Figuring out how to survive pregnancy with a toddler boy running around me is not a challenge that I thought I would spend that much energy on. I knew it would be hard at times but mamas, bending over the side of the crib to pick up my toddler is incredibly harder than I anticipated. I’m talking about being 30 weeks pregnant while picking up an 18 month old boy from his crib in the middle of the night because his gums hurt from teething.
But as I have progressed throughout this pregnancy, I have realized that I do a lot to help us both get along throughout the day so our home can stay as peaceful as possible. I know there are many Mamas out there who can totally relate to what I’m talking about and I know many of you have tips of your own! If you want to add to our list, read on and then add your comment below!
Here are a few tips to help you not just survive, but thrive while pregnant with a toddler.
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1) Start incorporating Independent Play with your Toddler NOW.
I could probably write a whole post about the power of independent play (IP), and if you haven’t looked into this yet, now is the time. You want to start this trait now, no matter the age of your toddler. And if you aren’t sure how your toddler will respond to this, then start now so you can slowly work towards increasing time your toddler will play by himself.
Independent play is simply you letting him explore a few toys on his own, without interaction from you, allowing him to be totally creative on his own in a safe setting. You’re going to want this time to catch your breath or to feed your new baby once she gets here or whatever you need to do. My 18 month old can play by himself for an hour and 15 mins (we use a timer!). We do this almost every day. It is a lifesaver.
2) Don’t be afraid to put everyone to bed earlier than normal so you can go to bed early too.
I think majority of moms are extremely exhausted that first trimester. I know I am! When I was pregnant with Bubby, I could nap or go to bed whenever I wanted. Now that I am chasing Bubby around all day, I am wiped out by the time my husband gets home and he is usually pretty tired himself from a long day at work, so early to bed we all go.
And this can include nap time too. There are some days when I put my toddler down earlier so I could take a nap myself or I just plain needed to lay down for just a little bit. Putting him down 30ish minutes early is not going to hurt anything and I use this opportunity to teach him he needs to quietly lay/rest in the crib until mommy comes to get him. Getting your toddler used to a flexible sleep time with a window of 30 minutes is a tool you’ll want in your belt when your new one arrives!
3) Allow the extra help!
We have fantastic grandparents and relatives who will gladly take our son for a few hours or even for overnight! I have found I used to struggle with this the most when I kept holding on to control too much over my son’s routine. I realized I needed to prioritize what was important to his routine, communicate that to whoever is helping and let the rest go. Plus, I want Bubby to be used to being around those folks so when our new little one comes home, we can all have a little break from time to time.
4) Try to keep up some sort of exercise routine.
I know this can be REALLY hard the first and third trimesters but I’m not saying you need to pop in P90X and listen to Tony Romo blair out your TV. I have found that variety works best for me when I’m battling prego fatigue. A 10 minute pregnancy pilates DVD here, a 30 minute walk outside with my toddler there. Whatever I do, I try to do something 4 days a week. What might that look like for you?
5) Take a risk with intimacy and your spouse!
Each woman has her own experiences during pregnancy and when it comes to sex, this can be especially varying. Some women are raring to go and some women are still searching for their libido. When I say take a risk, I mean take a risk on being intimate with your spouse and forget about the rest. Most men are sensitive to your needs (and comfortable positions!) during this phase. Try not to let tiredness rule out intimacy every time. I know this can be incredibly hard and a sensitive topic for some but take a look and see if intimacy has faded since being pregnant again. I know it did for us and we decided to change things up so we could each stay satisfied and satisfy each other too.
Use this time to try new things or to be more open with your spouse about what works for you right now as your body is changing. I can personally say that when my husband wants to be intimate with me and I have no desire to be sexual, I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt and things almost always turn out better than I thought. Just something to think about! 😉 Feeling sexually fulfilled while you feel like a giant walking watermelon can give you an amazing boost during this tiring time, especially knowing your spouse feels good too!
6) Start planning now instead of wondering and worrying about what it will be like when baby arrives!
I tend to ask myself a lot of questions about what will I do if this situation arises with our new baby and how will I handle Bubby in the process. I am a planner by heart so coming up with possible ideas incase the need arises down the road reduces a lot of stress for me. The balance of all this is realizing that things may not go at all how you expected and that’s OK! Learning to adapt to a change of plans is such a vital tool, and I imagine this is ESPECIALLY TRUE when planning for your new baby’s arrival.
Some things to start planning ahead now:
- Bulk freezing meals and/or snacks for your household, especially your toddler.
- Create a general menu of a week or two of meals so whoever may help you take care of your toddler can have a reference point (I am doing this for my husband too!).
- Checklist of new items you’ll need to get for new baby that can’t be reused from your first baby.
- Independent Play (mentioned above) for your toddler.
- Consider having help come by once or twice a week to help with some household chores the first couple of months. I plan on having our teenage babysitter come once a week to sweep, do laundry, dust, vacuum, etc. (Teenage girl is cheaper than maid service I would imagine!)
- Bulk buy items that are a pain in the butt to run to the store for when you run out. I did this recently with a huge pack of a TWO MONTH SUPPLY of diapers! Whoot! We also bought bulk deodorant, toothpaste, trash bags, etc. Household items like this give me a peace of mind, knowing I wont need to worry about buying them while I’m sleep deprived.
- Start creating busy bags or simple daily activities you can easily do with your toddler when baby is sleeping or feeding.
7) You might want to start changing up your daily routine with your toddler.
When I first found out I was pregnant, Bubby was taking two naps still. I never got too sick during that first trimester but boy I would get so exhausted mid-morning. There were mornings I would put him down a little earlier than he probably needed so I could rest for a few extra minutes. We also normally had a mid-morning snack that I slowly moved up so we could just eat lunch earlier together because it helped me fight fatigue. Having an earlier lunch helped me a lot that first trimester!
Also, before I found out I was pregnant, we would get out pretty much every day and do an errand or two or go on a playdate. As I have progressed in my pregnancy, I can’t quite keep up with that every day business. I have started more at home activities with him so we can get used to being home more which will be the case when Sissy arrives (at least in the beginning). It helps me feel more rested now and will help us adjust to being homebodies when she is born!
I know we could add so much more to our list! What would Mamas like to add? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’d like to get tips like this straight to your inbox, click here and join our Mom Tribe.