1. Snuggle Nest: Forget bassinet or Crib, but you definitely need a Snuggle nest before the baby is ready to come home. It is a cozy little place he can call his own, you can move him around the house with ease and no matter where you are, baby can nap. It can be easily placed on bed at night and baby can co-sleep safely with you for those night time feedings. I did not buy a bassinet and had my baby in this for upto 2 months. And then gradually transferred him to the crib.
2. Diaper Disposal: For me it has been Diaper Genie Elite for three years. No matter which one you choose to go with, you definitely need one from day one because babies start having diapers from day 1 and trust me the first ten days, the diapers smell the worst because of muconium.
I highly recommend Diaper Genie Elite II, it has worked for us for past 3 years ( between 2 kids) and never given away those smelly diapers.
3. Infant Formula and Bottles: No matter how determined you are to breast feed exclusively, sometimes things don't go the way you planned...you are on medications or baby needs more than what you produce. So if you realize at 9pm that baby needs more and you don't have any, that formula is a blessing without having to run to grocery store when you are already exhausted.
A lot of times, when you sign up on parenting websites, you get introductory sample formulas but bottles you need to invest in. Playtex with Liners is what I have used and I love the ease of not having to worry about left over formula, smell in the bottle or cleaning up with brush. The disposable liners are Godsend for working mothers like me and they are BPA free.
4. Breast Pump: Another product that is a must at home is 'breast pump'. New borns are not on a schedule or sleep cycle and there may be times when you are ready for a feed but he is in deep sleep with no interest in feeding what so ever. Breast pump is a great help in such situations. I know friends who left the hospital with some heavy medicines for a week and could not be breast feed in that period and the first thing they had to research and buy was breast pump. You will need one sooner or later so buy it at your own convenience ahead of time.
5.Washed clothes: This includes baby clothes, socks, blankets, towels, bibs, burp clothes and hats. Buy this before going to hospital, laundry and fold them, ready to use when you come back.
6. Diaper changing products: Have a small pack of newborn diapers, diaper rash cream, Softening cream like Aquaphor, Wipes, Tissues all bought and put away in the area where you and baby plan to sleep. You will need these almost as soon as you get home. You will be waking up for feedings and diaper changes but having things next to you will atleast minimize getting up from the bed.
7. Swing: Infact swing is a must have I have realized. Babies love to be rocked and having swing from day one allows them to get used to it and gives you some breather. If you plan to buy one on your own, check out the Fisher Price Papasan Cradle Swing, I loved it. It was comfy, had a small light projector under the canopy and best of all, worked both on batteries and power adapter. I had it running sometimes all night and never had a problem.
8. Lansinoh or breast moisturizer: I say you keep it in your hospital bag as well because vaseline just doesn't work, atleast it didn't for me. You will need it if you plan to breast feed. Also, it is something you can rub on your babies lips if they get dry too.
9. Mylecon or any other gas medicine: My husband had to make a trip to the store the very next day for this. Babies get gassy easily and nothing soothes them better than a gas medicine. The generic brand at Walgreen works equally good and is much cheaper.
10: Camera: A small point and shoot camera that also allows you to take small videos coz with the baby around, forget the SLR and a camcorder...the picture moments are frequent and pass quickly, you wont have time to adjust those lenses :) Get a small point and shoot and click away making memories.
Above all PACIFIERS. There is a reason they are called pacifiers and they do what they claim, pacify a irritated, confused and upset baby. So get atleast 4 of these and make sure you buy the ones that come with a lid.
No product can replace a supporting husband or partner who understands what you have just gone through physically, emotionally to bring this baby in this world, family support in form of parents or in-laws and friends who come to play with the baby so you can take a nap...as they say that is PRICELESS. For everything else above, there is a credit card :)
The pictures here are the products I have been using and have been very happy with but there are tons of new ones out there.
And here is the link to my very favorite song from 'Tere Mere Sapne'...jeevan ki bagiya mehkegi….it captures the essence of parenthood between a couple so beautifully.