It’s been a hot topic ever since if toddlers can sense their mom is pregnant. Is it really possible that their older sibling instincts kick in even before their mom confirms the pregnancy?
In this article, we’ll figure out the answer to the question: “Can babies sense pregnancy?”. If you’re an expecting mom and believe that your older child is acting strange and may sense your pregnancy, you’ll find more clarity by reading this post.
Furthermore, we’ll share tips on how to adjust to your second pregnancy while handling your toddler. Indeed, pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it definitely comes with a challenge. Here at Blessed, we’ll help you journey smoothly through this wonderful process.
Myth vs. Fact
There are many forums where expecting moms believe that their babies sense their pregnancy even without breaking the news or even before confirming it themselves. Let’s cut to the chase and answer this dreaded question — No, your baby cannot sense your pregnancy but they may act out on the changes.
Some mothers notice changes in their child’s behavior since they got pregnant, assuming that their child can sense they’re pregnant. However, there are explanations to clear up these misconceptions. Here are some myths and facts we’ve gathered.
Your Baby Becomes Super Clingy and Cuddly
Myth: Your baby can get super clingy and cuddly, which is something he/she never does before. Expectant mothers could attest that there is extra clinginess from their child out of nowhere since they became pregnant, even without breaking the news.
There are forums where some moms say that their child is obsessed with talking or kissing their baby bump. Is it possible that they can sense the pregnancy?
Fact: Here’s the truth — extra clinginess and cuddliness are normal for children. This is usually seen in 6-month-old kids to late primary-school-age children related to separation anxiety or stranger anxiety. Being extra clingy or cuddly is an emotional reaction of a child rooting from the fear of getting separated from their parents.
Also, your child being extra clingy can be because of stranger anxiety. Perhaps, they have a new babysitter because you have to go back to work. Aside from being super clingy or cuddly, other kids may express their fear through crying, tantrums, or acting out.
So, regardless if you’re pregnant or not, there will definitely come a time you may notice that your child will become extra clingy. Your child acts whiny and needy to get your attention. This is expected of children especially when there are changes in their environment such as moving to a new house or attending a new school.
For some moms, their child shows signs of separation anxiety when there are changes in their routine. For instance, your child is used to having all your attention most of the time. There are playtimes, mother-daughter dance, or dining out together.
However, since your pregnancy, these routines may change. You may need to go to a doctor’s appointment or you’re not feeling well enough to go about your daily routine. The changes in your routine may be noticed by your child, and this gives them the reason to ‘act out’ differently than they are before.
Your Baby Starts to Act Up
Myth: Moms from different forums experienced that their baby is acting up ever since they got pregnant, even without breaking the news. Some moms experienced that their child woke up screaming, which is something that hasn’t ever happened before. Some kids may have tantrums or have a full-blown meltdown. Is this because toddlers sense pregnancy?
Fact: Not really. Aside from separation anxiety and stranger anxiety, your child may act out due to other reasons. This is to rule out being hungry, sleepy, or tired, but your child may act out worse than before.
For the situation mentioned above, the child may wake up screaming and act out due to several reasons — bullying at school or stress to name a few. Yes, kids get stressed too, but they express it differently, such as acting out. Even a 2-year old kid can get stressed especially when their emotional needs are not met.
Therefore, you can’t really say that the cause of your child acting up is due to your pregnancy. There may be several reasons, and it may be just a coincidence they’re acting up that way at the onset of your pregnancy.
Your Baby Kisses and Talks to Your Baby Bump
Myth: As per several questions found in forums, expectant moms can attest that their baby kisses or talks to their belly even though it wasn’t confirmed that they’re pregnant.
Fact: Here’s the thing — your child may kiss or talk to your belly as if there was a baby inside because they have noticed your belly getting bigger. Baby bumps become apparent between 16-20 weeks, which is in the second trimester. However, your weight gain may start during the early first trimester.
With your weight gain, your child may perceive that it’s a baby bump. In a child’s mind, a woman with a fat tummy means there’s a baby inside. So even though you’re not in your second trimester yet, you may have gained weight in your belly area, causing your child to assume you’re pregnant.
In other words, what your child can sense is not their older sibling’s instinct; it’s more on what they can see or, for that matter, feel that your belly’s size has changed. You may be surprised by how observant your child can be with the changes in your body.
Your Baby Can Sense That Something is “Not Right”
Myth: Expectant moms ask if their children sense that something is ‘not right’ about them. They say cats can sense the pregnancy of their owners when something’s up, is this true?
Fact: During pregnancy, it is expected that your body may go through some changes. Due to hormonal changes, you may experience nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, and even mood changes. These are changes your child may pick up that something’s ‘not right’.
You may notice that when you experience these pregnancy symptoms during the early weeks, you cannot function normally. Instead of your morning play routine with your kid, you cannot leave your bed because you’re not feeling well.
Your kid may not have the idea you’re pregnant, but they can definitely sense there’s something different with you. Babies can be extra sensitive to what their moms are feeling. They cannot sense the changes in your hormones but can sense the changes in your routine or even mood.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Your Toddler and Your Pregnancy
Now that you have more clarity on why your toddler is acting that way, and there is no evidence to back the claims if your kid can really sense your pregnancy, it’s time to learn what to expect with your toddler while you’re pregnant with another baby. In addition, know when and how to tell your baby about the upcoming baby.
Your Child May Regress During Your Pregnancy
As soon as you break the pregnancy news to your baby, regression is expected because they’re seeking normalcy. Regression is a process where the child goes back or ‘regresses’ to their early stage of development or may behave differently as expected of their age.
Regression is the scientific explanation of why your child may be acting up or is super clingy, even without knowing that you’re pregnant.
For example, your child who has fully achieved potty training suddenly wets the bed. Or your 5-year-old child may baby talk again, which is something they haven’t done in a long time. Regression is common among young children when faced with an overwhelming life event like your pregnancy.
Your child could regress as a reaction rooting from fear that your attention will be divided once the new baby comes. Their behavior with regression is their way of seeking normalcy. That’s why it’s essential to know how you should break the news to your child.
When to Tell Your Toddler You’re Pregnant
There is no definite answer on when is the right time to tell your child that you’re expecting another baby. This will depend on what you’re comfortable with. Other couples prefer not to break the news altogether after the first trimester or before the baby bump is noticeable.
Since your toddler may not fully comprehend the concept of pregnancy, it’s generally a good idea to tell the news as the baby bump becomes obvious. In other cultures, they prefer telling their second child at the early stage of the pregnancy to have a more positive acceptance early on. This results in more positive feelings and excitement from your child.
How to Tell Your Child That You’re Pregnant
So how do you tell your child you’re pregnant? What are the right words to say? Just remember to keep it simple and straightforward. It’s better to sit together with your husband and have a straightforward conversation with your child.
You can tell your child, “We have great news for you, and we’re sure you will be very happy. You’re going to be a big sister/brother soon. The baby is growing inside mommy’s tummy, and you’ll meet the baby soon”.
Also, tell your child how much you love them. You can show your child their baby pictures to build up their excitement of welcoming the new baby. It also helps to watch a cute baby video or movie together. Your kid will find the baby appealing and will be excited about their baby brother or sister.
How Toddlers Feel About the New Baby
As you’re expecting the next baby’s arrival, there may be changes at home, and your kid may act out differently because of this. For example, you’re moving furniture, or their playroom is now converted to a nursery room. These are changes that can make them feel sad.
Instead of making them feel that something is taken away from them, make them feel that these are positive changes. For example, tell your child, “We will put a crib in your playroom so you can be together with your baby brother while playing with your toys.”
It’s important to make your child feel secure and loved even after their baby sibling comes. Also, involve your child in the taking care process. Instill in them the value of being the responsible and caring big brother or sister they will become.
Involving your child in the caring process of the new baby can help them feel needed. When toddlers sense love and security, they behave better and build self-confidence.
Do Babies Get Clingy When Mom Is Pregnant?
Yes, your baby may become extra clingy when you’re pregnant. Your child is worried that you won’t have enough time for them as soon as the new baby arrives.
At What Age Do Babies Get Clingy for Mom?
Babies may get clingy for mom as early as six months old and may last until primary school age. This is normal for kids as a result of separation anxiety.
Will My Baby Continue to Act Up After I Give Birth?
In most cases, no. Your baby may stop acting up after you give birth especially when they see their little brother or sister. Your son or daughter’s behavior during pregnancy does not predict how he or she will behave even after you give birth. Some toddlers temporarily regress after your baby is born, but in most cases, this is just a phase. Your toddler will love their new role of being a big brother or sister.
Tips When Handling Your Toddler While on Your Second Pregnancy
It’s hard to juggle pregnancy and to take care of your toddler. To have a smooth transition, it’s better to plan ahead. You have to find the balance between making sure your toddler feels a sense of normalcy and at the same time having a comfortable pregnancy. Here are some tips to remember when handling your toddler while on your second pregnancy.
Morning sickness or feeling sluggish throughout the day is expected during pregnancy. This may hinder you from accomplishing everyday tasks and may affect your child. So make sure to plan your schedule and organize everything.
Spend Time With Your Kid
Even though you’re tired, make sure to spend time with your child. Have a mother-daughter bonding, accompany your child on play dates, or watch movies together. Another good idea for your bonding time is to talk and sing to your baby bump together. This will help bring out the caring side of your kid.
Be Kind to Yourself
Your first pregnancy may be different from the second one. So take it slow and be kind to yourself. If it takes longer for you to do laundry or cook, that’s okay. Don’t forget to enlist help from your partner, sibling or hire a babysitter. Take time to relax, rest when you need to, and make sure to prepare yourself for a positive birthing experience.
Have a Positive Birthing Experience with Blessed
Speaking of a positive birthing experience, there are many things you can try to have an easy pregnancy journey. For instance, you can follow a dedicated hypnobirthing program that has many benefits.
You can download the Blessed: Hypnobirthing and Meditation App for a Positive Birthing on your iPhone and listen to guided meditations, deep breathing techniques, hypnosis, and sleep stories. Many pregnant moms benefit from hypnobirthing techniques to release anxiety and fall asleep easily.
Furthermore, the Hypnobirthing Program of Blessed is designed to help you feel relaxed, confident, calm, in control, and prepared for your labor and delivery. If you’re mentally, physically, and emotionally ready throughout your pregnancy, you can handle your pregnancy well, and at the same time, be emotionally available for your toddler. Download the app now and enjoy this incredible journey with Blessed.