A friend asked for advice on the top 10 best baby items that I might put upon a registry. A post shall follow, hopefully soon, of 10 other things you might as well register for as they are fun/nice to have, but not what I'd rate in the necessary (or I can't imagine mamahood without) ranks.
So here goes.
*Please note these aren't in any particular sort of order. Also note the last ones are for mamas who go with breastfeeding, cloth diapering, making your own baby food, etc., and therefore, only apply to certain cases.
#1 Moby Wrap
This has been a Godsend for my back, especially. We tried the Dr. Sears style sling at first, and I liked it during the tiny months, but as soon as Dom was big enough, I felt he was going to tip out, and I ended up holding him in the whole time, which defeated the purpose. The Baby Bjorn carried KILLED my shoulders; they just ached all the time. The Moby, however, still is super comfy and is flexible to carry the baby in many ways.
I have also heard great reviews of the Ergo and the Beco carriers.
#2 Baby Swing
It can be as simple or as complex as you want, but as far as soothing goes, it's amazing. I'd suggest one of the ones that is not right next to the floor. If you don't get it via a Baby Registry, they're pretty easy to find on Craigslist or at a Yard Sale. As sweet and adorable as your little newborn shall be, I promise at some point, you'll want to have a rest.
#3 Booster Seat
This is one of those looking ahead things. Before you know it, you're baby will be eating food, and as an alternative to a high chair, which I am sure works splendidly, too, we've found a booster seat to be great. It fits right into our regular dining chairs, is very easy to clean, and will probably fit Dominic until he's 1.5 - 2 years old. Sitting is a must for this one.
#4 Infant Bouncer Seat
Do you think you'll want to shower in the first three months of baby's life? Then I'd suggest getting one of these. Honestly, this was usually the only time I could squeeze in some me time when Dom was really little. He didn't nap long enough, and I was paranoid that if I left him outside the bathroom, I wouldn't be able to hear him. So, instead, into the bathroom came baby seat, Dom, and I, but it ended in me getting showers, so all was well.
#5 Onesies (especially the snap-over kind!)
You can't get enough of these. Make sure to register for bigger sizes- babies grow like weeds! They go through tons in the beginning due to spit up and diaper leakage, so don't be afraid to register for a bunch. We found Gerber brand to run smaller, Carter to run medium-ish and to hold up well, Old Navy the same, and Target's Circo to run a little big, but definitely worth your money.
There's a reason this has been ranked one of the Top Baby Items for many years running in magazines like Parents and BabyTalk. I didn't use it for nursing that much, but as far as a prop for Dom's head at two months, a way to get him to have tummy time at four months, and a safety guard for sitting practice at six months, it has been a well used item.
#7 Forehead Thermometer
Thermometers keep getting more and more fancy with time (doesn't all baby stuff? just ask your grandmother and mother...) Anyhoo, this one is a well worth it advancement. To take a baby/child/adult's temp, all you have to do is place it the end on forehead and run it down the side of said person's face. Ta-da! No sticking it up a butt, no holding it under a tongue, no holding their arm down over it, and no making sure it has a clean cover, so you can stick it in their ear.
#8 Bundle Me/Floppy Hats
Yes, there are two here to go with whatever season your baby shall be born into. Also, these are the only super specific brands that I'd recommend- Hanna Andersson although pricy makes fantastic stuff that holds up great. We have two of these hats and Dom wears them pretty much every time we walk out of the house.
I've seen other car seat and stroller cover ups, and I've never been sorry that we went with the JJ Cole Bundle Me- it was the fuzziest, warmest thing, and in Rochester's oh-so-blustery winters, it was Perfect! Even my husband agrees it was one of the top ten things we've used.
This is one of those "depends-on-you" type of things. We knew we were planning on having the baby room in with us for the first few months of his or her life, and so we got this. It hooks right up to the edge of your bed. This worked out great, and we used it for about four to five months (until I thought Dom could get out of it). We could get some sleep and not worry about whether or not Dom was breathing, and I could easily nurse him in the middle of the night, and then return him to the Sleeper.
Note that if you have a tall bed, you might need to get the extension legs. We did.
#10 Breast Pump
Another of those "can be simple or not" ones, this is a must for breastfeeding moms who might need a break at some point. Whether it be so they can go back to work, so car rides can go for more than 1.5 hours without a stop in the middle, or so Dad gets a chance to feed baby every now and then, these are one to add to the list. I have a electric/battery operated one that has worked great for me, but try to take in to consideration how much you think you'll be using it, and register/buy accordingly. Also this is Not an item you want to get used, unless it's from a friend you know well. Breast Pumps cannot be thoroughly cleaned, so diseases like HIV and Hepatitis can be spread- not worth it!!!
Please Note: As much as I love cloth diapering, unless you've had practice on a baby and you've been able to deduce which cloth diaper system works the best for you, I wouldn't add 24 cloth diapers to your registry until you try a few.
Also, it never fails to have MANY blankets, washcloths, wipes, etc, so ADD them to your Registry!!!