Tips For Managing Pregnancy With A Toddler
- A second pregnancy shortly after your first pregnancy while your child is still a toddler can be hard
- It is important to keep at least a 12-month gap between the two pregnancies
- Keep your health in check by finding time to relax, enlisting help, and engaging your toddler.
- Preparing your child for your pregnancy and sibling is important to settle them in for their new role.
Your eldest child is a toddler? And you are pregnant at the same time? God, that sounds exciting and slightly exhausting. This can be a lot to cope with. It is therefore extremely important that you know of tips for managing pregnancy with a toddler.
Preparing for the second baby
Pregnancy in itself, can be difficult. Your body undergoes various changes, daily. Even with a good full night's sleep, you can feel exhausted. For many women, pregnancy can be characterized by untold amounts of fatigue and sickness. Now, add a toddler to the mix, and the hard parts of pregnancy become even harder.
Another baby in your family seems like a beautiful gift, but guess what comes with it?
Being worn out from all the juggling. There's work to do, a kid that feels hungry in the middle of the night, and to top it all, pregnancy insomnia.
It is not unusual to be a pregnant mother when your eldest child is a toddler. But don't worry. We've got you covered. After reading these tips for being pregnant with a toddler, you will be able to be a 'supermom' to your toddler while being pregnant.
Pregnancy 2.0: What do you need to know before conceiving?
There are some things you need to keep in mind before conceiving your next baby. Pregnancy spacing is an important aspect that your partner and you need to discuss. A pregnancy within six months of delivery is not the best idea as it is associated with problems like premature birth, congenital disorders, placental issues like abruption, and maternal anemia.
Research suggests that the ideal time between two pregnancies is around 18 to 24 months after delivery. However, it is better if the gap is less than 5 years. This could be because, over time, your body's physiological function to carry a pregnancy may decline.
Plus, as you get older, your chances of getting pregnant might be low, especially beyond the age of 35. Keeping this in mind, it is essential to wait at least for 12 months before you try again.
This means that your decision to have a second child while your first child is still a toddler is probably a good idea, even though it does seem intimidating at the moment. Plus, your two children will be relatively closer in age, and that could mean great companionship between the two!
Tips to survive pregnancy with a toddler
Now that you are on this journey, we want to help you make the best of it. Managing a toddler with a second pregnancy is going to be tough, we're not going to lie.
However, you've been through pregnancy once before, so you are relatively prepared in that area.
Here are some tips for managing pregnancy with a toddler:
1. Relax, take it slow!
You will notice people often advising you to stay calm and relax. There's a reason for it.
Your emotional state directly influences the baby's well-being; hence, it is important for you to unwind. On the off chance that your mind is clouded with negative thoughts, sit down and take deep breaths. A good way to stay calm is by practicing meditation. It helps you relieve stress and anxiety.
You also have the option to go for a walk in the park. Exercise can help alleviate some of the stress. Also, spending some time in the open air can help you relax and get your thoughts together. You can always let your toddler run around or try something new on the playground, which will make him or her weary enough for bedtime. This way you can also spend some quality time with your toddler.
2. Planning works
We know plans don't always work out, but not planning your 'pregnancy routine' can be a risk.
You have approximately 35 weeks from the time you find out you're pregnant to schedule everything. Make your very own 'Pregnancy Board' or 'Pregnancy Diary'. Note down your hospital trips, doctor's appointments, and day-to-day activities. Planning will help in calming your nerves, giving you control over your decisions.
3. Enlist help
You're human, not superhuman. You cannot do everything yourself, even if you try. You don't want to get exhausted all the time. You will need help at some point or the other. Ask your partner, your parents, your partner's parents, your friends, or your neighbors-basically anyone you trust with your kid to help you out with some chores, especially in managing your toddler. This will free up some of the time that you could spend relaxing, getting your personal work done, or even your hospital visits.
4. Nap it out
Naps help to slow things down a bit. One way to do it is to nap when your toddler naps. This way you get to sleep during the day too, even for a little while. During pregnancy, short naps can have a positive effect on you and your baby's health. Naps give you a much-needed boost, lower your stress levels, and give you the energy to deal with your toddler.
A study done in China suggests that pregnant mothers who nap regularly may reduce their baby's risk of low birth weight. Women who took naps of roughly an hour to an hour and a half were about 29% less likely to have a baby with low birth weight. This shows how napping is a signal of why paying attention to sleep is an important part of your overall pregnancy health.
5. Keep 'em busy
Toddlers don't tire. They are filled to the brim with energy and they expect you to participate along. But let's face it. Even on normal days, it is hard to keep up with them. This is next to impossible when you are pregnant. So, you need to find productive ways to keep them busy.
Try to make up games for them involving physical activity, or concentration, like blocks or puzzles. Even though you want to minimize screen time, you can encourage them to watch a show or play a game every once in a while. You can utilize this time to relax or get your work done.
Preparing your child for a sibling
We understand that having one child is difficult enough, and when one more is added to the list, it brings a whole new level of chaos. You will have to double the number of diapers, naps, and above all, love.
But as exciting as it sounds to have a new baby, your toddler may not be as thrilled. The firstborn may be quite stunned and unsure of how their life will change.
Juggling many such aspects of pregnancy, there's one thing you shouldn't overlook.
Preparing your toddler for baby's arrival. As soon as possible. Helping your child prep for a baby and a new life as a big sibling should be at the top of your pregnancy checklist.
And as they say, nothing good comes easy; preparing your firstborn for a new baby will test your patience. Too much to handle? We got your back. Again.
Here are our tips on what can be done to make this transition as smooth as possible before the new one arrives at the scene.
1. Breaking the news
Let your toddler know about your pregnancy, but not too soon. Help them understand and get used to the idea of a new baby in the family. Make them comfortable by showing baby pictures. Keep in mind that toddlers need time to adjust. Making them feel secure is one way to help them cope with your pregnancy. Your toddler must welcome your pregnancy with joy and excitement.
2. Talk to them
You must keep in mind that pregnancy can be confusing to the toddler, making them act out.
Working together is the key. Get the toddler involved. Point out their role as older siblings and get them excited about the baby's arrival.
Here's a tip: let the toddler talk to the baby. Watch your older child adoringly talk to your belly, feel the baby move, and give tender hugs to their sibling. You can also invite them to sing or pat the baby. This way you create a special bond amongst them.
Trust us when we say that moments like these, as fleeting as they are, make all the other exhausting moments worthwhile.
It is important that you keep the conversation light and positive. Don't get into the details, as it will confuse them more. Suppose you are feeling sick, simply tell them you're not feeling well.
One way to explain your fatigue is by saying, "Growing a baby requires a lot of work. I sometimes felt tired when you were growing inside. Too."
3. Make them understand
Your toddler won't completely know what's it like to have a new baby around.
Have a fun photo-viewing session with her. Show them some photos of what you looked like when you were pregnant with them. Toddlers love stories. Tell them stories of what they were like when they were a baby, including their tantrums, and how excited you were when they were born. Photos and stories will help them understand what a newborn looks like and how babies grow.
At first, your toddler may not be fond of you being around other babies. Hence, it is helpful to visit friends and family with newborns to make them feel comfortable around other babies.
Being around other babies is crucial as it will give them an idea of what they are like and will even develop ways to interact with them.
4. Involve them
A two-year-old understands a lot more than you think. Involving her in the preparation process can be a very effective step. Invite her to tasks related to the new baby's arrival, like "what toys should we buy?" Making her feel included in the preparation gives her a sense of responsibility, which may even result in her coming up with new ideas that might help you.
See to it that you stay positive throughout and let your toddler be as involved as they want to be. Allow her to play with the baby's things as you pull them out of storage or as presents arrive.
The more involved they are in the baby's life, the more excited they will be to step into the role of elder sister. Don't forget to explain how much attention you will need to give the new baby. This will help the toddler with what to expect when her sibling arrives.
5. Routine check
Having two children is going to change your daily lives and make things more chaotic, but do your best to follow your toddler's routine. By setting clear goals for each of you, it will be easier for you and your partner to accomplish this. The toddler will adjust to the new sibling's life more easily if they stay within the same morning routine, lunchtime, dinner time, bath time, and bedtime.
6. Make them feel important
Affirm his importance in the life of the baby by assigning her age-appropriate responsibilities.
It will give them a sense of pride to be a part of the process if you ask them to help you.
You need to keep reminding your older child that her parents love her more than ever, and the addition of a new baby will never change that. You can give your child a sense of security by explaining that you are all one happy family.
This could be a challenging time for both, you and your little one. You just have to make sure that you get enough time for yourself, relax, and take care of your health with proper diet and exercise. At the same time, your toddler should not feel neglected. We are sure that with the help of these tips for managing pregnancy with a toddler, you can have a healthy pregnancy and an enjoyable time with your toddler!
Involving them in the process, getting them familiar with the idea of having a new sibling, and reassuring them that this does not change what they mean to you are all important. Don't make them feel left out or less important. Lastly, also help them adjust to their new role as a big brother or big sister. The steps you take today can help you build a stronger foundation for your family tomorrow.
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- Family planning: Get the facts about pregnancy spacing - Mayo Clinic
- Song L, et al. Afternoon napping during pregnancy and low birth weight: the Healthy Baby Cohort study. Sleep Medicine. 2018 Aug 1;48:35-41.
- Stiglic N, Viner RM. Effects of screentime on the health and well-being of children and adolescents: a systematic review of reviews. BMJ Open. 2019;9(1):e023191