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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.

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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.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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