Many times when you’re in your first trimester of pregnancy, you feel tired, morning sickness, irritable, and other lovely symptoms that tell you that you have a baby growing inside you. While the symptoms suck no matter which pregnancy you’re in, whether it’s your first or fourth, it’s harder on you when you have a toddler to look after. You don’t have the luxury of self-care as much as you did when it was your first pregnancy and the only person you had to look after was yourself!
So how do you look after a toddler when you have early pregnancy symptoms??
I know this feeling well because when I was pregnant with my second baby, my first was 13 months old. My symptoms were much worse the second time around and taking care of my daughter was really hard for the first few months. I actually felt like I was in a haze because of the exhaustion and constant nausea. Because of the way I felt I was pretty much in hibernation mode and rarely left the house!
Even though I was feeling so bad, I knew I had to come up with a plan so I could take care of myself as much as possible, while still making sure her needs were met as well. These tips will help you do just that!
Nap when your toddler naps!
If your toddler is still napping, take advantage of that time! No you are not being lazy. No you are not neglecting your chores or work. You are taking care of yourself, which is really important! Your health and emotional state not only matter for you but for your toddler too!
If I missed my daughter’s naptime, (because I worked outside of the house at that time) and I found myself too exhausted, sometimes I would take us both inside her room, (because it was baby proofed) and close her door while she played. That way I could still rest, know that she was safe, and she could play for a little bit.
Make your meals ahead of time.
So during my second pregnancy I could not eat very much at all because I was extremely nauseous. It was also really hard for me to be in the kitchen because just the sight of other food made me feel sick. But I found by making larger batches of the food I could eat and having it readily available to just grab and go, made it easier for me to eat. That way I didn’t have to sit in the kitchen digging around for what I felt like eating, while seeing and smelling the other food.
So on a Sunday I would make my meals for the next several days and then on Wednesday night I would make another batch of meals. So if you struggle with eating because you feel sick or the sight and smell of food makes you sick, batching your meals may help.
Have activities that your child can do alone or that require minimal effort from you.
Sometimes I would sit with her in her room and she was able to play with her toys while I watched and rested. Also reading books was HUGE!! Everywhere in the house I had her favorite books so I could still interact with her without doing much work. I actually have vivid flashbacks of how I felt when I was in my first trimester every time I read a particular book, even to this day because of how often I read it to her! (In case you’re wondering, it was We’re Going on a Bear Hunt!).
Coloring books were a hit too. That required minimal effort on my part as I just had to make sure she didn’t eat the crayons!
The hardest part was she was very active and loved to run around! Since I couldn’t do that with her, I would stay downstairs with her where she had room to run and I could sit and watch her.
Use TV, videos, or music.
Up until that point I was very selective about when I would let my daughter watch TV. But once I was pregnant again, there were times when I needed the break! So I would find baby TV shows that she could watch while I rested. I also played her a lot of music so she could dance and also hearing the music while she played with other toys helped to keep her occupied for longer.
Give your child food they can eat as independently as possible. This is obviously going to depend on how old your child is and at what level they are eating at. My daughter was a pretty independent eater, (as in she could feed herself even though it was pretty messy). So I would make her food and give it to her so she could eat and I could sit a little further away while watching her. Again, I was always feeling sick and the smell of other food would make it so much worse for me. But it may be helpful if you don’t have to feed your child or sit right up in the food!
As often as I could I would have friends or family over to help entertain her so I could rest. They would help play with her and feed her so I could rest and didn’t have to be around her food. This is extremely helpful especially if you have strong/bad symptoms. Your child will likely enjoy playing with other people so it’s a win-win for you both!
Caring for a toddler when you are pregnant in your first trimester is really hard especially when you’re not feeling well. But taking care of yourself is so important. Rest when you can, try making your meals at one time so you don’t have to be in the kitchen a lot if you suffer from bad nausea, and find activities that your toddler can do independently. You need to discover what helps get you through that hard first trimester and these tips can help you!
Have you gone through pregnancy with a toddler? How did you cope with your pregnancy symptoms?
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