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The Fourth Trimester: Understanding, Protecting, and Nurturing an Infant through the First Three Months
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The Fourth Trimester: Understanding, Protecting, and Nurturing an Infant through the First Three Months

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  144 ratings  ·  23 reviews
The first three months of a baby's life is an outside-the-uterus period of intense development, a biological bridge from fetal life to preparation for the real world. The fourth trimester has more in common with the nine months that came before than with the lifetime that follows. This comprehensive, intimate, and much-needed "operating manual" for newborns presents a new ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 20th 2013 by University of California Press (first published March 4th 2013)
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3.85  · 
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 ·  144 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Apr 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 600s, e-books
I learned that neonates (as this book likes to call them) are like little needy aliens, but if you just hang in there for about three months, they turn into something more like babies and are more fun to have around.

It's a useful perspective on newborn needs: instead of letting the crying and eating and pooping and fussing and non-smiling get you down, think of it as instinctive, species-specific behavior, like cats pouncing on things. They gotta do it, so you, as the responsible adult human, g
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Now this, on the other hand, was a good book for me to read as a brand new parent. It is highly descriptive about what we know about little babies, allowing the reader to deduce the prescriptions. It's nuanced. It's organized by the concept of 'exterogestation' or 'the fourth trimester,' and is comprehensive in treating each of the baby's senses and all of her needs in turn. The sections on sleep and crying were of particular interest to me, but I also enjoyed reading about my baby's eyesight (o ...more
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an easy and informative read perfect for first-time parents. Understanding the science behind infant behavior and development during the first three months has helped calm some of my "I have no idea what I'm doing" anxiety.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it
There are parts of this book that are very strong and informative. Those are filled with useful data and citations. Unfortunately some entire chapters read more like the author's opinion and conventional wisdom. It's almost like she had good info for some chapters but had to tack on more to make it a more complete work.

The writing is pretty good and it's mostly a compelling read. Sometimes I did want some more tangible and practical advice from it.

I was quite surprised by the chapter on breast f
Megan Ashman
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book, especially since I am a new mother. The interesting information was presented in such an appealing way that it was hard to put down. However, I didn't care for the constant references of, and even an entire chapter on, human evolution, since it's not something I believe in. Though I do realize this is a scientific based book, and the belief of human evolution usually goes hand in hand with scientists, so I assumed it would be mentioned. But it's a wonderful re ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: stopped-reading
Started off very interesting in the intro, but most of the info was better in other books of that specific topic (i.e. Sleep covered well by LLLI sleep and breastfeeding books). I appreciate the effort to be all inclusive, however, so skimmed those sections. But the rest was not new under the sun. A summary of info better found elsewhere.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Finally a book that is informative without being a manual, one that recognizes that while we can generalize development, babies are all different and there isn't one right way to do things. Brink acknowledges the huge industry behind baby-rearing, which I appreciate. Definitely appreciated this book in the first crazy month of parenthood.
Taylor Tyndall
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was an easy read; got through it very quickly because of the density and also my interest. The concept of a fourth trimester will stick with me. It was a good “first” informative book to read about infants 0-3 months old.
Janelle Kim
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
This book had some interesting information about the development of newborns that helped me understand why newborns acts the way they do. It was good to read as a reference though it probably isn’t a book I will continually refer to.
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Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Very digestible for their target audience: sleep deprived, overwhelmed new parents. The book seamlessly weaves between compassion for the reader and education of the experience of the newborn, which ultimately helps to foster empathy for both. Well researched, well written.

Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Just chill. You’re doing fine. Babies are crazy.”
All abt taking care of your baby in the very beginning. Good to read this before you have your baby. I didn't, but still found some info helpful.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was judgmental and biased against working and formula feeding mothers, neither of which need any more lectures.
May 14, 2013 rated it liked it
A straightforward and relatively quick read, The Fourth Trimester offers insight and practical advice regarding the first three months of a baby's life outside the womb. There are dedicated chapters to crying, sleeping, feeding, sound, touch, sight, and physical stimulation. There is even a chapter on how parenthood may affect new parents.

This book offers a lot of common sense advice and suggestions on how to soothe, stimulate, and otherwise care for a newborn. I particularly liked reading abou
Josh Trapani
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
This short book was a worthwhile read for a soon-to-be-father. It focuses on the first 3 months of life and explains what's known about infant development during this time and what it means for parents. It did a good job providing technical information while keeping in mind that the audience is parents (or caregivers of any kind, the book mentions about a zillion times: one of my few annoyances, it's a valid point but not one that required such repetition). For me, it was helpful to have some id ...more
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm now at the business end of my first pregnancy and starting to worry that I don't know anything.
This book was great - a simultaneously scientific and reassuring introduction to the first 3 months of a baby's life. Why they do things, how they experience the world (ie how well developed their senses are), and therefore how to approach things.

Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Meh. Not bad. I like the calm perspective and would recommend it for baby newbies. Not much new info for veterans. ....

UPDATE: Re-read the whole thing during midnight nursings. Such a great companion. Such measured ideas. Love it.
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was great to read. I started it after my first baby was born and we were home fon the hospital about 2 weeks ago & what perfect timing! I think this is great for first time moms to read during the fourth trimester :)
Emmalene Umar
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book, read it cover to cover in two days. I like how scientific it is and how reassuring it is about making things natural and taking things as they come.
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hdfs
Outstanding discussion of this time period!
Mar 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm so, so scared, you guys. Like, really scared.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating book about early neurological development of forthcoming baby-creature.
Joanna Karaplis
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great look at how baby develops in the first three months after birth.
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Oct 26, 2018
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Susan Brink is an award-winning journalist who has covered health and medicine for 35 years for news organizations including the Los Angeles Times and U. S. News and World Report.

Susan is uniquely positioned to write about the science of very early infant development. As a journalist, she is adept at pursuing a range of sources: the pediatrician’s view from the clinic, the scientists view from