Caring for a toddler while pregnant is no easy feat. Learn how to survive the exhaustion during this demanding time with a few pivotal tips.
Never did I ever really consider how challenging it would be caring for a toddler while carrying another baby in my womb.
When I found out I was expecting again, I knew two kids would be more work than one. What I didn’t realize was from that moment on, I was met with the extra challenge of splitting time between feeding/changing/carrying/disciplining/playing with a very demanding toddler while attempting to care for the new life forming inside my body.
Why so challenging you might ask?
Here are a handful of reasons and things you have to tackle simultaneously:
- coping with morning sickness that goes beyond the first trimester
- fighting the exhaustion from your toddlers 6/7 am wake up call or midday urge to roughhouse with you and your growing belly
- finding time to eat a nutritious meal while preparing food for your picky eater
- managing to even cook yourself a meal while making sure your toddler doesn’t eat the dog’s food, climb into the fridge or break through the baby-proofed areas of your home
- spending an hour wrestling with a toddler just to change a diaper and get ready for bed
And I know raising twins or multiples must be an immense challenge in itself for new mothers to face, but at least with two babies (minus the big belly) you can tackle things a bit more fluidly without having to worry about your own body too much. Plus, it’s a bonus for baby to have a 24/7 buddy to play with when needed!
What I don’t think many people truly understand is how equally challenging it is to have toddler in the midst of the terrible-twos while you try all you can to protect and nourish your own body and unborn child. Let me just say it is HARD. Realizing this, I wanted to put together a few tips for other moms going through the thick of things as they prepare for baby #2. Tips to let them know they can get through it all…with support.
Tips for Surviving Pregnancy While Caring for a Toddler
Let go of expectations.
Forget about having an immaculate home…at least for now. You are totally within your right to slack off a bit and you shouldn’t feel guilty. With so much going on in your life keeping a perfectly clean house isn’t always possible if you are doing it alone. If you are hell-bent on getting that clean home appearance however, check out my easy tips for tidying up.
Prep for the morning, the night before.
I wish I had taken this piece of advice earlier in my pregnancy – makes perfect sense and would have helped immensely! If you find yourself in the same predicament every morning (i.e. no time to make food for yourself while watching the little one) prepare something in advance which you can easily heat up in the morning. Whether it’s just pre-slicing fruit or boiling an egg at least you can have some type of nutrient-rich food waiting for you when you need it most.
Find activities to keep your toddler busy.
Teaching your toddler independent play is SO important as you prepare for the arrival of baby #2. Whether it’s setting up quiet activities for him or her while you relax or even letting them watch some tv for a little while, you’ll NEED that time to regain your energy. This busy board activity and toddler-friendly Melissa & Doug puzzles were a sanity-saver that easily gave me 15-20 minutes to rest my feed!!
You can also start introducing the idea of a new baby through books. Below are some of my favorite I’ve used with my kids!
If your toddler still naps, by all means sleep when that baby sleeps! Growing a little one while chasing another one, is exhausting, especially during that first semester and while you experience extra sleepiness and the inevitable morning sickness. Make it a priority to get more sleep during this vulnerable time in your life, mama!
This is probably the most important piece of advice. You have to be willing to take help that is offered and ASK for it from family and friends when needed.
If you don’t have family near, hiring help can be a life-saver! Ask neighbors, check sites like SitterCity.com or Care.com for someone who can lend a hand a few hours a week — you don’t have to break the bank.
Otherwise your task may seem even more insurmountable. Even if it’s just an hour to nap or grab a quick bite to eat, making time for yourself is crucial to getting that second-wind and energy to face the everyday challenges you have before you.
Hang in there — it’s a tough season in life, but know you CAN get through it!
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What piece of advice can you add for pregnant mothers raising toddlers?
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Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.