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Pregnant with a toddler

mom and baby

“Be careful of mommy’s tummy!” seems to be the sentence of the year. Being pregnant with a toddler is a truly beautiful, and what sometimes feels like, a dangerous experience. I fell pregnant when our first born, Kai was around 2 years and 3 months old. We decided to wait until I was out of the first trimester to tell him about the new addition to our little family. He had been telling us for a while that he wanted to have a little sister. The day we finally told him that there was a baby in mommy’s tummy he was so excited! He let us know that he also had a baby growing in his tummy.

To help him grasp what is going on and to explain how pregnancy works, each week we watch a little YouTube video of the baby’s development in that week. He has learnt lots of new terms and expanded his vocabulary of all things related to growing baby’s.  He loves watching them (we don’t usually allow screen time) and it has helped him visualize what is going on in my tummy (and his…). The most exciting thing he has learnt so far is where belly button’s come from and how umbilical cords work.

As my tummy has grown, he pretends his tummy is growing and pushes his stomach out and arches his back to exaggerate his “pregnancy”. Sometimes “swops” our babies, putting mine in his tummy and his in mine. He will put my hand on his belly so I can feel his baby “moving”. The amount of adorableness is too much for words.

We were very lucky that when we eventually found out our baby’s gender – another boy – Kai was happy about that and seemed to forget that he had been asking for a sister. Now he says there is a boy baby in mommy’s tummy and a girl baby in his tummy, so I think there is still be a little part of him that wants a little sister.

Cute as it may be, being pregnant with a toddler also has its downside. The tiredness felt in this pregnancy has been relentless. With my first if I wanted to lie down, I could just go and do that. With this one, having a rest is not always an option. I need to pull my energy together and find it in me to read that book that Kai has asked me to, play a little Lego with him, do a puzzle, throw a ball or listen to one of his imaginative stories. Besides his day nap, I can only rest once he is sound asleep in bed. This makes pregnancy a whole lot harder.

I also have to protect my body. Kai is a very, very active child. He loves to run, jump, hop and skip. Anything that challenges his body. He enjoys wrestling with his dad and testing just how high, far or hard he can jump. We have had to really teach him that he cannot jump on mommy and that he needs to be aware of my tummy. When he comes in for a cuddle, he has had to learn to move slower so that he doesn’t accidentality kick me. Toys on the floor can be a tripping hazard, so learning to tidy up and pack away has become essential. With time and patience, he has become a great big brother already and tries is best to make sure his little brother is safe in my tummy.

There is nothing like the many kisses and cuddles he gives my tummy every day to say hello to his little brother. Even though he may embarrass me in public every now and again when he tries to lift my clothes up to talk to his brother or to show a stranger his little brother, being pregnant with a toddler is a memory I will cherish forever. Seeing love grow between siblings before they have ever met is a beautiful privilege and experience.

Things that work for us being pregnant with a toddler:

  • Get your little one excited about becoming a big brother or sister.
  • Tummy time! Kai likes to kiss my tummy and watch and feel it as our little one kicks.
  • Look through books or watch videos of the baby growing inside you to help your little one understand what is going on. We also watched videos of children meeting their new baby brother or sisters for the first time to help prepare him for what was to come.
  • Involve your toddler in cleaning up. Perhaps come up with a pack away and tidy up song reminding them that it is important to keep things off the floor, so it is safe for mommy to walk around.
  • Let rough and tumble time be daddy time. The more they bond now, the easier it will be when your little one arrives, and it will keep you and your baby safe from the accidental kick.
  • Spend some time with a friend who has a baby with your toddler so they can see what babies are like (gorgeous drinking, pooping, crying, sleeping little beings).
  • If s/he wants to show off your tummy to complete strangers or friends, let them if you are comfortable. These moments where they are proud of what is to come are precious. Savour them.
  • Let your toddler play with and explore the baby’s things. This will help to stave off the novelty once your little one arrives.
  • Spend time doing special things with your toddler. Soak up this time you have with them.
  • Tell them just how much you love them every day. There is enough love in the home for everyone!

What are the things that you felt were important or special with your toddler during your pregnancy? Let us know in the comments.

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