Inside: How to cope with pregnancy symptoms when you have a toddler
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!
How To Cope With Pregnancy Symptoms When You Have A Toddler
Nap when your toddler naps
If your toddler is still napping, take advantage of that time!
No you’re not being lazy. No you’re not neglecting your chores or work. You’re taking care of yourself, which is really important!
Your health and emotional state not only matter for you but for your toddler too.
If your toddler isn’t napping anymore, or you miss their nap time and you need to rest, you can use this trick…
If I missed my daughter’s nap time, (because I worked outside of the house at that time) and I found my eyes shutting from exhaustion, I would take us both inside her room, (because it was baby proofed) and close her door while she played and I got a few minutes of sleep.
I would lay by the door so she didn’t leave the room and it worked really well! I was able to rest, I knew she was safe, and she could independently play for a little bit.
Make meals ahead of time
So during my second pregnancy I couldn’t eat very much at all because I was extremely nauseous. It was even hard for me to be in the kitchen because just the sight of other food made me feel sick.
This was obviously a problem because eventually I had to be in the kitchen to feed my kid!
If you suffer from nausea and the sight and smell of food make you sick, you may want to try batching your families meals.
By making larger batches of the food at one time, (with a crockpot or making several meals at one time) you don’t have to sit in the kitchen digging around for something to feed your kid while seeing and smelling other food.
This also works well if your nausea hits at certain times of the day because you can make sure you’re batching meals when you feel the least sick.
This way, you can go in the kitchen and grab whatever you need for your kid and sit in another room to feed them, (and you don’t need to be in the kitchen for more than a few seconds!).
Another tip is 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’re 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.
Not having to physically feed your child, (if you don’t have to) and not sitting too close while they eat may help with your nausea.
Have activities that your child can do alone or with minimal effort from you
A great time for your toddler to learn how to play independently is when you’re pregnant! This gives you a little time to rest and build up your energy again.
Some things your toddler can do by themselves are coloring, (as long as they don’t eat the crayons) playing with play doh, drawing, or playing with toys.
Also reading books for toddlers is a great activity that requires minimal effort from you!
My daughter loved when I would read to her so 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 the hazy fog, exhaustion, and nausea from my first trimester every time I read a particular book. Even to this day I still remember those feelings because of how often I read it to her! (In case you’re wondering, it was We’re Going on a Bear Hunt!).
If you have an active toddler, these activities alone won’t suffice…this was the hardest part for me because my daughter was so active and loved running around. I had to get creative with activities that would burn energy for her, but didn’t involve me.
These were some of our favorites!
You can have them race inside the house, set up a small obstacle course for them, (like jump from pillow to pillow without touching the ground) see how many times they can jump on the bed, play simon says, and games like that.
You can also give them this Early Learning Kit to work on!
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! (It’s amazing what a 30 minute nap will do for you while your child watches a show!)
Some great options are finding baby TV shows, playing toddler games on a tablet, (PBS kids has amazing little kid games that are free!) and listening to music so your child can dance or sing.
I also found that by playing music while my daughter would play with her toys, helped keep her occupied for longer.
As often as I could I would have friends or family over to help entertain my daughter so I could rest.
If you have family or friends that enjoy playing with your kid invite them to come over to hang out with you guys. They can play with your child and feed them so you don’t have to be around their food.
This is extremely helpful especially if you have strong/bad symptoms. Plus your child will likely enjoy playing with other people so it’s a win-win for you both!
Caring for a toddler when you’re pregnant is really hard especially when you’re not feeling well. It’s not easy to look after yourself when you’re busy with your toddler!
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.
These tips can help you get through that tough first trimester or at any point during your pregnancy when you’re not feeling well!
Have you gone through pregnancy with a toddler? How did you cope with your pregnancy symptoms?
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