When you were pregnant the first time you probably had a few weeks off before you gave birth, had time to look after yourself and prepare everything well in advance.
But doing it with a toddler in tow is bound to feel different. It can be a tiring juggle layered with anxiety about how your oldest will cope with the new arrival. How do you get through the next few months with your sanity intact?
Stop trying to do everything
It’s knackering being pregnant. And doing it while you’re parenting a toddler, is well, bloody exhausting. Mums are great at slapping on a smile and powering through while feeling terrible inside. So be realistic about what you can manage. Make a plan for a day out but keep it small rather than an epic trip that’s bound to end up in a toddler tantrum and you crying on the train station platform.
Take notice of your physical symptoms too, you don’t have to be some sort of superwoman barfing up all morning and then whizzing down the slides at a play centre. We promise your toddler won’t suffer if activities are a bit more low key for a few weeks. And this is when your support network can help you the most. If your mum wants to come round and help, hand over that hoover. Friend offering to take your toddler - embrace it. Rest when you can.
Preparing your toddler
They’ve only ever known you and always been the centre of the universe That’s about to change. So it’s a good idea to start the conversations about an impending little brother or sister early. Get them involved and excited, show them scan pics, read books about being a good big brother or sister. Explain to them that love grows and you have enough for everyone. And don’t be surprised if there’s some negative push back, they might express they don’t want the baby and have some sleep or behaviour regression. If they really seem to struggle then chat to your health visitor or GP.
If you want to make any changes to their routine like moving to a big bed, potty training, ditching the pram or starting nursery then start it early too. Leave yourself weeks rather than days for big transitions. This is a great time to foster some independence too, so maybe they can start putting on their own shoes or getting themselves in and out of a car seat so you can avoid awkward bending and lifting.
It’s a good idea to explain what’s going to happen over the next few weeks* so your toddler knows what to expect. This way they won’t be as confused when your body starts to change, you disappear to give birth and reappear with another child! This also helps them understand they need to be a little more gentle with you. Your baby is cushioned in your womb so an enthusiastic toddler hug is fine, you just need to watch out for more forceful contact from kicking legs and feet.
Create some special time
This is the perfect time to create some memories before you embark on the nutty newborn phase. So whether it’s a few special trips or just snuggling up with a book together, use this time to cement your relationship.
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