.

We limited visitors for the first month.

Having my second son was slightly different. Slightly busier time with a newborn and toddler! During my second pregnancy I was able to practice pregnancy yoga and meditation right before I gave birth and used several meditation techniques in labour. I also had regular pregnancy massages and acupuncture. All these techniques were fabulous! It helped to put me in the best possible health and mindset to go into the 4th trimester as vital as I could be.

And what inspired your beautiful business nurturing and nourishing mothers?

Our passion and interest started as teenagers growing up in Byron Bay with a Neighbour who was a Naturopath. This led us to both study Naturopathy and work within the industry. After having children it has been a natural progression to use our training and passion to help to nurture and nourish mothers. We love what we do and we have lived this experience, so naturally it’s so amazing to share it with other mothers.

Sisters and the Sea offers handcrafted ritual boxes for mothers, women’s circles and ceremonies. All our products have been formulated and handmade by us. We are both Naturopaths and mothers and happen to be sisters! Our products are made using certified organic herbs and ingredients and are made in Byron Bay. We offer kits for new mothers, depleted mothers, mama blessings, brides to be and specific women’s circles. We also host events in and around the Byron Shire. www.sistersandthesea.com