First, things we use all of the time and that I would recommend to any new mom:
car seat/stroller: We have the Graco spree travel system in Barcelona. I love our travel system. The car seat and stroller are easy to use and light weight. They have a great safety rating in consumer reports. I also like the gender neutral fabric on these and they are very easy to keep clean.
Ergo: We have an Ergo with the infant insert, aka the baby Taco. I love our Ergo and couldn't live without it. It was a life saver the first three months when I was home all day with a fussy baby who did not want to be put down. Everyday I would put Margot in the Ergo and do my household chores. I also use it for grocery shopping and going on walks. I like that it keeps her really secure and warm and it is the most comfortable carrier I've used. The only downside is that it is expensive. But I think it is well worth the invstment especially if you have a fussy baby.
bouncy seat: someone gave us this baby Einstein bouncer. This thing is a life saver and Margot loves it.
A&D Diaper ointment: A friend recommeded this to me before we had Margot and I really love it. It's kind of weird how much I love my diaper ointment but I do. We use this everytime we change Margot and it works very effectively as a barrier. We've had almost no diaper rash and when some starts to creep up it seems to go away very quickly. A & D diaper original diaper ointment
Johnsns baby bath products: I registered for all the classic Johnson's because I love the way they smell. We use Johnson's head to toe baby wash, and occasionally I use Johnson's baby shampoo. We also use Johnson's lavender baby bedtime bath in our baths. I use Johnson's baby oil and baby lotion after her baths and for baby massages. I also have travel size baby soap and baby lotion which I keep in her diaper bag. I also found Johnson's baby oil to be a very fast/effective cure for cradle cap.
Swaddle me's: This is something we have started using more recently since we've moved Margot out of our bed. I really like these because they keep her nice and snug and they are easy to use. summer swaddle me's
Arm &Hammer diaper bags: someone gave us these, along with a dispenser that hooks in the diaper bag. They are disposable bags to put dirty diapers in and they completely mask the smell. This is one of those things I never would have though I needed but I do. I keep these in our diaper bag and they are perfect for when you have to change a diaper and there's no place to dispose of it. Just put the diaper in the bag, tie it up, throw it in your diaper bag and dispose of it once you are home. You can get them at Target.
Changing pads: We use these pads on top of our changing table pad cover because they are quicker and easier to change and wash. It's much easier to throw one of these in the wash with the baby laundry and get out a new one rather than constantly remove the changng pad cover which is kind of a pain.
Toys: We registered for the this activity gym which Margot LOVES and Chris also loves. We also bought this one to keep at my Mom's house (since my Mom is watching Margot when I'm at work). She seems to like this one just as much. We also have a few little toys that link onto the car seat etc. Most important to Margot is "Willamina the dancing cow" and Gerald the Giraffe which I believe both came from Target but I can't find pictures. Gerald is a rattle and he is Margot's favorite toy! And of course we have Sophie the Giraffe which Margot is really starting to like too. I didn't think a lot about baby toys before we had Margot but I think they are so important at keeping her entertained and helping her learn.
Burp cloths: You can't have enough burp cloths. I registered for a large pack of Gerber cloth diapers and a 4-pack of pretty Gerber burp cloths. I also received a few packs of swaddle designs burp cloths. In all I think I have around 20 and I still get close to the bottom of the stack between loads of baby laundry. I think I use around 3 a day. So register for many many burp cloths!
Diaper bag- I registered for this diaper bag which I really like. It's cute and fun. It is a good size and has lots of pockets. It comes with a plastic pouch for dirty clothes that's easy to clean.
Books for us: I read a lot of books while I was pregnant. These are the books we have referred to since she's been born: The Happiest Baby on the Block, What to Expect the First year, The Womanly Art of Breast feeding, Solve your child's sleep problems. The one I have used the most is my breast feeding book. I am amazed at how many times I have opened this book since I had Margot and how helpful it has been.
Medela double electric pump in style breast pump: If you are nursing I think this is a must even if you aren't going back to work. I have used mine consistantly since I came home from the hospital. It's easy to use, comfortable and works very well.
Medela bottles: Along with our pump we registered for two boxes of 5oz medela bottles with slow flow nipples and one box of of 8oz bottles with medium flow nipples. I chose medela because they are designed for babies going between breast and bottles. These have worked really well for us. I like the slow flow nipple and Margot seems to do really well with them. The other thing I like about these bottles is that they are compatable with my pump so I can pump directly into the bottle.
Lasinoh breast pads: I like these better than any of the other brands I have tried. They are thin and comfortable. They also have tabs that stick to your clothes so that they don't slide around all day.Medela pump and save bags.: If you are going back to work I think these are really helpful for building up a freezer supply.
Lansinoh soothies:These are wonderful for sore nipples. They were the only thing that really provided relief. They are rather expensive but I thought it was worth it.
Boppy pillow: I found the Bobby pillow really helpful for breast feeding in the first couple of months. I also think a second cover is necessary. I was always getting milk or spit up on it.
Other things we've used:
Baby Bijorn: We also have an bijorn carrier which I like (although not as much as the ergo). The Bijorn is easier to use when you are out and about or in a hurry because it's just one part rather than two. It's also less expensive, and Margot does like it. The downsides are that it just isn't as comfortable to wear and it doesn't keep her warm. I keep this one in the trunk for when we are out and I don't have the Ergo with me.
cradle/crib: Sleeping situations vary so much from family to family. I was completely opposed to having Margot in our bed before she was born and so we decided on a cradle for her to sleep in our room for the first several months. We have this one . I love this cradle because it is so classic and beautiful. It has wheels making it easy to move around the house and it rocks easily but also has a locking pin. Sadly Margot did not share my enthusiasm for the cradle and refused to sleep in it when we came home from the hospital. And she in fact did sleep in our bed until very recently. After three months she is finally sleeping in her cradle in our room. Once she sleeps all night and out grows her cradle (probably around 5-6months) we'll move her to her crib in her own room. We have the Divinci Jennylind crib in white in her nursery. An option that I think would have worked better for us is a co-sleeper. I think if we had started Margot in a co-sleeper and gradually inched her further to her side she might have transitioned out of our bed much sooner and easier. One of the reasons I kept her in our bed as long as I did was because it was easier to nurse her at night and it would have been just as easy with a co-sleeper. However, I don't like way they look and in the end that won over practicality.
baby bath tub: I originally thought we didn't need a baby bath but so many people said I did so in the end I registered for this tub . This was really helpful for the first two months because it has a baby sling which makes it easier when bathing a tiny baby. However, once Margot out grew the swing she didn't like it because she wasn't in enough water. Then we started putting her in the bath with me which she loves. When we traveled I just bathed her in a kitchen sink with a large bath towel folded up in the bottom of the sink. I honestly thought this worked just as well as the baby bath tub.
swaddle designs blankets: Before Margot was born we received some swaddle designs blankets which we intended to use to swaddle her. However, she was so tiny that they were too big to swaddle her in. Although these blankets are very pretty, and I liked the idea of swaddling her in them, they just haven't worked for us. I actually use these blankets mostly for nursing in public. They are big enough that I can just throw one over Margot and I, get her latched and then tuck it around us.
Halo Sleep Sack: We used this a little at first because I thought the fleece would keep Margot warmer but I like the summer swaddle me's better. However, we'll probably use this again once we stop swaddling her.
Lansinoh Lanolin cream: I also registered forLanisinoh Lanolin cream which is highly recommeded for nursing mothers. I only used it for it's intended purpose for a few days because my nipples were so bad I had to get APNO. However, I had heard that Lanolin cream made good lip gloss and it does! I have used it ever since as lip gloss.Things that haven't worked for us:
swing:Someone loaned us a Fisher price my little lamb cradle n swing. This is a really nice swing and if your baby likes swings I'm sure it's great. Margot has not been crazy about the swing. She usually will only stay in it for 15-20 minutes and from 2 weeks-2 months she wouldn't go in it at all.
pacifier: I was really unsure whether I wanted to give Margot a pacifier because my breastfeeding book did not recommend it and I had read some correlations between pacifier use and shorter lengths of breastfeeding. We ended up registering for an Avent one just to have on hand in case. The few times we tried to give it to her she refused to take it.
Nursing cover: I was really excited about my nursing cover until I tried to use it. I don't know if I just have a really dumb one or if it's a user error but I hate the thing. I can't see to get Margot latched and it's just a pain. I just throw a blanket over my head to get her latched and then wrap that around us.
I recommend lots of blankets if you have a winter baby. We are always getting spit up or milk on them. It's good to have a variety of sizes and weights.
It's also good to have lots of baby washcloths and towels.
I wash all of the baby laundry seperately with Dreft baby detergent. It is gentle and smells wonderful. I also treat any potential stains with shout before washing them. So far we have had very few things stain.
We still need to get a high chair and I think I'd like to get a bumbo and johnny jump up