Inside: A new baby brings incredible sweetness and incredible chaos to your home, all at the same time. But that chaos can’t last forever! Creating a newborn schedule is one of the simplest ways to get your groove back and center yourself in these crazy newborn months. The best part is that you can sync your newborn and toddler schedule so that each child gets the routine they need! Read on to steal my easy tips for making a routine that will work for both your baby and your older child.
Everyone tells you that having baby #2 is a whole different animal. But we don’t believe them, huh?
With multiple children, our love somehow multiplies exponentially. It’s impossible to explain. Your own mama told you when you were a kid, but you just didn’t get it. Yet, mamas really do love each child equally.
Yes, our love multiplies.
But our time? Our time is more divided than ever.
There are suddenly two tummies to fill, two pairs of hands to hold, two faces to kiss, two children to carry…. Yet only one mama, and one lap to hold them in!
Baby #2 adds a completely different dynamic to the family. I don’t know about you, but when my second baby was born I needed a plan. A plan to help me navigate two sets of needs. A schedule to help me make the best use of my limited time with each child.
When my baby girl was born, my son was about 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! We needed a preschool or toddler and newborn schedule that will help us get back on track.
Related Reading: Top 10 Best Planners for Moms to Keep you Sane!
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.
Overwhelmed at home with your baby, toddler, or preschooler? Help is here! Download my Everyday Calm eBook and Printable Pack bundle, and learn simple mindsets and routines to conquer the chaos at home with kids.
Need more help with schedules and routines? Check out these posts:
- Ultimate Baby Care Tips Guide for New Moms
- 3 Month Baby Schedule
- 6 Month Baby Schedule
- 9 Month Baby Schedule
- 1 Year Old Schedule
- Toddler 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!
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 UPS guy that loves to ring our doorbell when I’m nursing.
Or just the necessary tasks and errands that simply must get done. Or a tantrum. Or a missed nap. Or… life!
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, based on my personal experience. 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! We use TV time sparingly in our house as much as possible.
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. Get my favorite breastfeeding essentials checklist!
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 Woombie. Read more about why we love the Woombie!
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.
Want a foolproof chore chart plan for your toddler or preschooler? Swipe our favorite chart to make teaching chores easy!
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. Read about these real-life disadvantages of breastfeeding and how to overcome them!
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 attachment 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. 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.
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 a complete game plan for creating routines for your children, let me walk you through everything step by step in my eBook, Everyday Calm!
Did this schedule help take some of the overwhelm out of balancing your toddler and newborn schedule? Let me know in the comments!
I applaud you for grabbing ahold of your life and the lives of your two little ones. And thanks for sharing the results!
When did this start…. also, did your newborn ever have witching hour?
Thanks so much for sharing this! I have a 23 month old and a one month old and am trying to navigate my way through this new stage. My toddler was on a great schedule before we had the new baby and I’m trying to find ways to create a schedule that works together and not against each other. How old was your newborn when you started implementing this and how long did it take to get it to stick? Thank you!
I currently have a 2 1/2 year old son and expecting baby’s girl in 7 weeks. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around how to meet the demands of two very different needs. This was so helpful! Thanks for sharing.
This post is simply amazing. My husband and I have decided we would like to begin trying for another child. Our only child, will be 2 in march. He’s such a fun loving, sweet, adventurous toddler. It makes me happy to know that he wont be alone much longer. Also, I find myself feeling guilty already ablut not being able to spend time with him like i do now. Boy do I remember the newborn stages. This schedule puts my mind at ease and I pray I am able to get a routine going.☺
Hi Jasmine! Congrats on baby #2! I’m so glad you found my routine helpful. Having a baby and toddler routine was a lifesaver for us. You mentioned having a rough time in the newborn stage with your firstborn. I would encourage you to read my post about baby sleep mistakes I didn’t make the first time around. Having a baby who was a confident sleeper made it so much easier to spend time with my older child. Just search for “baby sleep mistakes” here on Jules & Co and it should pop up 😉
Love this article! Coordinating schedules is a MUST with Baby #2! My 5 year old just started K this year but I have a 3 year old and 5 month old at home too. Thanks for the tips!
Hi there, this was definitely helpful. I’m still tweaking my routine with a 15 month old and 1 month old. Can you tell me what time of day you typically squeeze in stuff like showering, exercise, laundry, and generally cleaning up?
Hi Jade! One of the things that helps me is to take my showers at night, after the kids are asleep. In the morning you can just get dressed for the day. You’ll save so much time and feel more prepared for the day.
With a one month old, that routine definitely takes priority. And I’d guess your 15 month old is taking 1-2 naps per day? What I do is power clean up sessions. You can either do this while your kids are napping, and juggle the schedule around a bit so they can have one nap at the same time. Or while your one month old is napping, set your toddler up with an independent no-mess activity like magnet blocks on the fridge or books in the high chair. And just aim for 10-15 minutes of really fast cleaning once or twice a day 🙂 You can also throw a load of laundry in 5 minutes before they wake up in the morning. Switch it to the dryer at lunchtime or naptime, and then fold it after bedtime. It’s not perfect, but it works! Just one load a day will keep you from being overwhelmed.
The tips in these posts combined might also be helpful for your newborn and toddler Baby Sleep Mistakes and Toddler Schedule
Hope this helps! It will get easier, I promise. Hang in there!
How do you handle the witching hour with the newborn and the toddler?
Hi, Kendra! That’s a great question. The witching hour can be really stressful with a newborn and toddler! If you’re able, getting outside or going on a walk is really helpful. Get a double stroller so you can keep both kids contained and you can burn off some stress, too. If you can’t get outside and your baby is super fussy, I think it’s totally OK to set up your toddler with a little TV time. I generally try to limit screen time, but when it’s necessary I’ll save it for those tricky time periods as a tool I can use. Another option is to try baby wearing during this fussy time. You can get a sling and wear the baby while you walk around the house or take care of your toddler. It’s tough, I know! But these fussy times won’t last forever. You’ve got this 🙂
Thanks!! Your schedule made me second guess myself. We are struggling with that evening nap which leaves her so overtired and I know it, i just dont know how to fix it. Other than the one book youbrecommended. Do you use anything else? I really need some help with sleep “training”.
Hi Julie! Thanks for much for the blog! It is super helpful. I have a 22 month old little girl and a 2 and 1/2 month old little boy. I love teaching her, playing and being intentional about limiting screen time.
Right now are baby spends all day with us, nursing and sleeping. I love this schedule and plan to try it right away! My question is where does your baby sleep when napping? In the bassinet in your room? At night my baby sleeps in a bassinet between us. Is it okay to put the baby in the room to sleep without us? Somewhere I read that can increase SIDs have you heard of that? I’d really love to make these changes!