I think there should be some sort of goodie bag handed out to new moms with all the essentials you'll need to survive the first few weeks. You go to the hospital, push out a baby, and are sent home a few days later with a little person you probably have no idea how to care for. You think they'll give you some tips in the hospital, right? Well, think again. You're emotionally psychotic, you're going on NO sleep, and nurses, techs, meal delivery workers, photographers, doctors, and pediatricians are in and out every 15 minutes. And then people want to come SEE you and the baby! The NERVE! So when the nurses are trying to give you helpful hints, do you think you'll remember anything? I sure didn't. And when I got home, I thought, "What the heck just happened? I have no clue what they told me!"
Of course, there are all kinds of checklists you can find, but here is what I would put on one if some baby expert asked me. They won't, but here it is anyway. This is what has helped me survive the first few weeks of New Mommy Boot Camp:
Fisher Price Rock & Play- Ansley was having a hard time sleeping on her back without an incline, and she was spitting up A LOT. I heard about this on the Bump and Kevin & I decided to try it out. The best money we spent on baby stuff by far! Our number one baby item, hands down.
Boudreaux's Butt Paste- Our daughter's little tush got red after a week or so, and we started using different creams. Of all the ones we tried, we liked Boudreaux's the best because it's thicker, has staying power, and really helped the redness to vanish.
The Baby Whisperer- I heard about this book from my message board, the Bump. I grabbed a copy a month or so before I gave birth, and read a little about the different dispositions a baby might have, how to start a schedule, and how to help your child go to sleep. It's been great so far- even though Ansley doesn't sleep through the night yet!- because there's lots of great advice a new mom needs to hear.
What To Expect the First Year- My number 1 buy! Just like "What to Expect" was my pregnancy Bible, this has answered all my questions since Ansley has been born. I only wish I had gotten it before so I could have read a little bit ahead of time. You WON'T have time to sit and read for very long!
Pacimals- These have been A-MA-ZING! Ansley is used to having a pacifier some of the time, and when she gets drowsy, she likes to wave her arms around. Well, that usually ends up in her flinging the thing from her mouth. Pacimals help prevent that, because she can hold onto its soft little body without losing the pacifier. She has two, and yes, they have names! Here she is with Dr. Quackers... (Admittedly, the names are goofy!)
Best Ever Play Mat- Ansley has an activity mat for play and tummy time, but this is the first mat we got out, and it is perfect for her to lay on on top of the ottoman. The plush is so soft, and can even be used for a nap time area, supervised of course. If I could lay on one and take a nap, I would!
Graco Travel System- Ok, most moms have one. But the travel system has gone with me everywhere, and I don't know how moms of yesteryear survived without one! We go on walks, we shop, we travel wherever the heck we feel like it. And Ansley has even napped in her carseat to keep her upright after a meal. Oh yeah, the cupholders are perfect for Starbucks Venti Caramel Macchiatos.
Pampers Swaddlers- We choose to use disposable diapers and have become diaper snobs in the few weeks since Ansley joined us. Kevin had a diaper shower at his work, which was awesome! We shouldn't need to buy diapers for a LONG time. But some of the diapers we got weren't Pampers, and we weren't impressed. Pampers Swaddlers are soft, absorbent, and have a wetness indicator line, which my husband NEEDS (or at least he acts like it's the greatest invention he's ever seen).
Gumdrop Pacifiers- The pacifiers they gave us in the hospital are awesome. They're soft and "gummy", and are easy to clean. We snagged as many as we could to take home. Ansley loves the way they feel in her mouth. Only complaint- her little wiggle worm ways make them hard to keep in sometimes!
Bright Starts Tug Tunes - This little ladybug has been good for changing time. I hung the clip over the edge of a basket on a shelf above her changing pad, and pull it to amuse her while I'm changing her diaper. It plays three different songs, and sends her into a little trance! I've since moved it to her carseat handle.
Fisher Price My Little Lamb Cradle 'n Swing- The first item I put on our registry. Not only is it darn adorable, it's got multiple modes for a different experience each time: several songs and sounds to choose from, a mobile, "flying" sheep and clouds, a mirror, and 3 ways to swing. This usually calms Ansley down when she's being Ms. Fussypants.
Summer Velboa Snuzzler- Ansley was so little when we first put her in her carseat! I can't imagine how much her little head would have flopped around without this support. It's two-sided: a fuzzy side to keep things a little warmer, and a woven cotton side for when you need a cooler fabric against baby's skin. This thing looks so cozy!
Those are the items I used all the time and felt like I would definitely recommend to other moms. There are plenty of other things I used but they weren't "must-haves", at least not for us in the first few weeks. Notice I didn't mention clothes? That's because my baby is a clothes horse and her fashion choices must be saved for their own special post. That's right. Ansley is a baby fashion queen!