First, the news…we are pregnant with Baby #2! It’s a very exciting and amazing time in our lives. From the beginning, this pregnancy has been absolutely different than my first in ways that I wasn’t entirely expecting. This article is about tips to survive being pregnant with a toddler.
One of the biggest changes with this pregnancy is that we have a two-year-old in our lives. With my first pregnancy, I had loads of time to lay around, relax, and rest. In the week leading up to my daughter’s birth, I was on maternity leave already, my husband was still working, and I was bored!
So, I really underestimated what it would be like to be pregnant with a toddler.
For most, the first trimester of pregnancy is often the hardest. (Source) I was hit with a lot of first trimester symptoms, including fatigue, nausea, and food aversions. Our toddler was also going through changes, including temper tantrums, a new sense of autonomy and independence, and lots of resistance to our direction. Typical two-year-old stuff.
There were definitely days during that first trimester where I was merely surviving being pregnant with a toddler. So, here are my tips to survive being pregnant with a toddler.
1. Forget your exercise routine
Fitness and working out have been part of my lifestyle for years, so I would regularly work out two to three times a week. Nothing crazy, but enough to feel good and pump some blood. With my first pregnancy, I did HIIT Bootcamp three times a week until I was 30 weeks pregnant and I felt great.
In the first trimester of this pregnancy, I was so fatigued that I could barely go about my daily routine, much less go to the gym! Initially, I felt bad about cutting down on my exercise, but it really freed up extra time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate.
2. Utilize childcare or babysitters
I’ve been working on a hybrid work schedule, so I would keep my daughter home with me on the two days that I teleworked. Prior to pregnancy, I could handle it. Multitasking wasn’t a big deal and I could take care of my toddler and do my work.
As I said before, this first trimester really kicked my butt. I started to get overwhelmed on my teleworking days because I wasn’t able to handle my toddler and work anymore. So, we put our toddler back in full-time daycare. This reduced a lot of my stress and allowed me to get more rest during the day.
- Related reading: Ways to make daycare dropoff easier
3. Take micro rest breaks
When you have a two-year-old, there’s really no room for breaks. Unless they’re napping or sleeping for the night, they are literally non-stop.
On days when I couldn’t do much, my husband would play with our toddler while I laid in bed for 30 minutes. You might not think that 30 minutes does much, but these micro rest breaks would get me through the day.
4. Simplify dinners
My husband and I pride ourselves on being able to cook dinner every night for our family. I grew up with home-cooked meals every day, so it’s very important for me to provide that for my daughter.
Simplifying dinners became more of a goal while pregnant with a toddler. I brought out the Crockpot in the middle of summer and started doing really easy 3 to 4 ingredient meals. My husband grilled a lot and I bought pre-made sides from the grocery store. We also started getting takeout meals once or twice a week. Making these adjustments helped out so much!
5. Stick to your toddler’s routine
It’s very important to stick to your toddler’s routine during this time. It’ll benefit you and your toddler. When your toddler is napping or goes down for the night, those are great opportunities for you to rest, lie down, and relax.
- Related reading: How to establish a solid bedtime routine for your toddler
6. Find new ways to entertain your toddler
My toddler likes going to the park, running around, and playing soccer. She loves going places and experiencing new things. During my first trimester, I couldn’t do any of these activities due to fatigue and nausea.
When I was at home with her alone and she wanted to play, I would gather a bunch of her toys around the couch or the futon in my office. Then, I sat down or laid down, and she would play with her toys right next to me. Sometimes, we would even do this in my bed.
7. Reduce your family schedule
When you’re pregnant with a toddler and trying to survive, it’s not the time to go on a family vacation or participate in a bunch of events. If anything, I wanted to stay home more often because that’s the place I was most comfortable.
Prior to my pregnancy, we made a couple of camping reservations for the summer well in advance. Even though I wasn’t feeling my best, we decided to go on the camping trips anyway. Let me tell you, there were many moments during these trips that I wished I was at home in bed.
- Related reading: Camping with a toddler, everything you need to know
8. Remember this is temporary
There were times when I felt myself wishing for my pre-pregnancy energy. It would take so much effort to get through simple things like my toddler’s bedtime routine or getting her ready in the morning.
Then, I would remind myself that this is only temporary and that’s so true! Even though it’s difficult and challenging right now, this phase isn’t going to last forever. Soon enough, we will have two kids and hopefully, my energy levels will be back again.
Surviving being pregnant with a toddler
Being pregnant with a toddler gives me a whole new level of respect for women who go through this, and so many women do it by choice! Motherhood is the most amazing job I’ve had in my life, but It’s 24/7 and it’s tiring.
I’ve learned that it’s okay just to survive, especially when you’re going through those difficult phases, like being pregnant with a toddler. It’s more than okay to seek help, reduce your scheduled activities, and modify your expectations during this time. Remember that it’s temporary.