When I found out, I was expecting again, I was a little shocked than surprised. I wasn’t ready, Pearl was too small but basically because I just could not imagine myself as a mother two. That was just not the plan. Not now, nor Ever. But motherhood changes you, your heart and mind beyond ways you can imagine. So yes I accepted it wholeheartedly knowing quite well that surviving a pregnancy while raising a toddler simultaneously would be anything but easy!
And how correct I was. While there is no nausea, morning sickness or any of those symptoms so far (except for a few days in my first trimester), it is physically exhausting. But know what? I have survived, rather enjoyed my second pregnancy so far. Of course there are days of meltdowns and panic, but then there are more of happy and cheerful days. If I can manage being pregnant while raising a toddler, so can you.
Here is how in 8 simple steps-
1: Plan your day, the night before
I know! Easier said than done. But now that your body needs more rest than usual, preparing breakfast, packing lunch boxes (if your child is a preschooler) AND getting your tot ready all at the same time can be a herculean task for you. Planning your day ahead becomes all the more important now.
Night times are the best for planning and preparing for the day ahead. Your child is asleep, you probably aren’t going to doze off soon (why hello pregnancy insomnia!!) so better make the best of this time. Get your child’s school bag, clothes, your clothes and everything ready for the morning. If possible prep for the breakfast, that you can easily reheat in the morning.
These may sound like small tasks but believe me people, it saves a lot of time and running around in the morning.
2: The Ideal way to carry your toddler while pregnant
My main complaint throughout my second pregnancy is the never ending low back pain. While it is usual the second time around because your core muscles are already weak and loosened after your first pregnancy, having to pick up a toddler adds to the woe.
Toddlers get more clingy during this time, (call it insecurity or whatever) but they want to be picked up and carried constantly.
Some moms rely on babywearing or rather toddler wearing, but if it makes you uncomfortable try this-
Bend your knees, squat a little low and then pick up your toddler. Or you may want to pick them up from a height. The idea here is NOT to bend your back. I learnt this from my physiotherapist and it helps me a great deal.
3: Introduce new toys/books to encourage Independent play
Anything new and out of mundane will excite your child enough to keep him/her busy for quite a while. Get a new toy, different colors, slime anything that keeps them engaged. Do not bother about the mess. And particularly do not intervene to teach them ‘the right way‘ to play with a particular toy or puzzle. Let them explore it by themselves and you will be amazed at your child’s creativity.
We first introduced this board game to Pearl when she was 1.5 yrs old. Then she would just stick the letters to the magnetic board and rejoice in it. Now that she can identify colors, she sticks the letters in group of colors and even some times in series without any help… You see once given that space, they have no limitations!!
So take a backseat, put your feet up, relax and watch your child play independently.
4: Go easy with your parenting rules
Are you a strictly NO sugar or NO screen time kind of mom? May be its time to be a little less harsh on yourself and on your little one too. A small candy or a few TV time did no harm to anyone.
My iPad is my digital babysitter. Whenever I am too tired to adult, I just play anything baby friendly and get that much needed ‘Me time’ to relax.
5: Hire a nanny a few months before your due date:
Now this where we Indian moms have a huge advantage. We get a nanny or a help for a fairly reasonable price than our western sisters… If you haven’t hired one already, now is the best time to appoint one.
Taking care of a toddler while pregnant especially in your last trimester gets very difficult. And if, daddy dear is out for extended time, God knows how many baths will your child miss if you are the sole care-taker:P
“After all it takes a village to raise a kid. And now they are going to be two!!”
Hiring a help now will not only take some responsibilities off your shoulders, your child will get enough time to get friendly with him/her. So by the time the baby arrives, they would get-along quite well. Now, that is one thing less to bother about!
If you don’t want any maids or nannies then don’t hesitate to ask help from your family. Doing everything as a couple is of course the best approach, but things get very different the second time around. There is no shame in asking for help. After all it takes a village to raise a kid. And now they are going to be two!!
6: Sleeping through the night?
If you have been reading my posts, you would know, I am not a believer of Sleep training a baby/toddler or anyone for that matter. Read this if you don’t believe me.
Then why this discussion you ask? Well, by now your toddler is matured enough to sleep at least 6 hours without waking up. If he/she is waking up quite frequently, you might need to find out the reason behind it.
Pearl used to wake up multiple times for night time nursing without being really hungry. So just weaning her off the breast helped her sleep through the night.
Ask yourself, is it the need to be physically in contact with you, nursing or something else. What is it that is keeping your child from sleeping through the night? Now deal with it gently and slowly. But remember this is yet another milestone which your child will meet in his/her own pace. You need to help them achieve it, not force them onto it.
Pearl started to sleep through the night after almost 1.5 years. So hang in there mama. It will take time but it will happen eventually. Just start this analysis pretty early in your pregnancy so that towards your third trimester everyone is getting a good night’s sleep!!
7: Wean your toddler off the breast
While I am no expert in this and have no rights to tell/preach you about it, let me just sharing my experience. Who knows it might help any of you!!
I am all about extended breastfeeding (I nursed my older until she was 22 months) but I had to gently wean her during my second trimester. (More on gentle weaning some other time!). Why? Mainly because of three reasons
- It became too painful to continue. (Your breasts tend to get more sensitive during pregnancy)
- Night time nursing sessions were just out of habit now and she wasn’t actually hungry.
- I had neither the strength nor the patience to tandem nurse my toddler and soon to be arriving baby!
So yes, weaning my little one off the breast was the best decision for us. I finally got my body back (before attaching yet another baby to it;)) and she was finally sleeping through the night, giving me the much needed uninterrupted sleep.
[Remember, this is not a compulsion. If you or your child is not ready, do not attempt it. You don’t want a child screaming at the night who you can’t sush just because you weaned it off the breast a little too early. It is completely okay for some mums to go for tandem-nursing (where you breastfeed both your toddler and your baby), I did what was best for me and my baby. This is a decision only YOU, no MIL, well wisher, or the person behind this screen can but only YOU can take.]
8: Prepare them to be an elder sibling
I have heard many moms saying that they avoid talking about their growing bump with their child because they think they are either too small or it would give them wrong ideas.. If you think the same please please please do yourself a favor. Go talk to your child about it right now! These little minds are the purest of all and you do not want to fill them with anything but the truth!
Also it will be easier for them to cope up with the fact that they will have to share their mama’s love, now that there is yet another baby at home.
I talk to Pearl about how a ‘chhota baby’ is in her mama’s tummy and doctor aunty will take it out in a few months. She has wrapped her head around it so well that now she cant stop talking about it. Trust me people, the excitement in her eyes, makes me believe everything will be fine. That I will survive not only this second pregnancy but also beyond it.
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