Mom Tips,  New Mom

Surviving With A Newborn & Toddler

Tips for surviving life with a toddler & a newborn

I’m not here to get your hopes up that this will be easy. You will be surrounded by poopy diapers, spit-up, toys- you name it! But you know the saying, “The days are long, but the years are short”? This absolutely stands true.

Something we all need to remember when we are changing our 5th diaper of the day, or trying to make it through yet, another screaming tantrum (those are a big part of our days lately).

I would hear from other moms before I had my second baby that, “it will be easier this time because you have already cared for a newborn”. While that stands true, I do feel  much more confident with my newborn, which is awesome!

Guide to surviving life with a toddler and newborn

When we just had our firstborn, there were still some moments of peace, but that isn’t the case anymore! This is something I wish I would have prepared myself for better. I knew things would be a lot different, but I didn’t expect them to be this hard.

With all that said, I love my 2 boys more then anything! We have found a routine that works for us, and allows me to meet the needs of my newborn and my toddler, so we are all happy. While still making sure to find some time for myself.


Keeping a consistent schedule is key to surviving life with a newborn and a toddler. Toddlers thrive on consistency. I find that our day goes tremendously better when I get up in enough time to do a quick clean up around the house, & feed the baby. This will still allow me a few minutes to get myself together before my toddler wakes up.

If I make a point to do these things, my newborn is able to take his first nap of the day while I make my toddler breakfast. After breakfast, we will usually have some time to play for a bit before the baby wakes up and needs fed again.

This schedule allows me to have some one on one time with my toddler right when he wakes up, rather then scrambling trying to get everyone fed at once.


Our morning are actually something that I look forward to now because of this consistent schedule. Most importantly, my toddler gets that one on one attention that he needs. 

Everyone will find a routine that works best for them based on what time their kids wake up and what activities they have planned for the day.


Just be sure to keep in mind that if things don’t go as planned one day, its not the end of the world and you will get back on track eventually. If you were up all night with the baby, maybe take the morning to rest instead before your toddler gets up. Its okay to deviate from the plan.

2. Keep change to a minimum

Toddlers love consistency & schedules, it helps them know what to expect. Toddlers have not yet developed the brain capacity to know what to expect or to control their emotions. They have absolutely no sense of time, they just “live in the moment”.

This can create many challenges in their day to day lives for something as simple as getting dressed in the morning. They are comfortable in their pajamas, and that transition from pajamas to day clothes can cause a major meltdown. Or coming in after playing outside, that has been a big struggle for us lately. 

One way I like to approach this is give my son a 5 minute warning before any transition in his day. You could set a timer, or just verbally let them know what is going to happen next. They might not understand at first (or pay attention) but they will eventually see the pattern and catch on.  

As adults, we don’t like things to come as a surprise either. If you were in the middle of an email and somebody told you, “you need to stop what you are doing right now, it’s time to have dinner”. You would be completely thrown off, and probably quite annoyed. Thats exactly how your toddler feels. 

I find it best to try and do things around the same time everyday. Such as: breakfast, nap, getting dressed, bedtime etc.. so they have an idea of what to expect. Give them a warning 5 minutes before each of those things happen.


This is especially helpful if you are away from home and will be doing something new.

Now I know this isn’t practical everyday, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind to try to have some consistency for your toddler. 

3. Feeding baby with a toddler around

One of the biggest challenges I have faced since bringing my second baby home from the hospital, has been breastfeeding with a toddler around. This also applies to bottle feeding as well.


Whenever I sit down to breastfeed, my toddler thinks that is a perfect opportunity to beat both the baby and I up. He climbs all over me, kicks me with his feet, throws things at me…you name it and he has done it.

Some thing I have started doing to avoid scenarios like this are:

  • Have a small basket of “exciting toys” you bring out only while you are feeding the baby. This could be full of dollar section items you got at target…nothing fancy, but your toddler will love it! (This is one of my go-to’s) This helps keep them occupied.
  • Read some books while you are feeding the baby
  • If you allow any T.V time, this would be the perfect opportunity.
  • Set them up with an activity you know they will enjoy, and keep them occupied for the next 15 minutes or so.

Feeding baby with a toddler around, especially if you struggle with breastfeeding or are getting used to it for the second time can be frustrating to say the least. I am here to say that it will get easier with time.


With bottle feeding, I would take this opportunity to have your toddler help you! You could have them sit with you and learn how to feed the baby it’s bottle. Which may become valuable as baby gets older. Its always nice to have a good helper!


4. Take advantage of nap time (one of my biggest tips for surviving with a newborn & a toddler)

In a perfect world, your toddler and newborn will nap at the same time. But in reality, that is not always the case. We are lucky in that our toddler naps for 2-3 hours in the afternoon.


I take that time to straighten up, get some work done and tend to the baby if he in not napping. Or take that time for you, maybe even take a nap yourself!

If you have a toddler that doesn’t nap regularly,  try to instill some “quiet time”. This may not work until they get older but its good to start the routine now, to get them in the habit.


Maybe it’s time for them to read some books, or do an activity with mom. If baby goes down for a nap its a good time to have some one on one time with your toddler, without the baby.

5. Put your newborn in a wrap or baby carrier

Something that has been a game changer for me is putting my baby in a wrap while I am tending to my toddler during the day. You need to be hands free while caring for another child, and this is my favorite way to do it!

Newborns love to be held and snuggled, and prefer to be in an environment similar to the womb. I absolutely LOVE the Solly baby wrap for newborns.


There is a bit of a learning curve to it, but if you get it tight enough so you both are comfortable it works great. Our baby will sleep for a few hours like that and I can get a surprising amount of things done with him attached to me.

I would recommend getting a carrier that you feel most comfortable with. I know that a lot of people prefer something like the Baby bjorn because it is more user friendly.


I have not used it personally but have heard great things. It’s important that you are comfortable and that you find something that you will actually use.

It can be very helpful to have some toys on hand that will keep your busy toddler entertained and engaged for longer, so you can tend to the baby or get some things done around the house. Look over my post on toys for busy toddlers for some ideas.

6. Dealing with toddler tantrums

As I said previously, Toddlers are going through big brain developments and they have no way of controlling their emotions. (Bring on the melt downs!)

Tantrums are a big thing in our house these days. I have found the best way to deal with a tantrum in the moment, is to get down to their level and provide positive parenting techniques (you can read more about why this is so important here). I actually try to do this every time I am talking to him.

When you get down to their level, you are showing them that you are not above them, you are their equal. You are there to help validate their emotions, and work through their feeling together.

Try to avoid phrases like :

“Your okay” or “calm down”

Use phrases like this instead:

“I can see that you are upset”

“Its okay to be upset, we will get through this together.”

By using phrases like this, you are validating their feelings and letting them know that they are being heard. It is important to show them that it is okay to have big feelings and express their emotions when needed. Another example is coming inside after playing in the backyard. 

If you start to feel a tantrum come on,

Use phrases such as:

“I can see that you are sad about coming inside,

it’s okay to be sad about that. we will go outside again tomorrow”

And maybe redirect them with something else inside. 

Such as: ” would you like an apple or an orange for a snack?”


7. Redirection & Choices

Redirection is another great tool. When you can see they are upset about coming inside, you can get them interested in something else.


Let them know they are going to have a snack when they come inside, and give them a choice over an apple or an orange. This allows them to start thinking about something else.


By giving them a choice, you are giving them a little bit of power….which toddlers thrive on. Choices are good, they let your toddler have a say. 


8. Be present with your toddler

One tip I have which I have a very hard time following myself is “being in the moment” when I am playing with my toddler. Its really hard to be completely present when you have a million other things on your mind.

House cleaning can wait until later, put your phone away for a little while. I know its hard, but its so important for your toddler to have parents that are present ( I struggle with this so much!) Put the phones away and focus on a fun project instead!

In 10 years you won’t remember the laundry you didn’t fold, or the floors that needed mopped. You will only remember the fun experiences you had with your kids (I’m still working on this myself).


I find myself getting so wrapped up in the things that need done around the house, it almost consumes me so much that I forget that all my toddler wants is me to play with him.

9. Have toddler “help” with tasks

Our 2 year old has recently been very interested in helping with tasks. When he sees me with the broom he wants to sweep, when he seems me wiping down the counter he starts mimicking what I am doing. They absorb so much at this age and pay very close attention to what mom and dad are doing.

He surprises me sometimes with the things he catches onto. Allowing your toddler to help you, allows him to feel important and gets them used to helping out around the house. My son is surprisingly very helpful sometimes for only being 2 years old!

These are some simple ways your toddler can help around the house and with your newborn:

  • Running diapers to the to the trash (he started doing this on his own and loves doing it!)
  • Helping feed baby (if bottle feeding) as you feel comfortable
  • Grabbing diapers and wipes for me when I need them
  • Bringing his shoes to me before we go outside
  • Picking up his toys when he is done playing with them

In addition to finding little tasks he can help me with, we also found this adorable toddler cleaning set that our son loves to use! It helps him feel more involved in the process, all while learning valuable life skills!


Toddler cleaning set


10. If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help!

One thing that I can’t stress enough is keeping up with your own mental health. Surviving with a toddler & a newborn can be draining at times and you need to make sure you are caring for yourself to better care for your children.


YOU ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR CHILDREN. If you have family that you trust, see if they can help you a few days a week, or even just a few hours.


Not everyone is in the position where they can have family help, so if this is the case for you, make sure you are planning to have some time just for yourself.


Plan time where your partner can watch the kids or handle bedtime, or take some “me” time when the kids are asleep.


I find myself taking my frustrations out on my toddler or my partner if I don’t have enough time for myself- and this doesn’t include house work, showering, or grocery shopping alone. Those are basic things that should not be a privilege to do alone.


Find something that is relaxing and enjoyable to you. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, something as simple as taking a long bath and then watching your favorite show! Whatever it may be that makes YOU happy.


Postpartum depression is something that plays a major part in a lot of moms lives, especially if they are taking on too much. It is a topic that is not normalized or discussed enough. It is imperative to find support and ask for help if this is something you are dealing with.


It can be challenging surviving with a toddler & a newborn

Mothering is HARD! Especially when you have 2 little ones under 2. It can test you in ways you probably didn’t think were possible. Just keep in mind that this time will come to an end and you will have some peace again.


Before you know it, you will have a routine that works for you and your family and will have achieved “your new normal” whatever that may be. I will be cheering for all you mamas, because I know how hard it can be.


Related Article: Preparing for a second baby

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