If I remember back to the time when I was pregnant, I had a little OCD and had to have every item I could possibly need for the new baby, as well as have her room ready to go and the carseat installed by 7 months. It did come in handy as she came at 8 months. If possible, if you have any say, try to have your baby shower at 7-8 months, just in case you also go early. As a mom-to-be, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of items that you need for the little peanut. I know I did! Here is a little list of things that come in handy.
For the car:
1/Carseat installed; Use a bundle bag for the carseat if it is winter or fall. A good one is JJ Cole Bundle Me. (http://jjcolecollections.com/bundleme)
2/Mirror over the carseat so you can see the little one from the driver’s seat.
3/Sunshade on the window where you will have the carseat.
For the nursery:
1/Crib and crib mattress; I used points from my credit card to get Sears giftcards and ended up getting an organic cotton mattress for free.
2/Changing pad with multiple covers (at least 3 as they get soiled easily). Change pad station or dresser (check the height of it as you pretend to change a baby or doll. You don’t want to be bending too much or standing on your tip toes!)
3/Washcloths (at least 15); you go through these like crazy!
4/Swaddle blankets or a swaddle/sleep sack (newborns loved to be swaddled as they feel safe). Picture being all cozy and curled up just floating around in amniotic fluid and all of a sudden being in a loud, bright huge open environment with people everywhere staring at you (and your vision is blurry). Newborns have the startle reflex where their arms extend out beside them when they get scared. If you put them to sleep unswaddled, you will often see this reflex numerous times as they get scared. Swaddling also keeps them warm as it is difficult for them to regulate their temperature.
5/Thick fluffy blankets for cold nights or if it is fall/winter. These come in handy for putting over the carseat when you are transporting the little one.
6/Baby monitor; I highly recommend a video monitor if you have a large house or multiple levels so you don’t have to keep running to check every time you hear a cry. We purchased the Phillips Avent DECT Video monitor and it’s great. The camera is easy to adjust, the monitor has a great sized screen and the sound is clear. You can press a button on the monitor and it activates lullabys on the camera. (http://www.usa.philips.com/c/avent-baby-health-monitoring/scd600_10/prd/en/).
7/Glider chair; I initially thought it was a waste of money, but I have spent countless hours rocking her, breastfeeding her and reading to her in our glider chair. I purchased a great glider chair with an ottoman from Costco online that adjusts and reclines.
8/Crib sheets; I have at least 3 as these tend to get soiled frequently. I also purchased 2 waterproof organic mattress covers.
9/Bassinette; We kept a bassinette in our room beside our bed for the first 6 months, which was really handy. We began putting her to sleep in her crib at 4 months; however, we still used the bassinette when I took a quick shower (of course taking my video monitor with me and placing it outside the shower door so I could keep an eye on her!)
10/Hooded bath towels; I have at least 5 as I am always using them and throwing them in the wash.
11/Laundry basket or hamper for all of the soiled clothes. You will be doing laundry more than you ever have!
12/Nursing U pillow; I found that Jolly Jumper makes good pillows. I purchased a large boomerang one and a smaller one so I had one in the nursery and one in my bedroom. They are also useful in the future as baby grows, he/she can sit up and have a pillow around for support. (http://www.jollyjumper.com/show/135)
13/Diaper Genie and refills; This has been an absolute God send! No dirty diaper smell ever! (http://www.toysrus.ca/product/index.jsp?productId=3316303).
14/Baby bathtub with a newborn sling; I got a good one at my shower that fits into my kitchen sink and came with a newborn sling.
15/Baby care kit; I got a pretty basket and put cotton balls, Bum Bum balm, a baby thermometer (I got the basic one that can go under the armpit. Don’t waste your money on the digital ear kind!), baby nail clipper, baby hair brush, natural diaper rash cream by LiveClean Baby, baby wipes, natural nipple cream by Aleva, and diapers.
16/Newborn sleepers and hats; I had about 6 sets initially for 0-3 months and then you will get 25 as gifts when people come to visit your little one. If your baby is born premature as mine was, my husband had to run out and get tiny premature onesies and sleepers.
17/ Newborn bibs; I bought at least 5 and got many more as gifts.
I would say that those are the essentials. You can wait to buy a mobile for the crib. Newborns are sleeping all of the time for at least 2 months and are not really paying attention to the mobile. You can decide if you need to get a breast pump. They are expensive and you are not able to return them once you open the package. You can rent a pump from the hospital, which I did for the first two months. I ended up buying one and my insurance covered it as the paediatrician gave me a doctor’s note saying it was necessary for feeding my baby since she could not latch.
If you are formula feeding, you should get baby bottles and a sterilizer. You do not necessarily need bottles if you are breastfeeding, unless you want to pump and have someone else feed the little one. If you buy bottles, you will want to get a drying rack for the kitchen counter. My favourite one was called Boon Grass. I also purchased one by Munchkin that folds up for easy storage. In terms of bottles, cubby preferred Gerber Nuk bottles initially and then Tommy Tippee (although she hardly takes bottles now). I didn’t bother with those newborn mittens as they always fell off (you can use baby socks over their hands).
Also, I wouldn’t run out and buy a swing or bouncer right away until they are at least 2 to 3 months old. We did purchase a chair by Bright Starts with a newborn insert that has been invaluable as our little one had reflux and had to be upright after feeds. She still enjoys this chair today (it looks like a baby papasan chair and can be adjusted to 3 settings and has sound/vibration). We also purchased a Graco Pack and Play for our first floor which has a changing station on it. This has been invaluable as she slept in it for the first 3 months and I always had somewhere to change her without having to run upstairs.(http://www.graco.net/e/item.asp?code=10650&s=0790HJA). I also purchased a Graco Bounce and Swing, which has been amazing as it is a bouncer chair with a tray and newborn insert and it can be put onto the swing so it is 2-in-1. We are still using the chair/swing today. (http://www.graco.net/e/item.asp?code=10996&s=00AAA).
I know it is a lot of information to process. I hope it helps you to get set up for the first 2-3 months. Also, I wouldn’t worry too much initially about toys/rattles/playmats until the baby is 2-3 months old. I got a few high contrast toys (black, white and red) and a rattle. After 2-3 months, I got a Baby Einstein playmat and a tummy time surfboard mat with pillow.
Happy shopping and make sure to put lots of things on your baby registry!