10 Tips to Surviving Pregnancy With a Toddler
I knew I wanted to kids close apart in age. When my baby girl is born, she and my son will be two years and 4 months apart-WOW! Hard to imagine.
Pregnancy has been wonderful so far, but it is a far cry from how it was when I was pregnant with my son. For instance, I did not have another little human being running around to take care of so it was much easier. I won’t lie-it can get a little rough chasing him with all of the aches and pains pregnancy brings, but you CAN survive pregnancy with a toddler.
Here’s my tips to doing so:
- Plan well. You have around 35 weeks or so from the time you get that positive pregnancy test to plan for baby #2 and how you are going to deal with adding another kid to the mix. Sit down with your husband and make a game plan. Will you baby be in daycare? Will you stay home? How long is your maternity leave? What all will you need for baby #2? There’s just so much to talk about and to figure out. It can feel very overwhelming at times, but make a checklist per trimester and stick with it!
- Lower your expectations. Ok-first thing’s first-you are not supermom nor do you have to try to be. Don’t expect things to be automatically easy with adding a second child just because life with one is easy already-trust me, your whole world changes! Mentally prepare yourself by lowering what to expect. Know that there will be difficult times and know that you cannot do it all alone. Know that you will have moments where you need some fresh air or a mommy time out. But most of all, know it’s all gonna be ok.
- Free your mind. Let go of any negative self talk. Just as above where you shouldn’t be too confident, try not to be so hard on yourself either. Before baby comes, try going on a babymoon to clear your mind from any stress. You are going to be exhausted which will cloud your mind so you need things to be clear before your second baby comes. After baby comes and your mind is still feeling weighed down, take a time out. Listen to calming music and escape for a few minutes while daddy has baby duty.
- Utilize help! If you are one of the lucky ones that have parents or family living nearby, then use them! Chances are, they are going to want to help so do not be afraid to ask for it! If the stress is getting to be too much, use daycare part time. Ask your husband to take over for an hour or two or help around the house with chores. Do not be afraid to ask!
- Encourage independence. Your toddler is going to cling more than ever to you after baby arrives. They will feel jealous and won’t understand why mommy is giving all of her attention to the new baby. Do your best to encourage and promote independence within your toddler by giving her or him alone time. Put her or him in their crib or Pack n Play to play a bit. Another thing that has helped my son was putting him in daycare part time, though I stay home (I work from home). This has really helped him so much! Even moreso than me!
- Nap. When you can find that rare spare minute, NAP! If both kiddos are sleeping, SLEEP. If your newborn is sleeping, but your toddler is wide awake, put him or her in their Pack n Play with a short movie and just REST a little. You do not have to sleep-just close your eyes and shut off your thoughts for a little while. I promise you will feel so much more refreshed when you open your eyes.
- Prepare the night before. If life with a toddler and a new baby is hectic, mainly because they are on opposite routines, try preparing the night before while your husband is home. While he watches the kids, try to control at least one thing that you can: your toddler routine. Set out their clothes for the next day, pack their lunch, etc. Just a little preparation will help keep things running smoothly.
- Don’t lose yourself. Most importantly, do not forget you. You are the one who is keeping the show running so when mom burns out, everyone sufferes. Happy mommy = happy family, right? Take a break and go get a massage or your nails done. Take a candle lit bath with aromatherapy and music. Go to a movie alone and go eat something delicious-all by yourself. Why? Because you deserve it!
- Don’t lose your marriage. With an extra child around, you can easily lose yourself in your motherhood duties that you forget your husband. Do not forget that your marriage came first! Ask someone you trust, when you are ready, to baby sit. It does not have to be very long, maybe a short trip to get some fro-yo with the hubby. Then as you get more comfortable, go see a movie. And then maybe the next time, add in dinner.
- Exercise. Lastly, do not forget to stay active. Yeah, I know you stay active enough that you are probably laughing at this tip. But working out can help keep you sane when you feel like losing it! Exercise releases a chemical called endorphins which is responsible for controlling your happy thoughts and moods. The more your exercise, the more this chemical is triggered and released. While the kids are napping, go put on a home workout DVD or do my 12 week home workout program and get a good sweat in!
Your trainer and friend,