1) Saftey 1st Pro Grade Thermometer.
We got intimately familiar with this thing on our very first night home from the hospital as Matilda started spitting up blood. Not stressful at all for a 1st time Mom. It's expensive for a thermometer. But guess what? There are 3 heads--one for the ears, one for underarm, and one for the area no one wants to get their temp taken from.
And if I've learned anything in the last year, if there are any devices that can cut down maternal worry, then they are worth the investment.
2) A Baby Bathtub
Sound pretty obvious. But just ask my husband, who was convinced that this was a ridiculous marketing gimic, and that we absolutely did. not. need. one. After all, we have a sink. And isn't that the same thing? Fast forward a year, and enter in a child that takes a bath literally every single night (like no joke I think we've missed like 10 nights of her entire life). And all of the sudden. Mr. Dad is changing his tune.
The baby bathtub was an obvious choice, but my real recommendation is the blow-up bath for the slightly older baby! Super quick to fill, and contains them and keeps them safe. Here is Tillie modeling in her favorite bathtub.
3) A Monkey Thing
Technically called, a 'Waterfall Soother', I could really give a rats ass less what it is called because this contraption was a huge reason that our baby-who-doesn't-sleep, was able to put herself to sleep without the pacifier. In our house, it is lovingly referred to as 'the monkey thing'. As in (Matilda wakes up in middle of night): "Go in and press the monkey thing", and then Matilda drifts back to sleep.
This amazing miracle of a 'toy' was what saved our lives as Matilda was waking up every 40 minutes because she wanted her Paci for 6 weeks. Finally, instead of continuing to plug that GD paci, we started pressing the monkey thing. She got distracted long enough that she would fall asleep in the process. And sleep for longer than 40 minutes. MUCH longer.
I honestly do not know why any parent would not have one of these. I would pay $200 for one of these. Luckily they are only $40. If Fisher-Price ever needed a spokesperson for this thing, I would be it.
4) A subscription to Amazon Prime
I feel incredibly guilty for even writing this because of Nate's employer, but I feel strongly that this is a great investment for the first year of a babies life especially if your baby has colic and you fear taking her in public, and you are in a household with two full-time working parental units.
I think it costs $75 for the year. And you get free 2-day shipping. And I think there are other benefits too, but honestly I coudl care less about those.
Christmas shopping 2011: pretty much all amazon prime.
Anytime daycare says "we need mroe diapers, wipes, food, etc": amazon prime.
Bookclub picks a new book: amazon prime.
Random thought about something we need at 9PM at night like a baby gate: amazon prime.
And viola! It is immediately off my mind, and 2 days later it is on my doorstep.
5) An Immersion Blender
All of those baby-food maker machines are completely un-necessary. Take the food you want to puree, steam it/cook it/whatever you desire, and use your immersion blender to break it down. It's a win-win: you aren't buying a uni-tasking kitchen gadget that is pretty much obsolete after 3-4 months, and you can continue to use it to make yourself some delicious food once the baby is eating real food.
6) A Quality Stroller and a Convenience Stroller
A convenience stroller (we did the Snap N Go) that the Momma can open and close with hand, while holding a 15 pound watermelon. I'm serious. If you are shopping for a stroller, you best be taking a watermelon or sack of potatoes to whatever Baby Zoo you are creating your registry at, and try this. If you can't, walk away.
And don't even LOOK at those awful 'travel systems' unless your post-baby work-out plan is lifting and pushing a god awfully heavy and bulky stroller....
A quality stroller for longer, more enjoyable walks. Or family runs. Or just if you want your baby to feel the luxury of a smooth ride. In the humble opinions of these Hanson's, you can't beat the BOB.
7) White Noise
No, I'm not just talking about white noise for the baby, although I would HIGHLY recommend the Cloud B Giraffe for the early weeks...I am talking about white noise for the ADULTS.
Maybe you sleep like a rock. Maybe you life in a mansion.
Both of things are not me. And so, since giving birth, I now sleep with a fan on in MY room, because any little peep wakes me up. And then I am up stressing that the baby is waking up, and going to be up all night. And in reality she probably just rolled over, or sighed, but there I am up for an hour going crazy. And so the fan goes on. And we all sleep better.
8) New Mama Class at AMMA Maternity
If you live in Minneapolis, you need to sign up for this class. Go to this website, and check out the class schedule: http://www.ammamaternity.com/. If you can get Suzy as an instructor, do it.
There is nothing like walking into a room of new moms, all going through the same changes, feelings, challenges and being able to lose it (as I did), not feeling stressed if your baby is screaming (because mine almost always was), and becoming fast friends with women you are sure will be lifelong friends. Oh, and the private facebook group with a built-in "nursing at 3AM conversation and entertainment" was pretty nice too.
9) A good pump
If you are thinking of breastfeeding, do not scrimp on the pump. This thing will be spending lots of time with you even though you probably don't want to be spending all that much time with it. So, get a quality pump because you can crank that sucker up and get it done and over with as quick as possible.
We got the Medela Pump n' Style. If you can get past the ridiculous name.. (really? Pump in Style?? Just because it comes in a 'discreet' black bag. I don't think so)...it's a good quality pump and I can speak from experience that it lasts for an entire year!
10) Good Friends and Family
No mama can get through the first year without an arsenal of support around her. And if you don't have it find it (see #8). I was lucky enough to have some absolutely amazing friends and family, and I couldn't have done it without them. I really, truly could not have. None of the above fancy gadgets would have helped if these people would not have helped keep me sane.