I vividly remember how exhausted I felt during the early days of pregnancy with my second baby while caring for my wild toddler. I thought, “There’s no way I can survive this pregnancy fatigue with a toddler at home.” If you thought pregnancy exhaustion was real the first time around, oh boy, having a toddler magnifies that exhaustion to a whole new level!
Why does it feel like the second pregnancy is harder than the first? Although second delivery experiences seem to run much smoother than the first, second pregnancies tend to be more exhausting, but why? Generally speaking, pregnancy takes a lot out of you. But now, you’re no longer able to stop and rest or do whatever it is you need to do when you want — this is because you’re also raising a toddler.
A few other reasons pregnancy number two may feel more exhausting:
- You’re on your feet a lot longer.
- You can’t take as many rest breaks.
- Your emotions may feel like a roller coaster while adding in the big feelings of a toddler.
- Your toddler may become more clingy as they sense something happening (if they don’t already understand you’re having a baby).
- You hardly have any time for your self-care.
However, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I will share five tips so you can survive pregnancy fatigue with a toddler and enjoy every second of your pregnancy.
How to Survive Pregnancy Fatigue With a Toddler
Below are the tips I used when I was pregnant with my second baby. Though I had horrendous hyperemesis gravidarum (basically, severe all-day sickness), which only amplified my exhaustion, I found that these specific tips helped make our days go ten times more smoothly.
Ask for (or Hire) Help
Asking for help might make you feel like you “can’t handle” things around the home. But listen, you’re growing a baby. To make things more complicated, you’re growing a baby while caring for a toddler. That’s a lot of work. In fact, it’s flat-out exhausting. This is my number one tip for pregnancy fatigue with a toddler.
Now isn’t the time to stretch yourself thinner than need be. It’s the time to stay healthy, relax, and minimize any unnecessary stress. If you don’t have any friends or family to ask for help, you can also look into hiring help! Between babysitters, nannies, daycare, meal service, cleaning service, and even doulas, you should be able to find all the help you need if you can afford it.
Implement Quiet Time
If you haven’t introduced quiet time to your toddler, this might be the perfect time to start! Quiet time activities are simply activities that promote independent play. Meaning your toddler can use time gaps throughout the day to play solo. This means YOU can use that time to enjoy your favorite pregnancy tea, get off your feet for a bit, or tackle some low-maintenance housekeeping if you’re up to it.
Depending on their age, they may struggle to understand the concept initially, but after enough practice, they’ll get the hang of it. If you need a few suggestions, I started implementing quiet time with my toddler by keeping two bins of toys. I’d bring one bin out one day and alternate the toys whenever I wanted to encourage independent play. Here are a few of the items I had inside my son’s quiet time bins:
- Melissa & Doug Chunky Puzzles
- Montessori Quiet Book for Toddlers
- Crayola Color Wonder Markers & Paper
- Mega Bloks
- Potato Head (careful for small parts & pieces)
Prioritize Your Sleep
Prioritizing your sleep and overall rest is so important. Even if you don’t have the time to sleep, sitting down and closing your eyes for a few minutes could be precisely what you need to help give you a little energy boost. Plus, you’ve been through the newborn phase before. The phase where we’re so smitten with our new bundles of joy, but deep down, we just wish they could sleep a bit longer. Experiencing pregnancy fatigue with a toddler at home is just another reason to get that rest.
Put Your Health and Nutrition First
Pregnancy is a time of weird cravings, aversions, and foods that usually have minimal benefit to your health because it’s simply all you can muster to eat. If you can, prioritize iron-rich foods that can boost your energy. These foods include dark leafy greens, beans/lentils, apples, pomegranates, and more.
Also, make sure you continue to take your prenatal vitamin every day. A nutritionally balanced prenatal vitamin will help ensure you and your baby get the proper nutrients. This can greatly impact your energy and immunity, so be sure not to skip it.
If the exhaustion is becoming too difficult to power through, you can consider enrolling your toddler in a preschool or local learning academy. This may not work for all parents, depending on the age of your little one. But it could be an excellent way for them to get the one-on-one attention they need, socialize with other children their age, and give you a small break throughout the day.
Coping with pregnancy fatigue while raising a toddler is a challenging task, at the very least. Hopefully, the simple tips above can help you feel more energized and less exhausted while enjoying your pregnancy and build memories with your toddler.