When you find out you are pregnant and already have a toddler at home, life can become even more hectic. Just getting through pregnancy is hard enough without having another child to take care of.
However, toddlers are usually less likely to cut you some slack when you are expecting.
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When we received the news that we were expecting our second baby, our daughter had just turned 3 years old. So we had to learn how to manage our new life with me being pregnant while also taking care of a toddler all day.
To be honest, it was not easy. My entire pregnancy was stressful and I had to find ways to make it through each day. Finally, by the end of my pregnancy, I got myself into a great routine where I could take care of my toddler and survive the pregnancy.
So here are 17 tips for handling pregnancy with a toddler at home.
1. Prepare Your Toddler
First of all, when you are ready to tell others about your pregnancy, you need to sit down with your toddler and do your best to explain what is going on.
Most toddlers may not quite understand if you tell them that you are having a baby, but do your best to describe what is happening and how the new baby is growing in your tummy. Try to keep it as simple as possible so that your little one can understand it their own way.
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When should you tell your child you’re pregnant?
Now, I recommend waiting to tell your toddler about your pregnancy until you are at least 12 weeks pregnant. this is mainly because once your pregnancy reaches this point, you are usually less likely to have a miscarriage and your pregnancy is progressing properly.
Trust me. We made the mistake about telling our toddler that we were expecting before and I had a miscarriage.
And for a few weeks after that, my daughter would still talk about the baby in my tummy even though I had miscarried. It wasn’t her fault but it was difficult to explain to her what had happened.
So to be safe try to wait until your pregnancy has progressed far enough before sharing the news with your toddler.
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2. Get Your Toddler Involved With Preparing For Your New Baby
Once you have shared the big news with your toddler, ask them for help with preparing for the new baby.
Toddlers are often very excited to help out with getting things ready for their new sibling. So give them jobs like helping you pick out different baby items that they think the new baby will like or ask them to help with decorating the baby’s nursery.
No matter how small the job is keeping your toddler involved will help them to feel included while also keeping them busy.
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3. Get Sibling Books
Is your toddler excited about becoming a big brother or sister but not sure what it actually means?
That’s where sibling books are so helpful.
If your toddler is not used to having a baby around and is curious what it will actually be like, having a big brother or big sister book can answer so many questions and also give your toddler a visual aid to help them learn about the new baby.
My daughter loved her big sister book and was able to actually start reading it before her baby brother was born. She learned all of the ways that she could be helpful with her new baby brother and it taught her what being a big sister is all about.
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4. Technology Is Not The Enemy
No matter how smooth your pregnancy is, you will have those days where you just need some rest.
I was horribly sick for the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy with both of my kids. However, during my second pregnancy, I wasn’t able to just go and lay down because I had my toddler to care for also.
And for those days, I had to rely on technology to help me get through.
Many parents get upset about the use of technology, but it’s not the enemy that most make it out to be. Just having a movie on or letting your toddler play a game on the tablet or phone for a little while is not the end of the world.
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5. Meal Planning
When you are pregnant and taking care of a toddler every single day, figuring out what to cook for dinner each night sometimes gets pushed to the side.
That’s where meal planning can save your sanity.
Meal planning allows you to have a set plan for your daily meals ahead of time so that you don’t have to guess what to have for dinner every night. Another huge benefit of making a meal plan is the ability to create and save make-ahead or freezer meals that require very little effort to heat up.
So if you are barely getting through the day with your toddler while you’re expecting, give meal planning a try.
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6. Lower Your Standards
As moms, we often expect so much of ourselves and want to do our absolute best each and every day for our families. However, the problem is that we forget to care for ourselves during this time.
And even though we feel as though we need to clean the house and keep up with the laundry, being pregnant with a toddler can take up all of our energy and time. And that’s okay.
So try to lower your standards. If the laundry is still waiting to be folded just let it go and try to just get through the day.
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7. Be Careful Lifting Your Toddler
Is it safe to carry a toddler while pregnant?
This was one really important question that I had when I found out I was pregnant. Since my toddler had a tendency to run away from me and wanted to be held often, I wasn’t sure if it was safe for me to carry her around or chase after her while I was pregnant.
Honestly, this will be different for every pregnant mom who has a toddler. It depends on a few different things.
The best way to find out is to ask your doctor to be sure that your individual concerns are being considered. However, in most cases, moms can carefully lift their toddlers while pregnant without any problems.
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8. Delegate The Chores
Is that laundry still piling up and driving you crazy? If so, try delegating the chores to others in your home to help you out.
For example, ask your husband to help with a few chores that you need help doing or cannot do while you are pregnant. You can also get your toddler or other kids to help with chores as well like unloading the dishwasher, wiping down counters, picking up laundry, or throwing trash away.
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9. Order Your Groceries Online
Is getting through the grocery store with your toddler more difficult now that you are expecting?
Give online grocery shopping a try. Many stores now offer a service where you can order your groceries online and pick them up at the store. The store associates will often even bring them to your car for you so you don’t have to get your toddler in and out.
This can not only save you time but also the stress of shopping with your toddler while you are pregnant.
10. Eat A Good Diet
As I said, many moms forget to take time to care for themselves, but when you are pregnant and keeping up with an active toddler, self-care needs to be a priority.
One huge way to care for your pregnant body is by eating a good diet that will help you fuel your body to help your baby grow and keep you moving to care of your toddler.
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11. Ask For Help
Do you hate asking for help?
I always hated asking others to help me with my toddler, but once I became pregnant with my second baby, I truly needed help sometimes to save my sanity and to get some rest.
And once I realized how much I needed the help, I felt better about asking for help with my toddler now and then to give me a short break. This not only helped with keeping my toddler busy but also helped me to make time for myself before my new baby came.
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12. Pick Independent Activities
Is your toddler good at playing independently?
Some toddlers are just great at playing solo and can occupy themselves easily. My toddler was very good at playing with her toys. She had such an imagination and could make a game out of just about anything.
So at times when I needed to keep her busy for a little while, I would set up a fun activity or some toys so she could keep herself entertained while I got some things done.
13. Safely Handling Tantrums
All toddlers have tantrums. It’s just a fact of toddler life.
But when you have a toddler throwing a tantrum nearby and you are pregnant, you may be a little nervous about picking up or getting near your toddler while they are kicking and screaming.
This was a normal day in our life during my second pregnancy.
Our little girl would run away from me in public and kick and scream at me when I would have to pick her up and carry her out to the car. It was so stressful. I was constantly worried that she would hit me in the belly and hurt the baby.
So to be safe, when she had a tantrum, I made sure she was in a safe place and let her work through the tantrum on her own. And once it was finished, she was calm and able to come to me.
This helped a ton and made dealing with toddler tantrums so much easier while I was pregnant.
14. Nap When Your Toddler Naps
Being pregnant and chasing after a toddler is exhausting. That’s why if your toddler is still taking naps during the day, you should take naps too.
Don’t worry about getting the housework done, just get some rest.
And if your toddler doesn’t take a nap, try to have some quiet time each day where you just lay down together and watch a movie or do something calmly. This will allow your pregnant body to rest while still keeping an eye on your toddler.
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15. Get To Bed Early
Are you still tired even after sleeping through the night?
Another huge tip for getting more rest while you are pregnant with a toddler is to get to bed earlier.
So instead of staying up late, try getting to bed at an earlier time and give your pregnant body some much-needed sleep.
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16. Just Slow Down
One thing to remember while you are pregnant with a toddler is that this will pass by so quickly before your eyes. And although it may not seem like it now, you will miss it.
So take some time and slow down. Relax with your toddler and enjoy being pregnant. Take tons of pictures and make memories while you can.
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17. Stop Feeling Guilty
One thing I had to get over when I was pregnant with a toddler was feeling guilty about putting things off because I was so exhausted.
I felt bad about putting on a movie for my toddler to watch because I was too nauseous to sit up and play with her. And I felt like I was not giving her enough attention because I needed to rest.
But the truth is that my toddler didn’t seem to care at all about that. She only remembers talking to my belly and feeling her baby brother kicking.
So stop feeling guilty for taking care of yourself while you are pregnant. And stop feeling guilty if everything isn’t as perfect as you would like. Please just remember that this is temporary and that you are just trying to survive pregnancy with a toddler.
So pat yourself on the back for being a good mom.
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