Baby products I actually find useful
If you're going to breastfeed (and even if you're not) get a Boppy or some other pillow for support. You will use it. A lot. I actually got a second Boppy (used) before John came so I could have one upstairs and one downstairs. It's been nice not to have to carry it up and down the stairs all the time, but realistically you only need one, and you can definitely get this used - just make sure it isn't too flat otherwise it won't be very helpful.
Load up on burp cloths. I use them for so many many things. Nursing, burping, wiping slobber, cleaning faces...you name the mess and I can pretty much guarantee that I've used a burp cloth to clean it up.
I love my diaper bag. I know plenty of people who say you don't need a diaper bag, but I find ours really helpful. It has lots of pockets and cleans easily. I think whatever bag you choose to tote all your baby paraphernalia needs to have those two characteristics.
Baby contraptions - swings, bouncy seats, jumpers, high chairs etc. I think I'll do a whole post on these.... I have so many thoughts on the subject. As Will commented when I told him about this post "Oh, baby stuff. You certainly know a lot about that."
A good nursing chair (rocker/glider, etc). My father-in-law was super generous and bought us a glider (that also swivels! and reclines!) for our nursery. I LOVE it. And I've been asked if it "actually gets used" to which I reply, "Ummm, yes. A lot. I've spent many, many hours in that chair." My recommendation would be to get something comfortable for you - something you can take a nap or four hundred(thousand) in.
These swaddle blankets. They're awesome. Seriously - if no one buys them for you go out and get some for yourself. Also - make sure you know how to swaddle baby before you leave the hospital.
A snack catcher. You won't need this until baby starts to self feed, but it's one of the best inventions ever. Note: Do not attempt to put Cheerios in it - they're too small and will fly out and make a mess. The best snacks I've found to put in so far are goldfish, raisins and grapes (I've also seen people put animal crackers inside). The snack just needs to be either large-ish (goldfish) or sticky (raisins).
|Joseph sleeping in the Moby.|
I use my Moby wrap (which was given to me by a friend who couldn't figure out how to use it) for the first month-ish after baby is born. I like it for this stage because it snuggles baby right up to your skin and acts like a blanket around them - perfect for that early bonding while still allowing you to get things done - type, read, clean, cook, etc :) My only qualm with the Moby is it's a little hot and a bit of a hassle to put on/take off.
Once baby is bigger and not sleeping quite as much I use my Bjorn (which I got at a baby sale for $20). I use the Bjorn for as short a time as possible. I like that it has the option for head support so I use it when I'm going shopping or doing chores around the house where I'll be bending over or moving around a lot and need baby's head to be supported. The Bjorn I have is killer on the back (all of baby's weight is put on your shoulders with no waist support) which is one of the reasons I use it as little as possible. It's also known to cause hip dysplasia for baby later in life which worries me and is another reason I try not to use it too much.
|Joseph hanging out in the Ergo.|
Note: You can use the Moby wrap until baby is quite big (I've seen people put toddlers in them), so if you like the Moby you can definitely get by with only buying this baby carrier or using it until baby is big enough for the Ergo...or you can just buy the infant insert for the Ergo.
Butt paste or something to treat diaper rash. I use this stuff. Some babies seem to have more diaper rashes than others, but I don't think I've ever met a baby who has never had a diaper rash. I've found that if you keep up with changing baby's diaper then you'll dramatically reduce the number of diaper rashes (don't let a poop diaper sit - change it immediately even if you just changed their diaper)!!!
A nursing cover (if you plan on nursing). This is immensely helpful when you're out in public - especially when you're a novice nurser. I still feel like a novice when it comes to being discreet, so this thing has been a life saver for me. For those of you gifted with sewing skills - you should be able to find a pattern online fairly easily and make your own :)
Stuff that ended up being a complete waste of space (or that I skipped out on because I thought it would be a complete waste of space/money)
Baby shoes - Baby does not need shoes until s/he starts to walk. Sure, they're cute. But good luck keeping up with them!
Wipe warmer - Get one if you'd like, but this is definitely not necessary.
Gas drops - I can't even think of anyone I know who has used these (or maybe they have and I just don't know). One of the best ways to help your baby avoid gas is to burp them during and after each feeding. If your baby still has some gas I've found a little leg pumping (moving baby's legs like they're riding a bike - this will help the gas move through their digestive system and help baby get it out) will usually take care of it.
Dreft - Totally not necessary. You can use whatever detergent you like. I think the main thing is to make sure whatever detergent you use is scent and dye free.
Hanging diaper holder - We have one that came with out nursery set and it has basically just been a waste of space.
Nursery sets - Just buy a couple sheets and whatever decorations you want for the room and skip buying a whole set. The set I bought (and paid a ridiculous amount for) came with bumpers (that we never used), a quilt (that I hung on the wall so it at least got some use) and a diaper hanger (which never got used). So, I ended up paying a ton of money for a sheet (it came with one sheet), a crib skirt and a valance.