How To Cope Through Pregnancy With a Toddler
Pregnancy is a wonderful experience, but it does come with some downs as well. And can you imagine being pregnant with a toddler to look after? Well it happens more often than not… Jenni from Nurturing Mums details how to survive with a toddler through pregnancy.
That moment you find out you’re pregnant, you check the stick and there are two lines, what amazing news! The thoughts of maternity leave lunches, baby clothes shopping and finally getting to watch that list of box sets while feeding fills your mind and then in storms your toddler, covered in your expensive lotion from who knows where and racing around like a mad thing demanding a snack and denying he wants a snack all at the same time. Welcome to being pregnant while you’ve got a toddler in tow.
At the time my second one is due my toddler will be 21 months, two under two for just a few months. But when you are in the baby stage why not just stay in it and go with the flow, she says panicking at how that will in fact work out. Well here are some top tips that I will be living by over the next few months of being pregnant and looking after my toddler.
Reflect on who you are as a parent now:
First time round was a whole different ball game, you probably had different expectations of your birth, feeding, sleeping, nursery furniture, baby gear, you name it. But now you are a fully fledged parent. You powered through those early blurry newborn days and you have the badges to say you survived the many amazing and tricky stages of early parenthood. Take time to reflect on what you have learnt, what you would do again, what you wouldn’t do again and what you don’t need this time round. Also take time to reflect on your first labour and birth whether it went just how you expected or not at all, it will help you the second time round to approach another birth positively and with more control if you take the time to process what you have been through. Same goes for feeding, visitors, sleep or baby gear.
Give yourself a break:
Second time round you don’t get gifted the precious days of quiet, restful, nesting maternity leave before your newborn arrives. Instead second time round you have a toddler to care for, feed, entertain, negotiate to sleep. If you already have childcare in place from going back to work or family or friends nearby then make the most of some time when someone else can look after your toddler so you can sort through baby clothes, or have a nap, or simply put your feet up.
Sleep when the toddler sleeps:
Now depending on your gap between baby number one and baby number two you may be lucky enough to still have a toddler that naps in the day, make the most of that. Nap jobs can wait, sleep and rest can’t. Especially if you need to be ready to chase and entertain a toddler in the afternoon you need to revisit the days of napping when the baby naps!
Get your toddler involved:
Depending on how old your first little one is, why not think of a few ways they can get involved in the preparations for the new arrival. My little one doesn’t really understand what is going on but we want him to be involved and have the chance to understand. So little things like helping to pick out the baby’s cuddly toy, helping make space for another cot, picking up newborn nappies at the shop and sorting out the baby toys are all easy things they can get involved in. Another way they can be involved is be as independent as possible. If you have to lean over their cot to get them up or carry them down the stairs every day when you are 38 weeks pregnant your back will not be grateful. So take the time during your pregnancy to teach them those independent skills.
You won’t necessarily have all the time that you want to get ready and prepared for baby two, so prioritise. Make the most of your knowledge and experience first time round to prioritise the things you want to be involved in and give time for. If it helps you, set a little timeline so you don’t wake up in a mild sweat wondering why all the baby clothes aren’t down from the loft yet. Make a timescale that works for you, your partner and your toddler.
Hopefully these tips help you to negotiate life with bump and a toddler, grab some rest when you can and trust that what you have already gone through as first time parents will allow you to prepare, love, cherish and laugh about what is to come second time round.Jenni Stirrup runs Nurturing Mums East Midlands which provides postnatal courses for new mums in Leicestershire. Creating a space for mums to get to know other local mums and hear from experts each week on sleep, weaning, first aid and baby development. Find out about next terms courses and all things postnatal on Facebook or Instagram on @nurturingmumseastmidlands