The parents to George, four, and Charlotte, two, may well be royalty (with lots of paid help on standby) but they now face a familiar struggle for many mums and dads - how to juggle busy family life with a new arrival on the way.
Especially when mum is suffering with severe sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum).
“Even mums with an easy pregnancy can find it tough when you have other little ones to care for. The key is to care for yourself and don’t take on too much - you’re growing a whole new human and that’s a full-time job in itself,” Cathy Ranson, editor of ChannelMum told HuffPost UK.
So for any parents who don’t have the luxury of hired help to keep things moving along smoothly, we have asked Ranson and Relate family counsellor, Dee Holmes, how to look after your older children during your pregnancy (and not exhaust yourself in the process).
1. Introduce the pregnancy when you feel ready, but don’t worry if they’re not excited.
For many parents the questions surrounding what to do with your older children start from the moment you find out you are pregnant - how do you tell them? How much do you tell them? And how soon do you tell them?
“When you feel ready, you’ll want to introduce your children to the fact that you’re pregnant. Explain it in the context that they’re going to have a new brother or sister,” advised Holmes.
“Understand that depending on their age and other factors, different children may or may not be excited about it.”
2. Decide how honest you want to be about the details of pregnancy before you tell them.
As soon as you let the cat out of the bag your children are likely to have more questions, so it’s a good idea to decide beforehand how much information you want to share.
“They might ask you questions such aswhere do babies come from? Different parents take different approaches to this,” said Holmes.
“As a rule of thumb, it helps to be as open and honest as possible. Do consider what’s age appropriate for them.
“Try answering questions one at a time rather than giving them a long, detailed explanation. They may just want a simple answer, but there are some good books aimed at children, which can guide you if they want to know more about the facts of life.”
If you are feeling unwell, suffering from morning sickness or other pregnancy-related illness, you might want to be cautious about oversharing to stop them worrying.
3. Get your children more involved if you are worried they are feeling put out by the news.
If your kids don’t seem excited by the revelation they’ll soon have a new sibling, it might be because they don’t understand how this news impacts them or their life, so try to get them involved by explaining it in the context of their role for them.
Ranson explained: “Let them know they are going to be a big brother or sister. Ask them to choose items for the baby, talk to the baby, and cuddle the bump, so they feel connected. It is their baby too. Some children love to help choose the name too.”
4. You might need to pay them more attention than normal.
Most children will either get on board with the pregnancy straight away or within a few weeks of the news, but if your child is still resisting or is even playing up because of it, consider that they might just need some more attention than normal because they’re feeling like they’re not your priority.
“Pay extra attention to your children and make a big fuss of any achievements. For example, if they are starting school like Prince George, make that the focus, not the pregnancy,” explained Ranson.
“Try to have lots of time together with your other children before the baby arrives, newborns take up a lot of time so have extra cuddles, kisses and days out now.”
5. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t be as active as before.
While it is important to give your child plenty of attention, you don’t need to be forcing yourself into anything that your body isn’t up for during pregnancy.
Instead of running around the park, instead suggest reading a book or watching their favourite TV show together.
“The important thing is that you’re spending time with your children. Explain that it’s only a temporary situation and that soon you’ll be more active again,” said Holmes.
Ranson added: “You’ll naturally want to carry on being the best mum possible to your other child or children, but remember you’ll be more tired than normal. Be realistic about what you can achieve each day.”
6. Get help if you need it, so you’re not over-stretched.
Admittedly most parents aren’t as lucky as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in having staff to help them with childcare, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still ask for help from friends and family.
This is a big undertaking and you shouldn’t be trying to do it alone.
“If you feel poorly like Kate, want help with the cleaning or just need a nap, always ask,” said Ranson
“You may not have ‘servants’ like Kensington Place, but friends and family will almost always be willing to step in. Sometimes an hour’s break is all you need to recharge and feel refreshed.”
Holmes added: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family if you’re feeling tired and aren’t up to playing with your older children or doing the school run.”.