8 Ways to Survive Pregnancy With a Toddler

Because parenting a toddler while pregnant is exhausting.

8 Ways to Survive Pregnancy With a Toddler

Pregnancy is a hard and confusing thing. Your body is changing every day, you are exhausted even if you do get a good night sleep and, for so many women, there are countless days full of sickness and fatigue. Now, throw a toddler on top of that, and it makes the hard parts of pregnancy even harder.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, women alone need 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and if they are pregnant they either need a few extra hours at night, or a few short naps during the day. But when you have a toddler, getting a "real" good night sleep isn't always possible; you can't just lie in bed all day if you are sick; and forget about being able to rest when your legs and body are begging you to -- your toddler's needs take precedent.

When I was pregnant with my first, I slept whenever I wanted. I had slight nausea and sickness throughout the whole pregnancy, but for the most part, I was able to manage most of the discomforts through rest. Fast forward to my second pregnancy, and it was a completely different experience. I was very sick, somedays unable to get out of bed, exhausted, and just downright unmotivated.

I obviously wanted more than anything to play with and enjoy my daughter, but my body was telling me to do otherwise. So I had to come up with a few tricks to get by. Here are 8 ways to survive pregnancy with a toddler.

1. Encourage independent play. Sure, playing with your tot is fun, but if you feel sick or tired, you may not have the energy and capacity. So give your toddler room to play independently, next to you. Make the toy box accessible and get a few essentials for quiet playtime, like Play Doh and watercolor paints. (Tip: buy the extra-large notecards for them to paint on. They are smaller and more durable than pieces of paper.) If you have an outdoor area, you can get a sand box -- toddlers play in sand for hours, which will give you a chance to just sit and relax.

2. Get your toddler involved. Pregnancy and all the changes that come with it can be confusing to little ones, which can make them act out. To manage tantrums, you can emphasize their new role as big sibling and get them excited about baby's arrival. Read books about brothers and sisters and about babies; and let them help plan for baby by letting them pick a couple of toys or outfits.

3. It's ok to rely on screens a little more. I know, I know... you probably want to limit screen time, but hey, it's ok to get a little help from cartoon characters every now and then. Plus, it makes for a fun date to snuggle on the couch with popcorn and a movie. (Tip: On average, movies are cheaper to rent on Amazon than on iTunes. You also get to keep them for 3 days through Amazon as opposed to just 24 hours.)

4. Get outside. So often, a little Vitamin D and fresh air can go a long way for your tired body. Spend at least 10 minutes outside every day, especially on those hard days. Plus, you can let your toddler run around or get adventurous on the playground, which will get him or her good and tired for bedtime.

5. Go to the library. Find someplace comfortable, and let them explore all the books. Also, a lot of libraries have great kids areas with games and puzzles. Getting out of the house will do both of you a load of good, and they will probably entertain themselves for a while. (Tip: Find out when your library does story time. It will give you a solid 45 minutes where someone else will entertain your child!)

6. Ask for help. Your body is going through a lot of changes during pregnancy, and it can slow you down. So if you feel like you need help, ask for it -- whether it's to help with errands or preschool drop-offs or watching after your little one while you get a little time for yourself or for a nap.

7. Nap when your toddler naps. Speaking of nap, most toddlers still nap, which means you get some time to get some sleep during the day too! If you don't feel like napping, you can lie down or take a bath -- anything that allows you to rest your body.

8. Keep it easy. Pregnancy takes a lot out of you, so be patient with yourself, and take it easy! If you feel like skipping the dishes, so be it! That big pile of laundry sitting by the side of your bed, waiting to be folded? It can wait. Not in the mood to cook? It's ok to order in. And if you need to stay in, you can postpone outdoor activities for your toddler or recruit someone to take your little one to soccer practice or to the playground. In other words: take it day by day, rest when you can, and enjoy this season before the new baby joins the party!

Nicole George is a mom of two, living just outside the bustling city of Atlanta. She love to write, style, travel, and bring simplicity to life. You can find out more about her on by Nicole George, Living the Simple Life.

In This Article

    Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn on how they’re ‘sneak teaching’ kids with their new show "Do, Re & Mi"

    The best friends created a musical animated show that's just as educational as it is entertaining

    Amazon Studios

    This episode is sponsored by Tonies. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn have been best friends since they met as young singers and actors more than 15 years ago, and now they're collaborating on a new Amazon Original animated kids series called Do, Re & Mi. The show, which follows best birds Do, Re and Mi as they navigate the world around them while also belting out catchy tunes, is just as educational as it is entertaining.

    On the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, Bell and Tohn talk to Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about how they're "sneak teaching" kids with their new show and why music is such an important focal point.

    "It was basically our mission from the very beginning to 'sneak music education' into kids' lives, hands, brains, all of it," Tohn admits.

    "There's so much science and data to support that [music] helps kids, their brains grow with math, with social skills. It literally can change your neuroplasticity. You can put music of their favorite genre or timeframe on, in an Alzheimer's ward, and they will come back online for a couple minutes. I mean, it's crazy," Bell, who has two daughters of her own, adds. "You know, music can bind a lot of families together. It can bind friendships together. And it's just a show that you can feel really good about. We want to get it in front of as many kids as possible, because I don't like the fact that some kids won't have exposure to music. Their brains deserve to grow just as much as everyone else's."

    The first season of Do, Re & Mi premiered on September 17th and its creators recorded 52 different songs for the show that range from reggae and pop to country, blues and jazz.

    "That's what's so exciting about this show," Tohn gushes. "Not only are the lessons we're teaching for everyone, but every episode has a musical genre, a musical lesson and an emotional lesson. And so there really is so much to learn."

    Elsewhere in the episode, Bell tells Tenety about how she made literal toolboxes that carry different regulation tools to help her kids calm down (one is "find a song you love and sing out loud") and why having a village is crucial to surviving motherhood, especially in a pandemic, while Tohn details her special friendship not only with Bell, but with her daughters, too.

    To hear more about the show, Bell's experiences in motherhood, and her enduring friendship with Tohn, listen to The Motherly Podcast for the full interview.

    Entertainment

    23 kid-approved lunch ideas you'll want to steal

    Looking for some tried-and-true lunch time suggestions? We've got you covered, mama.

    mrs/Getty Images

    Whether your little one will eat anything you put in front of them or prefers to stick to their favorite foods, coming up with healthy lunch ideas for your kids every day can be stressful. We're here to help. That's why we're rounding up some fun, healthy meals for you to try. Many of these feature leftovers or options you can make without cooking anything new.

    We hope you'll find some great ways to help make lunchtime fun in your house. Whether it's a new idea for a wrap or simply a snack that your child has yet to try, read on for 20+ great lunch ideas for kids.


    A version of this story was published in July 2021. It has been updated.

    Food

    12 baby registry essentials for family adventures

    Eager to get out and go? Start here

    Ashley Robertson / @ashleyrobertson

    Parenthood: It's the greatest adventure of all. From those first few outings around the block to family trips at international destinations, there are new experiences to discover around every corner. As you begin the journey, an adventurous spirit can take you far—and the best baby travel gear can help you go even farther.

    With car seats, strollers and travel systems designed to help you confidently get out and go on family adventures, Maxi-Cosi gives you the support you need to make the memories you want.

    As a mom of two, Ashley Robertson says she appreciates how Maxi-Cosi products can grow with her growing family. "For baby gear, safety and ease are always at the top of our list, but I also love how aesthetically pleasing the Maxi Cosi products are," she says. "The Pria Car Seat was our first purchase and it's been so nice to have a car seat that 'grows' with your child. It's also easy to clean—major bonus!"

    If you have big dreams for family adventures, start by exploring these 12 baby registry essentials.

    Tayla™️ XP Travel System

    Flexibility is key for successful family adventures. This reversible, adjustable, all-terrain travel system delivers great versatility. With the included Coral XP Infant Car Seat that fits securely in the nesting system, you can use this stroller from birth.


    Add to Babylist

    $849.99

    Iora Bedside Bassinet

    Great for use at home or for adventures that involve a night away, the collapsible Iora Bedside Bassinet gives your baby a comfortable, safe place to snooze. With five different height positions and three slide positions, this bassinet can fit right by your bedside. The travel bag also makes it easy to take on the go.


    Add to Babylist

    $249.99

    Kori 2-in-1 Rocker

    Made with high-quality, soft materials, the foldable Kori Rocker offers 2-in-1 action by being a rocker or stationary seat. It's easy to move around the home, so you can keep your baby comfortable wherever you go. With a slim folded profile, it's also easy to take along on adventures so your baby always has a seat of their own.


    Add to Babylist

    $119.99

    Minla 6-in-1 High Chair

    A high chair may not come to mind when you're planning ahead for family adventures. But, as the safest spot for your growing baby to eat meals, it's worth bringing along for the ride. With compact folding ability and multiple modes of use that will grow with your little one, it makes for easy cargo.


    Add to Babylist

    $219.99

    Coral XP Infant Car Seat

    With the inner carrier weighing in at just 5 lbs., this incredibly lightweight infant car seat means every outing isn't also an arm workout for you. Another feature you won't find with other infant car seats? In addition to the standard carry bar, the Coral XP can be carried with a flexible handle or cross-body strap.


    Add to Babylist

    $399.99

    Pria™️ All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

    From birth through 10 years, this is the one and only car seat you need. It works in rear-facing, forward-facing and, finally, booster mode. Comfortable and secure for every mile of the journey ahead, you can feel good about hitting the road for family fun.


    Add to Babylist

    $289.99

    Pria™️ Max All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

    Want to skip the wrestling match with car seat buckles? The brilliant Out-of-the-Way harness system and magnetic chest clip make getting your child in and out of their buckles as cinch. This fully convertible car seat is suitable for babies from 4 lbs. through big kids up to 100 lbs. With washer-and-dryer safe cushions and dishwasher safe cup holders, you don't need to stress the mess either.


    Add to Babylist

    $329.99

    Tayla Modular Lightweight Stroller

    With four reclining positions, your little ones can stay content—whether they want to lay back for a little shut-eye or sit up and take in the view. Also reversible, the seat can be turned outward or inward if you want to keep an eye on your adventure buddy. Need to pop it in the trunk or take it on the plane? The stroller easily and compactly folds shut.


    Add to Babylist
    $499.99

    Tayla Travel System

    This car seat and stroller combo is the baby travel system that will help make your travel dreams possible from Day 1. The Mico XP infant seat is quick and easy to install into the stroller or car. Skipping the car seat? The reversible stroller seat is a comfortable way to take in the scenery.


    Add to Babylist
    $699.99

    Modern Diaper Bag

    When you need to change a diaper during an outing, the last thing you'll want to do is scramble to find one. The Modern Diaper Bag will help you stay organized for brief outings or week-long family vacations. In addition to the pockets and easy-carry strap, we love the wipeable diaper changing pad, insulated diaper bag and hanging toiletry bag.


    Add to Babylist

    $129.99

    Mico XP Max Infant Car Seat

    Designed for maximum safety and comfort from the very first day, this infant car seat securely locks into the car seat base or compatible strollers. With a comfy infant pillow and luxe materials, it also feels as good for your baby as it looks to you. Not to mention the cushions are all machine washable and dryable, which is a major win for you.


    Add to Babylist
    $299.99

    Adorra™️ 5-in-1 Modular Travel System

    From carriage mode for newborn through world-view seated mode for bigger kids, this 5-in-1 children's travel system truly will help make travel possible. We appreciate the adjustable handlebar, extended canopy with UV protection and locking abilities when it's folded. Your child will appreciate the plush cushions, reclining seat and smooth ride.


    Add to Babylist
    $599.99

    Ready for some family adventures? Start by exploring Maxi-Cosi.

    This article was sponsored by Maxi-Cosi. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


    Boost 1

    This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

    One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

    I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.


    Honestly, it's no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.

    The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit "snug" fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that's as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.

    Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn't left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.

    Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I've found, it's also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn't wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.

    Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it's equally durable. It's made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.

    My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

    Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

    Woodland Snug comforter

    Sunday-Citizen-Woodland-Snug-comforter

    The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.

    $249

    Braided Pom Pom Throw

    Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I'm totally putting the throw version on my list. It's washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.

    $145

    Lumbar pillow

    sunday-citizen-lumbar-pillow

    What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?

    $65

    Crystal infused sleep mask

    sunday citizen sleep mask

    Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I've bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.

    $40

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

    Shop

    Prince Harry and Meghan make first public appearance since Lilibet's birth

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in New York City to visit One World Observatory.

    Roy Rochlin/Getty

    Now that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no longer active members of the royal family, we don't get to see them make public appearances regularly. It's great to see the Duke and Duchess of Sussex looking fabulous as ever during their first joint public outing since the birth of their daughter, Lilibet Diana, back in June.

    Earlier this week, the couple stated they were heading to New York for the Global Citizen Live from Central Park event to "continue their urgent work with world leaders in the pursuit of global vaccine equity to end the COVID-19 pandemic for everyone, everywhere," according to a statement from Global Citizen.


    They arrived in New York City Thursday to visit One World Observatory at the World Trade Center with Mayor Bill de Blasio, his family, and Governor Kathy Hochel.

    Roy Rochlin/Getty

    Earlier this year, Prince Harry and Meghan served as Campaign Chairs for Global Citizen's VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World, where Prince Harry gave a speech about vaccine equity—something the couple feels very passionately about. The two are dedicated to using their platform to work toward achieving accessible vaccines for everyone.

    "Over the past year, our world has experienced pain, loss and struggle — together. Now we need to recover and heal — together," they both said in a statement for the concert, per PEOPLE. "We can't leave anybody behind. We will all benefit, we will all be safer, when everyone, everywhere has equal access to the vaccine."

    Roy Rochlin/Getty

    The couple were dressed in matching black for the September 11 memorial they were attending. When asked by a reporter how she felt about being in New York, Meghan said it was "wonderful to be back."

    Both Prince Harry and Meghan were recently named two of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2021. We can't wait to see what work they have left in store for the rest of the year!

    Celebrity News

    Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

    It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

    Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.


    Newborns are so tiny snuggled up in your arms, then one year later they get so long and big. And yet, they still manage to fit perfectly in your arms.

    Kara Western

    James is my constant reminder to stay present. I have a bad habit of getting caught up on my phone, wasting my time instead of doing something fulfilling. When I'm in my haze, he comes up to me with a toy, eagerly calling me to play with him.

    Kara Western

    What our weekend normally looks like (just kidding, James can't settle for longer than five seconds when we're all together in the bed).

    Kara Western

    I can't be the only 'bad' parent that doesn't watch age appropriate things with their kid. I mean he's only 18 months, he can't possibly understand what that dragon's doing, right?!

    Kara Western

    Our last visit to the pediatrician looked something like this. Actually, all of our visits to the pediatrician looks like this.

    Kara Western

    Coloring with a 2-year-old like, "Please don't touch me with that marker."

    Kara Western

    Always "helping."

    Kara Western

    James and I are learning Italian, and normally we do it during breakfast.

    Kara Western

    Peacefully sleeping with baby when suddenly... bam, rudely awakened.

    Kara Western

    When your toddler is having a really hard time sleeping due to teething, but you don't want to undo months of sleep training.

    Kara Western

    Originally posted on Kara's Instagram.

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