bp2Our family is thrilled and excited (and maybe just a teeny bit terrified) to be welcoming our third baby to the world this September!

Early pregnancy is usually rough no matter what your situation is, but it can be especially challenging when you’re on your second or third (or beyond) pregnancy since you get to deal with those lovely first trimester things like nausea and fatigue AND you have a little one at home to take care of who doesn’t totally get that you’re not feeling 100%. With a three-year-old and a 16-month-old at home with me all day, every day, this first trimester has definitely been my roughest one. Aside from feeling tired and nauseous all day, I also have been truly a joy to be around, with frequent mood swings and tantrums of my own. And just like any previously or currently pregnant woman will tell you, those fun symptoms don’t magically disappear right when you hit your twelfth week. I just started week 13 and am still feeling not quite like my old self; fingers crossed those great second trimester days of energy and nesting will hit me soon so my house can finally be clean again.

In the meantime, here are some things that have helped me cope with these early days of pregnancy while taking care of my little ones at home. I’d love to hear your words of advice too! Please pass along any tips you’d like to share.

– Take it Easy
Easier said than done, I know, especially with young ones in the house. But, it’s important to you, your health and the health of your growing baby, that you take it easy whenever possible.  That means you may have to cut back on being super mom for a few weeks and not run around at a zillion miles per hour. Instead, turn on a movie or an episode of Sesame Street, and sit on the couch with your kids and your feet up.  I try and keep the kids busy with easy, less physical activities to do at home, like puzzles, simple sensory activities, arts and crafts, reading and playing “I Spy” while looking at books – things that don’t require a ton of running around or physical exertion.  Or, I fill up the bath tub (or water table when the weather is nice) and let the kids make a big mess.

You may feel like you’re shirking your duties as a mom (been there, felt that) because you aren’t able to entertain them as much as usual, but this too shall pass.  Do what you have to do in order to get through each day and don’t feel bad if it’s not as much as you’d like.

– Get Some Sleep
Again, this can be easier said than done. But, take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to sleep – whether that’s when your kids are napping, or while they’re at daycare (if they go to one), or just by going to bed earlier than usual. You know the first trimester is exhausting – it takes a lot of energy to build that placenta! – so don’t push yourself. Sleep only gets harder to come by as your pregnancy continues, and it’s basically non-existent once you have a newborn in the house, so make the most of it now.

– Ask for Help
Whether it’s in the form of asking a family member or friend or trusted daycare provider to watch your kids for a little while, or hiring a housecleaner to take care of things for a few weeks, don’t be afraid to ask for help!

I’m personally not so great at asking for help (I’m hugely stubborn and insist on doing everything myself), but my favorite form of “help” is a play date with friends – the kids entertain each other and I’m able to sit and relax (and chat!) with my friends. It’s a win for everyone!

– Keep Moving
It sounds contrary to what I said earlier about getting rest, but staying active is also an important part of getting through your first trimester – just be mindful not to overdo it. Many moms find prenatal yoga, running or regular walks to be beneficial throughout their entire pregnancy. Getting a little exercise can actually help fight feelings of nausea too (for a little while at least!).

– Eat Healthy (and in small doses)
It seems that early pregnancy leads to one of two things – constant nausea or constant carb cravings. I’ve had pregnancies that start off both ways and truthfully, I’ll take the carb cravings over nausea any day! You can indulge, but don’t go crazy – eating nothing but junk tends to increase your feelings of nausea, and adds on unnecessary weight.  Stave off sickness by eating healthy snacks and small meals; avoid rich, spicy, greasy or fatty foods.  Drink lots of water, and don’t forget your prenatal vitamins!

Some of the foods that help me when I’m feeling yucky are bananas, yogurt, water and (sorry Dr. D!) milkshakes.

– Relax
One of the nicest perks of being pregnant for the second (or more) time is that you can actually really relax mentally during your pregnancy. Between the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” books I read and websites I visited regularly to see what I “should” be feeling like, to second guessing and questioning every single thing that happened for ten months, to worrying we weren’t doing everything “right” and getting the “right” baby gear, my first pregnancy was a blur of stress. But once you’ve done it? Suddenly it’s not something you obsess over once you do it again! You know what those first flutterings of the baby moving feels like, and you know when to realistically expect to feel them (I’m talking to you, moms on message boards who claim to feel the baby move at 9 weeks!) You know what Braxton Hicks vs. true labor feels like so you don’t worry every time your belly tightens. You know that those cramps you feel are usually gas pains (lovely). And you know that your baby is safe and snug in a cozy womb, so when your toddler kicks you during diaper changes (it WILL HAPPEN, and it’ll happen more than once), you know your baby is fine.

You also know pregnancy is short – particularly early pregnancy – and your due date will sneak up on you sooner than you think. And, you’ll be back to snuggling a newborn in no time. So, relax and try to enjoy these early days – they’ll be over before you know it!