I am not writing this post to take anything away from first time mums to be who find pregnancy difficult; being pregnant is hard work whether it’s your first time or your fifth. Surviving pregnancy with a toddler though? Well, growing a human whilst simultaneously looking after a tiny human is seriously challenging. When I was pregnant with Alex, Leo was about two and half and just over three when his brother was born. This time, with baby number three, Leo is five and Alex had just turned two the week before I discovered another baby was on the way. I have been pregnant twice now while also being a toddler mama and I have found it soo much harder than my first pregnancy. Looking back at the time when I was pregnant with Leo is like looking back fondly on a relaxing holiday, the pregnancy was a breeze compared to the subsequent two where I now had little people running rings around me. It may not seem it at times but you can make it through pregnancy in one piece while looking after a toddler – honest! You just need to accept that some days are going to be hard and please lovely mums, please accept any help that is offered to you. I am going to share my survival guide with you and I have also asked the mum of two or more community for their tips on coping during pregnancy when you have a toddler. I hope you find this post helpful and never forget this one thing..you can do this!!
How to survive pregnancy when you already have a toddler
My tips on coping during pregnancy with a toddler
1.Ditch the mum guilt – I am a big advocate for telling mum guilt to do one at all stages of motherhood but it is especially important during pregnancy. You are growing a human, if you don’t have the energy for soft play or need to cancel a play date so you can sleep instead then don’t beat yourself up about it. Repeat after me – I am growing an actual human, I do not need to feel guilty about having a rest.
2. Embrace books and snuggles – Find it hard to get down on the floor and sit and play with building bricks or train track for hours? That’s ok, grab a pile of story books and have snuggles and story time on the sofa with your toddler instead. To save your sanity get a decent sized pile of books at the ready, no one wants to read the ultimate collection of Peppa Pig stories over and over for an hour.
3. Have shared naptime – If your toddler is still napping then grab a nap when they are snoozing. I know there’s other stuff you think you need to do but you are the priority right now and if you need a sleep then grab that opportunity with both hands woman! Unless doing the dishes makes you feel relaxed, in which case scrub away!
4. Ask for help – Arrange a play date but the play date of dreams where you drop your kid off with a mum friend and you run home back to bed. Get your parents to have your toddler for a sleepover or invite family over to watch your little one and play games with them while you put your feet up.
5. Go to toddler groups – I love a toddler group, I actually wish we had a local one on every day that we could go to. If you are lucky and have a toddler who is pretty good at playing independently and doesn’t attack other kids (I have had one of both!), then toddler groups are a great place to sit and chill. There is always tea, quite often cake and other mums to chat to if you want. Or you could go full on ignorant mama – we’ve all been there – and ditch small talk with other parents for an hour sat on your phone or reading your book while your little one enjoys some playtime out of the house.
6. Pick your battles – Trying to get shoes on a toddler in tantrum mode is as difficult as trying to put a jumper on a cat. Getting them to eat that last pea on their plate when their mouth is zipped tightly shut can feel almost soul destroying. Trying to do these little daily things when you are fighting back vomit thanks to morning sickness or have a giant bump that is stopping you from easily strapping your toddler into their car seat is HARD WORK. So, pick your battles. Let them watch one more episode of Peppa Pig before teatime, leave their coat off until they get outside and realise that they’re freezing, let them wear two pairs pants and their jumper back to front to the playground, does it really matter? In short, no. If your child is kicking off to the point you can actually feel the blood boiling in your veins and you’ve got a sweat on then maybe let them win this one? Don’t knock down all boundaries and ditch all the rules you’ve worked hard to establish but sometimes it’s ok to surrender, especially if it stops your turning into a pregnant ball of stress.
7. Screen time is ok – Put the TV on mama! Make yourself a cuppa, put your feet up and let your child sit quietly in front of a screen for half an hour (or more). I know it’s not ideal to rely on screens for childcare but sometimes it is going to be the only way you can get a decent stretch of time to relax. Put a Disney film on or watch something a bit more educational like Mr Tumble. Your little one likes to chill out too and a bit of relaxation on the sofa will work wonders if you have been chasing your toddler around all day whilst carrying a heavy baby bump with you at all times too.
8. Have a bath together – This is my favourite. I know it’s not the same as taking them swimming but if your muscles are aching and the pregnant life has got you feeling a bit stressed, a nice soak in the bath is just what you need. Make sure you have lots of bath toys at the ready and be prepared to get splashed and just enjoy some one on one time with your toddler whilst also easing your painful muscles. Me and Alex love a bath together and so far he’s not once pooed in it while I’ve been in there too!
9. Don’t compare your toddlers life now to the one they had before – Oh god, I drove myself crazy in my second pregnancy spending way too much time feeling bad that I couldn’t run around with Leo as much anymore or take him to soft play for genuine fear of getting stuck in those roller things. You can’t do as much now, it’s not because you don’t want to or because you are lazy, it is because you are – have I mentioned this before? – growing a human. To repeat all the quotes I see floating around on Instagram ‘comparison is the thief of joy’. If you find yourself wondering down this dark trail of thought, just remind yourself that your toddler still loves you and always will and you can do all the fun things you used to do when you are not feeling like an exhausted obese whale anymore.
10. Set up games/activities for your toddler – Get all the train track out and encourage them to build the best track ever or put the Duplo bricks in little piles in various rooms to get them building while you rest. Set up a craft and sit with them for a while, it’s fun but doesn’t require too much effort from you if you are feeling sick and exhausted. Set up little imaginary play stations, Alex likes playing cars on his garage or building Mr Potato Head. It’s all things you probably do anyway but if you don’t have the energy to get involved much because you’re feeling too rough, it’s a good idea to have play stations already set up as your little one is more likely to happily play independently than if all their toys are tidied away where they can’t see them. Both my children are SO much better at playing when only a few of their toys are out. If every single Lego brick, puzzle piece and action figure is out then they are just as likely to not play with them as they are when they are packed away in the toy box.
Mums share their tops tips for surviving pregnancy when you have a toddler
I used to set up busy stations in the living room and kitchen for my toddler when I was pregnant to keep her occupied while I sat down and put my feet up – Rachel
I embraced the iPad when i needed naps. It’s not ideal, but sometimes it was essential – Kate
Don’t feel guilty about using the television for childcare when you need to! – Kate
I introduced “quiet” play time in his room so I could lie down in his bed while he played. It also made a nice change from being in the lounge. He did drive his cars all over me though! – Victoria
I set up a picnic area in the living and we both sit, nibble and relax – Yvette
Have a toddler box upstairs next to the bed. That way if you have a bad day you’ll have everything you need at hand. This is what I put in my toddler box: books, quiet toys, few crafty/drawing bits, dvds, tablet charger, drinks cup, snacks. – Jade
Go to a soft play area and take your headphones. I take my son and he runs around and plays with the others kids and I take my tablet, catch up on my programmes have a brew and thank the lord soft play exists… if your lucky you toddler will have a nap too. – Carla
I’ve used a box of surprises. Little fun toys (most from the charity shops) and I’d pick one when I needed a little break and surprise him with it. Would often buy me a good 30 minutes despite the fact the toy wasn’t anything special. – Nadia
I used to go to Cinebabies which is normal movies at Cineworld cinema but the lights aren’t fully dimmed and the sound isn’t as loud as normal. It meant I got a sit down and watched the new releases whilst my toddler enjoyed the action and popcorn! – Hollie
If toddler still naps go for a nap at the same time! I was so exhausted in the early days every time Elian took a nap I was curled up in bed with him, it’s the only way I had enough energy for the day. – Chantele
Make sure you get an early night. It’s tempting to enjoy a bit more ‘me time’ in the evening when the toddler goes to sleep. But the extra sleep you will get will work wonders. – Jenny
Are you currently pregnant and have a toddler? How are you coping? Parenting when pregnant is difficult and us mums need to give ourselves more credit. I mean, how amazing are we? Not only are we keeping an actual human alive but we are also growing another one at the same time and doing about a million other things too. I hope this post has helped you to see that there are ways to make pregnancy with a toddler that little bit easier. If you are a mum of two or more, do you have any tips or advice you would add to this list?
Thank you to the following bloggers for contributing their advice to this post – www.travelynnfamily.com Www.twoheartsoneroof.com www.thriftymum.com https://www.scandimummy.com www.mybump2baby.com Www.Mummieswaiting.Com https://www.upliftingandinspiringcontent.com thegrowingmum.com Www.everafterwithkids.com Https://www.countingtoten.co.uk/ https://rachelbustin.com