Pregnancy: 5 tips to survive being pregnant and looking after a toddler

 


Being pregnant whilst also looking after a toddler has made pregnancy very different to the first time round - Florence was almost two when we found out we were expecting! In my pregnancy with Florence I could take it easy when I needed to, keep my head down at work and sleep all weekend if I wanted to. I also didn't have to bend down a million times a day to pick up toys and to lift her up. Although saying that, it has been nice not having to commute and not being pregnant in a heatwave this time!

Here are five tips to help survive being pregnant whilst also looking after a toddler. I have had a straightforward pregnancy with no sickness and just tiredness mainly (and the usual aches and pains) - obviously it is a total different ballgame if you're suffering with bad morning sickness!

1. Sleep when they sleep

You have to grab those moments when you can rest and so try and sleep when your toddler sleeps. I have been very lucky in that Florence loves sleeping and her naps. In the first trimester I would always go back to bed when she went down for a nap and it would help me get through the day, and I have done the same quite a few times in third trimester as tiredness has reared its head! I would also go to bed early. If Florence didn't still nap I would have been in bed at 7.30. 

2. Play with toys that encourage independent play - or that allow you to rest up

Encourage lots of play with toys where your toddler will play, or mostly play independently. Florence loves Duplo and Magnatiles so these are always a good call if I just want to sit with her rather than having to do too much. She also loves tea parties, playing in her kitchen and making me ice creams with the Melissa & Doug ice cream counter - all which mean I can sit and let her serve me! I am also a big fan of playing doctors, and also the 'lets put Mummy to bed' game where I can lay on the sofa!

3. Use the TV when you need to

Pregnancy (or a pandemic) is not the time to feel guilty about screen time. It's a great tool for giving you half an hour to chill on the sofa. During my third trimester we have got into a nice routine of watching TV around 4pm. Florence will happily sit with some raisins and watch the TV whilst I usually have a quick 20 minute nap! It has really helped me get through the day.

4. Involve your toddler with your pregnancy

It will depend how old your toddler is as to how much they understand. Now that's she's almost 2 and a half, Florence does seem to understand that there's a baby in my tummy and will often cuddle the bump and chat to 'baby cheese' which is what she has called the baby - she did get a shock when she was hugging it and baby did a big kick! We've been talking to her about being a big sister, and asking what she thinks of names so that she feels as involved as possible, and so it won't be too much of a shock when baby cheese arrives. 

5. Don't put pressure on yourself 

I think it's important to constantly remind yourself that you are pregnant, and that you need to take it easy and to not put pressure on yourself. Some days I've felt really ropey and haven't been able to tick anything off my to-do list and I've felt so unproductive but have to keep reminding myself that the most important thing is listening to my body. 

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Sending love to anyone else who is pregnant, especially at the moment during this strange time. 

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