It happened, mama. I have been to the pinnacle of motherhood and back. There I sat, hunched over on a stool outside the bathroom door. The scene looked familiar… a story for my son as he sat on the potty. But this time something was different. Oh that’s right! My merely four-day-old baby was nursing away as I regaled her and big brother with the tale of David and the giant. My whole body groaned from the recent strain of labor. The baby fussed. Yet I sensed that my older son really needed a story from his mama that day…
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Everyone tells you that having two children is a whole different animal. It’s funny what you’re capable of when the need arises, right? We all gain a few new mama-ninja skills when baby number two is born.
My son is right at three-and-a-half years old. We are so excited to add a sweet baby girl to our little family, too! But suddenly, our relaxed homeschool preschool schedule has been thrown out the window!
Want to get the most out of each day? Grab my free printable schedule for toddlers and stay-at-home moms!
We need a preschool or toddler and newborn schedule that will help us get back on track. When I look for advice on scheduling, I’ll often find a bare bones description. A time, a word describing what the plan is. But what I really want, and what I think will help you most, is an inside look of what really happens with our preschooler or toddler and newborn schedule.
That’s what I’ve got for you below: an in-depth, real-life look at what our day actually looks like. I hope it’s helpful for you as you navigate inviting your second baby into your family’s routine and daily schedule!
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3 Things my Toddler and Newborn Schedule Has to Have!
For me, our schedule had to meet three requirements…
- It must set up the baby for good sleeping habits early on.
- It must allow for quality time with my son for learning and playing.
- It must provide independent time for both mama and kiddos! I’ve got to have a break during the day. Gotta have it, mama.
I want to share with you the toddler and newborn schedule or routine that we are working with right now. Does it always look this way? Absolutely not! I like to think of this as our goal for the day.
But life happens, right?
There’s always a random messy diaper that keep the baby from falling asleep. Or that pesky UPS guy that loves to ring our doorbell when I’m nursing. Or just the necessary tasks and errands that simply must get done.
The bottom line is that we have a general three-hour pattern throughout the day. I’m not watching the clock to make sure we’re on schedule to the minute, but it is super helpful for both mama and the kids if we know what to expect.
Now, keep in mind that this schedule is for a breastfed baby and a three year old. If you’re using formula, or if your child is older or younger than my oldest, of course you’ll want to adjust these routines to work for your little ones.
We also like to limit screen time during the day, so you won’t find “TV time” on the agenda. I know, I know…this seems impossible with a small child and a newborn in the house. But being screen-free adds such a sweet atmosphere to our day! And it frees up time for much more fulfilling things! Are you up for the challenge? Click here to learn how you can tame screen time for good!
One more thing… When my baby is hungry, I feed her! Especially if you’re nursing, it’s never profitable to “stretch out” feedings during the day. Try to fill up that tummy as much as possible during the day so that you’re up less at night, even if it means pushing up a feeding schedule.
Toddler and Newborn Schedule Timeline
7:30 AM Wake baby up. Change diaper and nurse. While I nurse, I read my Bible, pray, and try to get my heart and mind set for the day. I’ll keep the baby up for just a few minutes after she eats and burps. Then back in her swaddle and in the bassinet. We love this combo bassinet, changing table, and pack n’ play we received! It’s currently tucked in our bedroom. This is perfect for those early weeks when you’re up every three to four hours at night. I love not having to trek to my daughter’s room to feed or change her. Everything I need is right there a few feet away, which makes nighttime feedings super quick and efficient!
The best swaddle (and the only one you’ll ever need) is the Halo SleepSack. It allows you to transition from arms in, to hands near the face, to both arms free. We have the cotton version and it is plenty warm enough. It even zips up from the bottom for painless nighttime diaper changes!
8:00 AM Big boy is up! My preschooler usually wakes right around 8:00. If he does happen to wake earlier while I’m feeding little sister, I’ll just have him snuggle next to me and I’ll read my Bible out loud or tell him a story. We get everyone dressed for the day and snuggle with the baby for a few minutes.
8:30 AM Baby down for a nap. Awake time for newborns is generally one hour at the latest, but often I’ll put her down closer to 30-45 minutes after she wakes. After the baby is down, I eat breakfast with my son. (Oatmeal with peanut butter and berries, we keep it simple!)
9:00- 10:30 AM Big kid time. After my son does his quick morning chores it’s time for big kid fun! I like to get outside in the morning, and we usually do a relaxed learning activitiy during this time as well. I’ll read a few books to my son, or we’ll do an activity from my early learning Bible curriculum packs together. This is also the time when we would do a fun art project or have a blast with hands-on projects. I know I have a billion things that I could be doing while the baby sleeps, but I like to really connect with my older child during the baby’s morning nap. I think it makes a world of difference in his behavior throughout the day.
10:30 AM Baby wakes up. Change diaper and nurse. Again, as I nurse I like to have my son sit beside me and read or tell stories. I try not to slink away to another room to feed the baby. Reading a good book with my son while I nurse helps us all to feel like a team. Plus, it’s wonderful for the baby to be exposed to reading on a regular basis. It’s never too early for storytime, mama! After feeding and burping, we try to do just a few minutes of tummy time with the baby. Just watch closely for tiredness signs, and beat those yawns! You don’t want to wait too long to put the baby down for a nap. Awake times are really not that long in the newborn stage.
If you’re looking for a more in-depth plan on teaching your baby to sleep and nap well, I highly recommend the book “The Happy Sleeper” by Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright. One of the techniques is called the Sleep Wave, which is the absolute perfect balance between attatchment parenting and cry-it-out techniques. This book is a mama-friendly, baby-friendly, science-backed, and practical guide for helping your baby sleep well at night. A friend of mine recommended it to me, and I’m passing on the favor!
11:30 AM Baby down for a nap. Playtime for the big kiddo. I try to let my son play independently during this time. I take a few minutes to do a few chores and get lunch ready.
12:00 Noon Lunchtime 🙂 Then clean up lunch and read a quiet book.
12:30 Naptime or quiet time. We recently switched my preschooler from naptime to quiet time. (Read this post on how we make quiet time work!) During this time, I blog or complete freelance work. Anything that I need to get done on my computer I try to work into this time when both kiddos are asleep or playing independently.
1:30 PM Baby wakes up. Change diaper and nurse. My baby is generally a bit more sleepy during the afternoon, so I try to keep her awake time more mellow while my son is doing his quiet time. We read or play on the bed, and I keep my bedroom more dimly lit for this awake period.
1:30 PM Big kid is up! After at least one hour of quiet time or naptime, my son is usually up. Occasionally he will fall asleep and nap longer than an hour, but usually he is ready for quiet time to be over with after his hour is up. I’ll let him help snuggle the baby for a few minutes.
2:30-4:30 PM Baby down for a nap. My preschooler will play outside while I sit on the porch. Did I mention how much we love, love, love outdoor play? Sometimes I’ll take our portable bassinet to the porch and let the baby nap out there while we get some fresh air. Or, we’ll set up the baby in her room while I keep an eye on her with our video monitor. We recently got this Summer Infant In View 2.0 video monitor and I’d highly recommend it! The video feed is crisp and clear, and the range is great. I can carry it in the backyard and still connect to her camera inside the house.
4:30 PM Baby wakes up. Change diaper and nurse. My son will run and grab a book to read as we settle down
5:30 PM Baby down for a nap. It’s time to prep for dinner! My little guy loves to sit on the counter and help me cook. Now is a great time to talk about number and counting as you measure and scoop the dinner ingredients.
6:30 PM Dinner time!
7:30 PM Baby wakes up. I’ll usually give her a warm bath in the sink. After her bath, I’ll change her into pajamas and turn down the lights in the bedroom. This time when I nurse, I’ll do my “nighttime” routine. In a dark room, I’ll nurse on one side, burp and swaddle, and then nurse on the other side. We learned from the school of hard knocks that rocking and bouncing to sleep sets a baby up for some bad sleep habits. With that in mind, I generally try to put the baby down sleepy but awake in her bassinet. While I’m taking care of the baby, my husband will give my preschooler a bath and get him ready for bedtime.
8:30 PM Bedtime for the big kid! Our bedtime routine these days looks like prayer with mama and daddy, a big tackle hug for daddy and a sweet kiss for mama, and then into bed! My son loves watching his animals on the ceiling with his projector and sound machine. We got ours from Walmart, but you can also get one here.
10:30 PM Baby wakes up. Change diaper and nurse. Again, I nurse on one side, burp and swaddle, and then top her off on the other side. This period is usually her more fussy time, so we may nurse before 10:30 if she is agitated.
12:00 Midnight Dream feed for the baby. I try to keep her almost asleep if possible! Just awake enough to fill up her belly.
Night time feedings While I set the general feeding schedule during the day, I let the baby set the schedule during the night. She will usually wake up about 3:30 AM or so, and then at 6:30 or 7:30 AM. My sweet, sweet husband usually takes care of the diaper change and then hands the baby off to me to feed. Remember, nurse, burp and swaddle, and then nurse on the other side! If she wakes earlier than 7:30, I still wake her up at around 7:30 to nurse. I want to start setting a predictable wake up time each morning so that I can count on her sleeping in to that time as she gets older!
Having a preschooler or toddler and newborn schedule takes such a weight off my shoulders! Again, we rarely follow this routine to the minute, but knowing that we have a goal and a plan for the day makes my life so much easier.
If you’re looking for more great scheduling advice, I highly recommend this post from Rachel at A Mother Far From Home.
Did this schedule help take some of the overwhelm out of balancing your toddler and newborn schedule? Let me know in the comments!