I wasn't terribly overwhelmed with my son, and even less so with my daughter.
Things that I bought and didn't need:
bassinet-- I didn't actually buy this, my sister did. It ended up being a repository for dirty diapers.
I think BeanBean slept in it twice?
Things that I used a lot with my first baby--
stroller-- initially, I had to walk most places with BeanBean, or take the bus. I used the stroller constantly, and I wouldn't have necessarily been able to sling him safely walking, say, 2 miles in ice and snow.
car seat-- we used an infant carseat/carrier. BeanBean rode in it for 6 months, his sister for 9 (?) or so, and BellyBean will be riding in it, too, until she outgrows it or we get some cash (BooBah moved up not because she had outgrown the infant carrier, but because we had the money to buy BeanBean a new, larger seat and figured it was reasonable to put her into the convertible).
blankets-- BeanBean was born in November, and quite frankly we didn't have enough blankets for him.
It made life difficult.
Boppy-- It was work to nurse BeanBean at first, so I used the Boppy a lot. I wish that I had had covers for mine, or another one, because I had an overactive let down and used to drench the thing regularly.
Baby Bjorn-- Used it constantly when BeanBean was small.
breast pump-- BeanBean was a NICU baby; I started out pumping and the thing paid for itself in that week alone.
clothing-- those long nighties with the elastic on the bottom. Holy moly, those things were useful!
Also, wrap-around undershirts are a *must* for new babies. After the cord falls off you can use regular snap crotch undershirts, and we used tons of those, too. BeanBean wore lots of clothing because it was freaking cold.
towels-- Again, it was freaking cold. We didn't have a ton of towels for us, so I needed hooded towels for BeanBean. He was bathed rather frequently because of my overactive letdown (constant milk in his hair
). We never had enough towels.
waterproof crib sheets-- I slept on these until BeanBean was 9 or 10 months old and I got pregnant (and stopped leaking milk *everywhere* every night). An absolute must, in my book!For the second baby
Things I had but never used:
I pumped for BooBah only once, when she was in the hospital having a pneumogram done at about 4 months.
Never used the Boppy, and didn't use the stroller until she was older; My niece liked to take her for walks with it. Now, rather than the big, wonderful stroller, I use an umbrella stroller for her. I would *love* to get a double stroller, but it's not in the budget.
Nursing pads-- I was tandem nursing, so I never had milk leakage at all. I think I wore them for a month before I decided that I didn't really need them anymore.
Things I used all the time with #2:
Slings-- an absolute necessity.
I started out with a very simple, utilitarian Maya Wrap (not one of the super cute ones) and it was wonderful. Light weight enough that I didn't cook (BooBah was born in June) and so easy to use and adjust.
BooBah lived in it.
Cloth diapers-- I didn't start cd'ing until BeanBean was 6 months old, and he was quite petite, so all I had was medium covers and premium prefolds. I traded here for some infant sized prefolds. Honestly, I wish I'd had more. BooBah was (is!!) an *extremely* heavy wetter for her size, due to a congential kidney problem. Initially, I used the cheap Gerber flats because BooBah was quite mini, which brings me to #3.
Blankets-- She didn't need them over herself to much (just a recieving blanket or a light baby blanket) but I needed three or four to adjust the carseat for her. The straps didn't get small enough to hold her in without blankets between her legs and around her shoulders.
It's not generally an issue for babies who weigh more than 6 pounds, but BooBah was nearly 7 pounds at birth and still quite small (my kids, like myself, are very densely built; *very* large bones, and heavy muscles). The carseat checker at the hospital where she was born said she had never seen a baby who weighed more than 6 pounds at birth need the blankets to adjust the carseat.
Clothing-- BooBah had health issues which necessitated frequent trips out of the house. If she had been home all the time, she would have been fine with the zillions of undershirts but we were constantly running around so she needed more clothing than we had.
She also had GERD to deal with, so she would often need her clothing changed several times in a day. The long nighties got on her nerves, because she was very physically adept from the beginning and they made it difficult for her to move her legs (and I mean the very beginning-- BooBah wriggled and tried to push up on her arms less than 20 minutes after she was born, in an attempt to find daddy's voice). I had to keep her legs free, otherwise she would get tangled and angry. That meant lightweight pants or sunsuits.
Socks-- these came a little bit later. BooBah was early to crawl, cruise, and walk, so she needed socks with non-skid bottoms earlier. This meant that the cute little one-piece outfits which fit her were all inappropriate (because they were infant sizes, most of them had feet with soft, smooth bottoms).
Spit rags-- while BeanBean hardly ever spit up, BooBah was *constantly* tossing.
I used the Gerber flatfolds for spitrags, too.
Incredibly useful things, those are...