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A Mum’s Guide to Pregnancy with Siblings: Self-care and Wellbeing

You’ve probably clicked on this page because you need some well-deserved ‘me’ time.

Being pregnant with a young family is hard. And it can feel even harder to look after yourself when you’re constantly prioritising them.

In 5-minutes, you’re going to be well equipped with some helpful tips to get you through the next 9 months and answers to common questions that many mums ask when they’re expecting again.

Exhausted Pregnant Mums

You’ve already learnt about sleep deprivation from your older child(ren) but being pregnant as well can take its toll on your body. If your child is anything like mine, they love rough and tumble, want to be carried still and even if they ran a few laps of the park, they still wouldn’t be tired!

I can’t change the energy levels of your little ones, but I can help you get some rest. Even if it’s just 5-minutes with your eyes closed, you’ll thank me for it.

A pregnant woman with siblings, lying on a bed while holding her baby

If your toddler still has a nap during the day, disregard all chores and nap too. Walk past the laundry pile, don’t even look at the pile of dishes by the sink, just get comfy on the sofa and rest!

If you’re not quite so fortunate to have a toddler who naps still, there are a couple of games you can play with your child which means you can close your eyes and they see it as play.

For example:

  • Guessing games: Ask your toddler to put something next to you, you close your eyes and have to guess what it is. Ask them for clues and use sensory-based questions like “What does it feel/sound like?”.
  • Let them give you a make-over: perhaps this one is more aimed at slightly older children but allowing them to put on your eye shadow is a great excuse to shut your eyes for a few minutes!
  • Role play games: Close your eyes and pretend to be a patient. Your child is the doctor/nurse and they’re looking after you.

Some women worry about carrying their toddlers whilst pregnant because they rest on your belly and it’s putting strain on your back too. It is safe to carry your toddlers but listen to your body – if it hurts, don’t do it. Your baby is well protected inside your bump but if you have any concerns, it is best to speak to your midwife/doctor.

Stay hydrated

We all know that eating well, especially throughout pregnancy, is important to our health but keeping our bodies hydrated is just as essential. When your body is dehydrated, it saps all of your energy and if you don’t have much to begin with, (sleep regression, endless night feeds, can’t get comfortable… need I go on?) you’re going to want all the energy boosts you can get!

A pregnant woman with existing siblings is sitting on a couch and drinking a glass of water

These days you can get apps on your phone reminding you to drink regularly during the day. Water bottles with markers on are also a great hit in our household, even my 3-year-old loves hers! When you’re managing pregnancy with a toddler, turning even the smallest of things, like drinking water, into a game makes life much easier to handle.

I also found eating fruits and vegetables with high-water content such as watermelon, another handy way to stay hydrated.

Help yourself and be prepared

The number of times I left the house without having breakfast because I was so focused on getting my eldest child ready was almost a daily occurrence. Obviously, not a great diet choice for an exhausted mum growing another human being!

In the evenings I would spend 15 minutes preparing for the next day. Not only does it save you bags of time in the morning, but you can eat breakfast on the go if you’ve already made something the night before. It meant I got to work feeling ready instead of hungry!

Another thing to consider too is your outfit. I used to have a heap of clothes on my floor which had been thrown there in disgust because they either didn’t fit my new pregnant body or felt uncomfortable. Save yourself the stress and choose something comfy to wear the night before to prevent any wardrobe meltdowns.

You’ll start the day in a much better frame of mind.

Quiet time

Not all play has to be loud, crazy chaos in your house. There’s a lot to be said for quiet time and independent play. One of my favourites was when my daughter would make up conversations between her and the baby (bump). A memory I’ll always cherish.

Set up some of their toys so it entices them to play and explore by their own means. For younger babies, putting some sensory toys in a playpen will give you some time to recharge. For slightly older children you can put on a film, get out a puzzle or set out some role play activities like a teddy bear tea party (all of these gave me at least 15-minutes to myself!).

A pregnant woman is meditating on a floor, wearing a yellow top

When we had quiet time in our house, I would sit and listen to Headspace audio or feel-good music. I did something that I used to do before I had children and gave myself that experience back so I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out. I used this time to fill up my cup and it’s important that you do because these quiet moments are rare for any parent!

Be kind to yourself

There is no shame in asking for help.

There will be days when managing your pregnancy with a toddler is just too much and it’s better to accept help than feel overwhelmed. We’re mums, not superheroes. (Although I’d like to think putting on a pair of jeans whilst breastfeeding is a superpower!).

During your second pregnancy, self-care is crucial in all aspects. It’s not just the physical but your mental health too. Take a look at the Lola&Lykke Mental Wellness guide for more tips and advice.

Final thoughts

Managing pregnancy with a toddler is by no means easy but I hope that this advice has given you somewhere to start, so you can look after yourself too.

Check out the Lola&Lykke Instagram page for Mums for more motherhood inspo where all parenting topics are covered. And if you have any questions, ask our team of experts who are on call to help when you need answers most.

You’ve got this!