Disclaimer: All of these tips are only based on my limited experience of FOUR newborns. There are hundreds of y'all that read these posts and its unrealistic to think that what has worked for my family will work for all of you so just take what you like and dump the rest. :)
Tip #1 - CUT DAIRY
Way to start off with the hard stuff right?! Well all four of my babies couldn't handle my breastmilk when I was eating dairy. They usually didn't notice it until they were around 3 weeks old but then colic started or purple crying. For the twins, I cut dairy as soon as they were born and they are my first and only babies to not have colic or purple crying. It does take a while to get it out of your system to start as soon as you can. There is nothing worse that watching your newborn(s) writhe in pain and scream uncontrollably for hours!
Tip#2 - SWADDLE
I've swaddled all of my kids and it helps them fall asleep and stay asleep. For my firstborn, I just used those Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. For Isla, I used the Miracle Swaddle (and loved it). For the twins I use velcro Swaddle Mes. I was given the velcro tip from another twin mom because you need to do anything and everything you can to save time with twins. I swaddle them for naps and bedtime and it really helps keep them calm.
Tip #3 - WHITE NOISE
I used to use an app on my phone (Sleepy Sounds) but I got frustrated when it would turn off if I got a phone call or wake the baby when it stopped so I bought the Homedics My Baby Sound Spa. We use the Ocean sound for my girls and the twins. I've gotten so used to it, that I can't sleep without hearing it through the baby monitor. The white noise helps newborns calm down and relax and helps my older girls sleep through noise (like thunder or 4th of July).
Tip #4 - Transferring a Sleeping Baby Without Waking Them
Okay, you've been nursing for 30 mins and your baby is sound asleep but every time you lay them down in the crib the wake right back up. What gives? Well I learned this trick that if you make sure their head touches the crib mattress before their neck or back or legs, they wills stay asleep. Newborns have a startle reflex that is easily activated with loud noise or touch and it is activated if their back hits the mattress first. Try this tip, it works!
Tip #5 - Bath/Bedtime Routine
This doesn't really have to start until around 6 weeks but there's no harm in starting sooner. Get a solid bedtime routine. Doing the same thing every night will tell their body that it's time for sleep and save you so much sanity later on. My bedtime routine starts right after dinner at 6pm. I take the babies upstairs, get them undressed and run a bath. I don't use soap at every bath because it can dry their skin out and it's really not necessary. I will put a little soap on their privates to get them clean but I save a whole-body-soapdown for only once or twice a week max. After bath I sing them a song (Twinkle Twinkle) while I get them in their jammies and swaddle them. I make sure the white noise machine is on (and fan for good measure) then I nurse them, burp them and put them to bed. Even if they aren't asleep I put them in their crib and they usually fall asleep pretty fast. Sometimes, one twin goes right to sleep but the other requires me to go back in and try some more soothing.
Tip #6 - ME TIME
We all need time to ourselves to relax and recharge. For us sailor's wives, that can be a challenge when our husbands are away. When Avelyn was about 7 months old, we started going to the YMCA and it has been such a lifesaver. I get to have some alone time to blast my music and not worry about crying babies for an hour a day. The kids get to have socialization with other kids and we always hit up the playground afterwards. Once my babies have had their shots, I am cleared to get to the gym again. I only grew to love exercise after having kids. For one ENDORPHINS make all the difference when kids are running you ragged all day and also you're going to need to be strong and healthy to care for them. They start running from you pretty fast and carrying a 27lb two year old throwing an epic tantrum along with your twins out of a store will require some muscle (or so I'm told). ;)
My trick for making this work is to time our arrival to right before they need to eat again. After I get the girls checked in, I take the boys and change their diaper, swaddle them and nurse them down for nap. I hand them off sound asleep. I try to always drop my kids off happy because they won't usually ever cry when being dropped off in the future. I want the Y to be a place we all look forward to going and it's a lot easier for me to disconnect when I know all my kids and babies are being taken care of and are having fun. (Side tip: Be nice to the childcare staff!! Those ladies are dealing with tons of kids all day long and deserve your respect and kindness. :)
Tip #7 - COFFEE
This is another one for you, not the babies. I set my coffee pot to make itself the night before. No matter how rough the night was, when I know I have a delicious pot of Ruta Maya Dark waiting for me, the day seems less daunting. Following my sister's advice, I've started to drink a cup of iced coffee (leftovers from the morning) at noon everyday and it has helped get me through the afternoon and evening fussiness.
Tip #8 - BABY HOLDERS EVERYWHERE
This one is a special shoutout for the twin moms. Get baby holding devices all over your house! I have a pack'n'play in my bedroom, a swing and rock n play in the living room, two bouncy chairs in the kitchen and so on. It's also necessary when you have a 2 year old who is bound and determine to hold and feed your babies every second you turn around. Invest in the babyholders!
Tip #9 - Diaper & Snack Stations Everywhere
Create diaper stations in all the main areas of your house. The only place I don't change diapers is ironically the changing table. I have a basket on my nightstand with diapers, wipes, booger-sucker, diaper rash cream (Purple Desitin FTW), a burp rag, snacks and a water bottle. I have the same in the living room and upstairs in the nursery.
Tip #10 - Baby Tracking App
This will help you the most in the first 6-8 weeks. I used Total Baby (it's great for twins). This app will track all your feedings (nursing minutes and which side you left off on, bottle feeding and ounces). It also tracks your babies sleep and growth. It even gives you their percentiles!
That's it. Those are my top 10 newborn survival tips. Is there something that worked for you that I didn't list? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!