Why prepping your toddler for the arrival of a new sibling matters for your pelvic floor
Updated: Nov 13
Preparing for another baby is huge. It seems simple- you’ve done it before. You probably have the baby stuff, you’ve been pregnant before, you’ve done the postpartum thing before. But the thing is, if this is your second kiddo: you haven’t done this before- at least not with another child in tow. You’ve not been pregnant while taking care of another human. You have not tackled postpartum, and sleepless nights, and ugh that first poop- with another child in the picture. That’s a whole new ballgame. As per my usual stance I am not here to scare you. I’m here to prepare you. I’m here to help. I want you to have the best possible experience and I want you to recover and heal. You have this. You can do this. There will be tough moments in this transition but you can and you will do this. So in saying that- here’s something I tell all of my patients as they plan for the arrival of a second baby in a little more detail.
Front loading is the term for preparing your toddler for what’s to come- it involves two things typically- telling them what’s going to happen and what’s expected of them. Listen- I LOVE knowing what’s going to happen and I LOVE knowing what’s expected of me. I thrive on that. And so do kids. I will not pretend to be a parenting expert or a child psychologist, I am none of these things. But it’s just logical- this is obviously very very important for your kiddo. Their world is about to change drastically so aside from that piece and their well-being here’s why this matters specifically to your body and your recovery.
Pelvic floor healing in those super early days happens in lying down, it happens in the rest, in the slowing down. If you’ve followed me or are a patient of mine or read any of my other posts- you’ll have heard me say this before. Rest is so very important in those early days. And you know when it’s really hard to rest? When you have a busy a** toddler. One that you love fiercely. One you could pick up and squish and sniff and kiss all day long (in spite of their oft psychotic and abusive behaviour). Also at this stage in the game you’ve probably realized that sitting down and resting just isn’t really all that aligned with early motherhood. It’s busy. It’s not sedentary. Trust me- if you have a young child, I’m certain you aren’t sedentary.
Anyway- in introducing a new baby- your firstborn is going to need you. They are going to want you. And you know what, you’ll want them. You’ll want to pick them up. You’ll want to be there for them. It might even hurt if a partner becomes the preferred parent which has always been your role. But right now it’s okay. And right now you need to rest. And part of making sure you can do that is front loading your first born.
How do we do that?
At this point- I’m pretty sure you’ve covered: “Mummy has a baby in her tummy” so what comes after that? Well, I’m a really big fan of radical honesty here:
“Baby is going to come out of mummy’s tummy- either through her vagina or through a cut in her tummy” – normalize all forms of birth early on for yourself and your child.
“Mummy is going to have a big owie on her vagina or her tummy AND inside her tummy” – that wound on your uterus where the placenta was attached is the size of a dinner plate – that is an owie that none of us can see, but it’s very real.
“Mummy won’t be able to pick you up for a little while, but not forever”- if this makes you cry, that’s okay, it made me cry too.
“Mummy’s body will heal- because she eats and sleeps” good moment for a reminder to yourself but also cueing your firstborn that sleeping and eating is important for owies to heal.
“We can cuddle on the couch or on the bed”
“We can play on the couch or the bed”
“When mummy is all better, she can pick you up again and carry you again, I always love you and nothing will ever change that” That last bit well, that’s for us as much as them.
Say these things, say them early on in your pregnancy, and say them often. Use these terms. I know you may think your two year old won’ t understand, but they understand so much more than we realize. You’re all going to get through this. It’ll be messy and it’ll be beautiful. Rest matters.
That’s all for now.