This post is sponsored by Stanley
Pretty much from the moment I shared that I was pregnant with our second baby, I had requests to share what our routine looked like/would look like with a newborn and a toddler. But I knew most people weren’t necessarily requesting to hear our newborn/toddler schedule because they wanted just any day in the life vlog, you were asking because you either also have a toddler and a newborn or you will be having a toddler and newborn in the future. And the majority of you are very interested in a few things.
- How to manage nap and sleep with two
- How to balance attention between the two
- How to find some time for yourself amidst it all.
So I thought I could give you guys a sort peek into what a day typically looks like for us and make sure to touch on these topics. Every day is different, and this way I can touch on some of the general routines we use, tips and tricks that help me, what naps look like, and do a more overall look at life with a toddler (2-1/2 years old) and newborn (10 weeks).
5:30-6:00- I Wake Up
Time to myself before the kids are awake makes all the difference in the world to me. It literally sets my mood for the entire day. I’m my opinion waking up to a child crying or calling out to me just makes me go from 0 to 100 way too fast. It makes me groggy and grumpy and I feel discombobulated. But, when I wake up before them I have a little time to check-in and a little time for myself. That way when they do wake up I’m not jumping out to bed to get them. I’ve had a little time to wake, feel prepared, and fill my own cup.
Yes, sometimes dragging myself out of bed is hard. But my rule is so long as I got at least 6 hours of sleep I’d rather get up and have that me time because to me it’s SO much more helpful to my mood and disposition that day than an extra 30 minutes of sleep would be.
I usually will have a coffee, get dressed and ready for the day, and if I have time sit down to do a little work. Also one of the first things I do every morning is get myself a big bottle of water. I started using these Stanley Quick-Flip Go Water Bottles right before Finley was born and I LOVE THEM, I actually have a few, one I keep upstairs, one I keep downstairs, and then a spare just in case. I’m sure Stanley is a brand that isn’t new to most of you, they are pretty well-known for their iconic green bottle and have been making sustainable drinkware for over 100 years. Well, this is one of the newest additions to their lineup and has been a busy mom must-have. It has double-wall insulation meaning your drink stays cold and the outside doesn’t sweat, plus it’s made of high-quality stainless steel so it’s super durable for anything I put it through during the day.
One of my favorite things is it has a leakproof flip top. Considering I lug these with me everywhere from the bedroom to the playroom to the diaper bag to the stroller, it’s nice to know they won’t leak.
Oh, and most importantly, these are also dishwasher safe, another must for me. I’d actually gone through 2 bottles before this and ruined them because they weren’t dishwasher safe. I’m sorry but I just can’t be handwashing all my bottles at this point in my life. It’s all about efficiency.
And one last thing I really REALLY love is that all Stanley bottles come with a lifetime warranty. It’s part of their goal to create truly sustainable products. The idea is you can buy one Stanley bottle and it’s built for life, no need to replace it every year or two. And in an age when I feel like we are constantly producing more and more waste, I really love that. They are available at Walmart for under $20 (such a good deal!)
7:00 Babies Start to Wake
Miles wakes up at 7. Well, he often wakes at 6:45 or sometimes 7:15 or sometimes 6:30, because he’s a human, not a robot. But he doesn’t get out of his crib until 7am. we use a Hatch sound machine in his room (see my baby sleep must-have products here) and he knows we don’t come to get him out of bed until the light turns green at 7am. So if he wakes before 7, he just kinda hangs in his crib with his stuffed animals. We taught him to do this right after his 18-month sleep regression and I shared how over on my Instagram profile under my “toddler tips” story highlight if you wanna hear more about that.
And yes, Miles is still in a crib. He’s still very happily sleeping in the crib and hasn’t tried to climb out, so we’re in no rush to move him for the time being.
Finley typically wakes around 7:30-8am right now. It can definitely vary, newborn sleep certainly isn’t something you can really always set a clock to. Luckily, their night sleep often solidifies before their daytime sleep, so she’s fairly consistent with her night sleep right now, although I’m sure when 4 month sleep regression hits, this wake-up time will change.
Assuming Finley is still asleep and didn’t wake early, I’ll get Miles when he wakes at 7 and bring him downstairs for our morning routine. If Finley is already awake, I’ll either bring her with me or my husband will get Miles.
I’m the morning person in our house so I don’t mind being the one who gets up with the kids. My husband is more of a night owl and tends to take care of any late-night kid sleep issues. It’s just what has always worked for us. For example, before Finley started sleeping better at night, my husband took the late-night shifts and I took the early morning ones. When Miles went through a sleep regression as a baby we did the same thing, with Michael taking any wakeups before 1am and I took any after 1am. It’ what works for us. And, as far as dealing with baby wake ups I find it to be a better method than taking turns, because this way we each get a solid block of sleep.
7:00-9:00 Morning Routine
We try to keep our morning routine pretty consistent. Toddlers THRIVE on routine, so this is important to Miles. Plus, as you’ll see Finley doesn’t have a set-in-stone schedule yet, so having Miles’ routine more set, makes fitting in Finley’s routine easier. Plus, Miles just does better when he knows what to expect and things are the way they usually are.
Three mornings a week Miles goes to his nanny’s from 8am- noon. But, whether he’s going or not we start our routine the same way. We come downstairs, he helps me get his breakfast and pour his milk. I try to let Miles be part of helping as much as I can. Sometimes this means things go a lot slower or we have a spill, but in the long run it’s more beneficial. It’s helping him with independence and giving him some feeling of control. Toddlers spend a lot of time being told “no,” so I try to give Miles control where I can.
Some mornings Miles will want to play a little while he eats, other mornings he’ll watch a show. I’m fine with screentime in our house, it’s just all about moderation for me. And I try to use it very purposefully, so a show in the morning while I get ready, make breakfast, empty the dishwasher etc. And then if we have screentime in the afternoon it’s usually around 5:30 so I can prep dinner. Often a show around 8am is great because it allows me to get Finley up and changed and her first nursing in of the morning.
9:30-11:30 Morning Block
Around 9:30, if Miles isn’t at his nanny’s, we will usually do an activity together since it’s when Finley is having her first nap. At 2 months old Finley does not on any exact schedule that you can set a clock to, but more of a general routine.
Finley’s current routine
- I make sure she eats every 2-3 hours during the day and
- I don’t let any daytime nap exceed 2 hours.
- I have her wake windows around 60 minutes minimum and 90 minutes maximum
These are three of the things I talk about in the baby sleep blog post I recently wrote that help her with better night sleep.
Right now, Finley’s naps are fairly unpredictable. Sometimes she naps 25 minutes, sometimes 45 minutes, sometimes 2 hours. This obviously makes planning things hard, but I also just know it’s totally developmentally normal. The same was true with Miles when he was her age, too. So, while it’s hard for planning, I also know daytime nap consistency will come eventually as long as I stay consistent, this is just a short phase where it’s hard to plan things.
Depending on the day, we usually do 1 of three things during this block of time:
- The first is errands. If I have errands I need to run, this is a great time since Finley will sleep in the carseat. There’s not a ton of errands I really do with Miles right now anyways just with COVID and all of that, but we may do a grocery pickup or run to the dump or something like that.
- If it’s nice weather, though, we almost always use this block of time for a walk. Miles LOVES taking walks, and so do I. It’s a great activity for him and I like getting out, too. And Finely typically sleeps great on walks so she gets a decent nap in as well, so it’s kinda just a win all around
- If the weather isn’t good and we don’t have errands to run, the third option during this block of time is I will usually do some type of directed activity with Miles. In this case, I’ll put Finley down in her crib or bassinet for nap. Anytime she’s not napping on the go, I put her in the crib for a nap so she can get more and more comfortable having naps like this. While she is inconsistent with her naps, I try to stay consistent with my approach towards them for her. If I need to put Finley down for a nap while I’m also watching Miles, I will swaddle her and use white noise downstairs in the kitchen while Miles is playing in the living room. I’ll rock her a little and get her nice and groggy while I can still have eyes on Miles. Yes, sometimes this is hard if Miles decides he wants to play a game that involves screaming or tumbling loud bricks, it just comes with the territory of a newborn and toddler. Once I see her starting to close her eyes and getting really sleepy, I’ll tell Miles I’ll be right back I’m going to put sister to bed, and I can run upstairs and place her down and not have to leave Miles for more than a minute.
Then, I’ll do an activity with Miles during this nap. This does require a little planning on my end which I usually do the night before. Most nights I’m tired and I don’t want to think about planning anything but I find it makes a huge difference if I take 10 minutes to prep something the night before for us to have to do the next day if I know we won’t be able to get outside. We might do playdough, and art activity, or maybe I’ll just take out a few toys from the basement he hasn’t used in a while. (Read about how I use toy rotation here)
11:30 – 12:30 Lunch Block
Typically Finley is awake around this time for a feeding and after I feed her I get Miles’ lunch ready. Again, Finley eats every 2-3 hours.
I get asked a lot about what I do with Miles when I feed Finley and honestly I’m pretty lucky that Finley is a pretty speedy eater, she usually eats in 15 minutes which is amazing. (Miles was the world’s slowest nurser and it took 45 minutes to feed him.) On the other hand, Miles is usually pretty patient for feedings. He seems to understand that sister is eating right now and he has to wait. I do typically try to plan to feed her when he’s either doing an activity, playing with a toy, during any screentime I might be letting him have that day (or obviously his nap.) If he seems fidgety or impatient while I’m feeding I tell him to get a book and I read to him while I nurse. A few times I’ve whipped out my phone and shown him pictures, he LOVES looking at pictures of himself and family members, so this keeps him entertained, too.
For lunch, Miles usually eats at the table in the kitchen and we just kinda hang out while he eats. I tend to keep lunches easy and simple to make it easy for me, I’m not trying to do anything too time-consuming here, and often I need to be able to do it one-handed while holding Finley. If it was a day we went for a walk I might even pack him something to eat on the way or grab him something in town to snack on for the ride home, we have a local place that makes avocado toast Miles is OBSESSED with. Miles typically doesn’t eat a huge lunch anyways, and this just makes things easier for me.
Around 12:30 we get Miles ready for a nap. Now I’m SO lucky because my husband works from home full-time he is able to help with naps during his lunch break which is AMAZING. I’m honestly not totally sure how I’d manage to get Miles down with Finley, too. I mean, I’m sure I’d figure it out, but glad I don’t need to juggle that. Typically around when Miles is going down Finley is usually ready for another nap, too, so I put her down while Michael is putting Miles down.
OK so to touch on Finley’s naps a tad more, like I said we’re doing mostly crib and bassinet naps unless we’re on the go. But everything with newborn sleep can be really touch-and-go. I really focus on not stressing too much over daytime sleep. What I’ve really learned with babies is their night sleep tends to get consistent earlier and daytime sleep can be more unpredictable. So, while I try to kind of plan my day knowing about when she’ll be tired, I don’t let it control my whole life because that would just leave me feeling defeated constantly.
I focus on her wake windows, making sure they are 60-90 minutes (which is the right time for her age), and when she’s showing signs of being tired, I offer her a nap. If it’s a 20-minute nap, it’s 20 minutes. If it’s 90 minutes, it’s 90 minutes. I don’t let myself stress over short naps because it’s just not worth it. I cannot force her to sleep. All I can do is watch her wake windows and offer a nap.
If she wakes after a short period (usually less than 60 minutes) and I have the free hands, I’ll go up and try rocking her down again to get a longer nap. Or maybe if her morning nap was really short and she’s not just napping good for her noontime nap, I may hold or wear her for a nap in the afternoon to help get better sleep in. I don’t worry about creating “sleep crutches” at this point in her life. She’s still so young and it’s very developmentally normal for her to NEED a crutch or NEED me to help sleep. I know that as she gets older she will get better at longer independent sleep.
During this time when both babies are napping, if it’s Monday-Friday, I typically try to hustle my butt off on my to-do list. I’ve told you guys a ton in the past about how I use what I call a naptime hustle list. This is a running list I keep of things I need to get done during the day. That way when my kids are asleep I can hit the ground running. Because so often you can get both kids asleep, have a few free minutes, and totally space out on what you wanted to do. And with two babies that time is so precious I want to use it to the maximum of my capabilities.
I also always find 20 minutes to prep dinner during this time. Personally, my kids get nutty around 5pm. Miles gets really hyper and it’s Finley’s witching hour. Trying to make dinner with nutty kids is a nightmare. So, my best dinnertime hack is to get as much as possible done during their nap so I’m ideally just quickly cooking or warming things up when the dinnertime rush does come. I also really love any crockpot or make-ahead meals right now.
When Finley is awake from her afternoon nap, Miles is always still sleeping since he typically takes 2-3 hour naps right now. So, once dinner is prepped I try to focus on having a little one-on-one time with her. While newborns are very demanding as far as needing to be fed and getting overtired, I feel like Miles is definitely more demanding for attention. And it’s easy for me to get to the end of the day and realized I didn’t really give Finley a lot of 1-on-1 attention or forgot tummy time, so I try to use this window of time for that.
3:30-5:30 Afternoon Block
When Miles gets up we have a snack and if it’s nice out we typically get outside. I aim to be outside as much as I can with my kids. I seriously believe the outdoors are magic for children, especially the toddler age. The outdoors are a sanctuary for kids away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and routines and rules. It’s a place Miles can do a lot more individual alone play. I can step back a little from hovering over him and just let him play and explore.
Around 5:30 I start the dinnertime hustle. If it’s nice out Miles usually stays outside. (Huge perk of the fenced-in yard and being able to see the yard from the kitchen). If it’s not nice enough for him to be outside I’ll set him up with an activity inside, either a toy in his playroom (I do use toy rotation to keep his toys new and fresh) or I’ll let him watch a show.
Now, I’ll be honest from about 5:30 until 7:30 bedtime is currently the hardest stretch of the day for me parenting a toddler and newborn. It’s Finley’s witching hour and she needs to be held and bounced constantly. And, while Miles isn’t usually misbehaving he just gets hyper and silly and I’m juggling all that while trying to make dinner. So, again, it’s why I prep as much of dinner as I can ahead of time. And I will say this time has gotten CONSIDERABLY easier since we started giving Finley and earlier bedtime because I now have some time to myself once they are alseep.
Around 6 we have dinner. I like letting Miles help set the table and he LOVES it. He starts to get really excited for dinner and that we’ll all be eating together and let’s him know what’s coming next.
We eat dinner with Miles on Monday-Thursdays right now and then usually Friday-Sunday we’ll often have adult-only dinners where my husband and I eat after the kids are asleep. It’s a little late for dinner but’s nice to have a few quiet dinners just the two of us a few times a week. Sometimes we just eat at the table together and talk, or we’ll have a movie night (and usually only watch ½ the movie because we get tired).
Lately, Miles has been really good about sitting at the table and eating with us. It hasn’t always been this way. We used to only eat dinner with him 1-2 nights a week because he was really hard to eat with. But he’s gotten much better about it and now with Finley, it’s just a lot easier to be all done with dinner when they are in bed so all we have to worry about is a quick clean up and we have a little time to relax.
We’re usually done with dinner around 6:45-7:00 and Miles will play in the living room for a bit, sometimes Michael reads him a book with Finley and I’ll clean up from dinner. If finley is being extra fussy we kinda just “survive” these last 20 minutes until bedtime.
7:30-8:00 Bedtime Routine
We typically don’t do bathtime before bed right now just because, like I said, it tends to be the most hectic time of day, and trying to make bath happen is just too much. I’ve found bath time is WAY easier and more chill and not rushed if we aim for baths before nap a couple times a week instead of before bed right now.
So, around 7:30, give or take, we head upstairs for the bedtime routine. Michael has a little time with Finley while I get Miles changed and into his PJs, we brush his teeth, and often read a book. Then, Michael and I switch and he rocks Miles for a few minutes before rubbing his back put him to bed and I take Finely for her bedtime routine
Currently, Finley is doing really good with an 8pm bedtime. Many newborns do better with a later bedtime around 9-10 or even 11, and that’s when Finley’s sweet spot was for a while. That was definitely a hard stretch for me because I basically got no time to myself to clean up after the dinnertime rush, relax, or even prep for the next day because I was going to bed right when Finely was.
Around 9 weeks I started to notice Finley didn’t seem to be doing as good with the later bedtime and at 10 weeks we moved her bedtime to about 8pm and she’s doing really good with that. So around 7:40 I get her changed into her PJs and we go into our bedroom, she’s still in a bassinet next to our bed for night sleep. We use the Hatch sound machine for Finley, too, and I have it set to a lullaby sound and I will nurse her one final time before I swaddle her up and switch the sound machine to white noise. Currently, she goes down pretty quick to bed, I’ll rock her for maybe 1 minute then place her down. She typically puts herself to sleep after a few minutes. Sometimes she wakes again after 15 minutes and I have to go back up and rock her for a minute or two again. (We do have the Snoo which I think helps and I’ll be sharing my honest review of it in a month or two once we’ve gotten our full use of it.)
Also, to be clear, she has not always been this easy at bedtime. Finley had a very rough patch of nighttime sleep early on. She used to wake immediately when you put her down, she would ONLY Sleep when you held her. The first few weeks of her life were hands down the hardest weeks I went through. I was lucky to get 4 hours of sleep a day (that includes any naps I squeezed in). It was rough and I’m just saying this to again let you know if you’re there right now, there is hope. It’s not like this forever.
I have found the best thing I can do for baby sleep is be educated and be consistent. I take the time to learn about baby sleep, and mind you there is a lot of baby sleep guide and books and coaches and blogs, so find one that seems to resonate with you. Then, the key is always just staying consistent. So I keep the same routine and method. I learned from Miles’ sleep journey that consistency was always key. If his sleep was ever off, or he was having a sleep regression, sticking to a consistent method usually helped things smooth out in a week or two.
8:00-10:00 Night Routine
By about 8 Finely is usually asleep and I head downstairs to get cleaned up from the day.
Usually, by about 8:45 we’re cleaned up for the day, and my husband and I will have a little time for us. Again, this is pretty new as we JUST got Finley on a bedtime. Having just an hour at night when I’m kid-free is a game-changer. I can clean up the kitchen, I can prep a toy or activity for the next day, relax and have dessert, have uninterrupted conversations with Michael, watch TV, take a long shower.
We’re both usually pretty tired and like to get to bed by 10, so we typically head upstairs around 9:00-9:30, do our quick bedtime routine, and get to sleep. Some nights we might stay up a tad longer to watch some TV together. But honestly most nights we don’t even turn on the TV. It just becomes a time suck and suddenly is 11pm and we would both rather get some sleep than mindlessly watch TV.
Currently, Finley is only waking once at night to eat. She usually goes between 7-10 hours at night which is AMAZING. To give you an idea of how that progressed, around 4 weeks she was going about 2-3 hour stretches. At 6 weeks we started getting some 4 hours stretches, maybe a 5 hours stretch once or twice. Then right around 8 weeks, she started doing 7 hours more consistently and since then between 7-10 is normal for her. I usually just change her, feed her, swaddle her, and put her back down until she wakes for the day at 7:30-8 like I said at the beginning of the day.
So we’ve now come full circle on our day in the life. And that’s about it for what a day looks like for us right now with a 2 year old and a newborn.