Let's be honest; finding out that you're expecting your second little one brings a couple of strong feelings. First – absolute joy and happiness. Second – a good dose of panic: how do parents survive pregnancy with a toddler already in tow?
However, don't let images of you trying to manage your toddler while pregnant spoil the moment. A key part of coping with your second pregnancy is making time to relax, so both you, your unborn little one and your current bouncy baby all feel healthy, happy and calm.
Here are some top tips from a fellow survivor on how to de-stress while pregnant, and how your toddler can take part.
introduce childcare if you haven’t already
If your toddler isn’t in childcare already, now might be the time. Not only will it get them used to being around other babies in preparation for their younger sibling's arrival, but you can get some jobs done, prep the nursery and – most importantly – relax.
nap when you can
Pregnancy fatigue can hit you twice as hard when you’re running around after a toddler, especially in the first trimester. Snoozing for as little as 20 minutes can boost your energy levels by more than 50%, so catch some Zs when your toddler goes down for their afternoon nap.
make time for you
Once your little one has had their bath and (fingers crossed) snuggled down in bed, it’s now ‘me’ time. No ifs, no buts. This could mean sitting down to a new series you’ve been dying to see, or doing an hour of yoga or other pregnancy-perfect exercise. Make sure you don’t skip these little moments of heaven – your stress levels will drop and your body and mind will thank you.
de-clutter your space
Before you curl up on the sofa with a new box set or treat yourself to a bubble bath, clear away your toddler’s toys so it feels like your space for an hour or two. Nothing kills the mood more than stepping on a toy brick!
Getting out and about for even half an hour every day is a great boost for your emotions, and it helps to keep you fit. If your toddler is in nursery, why not book a place in a pilates or yoga class? When your little one is at your side, try taking a brisk walk to the park with the stroller, or head to the swimming pool. Swimming is great for taking the pressure off your back and feet, and your toddler will enjoy splashing about.
remember, it's okay to ask for help
Even if pregnancy is going easy on you so far, having a toddler in tow adds a whole new angle to the experience. Your little one still needs you to be mum no matter what, so reach out to nearby friends and relatives for help if you need it. This could mean getting a hand with the laundry or asking them to keep an eye on your toddler while you run some errands. Be honest with your loved ones if you’re struggling – we’ve all been there, and it helps to talk.
Once you've recruited a strong support network and tried out our tips for de-stressing, hopefully you'll not just be surviving pregnancy with a toddler but treasuring every special moment.