If you have a young child and are considering having another child or are already expecting, you may have concerns about how this will be managed.
Toddlers have big feelings about almost everything, so it’s normal to be apprehensive about how they are going to react.
Can toddlers sense pregnancy? There is no scientific proof that toddlers can sense pregnancy. They may get lucky guessing once in a while, but they don’t have a special sense when it comes to mom having a bun in the oven. However, plenty of people have stories about how their toddlers knew they were pregnant before being told.
When you are welcoming a new baby and already have a toddler, it’s important to know what to expect and how to prepare your child.
Early Pregnancy With a Toddler
Having a toddler while being pregnant presents unique challenges, so it’s important to know how you’re going to handle the questions that come your way.
Can a Child Predict Pregnancy?
A child cannot predict your pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get lucky guessing. If they have a friend with a pregnant mom, they may ask if there is a baby in your belly out of curiosity.
Know when and how you want to tell your child that you’re pregnant so you will have an answer prepared for this question.
How To Tell Your Toddler That You Are Pregnant
There are a lot of great ideas for how to tell your toddler the big news. The most important part is to make them feel involved so they know this baby is an addition to the family and not in any way meant to push them out of the family unit.
Check out children’s books from the library about characters who welcome baby siblings. Talk to your child about what happens in the story and about how they think the characters felt.
You can also tell your toddler about the pregnancy and then let them know they are the official announcer. This allows them to share in and celebrate the news as you spread it to other people.
Some families even have a party to announce the pregnancy. Keep it just between you, your partner, and your toddler, and make sure cake is involved.
Normal Toddler Reactions to Pregnancy Announcement
How your toddler reacts to a pregnancy announcement will depend on their temperament and way of processing emotions. It may also just depend on the mood they are in that day. I mean, you are dealing with a toddler.
Whatever the reaction, don’t take it personally or assume it means the sibling relationship is doomed. Your toddler may react poorly because they don’t want change, but you can help walk them through the process as everything happens.
Your child might be ecstatic that they are getting a younger sibling. My oldest child started “breastfeeding” their pretend baby dolls when they found out another little one was on the way.
Other children may react with a bit more anger or confusion.
What To Expect From Your Toddler During Your Pregnancy
Every child is different, but some common issues you may experience include the following:
Your toddler may get clingy as your body changes and people start to pay attention to your pregnancy.
They may want more attention or throw fits when they feel like you aren’t focused on them. This is their way of trying to hold onto you despite the change.
Pregnancy is exciting, and there will be times when your toddler feels it! Your toddler will probably ask you when the baby is going to get here at least 1,000 times, and she may want to talk to your belly.
It is possible for your toddler to be jealous of their sibling before the baby even arrives.
The attention you will get when pregnant and the focus on preparing for the baby can leave any little one feeling threatened. This is extremely normal and will happen even after the baby arrives.
Your toddler sees you as their mom first and foremost, so you may see some possessive behavior as they try to make sure you maintain that status.
Sharing is hard, and your toddler is going to want to claim your time to establish his place during your pregnancy.
Wanting To Be a Helper
Your toddler may also go into helper mode. They will want to get you water or perform any number of tasks to show you they can help.
While this is a nice change from the jealousy phase, make sure you let your toddler know they are loved for who they are, not what they are willing to do for the soon-to-be arriving baby.
Precautions When Pregnant & Raising a Toddler
I can tell you from first-hand experience that being pregnant while you have a toddler underfoot can be a challenge.
My 18-month-old snuck up behind me one morning without making a sound. I tripped over her and fell. This led to a hospital visit that confirmed my son, who was growing in utero, was just fine, but it gave us a scare.
Be mindful of how much you are carrying your child, and make sure you know where they are before you take a step.
How To Help Children Prepare for a New Sibling
To prepare your child for a new sibling, read children’s books about new siblings, show your child pictures of what he looked like as a newborn, and talk about his role as things change. Open communication is key.
How To Introduce Toddler to Your New Baby
Some people bring their toddlers to the hospital to introduce them to the new baby while others wait until the baby is home.
Either way is fine as long as you let your child know that the baby in your arms doesn’t replace him. You may even want to have a gift from the baby ready to give your toddler.
Can I Carry My Toddler While Pregnant?
Most people can carry their toddler while pregnant. However, you need to make sure your toddler doesn’t kick your bump, and you need to ensure that you are lifting with your legs so you won’t hurt your back.
There are also certain medical conditions that will make lifting a toddler while pregnant a bad idea.
Make sure to talk to your doctor about this and have him go over the history of your last pregnancy before approving you to carry your toddler while pregnant.
Can a Newborn and Toddler Share a Room?
While your newborn and toddler can share a room, it’s not a good idea for the first six months of your newborn’s life. Instead, your baby should be in the same room as you, but not in the same bed, for the first six months.
This can reduce the risk of SIDS and will make nighttime feedings easier to navigate.
After six months, you can move your baby in with their toddler sibling. Just make sure everyone stays in their own beds or cribs.
Your toddler may be thrilled about having a new baby on the way. They also may not. Either way, everyone will make it through this period of transition.
Kristy is the mother of four, including identical twins. With a background in education and research, she is constantly learning more about parenting and raising multiples. When she has spare time, she enjoys hiking into the woods with a great book to take a break.