So you’re pregnant, with a toddler (or several kids) in tow. First of all, HUGE congratulations on your second (or third!) pregnancy!
Watching the sibling bond develop between my children is one of my favorite parts of parenting.
They love each other so fiercely and it absolutely warms my heart.
But, I will warn you that being pregnant with a toddler has its own challenges that you don’t experience with your first pregnancy.
You can’t just take a nap or dry heave into the toilet any time you please, because your little ones need you!
I am currently pregnant with our fourth (although third pregnancy, thank you, twins), so I have plenty of experience to share with you.
Read on for my tips on surviving pregnancy with a toddler!
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Pregnant With a Toddler: Encourage Independent Play
I started teaching Theo to play independently before he could walk or crawl. I’d sit and play with him for a few minutes to give him some ideas.
I’d stack a few blocks or drive some cars around to give him an idea. Then, I’d hand them over to him and tell him it was his turn, and I’d get up on the couch.
Sometime’s I’d read a book or drink coffee. Other times I would just watch him and talk to him, telling him that he was doing a great job and having so much fun.
As this continued through the months, I could put a few toys on the kitchen floor and make dinner or do dishes and it was amazing!
Don’t get me wrong, we spent a LOT of time playing TOGETHER… but he also learned how to entertain himself.
Something I didn’t know about at the time was independent playtime.
Independent playtime is a term used in the second Babywise book, and it is a set time during the day that your child goes to their room (or a pack in play if they are really little!) with a few toys to play on their own.
Independent playtime is TRULY a game-changer.
I adore having my children home with me, but when it’s cold or rainy and we can’t get outside, we all tend to get on each others’ nerves.
They start to bicker and fight over toys, and it’s just wonderful to say “head to your rooms for independent playtime!” and have 45 minutes of silence.
They always come out in better moods and ready to be kind to each other again. And when you’re pregnant with a toddler, independent playtime is a gamechanger!
Other Posts on Independent Playtime:
Independent Playtime: Benefits and How to Start
A Step by Step Guide of How We Started Independent Playtime and the Amazing Results
How to Encourage Imagination in Kids
Don’t Feel Bad About Extra Screen Time
With Theo, we were pretty adamant about having zero screen time until the age of two.
Annnndddd then I got pregnant… with twins… when he was 15 months old.
I’m not saying that it all went out the window, but we definitely introduced a little bit of screen time.
I found educational shows that were very slow-paced. We mostly watched shows that were just nursery rhymes, or ones that taught baby sign language.
It was actually quite lovely to sit on the couch and snuggle together!
This time around, Theo was 5 and Josie and Margo were 3 when I found out we were expecting another baby.
It was the end of summer and I really wanted to be out and about enjoying my time with them before school started.
We still snuck in a few beach days but also spent a lot of time snuggled up on the couch watching movies. If you’re pregnant with a toddler, increased screen time may be necessary and that’s okay!
Curious about how to prepare your toddler for a new baby (or two)? Check out this post!
How to Prepare Your Toddler for a New Baby
Pregnant With Little Kids: Be Aware of Low Patience
I love my kids.
I love my kids.
I love my kids.
But goodness gracious, are they annoying during this pregnancy! I know it’s not them. I know it’s me.
I’m irritable and crabby and have very little patience.
They’re just being kids and I LOVE THEM.
Do you catch my drift?
I spend my days taking big breaths and hiding out in the bathroom, which is not something I normally do.
I allow a longer time than usual to get out the door for school because running late really stresses me out.
That’s when I find myself losing my cool.
I find that simply being aware that I’m extra irritable helps me stay patient with my kids!
Other Helpful Posts
Pregnant With a Toddler: Accept Your Temporary Reality
I often see people say “lower your standards” when talking about challenging times, such as pregnancy or the newborn phase.
And truthfully? I hate that.
I don’t want to lower my standards.
That sounds like I’m shrugging my shoulders and giving up.
I prefer to think of it as accepting a new, albeit temporary reality.
You are still doing the best you can. You are still working hard. You’re growing a human being for crying out loud, and there’s nothing low standard about that, amirite?
So, accept your reality.
But also know that it is temporary.
You may not have the energy to cook gourmet meals or keep your house spotless… but that doesn’t mean you’re lowering your standards.
You’re growing a human and that is an incredibly huge and important job.
Make Changes Where You Can
Our grocery bill was outrageously high during my first trimester with this pregnancy.
And it’s because I was buying all sorts of prepackaged foods that we don’t normally purchase.
Chicken nuggets. Frozen pizza. Premade lasagna.
I did not have the stomach to cook, but unfortunately, my kids still needed to eat!
- If you have to hire a meal delivery service? Do it.
- Will a cleaning person ease your stress? Hire them.
- Have the family Christmas party catered (I sure did!)
- Have a local grocery delivery service? Utilize it.
Whatever you can do to make your life as easy as possible, take advantage of it.
Pregnant With a Toddler: Wear Them Out!
I love finding ways to wear my kiddos out that involve me not having to move. When you’re pregnant with a toddler or multiple kids, it is crucial!
Here are a few things I’ve done when I’m pregnant (or sick) and I don’t have the energy to move, but my little ones do.
- Ball chase: Sit in a lounge chair outside and throw a ball. Have them run after the ball and bring it back to you.
- Red light, green light: Set a point A and point B (I usually do the fences on either side of our yard) and shout “GREEN LIGHT!” They then run as fast as they can towards the next point, until you shout RED LIGHT.
- Dance Party: When it’s cold or rainy outside, I like to play different songs on youtube. If you look up ‘freeze dance’ on youtube, you will find many options. I love that these songs will dictate when to dance and when to stop, so that all I have to do is hit play from my phone!
Note: These activities work best if you never participate and treat it as a solo activity.
I’ve made the mistake of playing a few times with my kiddos when I had energy, and they had so much fun with me that the next time they wanted me to join in again.
Proper hydration and nutrition are so important in pregnancy, which really isn’t fair because it’s a time where it’s truly hard for many women!
Drinking plenty of water (seriously, like waayyy more than you think you need!) and eating foods that are high in iron and protein will help your energy levels.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still be tired… but maybe a little less tired!
So there you have it, my best tips for surviving being pregnant with a toddler or multiple kids to take care of! Here’s to a happy and healthy pregnancy!
P.S. Make sure you’re following me on social media to keep up with our family and all the twin cuteness! I am on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!
Friday 13th of March 2020
Thank you so so much for this page Caitlin,
Your page has done so much more for me than most others!
I'm a mom to 6year old twin boys. I'm now 8-9 weeks pregnant with my next. So not only does it feel like a brand new experience, I'm also wondering whats caused by after effects of a twin preg.
Mostly bothering me is that I feel like I'm already showing but it helps for another twin mom to explain it.
Thanks again. I'll be back hopefully.