13 Tips for Surviving Bed Rest While Raising Toddlers - Baby Chick
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13 Tips for Surviving Bed Rest While Raising Toddlers

Confined to bed rest during pregnancy and raising a toddler? We're sharing tips on how to survive bedrest while raising toddlers.

Published January 13, 2017

by Quinn Kelly

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Imagine you’re 32 weeks pregnant, and you’ve just received the news that you need to go on bed rest for the next six weeks after going into preterm labor. Of course, you want nothing more than to do what it takes to keep your sweet unborn baby safe and healthy, so no sacrifice is too big. But you also can’t imagine how you will keep yourself entertained (especially if you have a precious toddler by your side during pregnancy) for the next six weeks because you’ve never been a sit-still type of person.

I decided to reach out to some other moms who have been in this exact position. And by position, I mean the horizontal-stuck on the couch position. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Embrace your Type B ways.

Brooke in Kansas City said that bed rest during pregnancy was one of the (few) times in life when she was okay with not being a Type A person. She had to let stuff go! You can’t manage your house and life as you can when you are on your feet, so sit back and enjoy the opportunity to take it easy—things will never be the same with a sweet baby in tow!

2. Schedule Sanity Dates.

The number one thing all the women I talked to recommended is connecting with others to survive! That means call your friends and ask them to come chat! Bed rest is a great time to catch up with friends, which is hard to do once the new baby comes! So take advantage of this great opportunity and call everyone on your speed dial.

3. Schedule Play Dates.

If you have kids, now is the time to get them connected with friends and to take advantage of all those invitations that start with, “We should get the kids together to play sometime . . .” Because now is the time! If your friends offer, you must oblige them by letting them help you! You can return the favor one day when you’re back on your feet. But for the sake of your (and your children’s) sanity, let the kids play.

4. Hire a Cleaning Service.

Bed rest is not the time to worry about keeping the house tidy. So, one of the best short-term options you can take advantage of is a cleaning service during your time on the couch. This is especially handy if you have other kids running around the house. You can always stop the service once you are back up and at it again, or you can continue to take advantage of this once your new baby comes and you can’t remember how to run a vacuum. 

5. Watch a Netflix Series or Two (or Three).

You know how you always want to watch Gilmore Girls or Chuck but can never get around to it? Well, guess what? Pregnancy bed rest is your chance to binge-watch all your favorite shows! Netflix (and Lorelai) are your new best friends! (That’s a Gilmore Girls reference, in case you don’t know.) And if you’re up for something a little more educational, try a documentary. There are so many good ones on Netflix!

6. Take Up a New Hobby.

Bed rest is an excellent opportunity to learn to do something you never have time to try. I cannot tell you how badly I wish I could sew! (I want to sew curtains and costumes to fill my kids’ dress up chest, but I have no time to sit and perfect that craft.) But if I were on bed rest, I could! And would. What hobby have you always wanted to try out? Knitting? Drawing? Painting? Cross stitch? Now is your time.

7. Do Something Educational.

You have such a great chance to learn during bed rest! One friend told me she used her time during bed rest to relearn math skills and study her family’s genealogy. And as a busy mother of three, bed rest gave her the time to do so! Get creative and think about all the options for learning something new! What is something you have always wanted to study? You have a world of opportunity waiting with time to spare, for once.

8. Be a Planner (for something).

Is your family looking to host a reunion? Is your child’s school in need of a fundraiser manager? Are you looking to go on a family vacation in the next year? If you are a productive person, finding something that makes you feel useful can be just the ticket for staying sane. And so much can be done virtually nowadays. Who knows what can be accomplished while sitting on your couch? The options are endless!

9. Work on Those Baby Books.

The end of pregnancy is a great time to finish your other children’s baby books and get a head start on your newest book. If you’ve never had a chance to make an album through Shutterfly, bed rest is a great time to get some memories organized and documented!

10. Play “Old Fashioned” Games.

If you have kids, bed rest is a great time to really connect with them in ways you wouldn’t be able to if you were doing all the usual mom things that keep you busy and engaged! So, use this opportunity to play games with them like Go Fish or Monopoly. Or teach them chess or checkers! (Or learn it for the first time yourself and then teach them.) You may forever look back on your time of bed rest as a great time of bonding with your kiddies.

11. Take Advantage of Convenience Food.

Sam’s and Costco can be your friends right now, as well as meal services that deliver to your home! If you haven’t used a grocery delivery or meal service like Blue Apron, bed rest is the time to try it! You can be thrifty and Martha Stewart-y after bed rest. Now is not the time.

12. Read, Read, and Read Some More.

When was the last time you could sit down and read a good book? Or two? Or three? I can’t think of the last time! But bed rest is the opportunity! You can catch up on your favorite author’s newest book. And the one before that. And the one before that! If you really want to go crazy, you can read aloud to your baby in your tummy and let them fall even more in love with your voice! Cue heart-melting. 

13. Take time to call and write to older family members.

This is one of my favorite ideas! Is there an elderly family member you know who would love to catch up but you never have the chance to call them? Bed rest is an excellent opportunity to make some people feel loved and special when you would otherwise not have the opportunity to do so as easily! Better yet, bed rest is a great time to write someone a letter or a card! Imagine sending a “thinking of you” card to Grandma. Talk about an easy way to utilize your bed rest for good!

I hope some of these ideas have given you a much-needed boost to help you survive and thrive in your bed rest season. Before I sign off, I wanted to leave you with one last sentiment from Amber in a reflection on her time during bed rest with her fourth:

“I feel now that bed rest was a gift that taught me to appreciate a fully functioning body and healthy babies and to never take them for granted.”

See also: Care package ideas are perfect for someone on pregnancy bed rest!

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Quinn Kelly Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
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Quinn is a mother of four, licensed marriage and family therapist, host of the “Renew You” Podcast, and author of “Raising Boys: A Christian Parenting Book.” Throughout the last decade,… Read more

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