Hands down, a baby carrier is an essential. It’s how I stay sane with the twins! One on front, one on back, and we’re good to go for at least two hours without a peep. They love being next to me and getting to watch the world go by on walks and shopping trips. We love using Connectas because they’re small and easy to toss in the diaper bag, but there are lots of good ergonomic carriers out there that can be used from infancy like the Manduca, Ergo, Beco, etc. They’re fab for getting a baby to sleep or for getting housework done or cooking dinner when LO just doesn’t want to be left to play by themselves. The value of hands free cannot be underestimated.
Other must-haves (aside from essentials like baby shampoo for baths, burp cloths and receiving blankets/swaddlers, an initial stock of dipes and wipes, and clothes–maybe 10-15 onesies, 10-15 sleepers, and about 4-6 cute outfits that you can use for special occasions and outings):
– vibrating bouncer
– white noise machine
– a car seat
– a good pram/travel system that you like to use so that you can get out of the house, and a car seat attachment and isofix base for said pram.
– some sort of diaper bag or tote to put their stuff in
– a monthly delivery of diapers and wipes set up to arrive from Amazon (soooo much cheaper than buying on the store and super convenient)
– a good tandem breast pump and pumping bra (sooooo much quicker and easier than a single!), just because any excess of that stuff comes in handy for years to come.
– a small stash of bottles, just in case (you don’t have to buy formula if you’re worried about ‘temptation’–sometimes it’s just nice to pump out a feed and let Darling Husband give it)
– a nursing pillow (can be used as seating support later, so it stays useful)
– one or two pacifiers, if you want to give those–the sucking motion is quite soothing for babies and can be a life saver
– baby monitor (can download an iPad app if you don’t want to shell out the money for a real one)
Nice to have:
– A diaper caddy that can go to whatever room you’re in. Saves a lot of trips.
– video monitor
– a book on how to establish a routine (seriously, routine saved our lives when we were melting in the chaos of 4-week-old twins–made life so much nicer and helped them sleep through by 12 weeks!)
– a small bath sponge (goes into the sink to support them nicely/keep them warm when they’re really small, then into the tub when they’re bigger), as it saves a ton of space and (bonus!) is kinda nice for you to lean back on as well when taking a bath.
– a towel that you can fasten behind your neck–so much easier to wrangle a wet baby when the towel isn’t going anywhere.
Don’t waste your money:
– baby bath
– bassinet (they can sleep in the bassinet of their pram if it’s got a breathable, flat mattress–our babies wouldn’t sleep anywhere else. Otherwise, it’s not a bad idea for them to get used to their crib quite early on so they don’t freak out when you move them later
– cute bedding (bumpers are a SIDS risk)
– wipes dispenser
– wipes warmer (unless you want your baby to reject cold wipes)
– bottle warmer (unless you want your baby to reject room-temp milk)
– steriliser (according to Web MD and the Mayo Clinic, warm water with soap and elbow grease are sufficient)
– baby shoes and socks (they just kick them off)