16th June 2016

Remember your first pregnancy? Remember how you used to be able to crawl into those delicious bed sheets and sleep the sleep of the dead? Think back to those mammoth ‘lying on the sofa watching box sets’ sessions and all those ‘feet up’ moments…

Well, that was lovely wasn’t it. But when it comes to pregnancy number two you’re going to have to try a little bit harder to get that rest in, because baby number one is now a crazy, demanding, energy filled toddler who probably won’t be up for hours of just lounging around. (toddlers are so weird like that).

First of all (and this is a big one)

Ask For Help

Some people are fine with this. Most people just aren’t. So many of us don’t want to put anyone to any trouble and will struggle on when actually there is at least one person who will help. In fact, they would probably really like to. If you have a toddler, then chances are you have a couple of friends with toddlers too who will happily take yours for a play date. And don’t forget about family members. Of course, these days many of us simply don’t have family nearby, but if you do, then be brave and tell them you’re struggling a little – give them a chance to play ‘favourite auntie’ or ‘greatest granny’ – Some people just need to be asked. If they’re not nearby, can they come and stay for a day or two?

Floor based games are your friend

Okay so you can’t run around much at the moment, you have no energy and you just want to sit still for a while. But there are games which mean you can simply plonk yourself on the floor and still have a great time with your little one.

Giant floor puzzles are perfect. Your child can do all the work of scrambling around and you can just point out pieces and encourage. Snap cards go down well too.

Hungry Hippos is a good low energy game, as is Pop Up Pirate. Also, try something like a Tomy Aqua Doodle (those big sheets which use a water filled pen for doodling). These are more interesting than simple drawing, for toddlers and should keep them entertained for a decent amount of time while you sit nearby with your feet up.

A great tip is to build your toddler a den in the lounge or the same room you’re in. Let them take an ipad and some snacks in there. Depending on the age of your toddler, this could buy you a whole hour of snoozing on the sofa!

Drop the guilt (and give in to TV and video games)

We’re not talking Call of Duty…. just take some time to download some fun, educational games onto your phone and hand that thing over to your toddler now and then. Don’t wince, don’t over-think it – just make yourself a hot chocolate and watch Home & Away. You need it! And if you can, download a couple of paid for games because the free ones are full of pop ups and do not give you any peace and quiet.

Up the TV quota and don’t feel guilty because you can’t find the energy to do more wholesome, worthwhile activities right now. Your child is happy as long because he is with you.

Learn to say no

No, you can’t look after someone else’s child for the afternoon – you are shattered and you’re struggling enough with your own. No, you’re not really up for a soft play meet up. Nope you don’t fancy having half the NCT group over to yours for tea, thanks. Nah, you’ll pass on that long drive to see relatives and no you can’t help out at the playgroup open day, or bake a cake for the sale or do any of those things you usually feel obliged to say yes to.

Turn your lounge into a home cinema

Your toddler will love this and frankly so will you. Turn down the lights, pile the sofa with duvets and cushions, get popcorn and have a movie afternoon. If you’re really lucky, it will turn into a nap…(is that just a suggestion too far?).

Take time for you

Once your toddler is in bed in the evening, make a point of really relaxing. Take a long, deep bath. Switch off with a book or do some gentle exercise. You will really appreciate the chance to fully unwind and rest and it will be an important part of helping you cope with the extra stresses and strains you’re under.

Mind how you lift

If possible, try not to carry or lift your toddler too much in pregnancy. It will put extra pressure on your body and in particular your lower back and the last thing you need is to cause yourself an injury. You can crouch down to give your child cuddles and kisses, without actually picking her up. We do know though, that sometimes you have no option. Try to make sure you bend your legs and straighten your back as you lift. Don’t bend at the waist and try to let your legs do the work rather than your back and abdominal muscles. There’s some good advice here¬†and here.

Workout

Just like before you were pregnant, working out will boost your energy levels and help clear your mind and keep you positive. Find a pregnancy specific exercise class or a trainer who can give you one-to-one attention. Not only will this help you get that much needed time to yourself but it will help keep aches and pains at bay, making life with your toddler a little easier and should help top up those dwindling energy levels.

WORDS: Penny Stretton

 

 

How to survive pregnancy when you already have a toddler - Jelly Belly PT