After going through several "ultimate lists," I came up with my own. I didn't want to go overboard (rrrright), but I didn't want to miss out on anything either. So, here are the essentials, nive-to-haves, and just-gotta-have-ems for a first time momma like moi. Hopefully, it gives you an idea, too, of what you'll need to keep baby (and everyone around him/her) happy.
THE BARE NECESSITIES
Diapers. Whether you go with disposables or cloth nappies, you will need a LOT. Right now we've stocked up on newborn disposable diapers (c/o our good friend and soon-to-be Godmother to our first born). The first few weeks postpartum are going to be tough. I'm sure Mother Nature wouldn't mind if we use disposable diapers exclusively for a while. They're easier to put on, take off, and dispose of; no need to worry about whose turn it is to do the extra load of laundry for the day (we mothers just went through hours of labor, we'd expect the fathers to do a bit more around the house after that, right? lol)
Onesies, wraps & rompers. They come in different colors, designs, and sizes. Yes, the key word in that last sentence is "sizes." So don't stock up on purely newborn sizes because, believe it or not, babies do grow. Faster than we all expect, in fact. So get a few in various sizes so as soon as they outgrow one size, we won't worry about them going naked even just for a day.
Swaddling cloths. These are very useful especially from birth to around 4 months. You can do it old school (i.e. use a regular cotton, Muslin or flannel blanket and wrap your baby tightly like they do in the old days) or get those SwaddleMe ones with built in velcro snaps that keep baby swaddled and secure all through the night (or day). I got both the regular blankets and the SwaddleMe wraps, just to be on the safe side.
Hats, mittens & booties. Newborns will need lots of warmth to mimic the temperature inside the womb. So, it's important to cover their head, hands (to prevent them from scratching themselves, too), and feet.
Nursing pillow. After labor, you're probably going to want all the help you can get. That includes taking a bit of the load off while nursing your baby. Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle feed, a nursing pillow can help prop baby up at just the right position without putting any strain on you. After going through several options, hubby and I settled on a Boppy nursing pillow. It just arrived in the mail today actually. Hurrah for eBay!
Bottles. If you're planning to breastfeed exclusively, then you probably won't need this. Maybe just a couple down the road for water or juice. That's about it. But if you're going to bottle feed with formula or pump milk, then getting a few 4oz. and 8/9 oz. bottles are definite must-haves. Hubby and I prefer glass bottles, but we figured since they can be quite heavy, a newborn wouldn't be too thrilled about it. So we got an Philips Avent BPA-free essentials gift set for now. Will probably move on to glass bottles when baby gets a bit bigger.
Bibs & burp cloths. You wouldn't want to get any of that spilled milk (or liquidy burp) on baby's cute little outfit (and yours). They grow with baby so you can get as many as you want. They're pretty versatile, too.
Pacifiers. This is quite the controversial item in our family. See, I was given a pacifier as a baby and everyone kept telling me how I've turned out to be spoiled (was it my fault that I was just too darn cute??). Not to mention the teasing that followed in reference to my full, puckered lips. But I think it can't hurt to have 1 or 2 pacifiers on standby. Just in case baby gets restless even after feedings. Better be prepared, right?
Bottle sterilizer. We got our microwavable sterilizer as part of the Avent starter kit. Very convenient, yes, because it can clean both plastic and glass bottles. Great for traveling, too.
Bottle drying rack. Include a good bottle and nipple brush while you're at it. Starter kits and bottle gift sets usually have them already.
Crib or Co-Sleeper. Hubby had plans of making one from scratch. But with everything going on with work and in the home-front (we're moving after I give birth), we decided it would be best to just get a convertible playard for now. We did salivate after the Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper for a while. Even joined a contest online hoping we'd win one. But that didn't seem to be in the cards for us. So, we bought The First Year Close and Secure Sleeper instead. This will allow us to put the baby to sleep on the bed with us for the first few months without any risk of rolling over her or suffocating her. Does the job at a fraction of the price. We're quite happy with this purchase.
Beddings. Bolster pillows, comforter, a Boppy anti-flat head mattress...whatever floats your boat. Just remember not to leave any of these in the crib with your baby so they don't accidentally smother themselves. To keep them warm in their crib, stick with a swaddling blanket. And always keep an eye on them. Always. Look at me, preaching, when I have no idea what I'm talking about half the time. LOL
BABY ON THE MOVE
Baby carrier, car seat & stroller. Also known as a travel system, these really come in handy during the first few months. The stroller could be used much longer, depends on how much the weight limit is on them, which really gives you your money's worth. We got the Safety 1st Saunter Travel System because A) it didn't cost an arm and a leg, and B) when we have a baby boy, the Cosmos Storm theme will still work. So cute, right?
Diaper bag w/ changing mat. This is tricky only because you can practically turn any spacious tote into a diaper bag nowadays. That way you don't have to buy one. My aunts did give me a gold diaper purse that doesn't look like a diaper bag at all. The only negative thing about that is that hubby clearly can't carry it around. I mean, I don't even let him carry my purses pre-pregnancy! So, the only solution was to get an affordable, daddy-friendly diaper bag that didn't sacrifice quality or function. I just hope hubby liked what I picked out. ;)
Sling or carrier. It's all about hands-free cuddling. Using one would definitely turn any new parent into a multitasking pro. We received an Infantino carrier a couple of months back and I thought that was just a really thoughtful and functional gift. I especially can't wait for hubby to use it. LOL
BATH & BEYOND
Changing table or contoured pad. If space is an issue in your home, you don't really need to buy any new baby furniture, especially not an entire changing table. All you need is a free table top that's just the right height and has a little more space for changing essentials. That's exactly what we're doing. We got the Summer Infant contoured changing pad and I think we're all set.
Bath tub. Your best bet are the infant-to-toddler types because your baby can use it for a much longer period of time. My sister-in-law gave us a pretty standard tub with a clip-on net that will secure baby so we don't have to worry about her slipping or tumbling around.
Baby wash. Always go for the mildest, most natural variant. It helps that the kind you get is approved by your baby's pediatrician. We've received a few bottles of Aveeno wash-and-shampoo. Tried some while giving my niece a bath and she seemed fine with it. She smelled really nice afterward, too.
Baby wipes. You can deal with baby pee and doody two ways. Do it like what our parents did - good old warm water and some cotton - or use good-quality baby wipes. We've started to stock up on wipes ourselves, just in case the cotton won't be able to cut through the, well, mess.
FIRST AID & GROOMING
Healthcare & grooming kit. You've got your thermometer, nasal aspirator, soft bristle hair brush, nail clippers, etc. When it comes to your baby's health and safety, there's really no room for shortchanging.
Baby monitor. This is pretty standard. But with all the kinds and brands that are out in the market now, it's hard to settle on one. Personally, I rely on customer feedback and product reviews. So, go with one that's tried, tested, and praised more than bashed.
Diaper rash cream. I was told never to leave home without diaper rash cream when lugging baby around. It might just save you a sleepless night or two. Better to beat the rash before it even starts. So, keep that baby bum clean, dry, and protected at every diaper change.
Toy & pacifier wipes. Sure, that mom probably just wiped off toys of her clothes or blew on them and handed them back to their baby after they've dropped them, but when it's your baby, you want to play it safe. When I saw these toy & pacifier wipes on Amazon (they were rated pretty well, too), I knew I had to get my hands on some. I've also bought a bottle of toy and surface cleaner at a local mall. Whatever germs my babies get from school or the playground can't be helped, but my home will definitely be as clean as I can make it for them.
Deet-free mosquito repellent stickers. I got a box of these really colorful, kid-friendly mosquito repellent stickers from Watson's and I feel like my baby is already protected from the little buggies. No one likes to get bitten. At least not by mosquitoes.
Rocker, swing or bouncy seat. Moms (and dads, too) swear by this. It helps soothe a restless, crying baby, and leaves momma's hands free to do other things around the house while baby is blissfully distracted. Good friend and another Godmother-to-be gave us an infant-to-toddler rocker because she loved her baby's so much, she thought we'd find it very useful, too.
WHO WOULDN'T LOVE THESE?
Teethers & rattles
Diaper disposal system and liners
Car window sunshade protectors
Baby carrier net protector
Bumbo seat & tray
Books, toys & trinkets
Baby-friendly laundry detergent
Toy & surface cleaner
Booster or convertible car seat
Plates, spoons & sippy cups
Portable potty & liners
Car backseat organizer
Bottle & food warmer
Infant travel bed
Boppy travel pillow
Baby's insurance, educational and mutual funds
JUST FOR MOM
"What To Expect: The First Year" book
Breast milk storage
Button down or maternity tops
Birth & newborn photography sessions
I haven't really had my baby shower yet, but so far, I think hubby and I can survive the first couple of months with everything we've gotten so far - almost all of the quintessential newborn stuff, some nice things baby won't even remember owning, and a few other indulges just because they rank high in the cute and nifty scale.
Still figuring out what to give our baby for, well, whatever occasion? Our baby registry should help you guys out. Thanks in advance, loves!