1. Burp Cloths - It's worth the extra money to get these extra soft 'Chinese pre-folds' from Osocozy. They are nice and thick and absorb a lot of spit up. We use twelve these in combination with twelve Gerber pre-folds and twenty-four regular Gerber cloth diapers. Have we mentioned that our baby spits up - a LOT? We love the pretty ones we got as a gift from babyJaR pictured below - great for when you are out and about, but for home we mainly use white cloths (unless it is laundry day). You probably could start with 12, but the 48 (yes, that is forty-eight. Not a typo) now allows us to do laundry 2-3 times a week rather than every day.
2. Foam Bath Mat - It folds, it's cheap, it's soft and this one has an indicator for when the water is too hot - great for first time parents. We love that it is flexible - we prop it at the end of the bath tub so Hudson can sit up. Takes up minimal space which is perfect for apartment living. He loves bath time!
3. Flannel Waterproof mats - Can I mention that this is a laundry saver? You'll be doing a lot of laundry and it's great to have something you can put on your changing mat and in the crib so that you don't have to change the cover or sheets each time your little one spits up or has a diaper blow out. My mom got the large sheet and cut it into ~24" x 18" squares which are the perfect size. The rubber center keeps the fabric from unraveling.
4. Swaddling blankes - We love these from Aiden & Anais. We got ours gently used off of craigslist and they are soft and very versitle - can be used as a nursing cover or a burp cloth in a pinch and they are super soft and large (easy to swaddle for newbies). They get softer with each wash which is great and they are light weight so they can be used in the summer too. Target also sells them now for cheaper.
5. Bottle drying rack - We love the look of this one from Boon and it looks great on our counter (let's face it - it's going to be out for the next year of your baby's life you might as well enjoy looking at it). It holds all those little accessories for the bottles and the pump well and looks good doing it. Bonus both pieces can be thrown into the dishwasher and it has a great capacity with a small footprint (perfect for small apartments!)
6. Exercise ball - This was a life saver the first few weeks with Hudson. He loved to be held and bounced on this ball - it's what we turned to when nothing else seemed to work. This one has sand which helps with stability (always a plus when it is 3am and you are bouncing your little one). Think of it as a jump start to your post-partum exercise plan!
7. Amazon Moms - If you haven't heard of this subscription service - you need to get on board. You don't need to be a mom (dad's, grandparents work). You get discounts (huge when it comes to diapers - 30% off with subscribe and save) and you get a free Amazon Prime membership essentially for a year (first month is free and is extended with each $20 you spend - diapers alone will cover you).
8. Earth's Best Wipes - I love these wipes. They are large, not to damp, not too dry, very soft and get the job done. They keep you clean while you get your baby clean. Great thing is that they are chlorine free so they are perfect for your newborn's sensitive skin. And you can subscribe for them via Amazon Mom's - the case of 12 lasts about 2-3 months.
9. CeraVe - Perfect lotion for baby's (and your!) skin. So important to keep them hydrated!
10. Bacitracin - Works perfectly for minor chapping, burns and scrapes/scratches. Heals them super fast!
Okay - more fun stuff now - electronics and toys!
11. Plastic rings - This is the first toy that Hudson was interested in. He loves to grab and shake them and put them in his mouth. You can link them in a zillion different ways and take just a couple with you when you are going out. So simple, so cheap, so worth it!
12. Flip camera - A gift from my work but we love it. It has been fun catching Hudson making noises and moving around. I'm sure it will become more invaluable as he gets older. Takes regular batteries and has a great mic. Bonus - it acts as a new baby toy. Hudson loves looking at the little red light.
13. Bouncy chair - Hudson's second favorite toy. We got this one on a super deal from Gilt Groupe (I know - who knew they had deals on baby stuff?). We love the Bjorn because it folds flat, has three height settings, and Hudson bounces the chair rather than having it bounced for him. It is one of the more upright chairs out there. We see them all the time on CL, and I am all about the used baby gear. The cover easily comes off for washing too which is important!
14. Sleep Sheep - We didn't think Hudson like this one since at 4 weeks it made him cry. Now he uses it at every nap on the "ocean" setting. It has become invaluable.
15. Itzbeen - Great device for the first 3 months. It is a count-up timer that lets you know how long 'itz been' since the baby ate, was changed, or started sleeping. We also loved this journal to keep everything straight. Those first three weeks you are pretty much a zombie - these two things helped keep us sane and we are still using them.
16. Park Slope Parents Yahoo Group - Okay this one is more applicable to Brooklynites, but has been invaluable to us. There are classifieds for used baby gear, advise forums for a everything under the sun. It's how we found our nanny. If you aren't blessed enough to be a Brooklynite, connect with your local support groups. Being a parent isn't easy and everyone needs as much support as you can get!