Pregnancy with a toddler- survival tips for mummies
No two pregnancies are the same, even for a woman whose first pregnancy has been a breeze. The second time can be challenging, particularly if you already have your hands full with a toddler in the house. You cannot expect to rest and relax like you did the first time because the little one will have you at work constantly. Moreover, taking care of your diet and staying on track with the gynecologist visits can be challenging when you have to feed your toddler and manage the vaccinations and sick days.
It sounds exhausting, but you have to be realistic about your second time when you have to look after a little one outside and another inside. But mommies who have navigated the challenge will definitely have some inspiring inputs for ones struggling through the phase. Thankfully, you can survive just as thousands of women facing the same situation manage to get through. Here are some survival tips that can help.
Have realistic expectations
More than anything else, you need to realign your expectations this time around. Don’t believe that you can do the same things you did the first time. You cannot expect to rest when you want to, cook an elaborate meal for a craving, or pamper yourself at the spa. You have a tiny responsibility to tend to, and the little one outside is your top priority. Just take a deep breath, relax, and accept the reality. Once you are at peace with your expectations, it gets a lot easier to think of ways to handle the challenges and look after yourself and the toddler well enough.
Plan your days
Taking one day at a time and planning it in advance is the best way to handle the stress of the situation. You may have the kid’s vaccination due and your gynecologist’s appointment in the coming week. Weekends will be full of tasks like grocery shopping, laundry, and cleaning. Planning lets you cover everything without feeling stressed out. Prepare a checklist of things to do everything and tick the tasks when you complete them. Apart from weekly checklists, have a mental list for every day. Plan the next day before going to bed, and you will sleep better. Even as you go ahead with planning, maintain flexibility as you may miss out on things.
Encourage independent play
When you are struggling to balance pregnancy with motherhood, introducing your little one to the concept of independent play is a lifesaving idea. Buy toys and games they can play alone, but make sure that these are safe and non-toxic. Letting the child play independently will give you time to complete pending tasks and rest when you want to. It will also develop a good habit in the child, which will help you once you have the second baby. Your toddler will be more than willing to spend time alone and leave you with the new member.
Seek help from your partner
Dealing with a pregnancy when you have a toddler around isn’t a mean feat, so you should look for help. Even if you are a stay-at-home mommy or have taken a break from work, your partner should be there for you. Let him do his bit when he is back from work or on the weekends. He can help you clean and do laundry or take up simple tasks like taking the little one out for playtime so that you can rest in the evening. Share some quick baby recipes with him to ensure that he can feed the toddler when you are in the hospital for delivery. Your partner will be more than willing to help, so don’t hesitate.
Look for more support if you need it
You may need additional support if you plan to work during the pregnancy or your partner travels a lot and cannot offer enough help. It makes sense to look for additional support for housekeeping and childcare. You may request your parents or friends to take over the childcare duties for a short while, but it is better to hire help for the long haul. It is better to find a nanny early during the pregnancy so that you can have ample time to rest. Moreover, the toddler will be comfortable with the nanny by the time of your delivery. It will cut down your stress when you leave for the hospital and have to give more time to the new baby at home.
Be kind to yourself
The last thing you should do in these circumstances is trying to be a supermom. The concept is not real, particularly when you have a baby inside you and another one running around the house. The best approach would be to be kind to yourself and invest in self-care. Take a day off and spend time with your friends or at the spa. Looking good will make you feel more confident, so get a haircut, shop for some maternity clothes, and put on your best makeup looks. Forget about the housework and your child for an hour every evening and spend time with your partner. Alone time is also therapeutic, so plan a solo coffee date or movie once a month.
Get your little one involved
A final piece of advice for would-be moms is not to leave your toddler out of the experience. Your pregnancy could be scary and confusing for the little one who is no longer going to be a center of attention during the pregnancy and after delivery. Tell them about the role they will have to play as a big sibling and make it sound like something exciting rather than daunting. Spend time with the child, hug them, and be there for them. Take them out shopping for the baby and let them do little things.
Embracing the right mindset and implementing small changes in your lifestyle can make the phase easier to handle. Remember that the situation is tough on your toddler too, so make sure they feel loved and wanted. A joint effort with your partner will make life a lot easier.