I already shared my list of the most useless baby items, it seems only right I share the other half of that list. Now that baby A has made it to the second half of her babyhood, I feel better informed to give you the lowdown on the items that were absolute must haves for us. Of course every baby and mother is different so what was key for us may be complete junk to you - this is just my view.
1. The Miracle Blanket - If you happen to get a baby who likes to party all night like Aggie, you will do pretty much anything to help her (and you!) get some nighttime zzzs. Swaddling did help us eventually but she was a houdini right at the start - managing to escape from every swaddle blanket known to man until we finally settled on this one. Eventually she managed to escape this one too (at about 4 months) but by that time we were ready to wave bye-bye to swaddles all together.
2. One piece sleep + play outfits. You know all those adorable baby clothes you buy when you are pregnant with the idea that everyday is going to be a fashion show? Forget em. For just a little while. Especially at the very beginning when you are just getting adjusted, a one piece that suited sleeping and playing was wonderful. Since we went through a least a few outfits a day during anyway, having a stash of these was a nice way to make life simple. (Don't forgo all baby fashion shopping - you'll need a few fun outfits for special occasions in the beginning. After the newborn stage is over, you can start putting baby in day and night clothes like the rest of us.)
3. Bibs, lots of them. You might get lucky with a baby that doesn't spit up often and in that case, feel free to skip this suggestion. That wasn't the case in casa limestone. We went through lots of bibs - sometimes 10 in a day! So having lots on hand was key. I especially love these aden & anais snap bibs because they were very soft on baby's skin and snapped in the front rather than velcro'd in the back but we saved those for when we were going out and had a huge stack of cheapo white ones for home use.
4. Baby Bathtub Generally I eschew any one purpose, short term items like this but the baby bathtub was and continues to be useful to us. As first time parents, we were way to scared to just plop her in the hard sink directly. This was a great help to baby bathtimes.
5. Rock n Play Sleeper I stumbled upon this item by accident. Agatha was just over a month old and we were about to take a 2 week road trip with her. She wasn't sleeping much at all but I searched for a portable crib we could use on the road. Well low and behold the rock n play sleeper came up and it was a magical portal to sleepy baby land. After using it for just a few days, Agatha was sleeping in few hour stretches vs. few minute ones. She needed a lot more help and guidance to get sleeping through the night down eventually but this bridged the gap when we were really exhausted. Get it!
6. A good stroller. I've only had a Bugaboo Bee so I can't compare it with other brands and models but we have already gotten our money's worth and we have only just started to use it. It will likely be the item we use the most over her baby and toddler years so its a worthy investment. It's important to go with a model that has the right features for YOUR life. For us city folk, good shock absorbtion and a smaller profile has been great for maneuvering the sidewalks and the small spaces we have to get through. (I wish it had a one handed close option which would make it a lot easier to fold up while holding baby in the other hand and it could really use a drink holder but other than that, I've been very happy with it.) If you live in a different environment, you'll have a totally different set of needs so this is one area a lot of research pays off.
So there you have it. My top 6 baby items. That just covers the first few months. Now that she is older, we are in a whole new world of baby junk! For the other moms reading, how did my list compare with your own?