Probably the co-sleeper. The particular brand we have is difficult to set up, but just having a co-sleeper, period, was a great thing when the baby was little.
As for brand name products, our Naturepedic mattress is very good.
Impossible to narrow down to 1 items! Here are some of my top 10 items...
carriers - I used Moby and Ergo and loved them (and boy did I get fast whipping that Moby on!)
Small bassinet - my DS was a preemie and the crib and pack 'n play were enormous for him!
Pack 'n Play for naps when he was older and for grandparent sleepovers/visiting friends past bed time - so convenient!
City Select stroller - heavy but so comfy for DS and could carry a good sized grocery list of items, allowing me to leave the car at home.
My Breast Friend nursing pillow - invaluable in the beginning when we were just trying to figure it all out
Mommy necklaces - DS loved pulled, chewing and wrapping his fingers through it - I think it made him feel secure to be more anchored to me!
Medela Freestyle pump - so awesomely comfortable, easy and discrete!
Glamourmom nursing tanks - comfy, convenient and stylish, especially the long nursing tank!
Bravado Nursing bras - comfy, easy to clip/unclip and pretty!
Oxy Baby for all those poo explosions that escaped the diapers
Bella bands for pregnancy workouts and dance classes so I didn't flash my swollen belly (I was awfully self conscious about it)
My phone - for my entertainment (and sanity) through those long feedings and for all the pictures I was able to capture when I couldn't reach a camera!
And, one of the things I'm thankful for afterwards was Blurb books - whose BookSmart software gave me the chance to get all those wonderful pictures and stories together in a book that spanned my DS's first year. Love it and made a beautiful gift my the grandparents!
Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape! --Author Unknown
The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children. --Jessican Lange
Depended on the child..
My first: Breast pump (went back to work 6weeks PP).. That is the only thing I used at all.. She was colicky and if I put her down anywhere other than on top of me/DH then she would scream until she was picked up again. Couldn't even use a carrier with her, if my hands or DH's hands weren't touching her she cried. Even when I was touching her she would still cry, hours upon hours each day..
My second: breast friend nursing pillow (god send for nursing and entertaining the older one) and the moby wrap
Third: Ergo (only carrier he didn't cry in!) and bouncy seat (I know some people don't like bouncy seats but moms got to shower occasionally.. not to mention cook, clean, take care of other children etc)
Fourth: mai tei (easier on my bad back!) and City Mini double stroller. The stroller through wasn't for her, I put my 2 middle children in it so we could go places.. still use it, love it. Its gone off roading, to the beach, through Disney World etc and it still looks almost new. So worth the cost.
A vintage 1950's era baby carriage. A friend gave it to me when my son was born. She found it at a tag sale. I used it as a crib alternative in the house. It was great because I could wheel the baby around the house. I parked the carriage next to the sink when I was doing dishes so baby was always close by even when my hands were full. I also wheeled him all over the neighborhood and even in to the grocery store.
My intention, before he was born, was to carry him snuggled in a pack but he soon made it quite clear that he didn't like his "snuggli" one bit. He much prefered lying on his tummy in the carriage, peeking out over the sides at the world. Or lying on his back looking up at the trees, birdies or his mama.
The baby carriage was my initiation into doing things in a way which is "child led".
1) Fitted Newborn Diapers: I used kissaluvs and Etsy SAHM made (babycoondesigns) diapers. Love, love, love them! I use Motherease one size and Sandy's for my now bigger babe.
2) Baby carrier: I exclusively used a ring sling with my DD but have so enjoyed the Moby Wrap for my DS as a newborn and both the Ergo and Boba carriers now that he's bigger. And I did invest in the fleece vest that fits over the Boba, so genius! I use it daily in my cold, snowy climate.
3) Bob stroller: It just rocks! It's like an offroad stroller
4) Hygeia Enjoye Pump: So much more comfortable than the Medela PIS I had with DD! I get much more milk and I love the rechargable battery.
5) Bravado seamless nursing bras and Epibi reusable pads: Hands down, the best!
I am a Mama who
Aden and Anais swaddles. Specifically because of their size which makes swaddling easy but also makes them convenient for so many other uses.. and beyond that, my kids who are 4 and 1 are still using them, so given the length of their usage totally worth the money. Plus they wear beautifully; ours have probably been washed about half a bajillion times to be exact and still look great. ;)
The Beco Gemini carrier, as soon as my child was about four months old. That and a mei-tai. I loved them both.
I still carry her in the Gemini. The stroller is such a pain and we never use it. of course, she runs down the street most of the time and rarely wants to be carried!