Are you struggling with your toddler while pregnant? Surviving pregnancy with a toddler can be a real challenge. But fear not Mama, we’ve got some great tips to help you handle your toddler and make life easier during pregnancy.
This is a guest post from Nina at Mama of Five.
First and foremost, congratulations on your pregnancy!
You may have already noticed that things aren’t quite how they were when you were pregnant with your first child.
Having a demanding toddler who wants your 100% attention, who is full of energy, constantly raiding the kitchen cupboards at every opportunity, wanting to be picked up all the time and permanently attached to your legs is not making your pregnancy any easier.
You are probably thinking to yourself – how can you manage to get through the next 9 months, especially if you are nauseous, sick and fatigued.
Surviving Pregnancy with a Toddler
Your pregnancy symptoms and tiredness, coupled with your toddlers’ constant demands can really push you to the edge.
As a mom of 5 beautiful children, I can assure you I know exactly how you feel. Having been through pregnancy a fair few times I can genuinely feel your concerns.
Hopefully these tips and tricks will not only help you now, but will also help you through the tough early days when you bring your newborn baby home.
1. Lower your expectations
I love to have a clean house, but when you are pregnant you will need to lower your expectations.
If the toddler is asleep don’t start cleaning and doing the laundry. Instead take that time to lay down and just close your eyes.
This will become more important as the pregnancy progresses. The chores can wait.
I also stopped cooking elaborate meals when I was pregnant, not only because the smell would cause me to vomit, but because big meals meant more cleaning.
A quick and easy lunch with minimal effort and cleaning meant I was less tired.
2. Sleep when the toddler naps
I used to roll my eyes when people gave me this advice, but it is so true.
Even if you don’t sleep, just taking that time to sit down and relax can do wonders for you. It’s a few minutes of peace that you need just to recharge your batteries.
3. Tidy as you go
This is something I had to train myself to do. Cleaning doesn’t come naturally to me and there are a few steps I take to make it much easier:
- Empty the dishwasher first thing in the morning, even if it means leaving the clean dishes on the side. Load as you go and it won’t feel overwhelming. You can put the clean plates away during the day when you feel up to it.
- Invest in a long-handled dustpan and brush. One for sweeping the floor and one for the toys! This was an absolute lifesaver during my pregnancy, it meant no bending down to sweep or to pick up small toys.
- Wipe things down as you go, kitchen surfaces, high chair, sinks and the shower
- Leave the larger tasks for when you are nesting towards the end of your pregnancy, trust me you will actively be looking for things to clean or paint!
It is so much easier to spend 10 minutes tidying a few times a day then spending a few hours cleaning at the end of the day when you are already exhausted from taking care of your toddler.
Having a semi decent and tidy house will really help you have a clear mind and help you feel less stressed.
4. Encourage your toddler to be independent
Teaching a toddler to play independently will be the one thing you will thank yourself for when you have a new born baby.
I used to have 3 boxes of toys that I would rotate regularly.
This meant that the toddler would be engaged and not bored of the same toys every day.
If my toddler kept asking for help with things, I would encourage him to have a go and try. Small steps like this will encourage your toddler to become more independent and try to play alone.
You can also set up activity boxes where you put in things like stickers, coloring paper and pom poms and call it a day. The kids absolutely love this kind of stuff and it’s another way of encouraging independence.
If you are still spoon feeding your toddler now is a good time to try and get them more independent. When I did this in the beginning there was more food on the floor then in my child’s tummy. however, slowly but surely, we got there and by the time my baby arrived my toddler was happily eating all by himself.
5. Meal prep and batch cook when you can
Planning your meals ahead of time means that not only do you save money, but you don’t actually have to think about what to cook for the family.
I don’t know about you, but for me baby brain is a reality. I have to take steps to ensure that I am as organized as possible.
Less choices mean I’m better able to cope.
During my pregnancy I used my crockpot to make meals, I literally used it every single day. Just throw it all in the pot and let it work its magic. It really is a great investment.
I also started to make extra food and freeze it for the days that I really couldn’t even face going into the kitchen.
Having a freezer stash of food made it easier for me knowing that there was always something healthy to eat.
My husband is really not the greatest cook, so I would rely on these extra meals to get me through the super tough days.
6. Leave potty training until after you have had the baby
If you haven’t already potty trained your toddler now is definitely NOT the time to start! I would wait until your baby is born and in a good feeding schedule before you take on this task.
Children sometimes have regressions after they are potty trained and the last thing you want to be doing is dealing with a child that needs the toilet every 15 mins while you are trying to establish breastfeeding.
7. Take any offers of help
When family members or friends offer help take it! I remember being pregnant with my first baby and not accepting help because I didn’t want to look as though I wasn’t coping.
By the time I was pregnant with my second baby when offers of help came in, I couldn’t accept them quickly enough.
Whether it was babysitting, so I could get a nap or a bath, or just a friend bringing over an extra portion of food that we could have for dinner that night. It made so much difference to us and they felt like they had helped.
8. Tackle any sleep issues now
If you have a toddler who has sleep regression then try and deal with this early on. Sleep and potty regressions are normal and I have seen them with all of my 5 kids.
If you are planning on moving the toddler out of the cot and into a bed then this is something you need to do as early on in pregnancy as possible.
This gives both you and the toddler ample time to settle into your new routine.
The last thing you want is to wait until the baby is due to move your toddler out. He may feel resentful towards the baby for taking his space if you leave it too late.
My toddler started night waking when I bought the baby home. I wish I had some ideas on how I could have dealt with this before the baby was born.
We managed to deal with it by cutting my son’s nap down to only half an hour during the day and this helped immensely.
9. Stay active
Try and find a balance between resting and staying active.
It’s funny that on the days that I was feeling really tired I would force myself to take my toddler to the playground or even for a 10-minute walk.
I would suddenly get a new burst of energy.
I knew, it being a subsequent pregnancy that labor is called labor for a reason and I need to be active and fitter to have an easier birth. Reminding myself of this was usually enough to get me out the door and walking more.
10. Me time
Even if this is enjoying an evening in front of the TV watching a film, having a relaxing bath, meeting friends or just taking time out for a hobby.
It is vital that you have some time to unwind and relax for you.
As a mom of five, this is one of the most important things for me. Just one hour of me time without the kids just makes it easier for me to cope better with the children the next day.
The bottom line on how to cope with a toddler during pregnancy
Even if you put a just few of these strategies into place, you are guaranteed to be able to cope much better with being pregnant and trying to manage a very active toddler.
I learned early on that having a routine was the best and the only way to stop me from becoming overwhelmed.
Good luck mama you have totally got this!
About the Author
I am Nina from www.mamaoffive.com. I am a mom to 5 energetic kids 3 boys and 2 girls. As you can imagine I have a wealth of experience when it comes to all things babies. Especially in dealing with the unique challenges being a parent throws at you.
I often get asked for advice from other mom’s as they automatically assume I must know the answers. Honestly, that’s been proven true time and time again. I guess being a Mom of 5 has been a steep learning curve but I am still standing, albeit with it with a cup of coffee (or something stronger) to get me through the day.
I wish I had known someone to advise when I was struggling but I am really happy that I can be there for you. If one piece of advice I give you makes your day easier then all this effort has been worth it.
Make sure to pin this post for later!!
More Pregnancy Tips
- 15 Things to do before your baby arrives (A Healthy Mama’s Guide)
- 7 Steps to Planning Healthy Pregnancy Meals Using Pinterest
- Tips to Relieve Morning Sickness Naturally
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