Many of us do extensive research during our first pregnancy in search of a feeling of “I know what to expect”. Then when you’re pregnant with your second child, you may think “at least I know what to expect this time!”. However, you quickly realise you’re in a completely different ball game which isn’t discussed very much. Your body is under all the same demands as it was with your first pregnancy and you have a needy little one who has little concept of the stresses and strains of growing a human.
With the right strategy, your toddler can be an amazing addition to your pregnancy. Anticipating the arrival of your baby is made even better by watching your first-born excitedly prepare to be a big sibling. Here are some of our best tips for making the most of this special time!
Communicate with your partner
Don’t wait for your partner to guess how to help you – tell them. Pregnancy will have a huge effect on your physical capabilities as well as your emotional fortitude. Be honest with them about what you need (and want) from them. You should aim to off-load some of your household jobs to your partner. After all, you’ve taken on the huge task of growing their next child!
Take any opportunity to rest
During your first pregnancy, you may have found it easier to find time to rest. Combine pregnancy fatigue with an active toddler and you’re most likely feeling exhausted. Seize any opportunity for a rest. If your toddler is still taking naps then take naps with them. Focus on activities which involve sitting on the couch – play music for your toddler to put on a dance show for you or snuggle up together with a book.
Lower your expectations
Being pregnant while looking after a toddler is a monumental task. Relieve the pressure in any way you can, but don’t feel guilty about it. Maybe your little one is having much more screen time than usual, maybe you’re ordering takeaway for dinner more often, maybe the house is messy or the clothes aren’t washed yet. Nobody is expecting you to be a domestic goddess right now.
Prioritise time with your child
Your little one may be feeling apprehensive about the effects of a new baby on your relationship. Spending plenty of one-on-one time with them will give them reassurance. Even simply snuggling up with them on the couch to watch a film will make them feel close to you while also giving you some rest!
Encourage your toddler to bond with the baby
Help your child to see your pregnancy as a positive thing rather than an inconvenience. Talk to them about the baby, what the baby will look like, what their name will be, what kind of things can we do with a new baby? Read books together that will explain pregnancy in a way your child understands, like “There’s a House Inside My Mummy”.
Get out and about
It’s difficult to motivate yourself to get out when you’re feeling so tired. However, stretching your legs and getting some fresh air will help to energize you and make you feel more positive. Look for local activities to do with your toddler. This gives you a break from entertaining them while giving them a fun new experience.
Accept offers of help
And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Allow those around you to support you through your pregnancy. Many women feel that they received less support from family and friends during their second pregnancy compared to their first. It’s important to embrace offers of help when they arise, this gives you valuable time to care for yourself.
Next: Read our blog post How To Introduce Your Child To Their New Baby Sibling