Toddler Doesn't Understand That Mommy Is Pregnant.

Updated on November 30, 2008
A.K. asks from West Warwick, RI
7 answers

I have a 19 month old and I am 6 months pregnant right now, and My daughter doesn't understand that I am pregnant... She knows where to point when you ask her where the baby is, and all that, but my problem is that she doesn't truly understand and she is constantly jumping on my stomach which is big now, and it hurts me, so I am afraid for the baby. This happens alot, and most of the time its unexpected, so I don't have time to stop her... she will be sitting one minute and the next when I think she is getting off the couch, she will jump on me and give me a hug. I have tried to explain that it hurts mommy, but she doesn't mean to hurt me, she just is trying to be affectionate. Any advice?

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J.M.

answers from Boston on

I don't really have any advice, but just want you to know that you don't need to be scared for the baby at all (now, hurting you is another story). The padding babies get in utero is some of the most shock absorbant stuff in the world. I think that I read one time that NASA was studying it to try to mimic it for crash-landing scenarios. There is no way that your light toddler could hurt the baby, even if she knocked you down.

Still, no fun to be pushed around when pregnant. I hope you get some better advice for that.

1 mom found this helpful

D.B.

answers from Boston on

Have you considered doing the natural thing and saying "OW!" when she does this? Not yelling AT HER, but reacting honestly to the pain and surprise? That's how kids learn to understand cause & effect - she may be too young to truly understand pain or to empathize, and your calm explanations aren't connecting with her at this age. Obviously it's not working to try to get her to have feelings for a live baby she can't see - I wouldn't emphasize that now, just focus more on yourself. You can hold her away from your for a moment and rub your sore belly, and she will get the idea that jumping on you DELAYS the hugs and attention. I also agree with the time out thing - separate her from you whenever she does this. If she gets attention, even negative attention (such as you explaining why it's a bad idea), it can sometimes have the opposite effect of encouraging her to do more.

I agree that you should protect yourself better, barricade yourself into a chair with a pillow on your belly, rather than be on a couch where she has better access to you. I agree with the other posts that truly hurting the baby is unlikely, short of her using a sharp object or pushing you down a flight of stairs.

Good luck!

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C.K.

answers from Boston on

My son was 21 months old when my 2nd son was born. They are now 23 months and 1 1/2 months old.
My son did the same thing when asked where the baby was, he'd point to my belly, kiss my belly and say baby.
But he did not really understand that there was a human life inside and so he was also rough. I couldn't get on the floor and play with him because he'd go right for the belly. Not trying to hurt me just wanted to play.
So do not get yourself into a position where your little one can get at your belly. I know it is hard sometimes but just do the best you can. Explain that she needs to be careful near your belly because the baby is inside. Also I believe in time outs even for a 19 month old & some times you may need one too. So just warn once to be careful near your belly & then if she is being rough put her in her crib or put her on her bed (if she is now in a toddler bed I assume crib still)?
for 1 minute, then go into her & explain why she went in for a time out but make it short and sweet and then hug and kiss her. Trust me it works wonders! Good luck. Congrats too by the way!

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L.Z.

answers from Boston on

Hi A. - Your kids wil be exactly the same amount of months apart as mine! Anyway, I also have a toddler (17 months old) and there have been a few times when I had to put her in "time out" when she was hitting her big sister and nothing I did would get her to stop. They are way too young to REALLY get the idea, but believe me, she understands when I tell her "It's time to sit in the chair". I put her in the time out chair, crouch in front of her as she is sitting there, and quietly tell her why she is there. You might try this, and just repeat "No jumping on Mommy" when she is sitting. Aside from that, the usual advice of holding her away from you and saying "gentle", then showing her how you touch her gently is the only other advice I have that I used/am using on my girls when they are physically too rough with each other, or me! It is a tough age when you are pregnant because they don't really get what is going on, yet they are definitely aware that something is different with Mom! Good luck with everything and good luck when the baby comes... :)

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C.B.

answers from New London on

Hi A.,
Congratulations! How exciting to be bringing another life into the world. I understand your child's roughness and fascenation with your belly though. Especially as it gets more round and out there. My older daughter was almost 5 when I was pregnant with her sister. She was totally drawn to my plump belly and wanted to do all sorts of sensory things to it...play it like a drum, squeeze it, and jump on me. She truly thought it was a giant ball in there for her to play with. I was able to explain to her when we got the first photos back from the ultrasound that her little sister was in there and although she was looking forward to playing with her when she came out, it was important for her to develop and grow just like she did when she was inside mommy. It seemed to help her connect after seeing a picture of what is on the inside of me. You may want to see if there is a book or dvd about the life cycle that would be age appropriate. Visuals are very effective when explaining tough material to young minds. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. Good luck. I sure hope this helps. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your growing family. ~C.

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M.B.

answers from Hartford on

First of all the baby will be fine. He/she is very well protected in there. I think you are going to have to be firm with your daughter and when she does it look her right in the eye and tell her that hurts mommy and then show her a better way she can give you a hug or a kiss. And you might want to get her a doll she can "practice" with now so when the baby does come she knows not to poke it in the eye or tackle it or something. You can show her how to be gentle with the baby (her dolly) and how we have to be gentle with mommy's belly. Good luck.

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J.B.

answers from Hartford on

She is only 19 mos. You're expecting her to understand that you're pregnant and she's not going to. At that age she doesn't even know what a baby really is and that you have to be gentle with them. All you can do is try and protect your baby bump as much as possible. Try not to position yourself for an "attack". Keep telling her to do nice. That is all you can do. Plus, even though she is hurting you-she is not likely hurting the baby.

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