The Perfect Toddler and Newborn Schedule: Tips for Managing Both

Juggling the transition from one child to two children can be a difficult task. These tips from a mom in the trenches will help you create the perfect toddler and newborn schedule and help you survive the newborn days!

If you are finding yourself expecting your second child, or (congrats!) you’ve already given birth. You may have found this article because you are in desperate need of some sanity! Fear not friend. As a mom to a rambunctious 2-year-old and a newborn baby, I am here to offer you some understanding, insight, and pro tips for creating the perfect toddler and newborn schedule.

The first few days are going to feel crazy, let me warn you now. Not only are you trying to heal and recover from childbirth, whether natural (like my first) or C-section (like my second), but you are now going to be feeling a little overwhelmed having as many kids as you have hands.

The toddler will be loud, and the baby will be sleepy. You are going to be tired and might contemplate pulling out your hair. HOWEVER, if you use some of these tips for creating the perfect toddler and newborn schedule, those newborn days are going to be a lot easier!

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Getting Started: Things to Consider When Creating a Perfect Toddler and Newborn Schedule

toddler and newborn schedule: tips for managing both

My tips for creating the perfect toddler and newborn schedule are geared toward moms on maternity leave and stay at home or work from home moms and include some modifications for working moms as well!

Some things you should know about my schedule:

  • I work from home full-time.
  • My son is 2 and is a high-touch, high demand child, so it is imperative he stay on a schedule and get enough one-on-one mommy time.
  • The most important components of my schedule involve sleep, for both myself and the babies.

In my experience, how you plan your day’s schedule depends greatly on two things:

  1. Your toddler’s current sleep schedule/nap routine.
  2. How often your newborn eats.

For example, my son tends to sleep until at least 9:30 am with a nap in the afternoon and my daughter nurses every 2-3 hours during the day and cluster feeds in the evening.

So here is an outline of my version of the (almost) perfect schedule for a toddler and a newborn.

Creating the Perfect Toddler and Newborn Schedule: Mornings

toddler and newborn schedule: enjoying the newborn days

Mornings are a great way to set the tone for your day!

Pro Tip: Working moms who need to leave the house at a certain time each morning, may set their alarms before they expect their newborn to wake up. That way you are ready for the day before the chaos begins.

Since I work from home, a typical morning in my house looks like this:

8am : Baby is awake!

When I get up with my newborn, the first thing on her agenda is to eat. While nursing her, I tend to check my emails for the day and look through my list of to-dos.

After she eats we burp, change her diaper, and get ready to start the day.

8:30am – 9:30am : Usually my morning routine with baby girl only takes about 30 minutes.

If we’ve had a particularly rough night, I will sometimes take this opportunity to sneak in a few extra minutes of shut eye. Most of the time however, this is prime me time!

I use this time to do the mommy stuff I won’t get an opportunity for later. Shower, brush my teeth, do some dishes, etc.

toddler and newborn schedule: sweet baby girl

9:30am : Rise and Shine!

My toddler is ready to be up around this time. Now he’s two and no where near potty training, so diapers are still part of our daily routine.

I usually take this opportunity to spend my first little bit of one-on-one time with him. I find that if I get excited about the day, he tends to be happier and more excited about his day as well. While we change his diaper, I sing songs and tell him we’re going to have a “great day!”

9:45am : Right after his diaper change, it’s time for breakfast!

Pro Tip: I try to keep him involved in this process. I let him choose what he is going to eat and participate in preparing it. Sure, it takes longer, but he gets some one-on-one time while I also accomplish something that needs done.

After all, with how busy life is, the perfect toddler and newborn schedule has to include some innovative ways to sneak in that one-on-one time with the toddler!

10:30am : By this time, we have finished breakfast, and it is time for the baby to nurse again.

This is also when my toddler starts playing with his toys, and I can start getting some serious work done. I answer emails, work on spreadsheets, and make phone calls.

11am – 1pm : During this time I change diapers as needed and get some work done.

This is a bit of free-for-all time – work sprinkled in with mommy time: rocking the baby, getting sippy cups, etc. The ability to multitask without getting too distracted is key for this toddler and newborn schedule to be manageable.

Creating the Perfect Toddler and Newborn Schedule: Afternoons

toddler and newborn schedule: playing with baby

Afternoons may look different for you if you work outside the home. When I had an office job, I was fortunate to live close enough where I could race home for a quick sandwich, nursing session, and baby cuddle before I had to be back at the office. You might use this time to pump, call home, or sneak in a quick nap!

For us, afternoons look like:

1pm : My son isn’t a huge eater but since nap time is coming up, I always try to get him to eat lunch, or at least a decent snack.

1:30pm -2:30pm : Back to work!

I nurse the baby, change both kids’ diapers, and get my son wound down with some cartoons or book reading before his nap.

toddler and newborn schedule: toddler time with mom

2:30pm – 4:30pm : The toddler takes a nap.

While my son naps I try to catch up on whatever needs to be done at home. Sometimes dishes, sometimes work, and sometimes a nap!

Pro Tip: Don’t forget you are still recovering from childbirth. A perfect toddler and newborn schedule has to have enough flexibility to take care of mommy as well. While there are things to do around the home, take advantage of your toddler’s nap time. This is a perfect time to catch up on mommy time or sleep. Don’t use every quiet opportunity for work or chores, otherwise you may find yourself coasting on fumes by bedtime.

4:30pm : Snack time… for two?!?

It’s about this time when my toddler is waking up from his nap and needs a snack. However, if the baby hasn’t nursed recently, she is also hungry and wanting to eat.

THIS IS WHERE IT GETS TRICKY, who do you take care of first?

I always prioritize kid needs by urgency, and I judge each situation differently. Sometimes the baby is going to have to wait, that is okay. Sometimes, it’s the toddler that’s going to wait, that is also okay.

Pro Tip: This tip is a daily lifesaver in my house.

I worried about my son feeling slighted when he had to wait for me to care for his sister. I worried about jealousy and hurt feeling, etc., but this tip has completely changed how my son behaves when I have to ask him to wait.

Here’s what I do: I ask the baby to wait. This is something you do solely for your toddler to hear. When you are taking care of his/her needs and the baby is fussing, you just stop and calmly say, “(baby name), I am taking care of (big sibling name) right now, I need you to wait patiently for your turn.”

This is going to feel ridiculous, the newborn cannot possibly learn to be patient.

However, your toddler hears this as you prioritize their needs too. I started doing this and my son has been SO much better about waiting when I am nursing or change his sister. He has learned to recognize that she gets asked to wait and so does he, but mommy always takes care of both of them.

Creating the Perfect Toddler and Newborn Schedule: Evenings

toddler and newborn schedule: one-on-one time

Even if you work outside the home your evenings may look very similar to mine (once you get home):

5pm – 6pm : Time to prep dinner.

Usually, I take this time to cook dinner while both children have fresh diapers and full bellies. I also use this time to wrap up any time-sensitive work duties and/or sprinkle in some random house chores I haven’t gotten to yet.

Pro Tip: I find with two children, it is even more difficult to set time aside for a complete house cleaning, so I do a little at a time each day.

Fold a basket of laundry, load the dishwasher, scrub the bathtub, etc.  – all jobs that take 10 minutes or so and can be snuck in between other mommy duties.

It saves me from the frustration of getting pulled in different directions while trying to house clean and generally makes the care for the house feel like less of a chore.

6pm-8pm : Time to focus on my family.

I don’t do any work or additional tasks during this time. This is the time each day I spend JUST focused on being a mom, without juggling other things at the same time.

  • Feed everyone dinner
  • Clean up dinner/pick up the house
  • Nurse the baby
  • Bathe both kids
  • Start bedtime routines

I like to use bath time to play with my little guy and take the opportunity to talk to him about his day and just enjoy him, separate from his new sibling.

toddler and newborn schedule: skin to skin

8pm : Little man’s bedtime.

Bedtime routine always looks the same at my house. I am a control freak when it comes to sleep routines.

We always do:

  • baby lotion,
  • fresh jammies,
  • brush teeth,
  • story-time,
  • night prayers
  • and goodnight hugs and kisses.

In all, the routine takes about 30 minutes. Since the newborn is so little, she gets everything but the story-time as part of her routine.

Pro Tip: I give my toddler the option to have her present during story. I ask, “Do you want to read the story with just mommy (or daddy) or do you want baby to come too?”

Some nights he says just us and some nights he asks to hold her (assisted) during story and prayers. Something about giving him the option seems to really make an impact on him and I am proud to say the nights he asks for her to join him are becoming more frequent!

toddler and newborn schedule: nursing newborn

8pm – 12am : Quiet time, finally!

Once everybody is bathed and the toddler is down for the night, I often have to nurse the baby again. She tends to cluster feed every hour during this 4-hour window, and then she sleeps a good 4-6 hours, depending on the night.

Side Note: I know that newborns vary in their nighttime sleep habits, so this is just an example of what my little girl does.

My son also cluster fed in the evenings but didn’t sleep through the night until he was over a year old. However, this time around a friend of my introduced me to the book that has forever changed how I sleep train this and any future children (it is also my number one shower gift for new moms now!).

The book is “Becoming Baby Wise” and you can find it HERE.

I also use this time in the evening to catch up with my hubby and finish any work I haven’t gotten to during the day.

It tends to be the quietest time of day in my house and perfect for writing!

12am : Lights’ out for Mom!

By midnight, I’m usually pooped and ready for some shut eye. We squeeze in one final nursing session for the night, a diaper change, and good night kisses for baby girl. Then it’s time for some shut eye for mommy, before we start all over again!

Final Thoughts: Creating the Perfect Toddler and Newborn Schedule

I hope you enjoyed walking through my version of the perfect toddler and newborn schedule.

Remember – this is just a general outline and some pro tips to help you get through the newborn days and find a groove that works for you and yours.

Newborns are all very different and every family is going to have a different method that works best for them. In the end, as long as everyone is happy and loved, you’re doing a great job!

What has been your biggest struggle or surprise in creating a toddler and newborn schedule in your home? Leave a comment below!

Juggling the transition from one child to two children can be a difficult task. These tips from a mom in the trenches will help you create the perfect toddler and newborn schedule and help you survive the newborn days! Juggling the transition from one child to two children can be a difficult task. These tips from a mom in the trenches will help you create the perfect toddler and newborn schedule and help you survive the newborn days!
Juggling the transition from one child to two children can be a difficult task. These tips from a mom in the trenches will help you create the perfect toddler and newborn schedule and help you survive the newborn days!

About Eric and Tiffany Matthews

We're Eric and Tiffany, the parents behind Cynical Parent. We're just normal parents who are navigating parenthood with both eyes wide open (probably because there's a kid yelling nearby). And of course, we're pretty cynical. Don't believe everything you read or hear, whether it's on the internet, or from a close family or friend (or even from us!). Every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Sometimes you just need to try and see for yourself. :)

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