So whether you're a veteran mama or have just heard great things about products, what can't you live without?
Must-Have Baby Items?
A good baby carrier - for me that`s a woven wrap but anything that can be used from newborn to toddler and is ergonomically correct for mama and baby.
Cloth Diapers (plus diaper pail, covers and wet bags)
Something that can be used to catch and wipe up the various messes that come out of babies. In my opinion you can't actually have too many cotton flannel receiving blankets. Nice soft baby washclothes are great too.
Soft, comfortable baby clothes that are easy to put on and take off. They don't need fancy outfits, just something comfortable.
A couple good nursing bras.
A functional diaper bag that's easy to pack and carry.
I'm sure there are some other things but those are the basics for me.
I also love my jogging stroller / bike trailer, but not until the baby is actually old enough to run or bike with. It's not really a necessity from a baby care point of view but it allows me to maintain my sanity.
A good thermometer that you know how to use properly. http://www.amazon.com/Exergen-Temporal-Artery-Thermometer-TAT-2000C/dp/B000LJAEPQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336166578&sr=8-1 is my favorite.
Sprayer to wash poo from cloth diapers.
More blankets than you think you need- it will all get peed on.
My list of ABSOLUTE MUST-HAVES is this:
-- ring sling. I know others like other carriers... I really do like a jersey wrap for newborns too, but overall, I HAVE TO HAVE my ring sling. I use it all the time and for so long!!
-- good nursing bras. Yes, you can always just use your normal bras and pull the cup down, but it does break down the shape of your bra over time, especially if you're well-endowed and pulling those DD cups off those massive milky boobs is more hassle than it's worth.
-- good nursing pads. I don't normally use disposable ones, but for the first two weeks or so, there's some kind of gel ones that were life-savers for me. Otherwise, merino wool nursing pads are worth more than gold to me. I neeeeeeed them. The gel nursing pads are these: http://www.amazon.com/Medela-Tender-Care-Hydrogel-Pads/dp/B0011ECPA2/ref=pd_sim_ba_3 and the merino wool ones are these: http://www.jilliansdrawers.com/products/formom/breastfeeding/breastpads/organicmerinowoolnursingpads .
-- Cloth diapers. Doesn't have to be fancy. Prefolds and recycled wool covers can do the trick.
-- Soft clothes. I mostly have clothing made from knits early on. Stretchy, natural fibers are best for tender, new skin.
There's more I *like* to have. But that's all I *need*.
I like the lists given. For us, we started with about everything you can imagine. We've since sold so much stuff that we never or hardly used. The only things I care about are my carriers, diapers, comfy clothes (my faves are onesies and sleepers. My kids LIVE in these). What else? My kids actually loved the swing, so it was nice to have a place for them to be when I needed a break from wearing (my kids were both born in June, so I'd get hot wearing or holding them all the time). We sold all our nursery stuff. Crib never even saw the 2nd child lol! Yes on good bras, nursing pads, etc. That was it. I used (and still do) Cali baby on my kids for washing, which wasn't super often as infants. I used the Cali baby calendula cream for any skin-related issue, like rashes but because we cloth diped that was rare.
I'm sure there is more but all I can think of now.
A good carseat that you are very comfortable using and installs well in your car.
Sling(s) that work well for you and baby. I prefer pouches for tiny ones, and Mei Tais or SSCs for later. I've tried wraps and ring slings and neither worked well for me.
Prefolds (ie burp clothes), wipes, diapers and covers, large wet bag(s) for the pail, smaller wet bags for the diaper bag
Comfy easy baby clothes - sleepers, gowns, onsies, t-shirts, etc
Nursing pads (I leak too much for cloth ) and good nursing bras
A bouncy seat for the bathroom for while mommy is showering or using the toilet
A bag for when out of the house
Something to protect the sheets and mattress from leaky baby and mommy messes. I used prefolds and receiving blankets for DD1, and a nice wool blanket for DD2.
As baby gets older:
a high chair, bibs, baby/child sized silverware, dishes that can be thrown on the floor, and cups
an exersaucer or other baby containment device for in the bathroom (my older babies/toddlers always got into all sorts of trouble in the bathroom while I was using the toilet or showering if allowed to roam)
Oh, and toiletries:
basic selection of medication you're comfortable with giving (Hyland's teething tablets, infant Motrin, we use Tiger Balm as a chest rub for congested babies/kids, etc)
lanolin or other nipple cream