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Best Routine for a Baby and Toddler

Are you struggling to find a good schedule for your newborn baby and toddler?

You may have had your toddler in a great routine for a while, so introducing a newborn baby and all of those feeds and naptimes can be a bit stressful. 

Best routine for a newborn baby and toddler

It is a big change, there’s no denying that, but you will manage to find a new rhythm and routine!

To help you figure out the best way to schedule your newborn babies feeds while still pleasing your energetic toddler, here is a brilliant sample schedule for a newborn baby and toddler. 

Before I carry on, it’s worth checking out these 10 play ideas for a baby and toddler, so that you can entertain them together!

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Baby and toddler schedule

This is the tried and tested schedule that worked for me with my baby and toddler!

This routine is what we stuck to for the first three months. After this we simply adapted it as the baby dropped her naps. 

This worked really well as the goal was always to get them both napping at the same time after lunch so that I could rest a little!

7amWake-up & feedWake-up & play
10amFeed then playSnack
12MiddayWake & feedLunch
3.30pmWake & feedWake & snack
5.30pmWake & feedDinner
7pmFeedBedtime story
Night2-3 feedsSleep

The EASY routine

It’s worth mentioning right now that this is not a rigid routine. Based on the advice of the Baby Whisperer, who created the E.A.S.Y routine, I worked to a three-hour loop all day. 

This loop involved the same things for my baby on repeat: 

  • Eat – This would happen as soon as she woke up. My second daughter was exclusively breastfed, so while breastfeeding her I would entertain my toddler with either the TV or have an activity set up for her to play with. 
  • Activity – After eating we would then play or go on an outing together. In the mornings especially I would make sure we got out for a walk, even if it was only a quick 10 minute stroll to the park and back home again. 
  • Sleep – A baby aged under eight weeks will only have a short awake window. Generally a newborn will only cope with around 45 minutes or less of awake time. As they get older this will reduce. The printable routine assumes your baby is around one to three months old and features an awake time of around 90 minutes. Some babies will do well with this amount of awake time, while others will want longer naps and less time spent awake. It’s about finding out how your baby operates best so that they aren’t cranky. 
  • You – The best part is the You time. The trouble is, you have a toddler now, so it’s really their time! When your baby is asleep, this is when you spend quality time with your toddler. If you’re exhausted, keep this time relaxed with simple games and reading at home. If your baby naps well in the buggy then you could go for an outing with your toddler. 

What’s great about the E.A.S.Y routine when compared to other parenting experts’ advice is that it’s way more flexible. You adapt the timings to fit your routine!

Sample schedule for newborn baby and toddler

When dealing with a baby and a toddler with very different sleeping and eating habits, it’s important to maintain your eldest child’s routine. 

This will make life much easier for you, as your toddler will be more manageable on a familiar and natural routine for them. 

In order to do this you may have to let your newborn nap on the go when in the car, buggy or in a sling. Most newborns are happy to nap in these places, so you shouldn’t have too much of a struggle getting them to snooze while you’re out and about entertaining your toddler. 

If you can, try to get your two children to overlap their post-lunch nap. This will give you at least a short period of time where you can just rest. 

You may find this tricky, but persevere to get them on roughly the same sleep schedule around this time. 

How the toddler & newborn routine works

There’s a printable version of that newborn and toddler schedule at the end of this post, just save the image and keep it for future reference!

Let’s take a look at the daily schedule for two under two a little closer.

7am-8am – baby wakes and feeds then toddler has breakfast

Once your baby has woken it’s best to get the first feed in right away. This minimises stress for you when it comes to doing your toddler’s breakfast, as your baby will happily kick about on a play mat after a feed so your toddler can eat.

8am – Nap for baby

Babies have a very short window of time when they can cope with being awake. Some may be 90 minutes by around eight weeks, while others may struggle to stay awake longer than an hour. Watch your baby for signs of tiredness and if you think the sleepy cues are there, then put them to bed. While baby is napping you can play with your toddler, who will be ready for a snack at around 9.30.

10am – Baby wakes and feeds

Once your baby’s nap is over it’s time for another feed and then you could take both children for an outing. This is a good time to meet up with friends or go to a play group.

11am-1pm – Baby naps & toddler has lunch

Your newborn will be ready for another nap, which could be done in the pushchair if you are still out of the house. I did my toddler’s lunch at around midday as this gave me plenty of time to feed her and then get them down for a nap after all the eating was done!

1pm – Naptime

This is where you aim to get both children down for a nap. This gives you a break! The after lunch nap is typically the longest of the day. For some toddlers this is their only nap if they aren’t still having a short cat nap in the morning or afternoon.

3.30pm – Wake up

Baby will have a feed at this time and your toddler can have a snack. Then you can enjoy playtime together.

4.30pm – Baby naps

This is usually baby’s last nap of the day before bedtime and will be shorter than the other naps, however may still go on for an hour. Your toddler can play.

5.30pm – Toddler dinner and baby feed

If you are bottle feeding your baby then this may be a smaller feed than others in the day, as they will have another feed at bedtime, around 7pm.

6.30pm – Bath time for both children

Bathe both kids at the same time to save you a little time. A baby bath seat is essential for this.

7pm – Feed and bedtime story

Your baby has a bottle or breastfeed while you read a bedtime story to her and your toddler.

7.15pm – Toddler bed

This is a good time for your toddler to be put down. Some newborns can be put down at this time too, however you may find they are fussy and hard to settle at this stage of the evening. If they are then try to keep them in a quiet, darkened room and comfort them as much as possible. They may also be cluster feeding, which is also normal at this stage.

Night – Baby wakes for feeds 2-3 times

Your baby will wake frequently to feed in the early months. This is normal and you should be led by your baby in the first six months. After six months they will sleep much longer between feeds and may only wake once in the night.

Remember that this routine should be adapted to what works best for you. If you always keep in mind the length of time your baby can cope with being awake, then you should be able to adapt the timings to keep everyone happy. 

You can check out this article about baby wake windows to understand how long your baby can stay awake between naps.

Bedtime with a baby and toddler

Nervous about doing a dual bedtime with a baby and toddler?

If you can, I recommend splitting bedtime between you and your partner so you each take one child.

But if you’re on your own do not panic! Doing bedtime for both kids at once feels daunting in the early weeks but you soon get used to it.

My recommendations are:

  • Do the bath at the same time – use a bath seat for your baby so you can go hands free and wash your toddler. Never leave your kids unsupervised.
  • Read to them at the same time – it can help to be feeding your baby while you do the bedtime story. However some babies become distracted by this. So consider whether you need to feed your baby after your toddler has gone to bed.
  • If it feels like chaos that’s normal! Dealing with two young kids at different stages is challenging so give yourself a break when it feels like it’s all a lot to deal with.

I have an entire post on bedtime with a newborn and toddler right here.

The best newborn and toddler routine

Having two under two might feel exhausting, but you will get used to this new routine!

Best of luck mama!

And I’ve got another version of this schedule where there are smaller gaps between naps for your baby – which may be useful for very tiny newborns with a short wake window.

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Vicky Smith is a mother of two daughters and a journalist. She has been writing and vlogging about parenting for over five years.