Most of all, do you have arms to wrap around her and pull her close? Love, expressed in touch and words, eye contact and smiles, grows babies. As you peruse items to add to your Amazon registry, keep in mind that the Maker is gifting you with what Baby needs most. Your love.
Of course, that love also wants to keep baby warm and fed and diapered and entertained. Here's my essentials list.
1. Breast pump plus Nursing Cover. I'm fortunate to enjoy breastfeeding with minimal challenges. For painfully sore nipples - coconut oil, olive oil, or lanolin oil is good (I didn't say it made the pain vanish.) I rely on my Medela Harmony Manuel Breast Pump to keep milk stocked in the freezer for date night. Muslin receiving blankets are good nursing covers. But my cover is like a dear friend after three babies.
2. Diapers, Walmart's plain Parent's Choice brand (Cloth diapering fizzled with my second infant. Sigh - I won't save the landfills.)
3. Clothing and Blankets. For the first three months, I combine a long-sleeved onesie and a swaddler OR a jumpsuit. Then when he pushes out of swaddlers, pretty much just jumpsuits. Easy and comfortable. I also tuck a crocheted or muslin receiving blanket over baby. (If you've figured out how keep Baby swaddled with a receiving blanket, scratch swaddlers off your list). I also have a strap-able infant winter hat I adore on Baby. Boxes of lightly used baby clothes have more than provided for the boys' clothing needs. I like to donate new outfits to the Pregnancy Care Center because we have plenty.
4. Removable Infant Carseat Carrier. One of two expensive things on this list, but it's a must have if you've got a car. I've used the detachable carrier much more than in the vehicle though. Little Professor slept in it next to our mattress, as a bassinet. My babies used it as an infant seat while I washed dishes (Our Friar Tuck happily pulls the vibrating toy clipped to the handle. First two babies were more fussy, not being on my hip).
5. Pack n Play crib. Once I became comfortable with Baby sleeping next to me, we all slept better (I said better, not well - but easy's not the goal right?). Each baby was different. I wearily fought to get the Little Professor to sleep in his pack n play crib before giving in to having him next to me. The Cowboy would bring me a bowl of cornflakes at 2:35 AM while I nursed and rocked and patted. So with Chubby Bear I immediately enjoyed restful nights, hearing his sweet breath beside me. This one didn't fight me about bedtime either. But he wiggled! Chubby Bear would snuggle his head under my chin. After a few months the Cowboy was tired of being kicked in the ribs. I tentatively placed him in his crib. Baby loved it! Plenty of space to roll around. And then our gentle Friar Tuck. He has slept sweetly next to us for over six months. I recently tried putting him in the pack n play, and he only gets up a couple times and easily goes back down. Wow! I still remember the sore knees as I patted and sang and prayed for sanity. Each baby, a different gift. (There is a nifty side sleeper for parents unsure about baby in bed.) Also, the pack n play has been helpful for trips. And by the way, I don't use the changing attachment any more - it's easier for me to change Baby on our bed. (PS: On nights of lifting Baby from the pack n play repeatedly, I wish for my poor back that I had a crib. Then I blink, and he's in a big boy bed.)
6. Booster Seat. We just purchased a second Safety 1st Booster Seat for our Friar Tuck (only $15 at our local Walmart). Four years ago we got one at a yardsale and have used it daily ever since. I've occasionally put it on the floor for Baby to play in. The tray is removable and washable.
7. Carrier. I was going to wear my baby 24-7. Our Little Professor squirmed in all four wrap/sling/carriers. Neither of us enjoyed it! Admittedly the carrier came to the rescue while grocery shopping. But he only stopped squirming and fussing if I was walking quickly or if he finally fell asleep. So yeah I guess it was helpful. Nonetheless, I was so aggravated that I gave them all away. When I was pregnant with Chubby Bear, I picked up a simple carrier for $5 at a yardsale. He liked being in it! We went for walks with brother in the woods. Very quickly, CB got too heavy for my back. Not so many walks after that. Our contented Friar Tuck likes the carrier too, but he's just as happy on the floor quilt. I pull out the carrier for occasional family walks. Oh, and lately I've used a sling a friend kindly let me borrow. It's made it possible to put supper on the table a couple of times. For choosing a carrier, I recommend to try out a friend's. Even better, borrow one. If you find one you love, then when someone asks what you still need, you've got an answer.
8. Floor Quilt. I didn't understand how a mom puts baby on a quilt on the floor for more than twenty seconds until our sweetie third baby. Now I use a floor quilt every day. My talented mother made an extra thick quilt with fun colors and varying textures. Also a friend gave me a used mobile gym, which Friar Tuck also likes.
9. Fan Heater. A little fan is a soothing background noisemaker, and on cool nights the heater keeps the nursery warm.
10. Cloth Diapers. Now I use my cloth diapers for changing pads. With my heavy drooler Chubby Bear, I pinned a cloth around him for a bib. I throw one over the shoulder at church because I can't run to my closet for a change of clothes. And for a while, I hung them on a drying rack to replenish the stack next to the changing table. (Notice that having a baby involves a lot of changing?)
That's about it for us (I've bought more, but this is what's been most helpful). I could add bibs, car mirror, diaper bag, simple teethers, and carseat cover. What about you?