I'm going to first start off by stating the obvious - what works for one mom, might not work for another. These are purely recommendations as to what has worked for me and some of my mommy friends. I think it's important for y'all to know that I am a minimalist. I personally don't believe in all the extra "fluff." The baby industry is a multi-buzillion dollar industry that lures mothers into thinking if they don't have it, they won't be able to function. Reality check - save your money and stop stressing over your registry. You don't need a special sanitizer for a pacifier that lands on the ground for two seconds. It's also important to know that I am pretty hard-knocks when it comes to raising children. I don't think bottle warmers are necessary. Or wipe warmers. Do you really want your kid wigging out when you're changing them out of the backseat of the car because you don't have a warm wipe for his precious bum? Save yourself the outrage.
Besides the essentials like the high-chair, carseat, changing pad, and such; here are some top picks that we adore (in no particular order):
1) The Brookstone Tranquil Moments White Noise Machine: This has been my lifesaver. Many pediatricians recommend white noise as part of a baby's sleep regimen. The monotony of an external noise is extremely soothing especially for babies with colic. It is also great at filtering and masking distracting outside noises so baby will stay sleeping. Chase's favorite two settings: White (scratchy) noise at night and Car noise for nap.
4) Summer Infant's Video Monitor: I've never used a monitor so I can't stand 100% behind this one but my girlfriends swear by the video monitor. Although much more spendy than a noise monitor, the video will save you from unnecessary interruptions/walk-ins. You want one with great zoom and pan features, no static and a clear picture. This particular video monitor is currently on sale at Target - marked down from $199 to $149.
6) Pampers Swaddler's Diapers: Hands down - the. best. diaper. on. the. market. Unlike Huggies, they don't leak. This isn't a recommendation. This is a must buy. Don't waste your money on other brands. Pampers Swaddlers are the only way.
7) Bob "Revolution" Jogging Stroller: Another one that I haven't personally used but after experiencing the enthusiasm that exudes from my friends that have the Bob, I can assure you it's well worth the money. With Chase, I bought the Chicco Travel System. Although I used it quite frequently when I could still transport Chase in and out of the car in the carseat, it was bulky and didn't allow me to work out/run with it. Once Chase outgrew the Chicco carseat, I moved on to a small MaClaren umbrella stroller and never used the Chicco stroller again. If I could go back, I would have bucked up for the Bob from the get-go. It's got great versatility - good for the everyday errands and amazing for working out. To make it a travel system, you can buy the carseat adaptor.
8) Ergo Baby Carrier: Another one that my mommy friends recommend. I used the Baby Bjorn and never had any problems with it but the majority of moms swear that the Ergo is 10 times more comfortable for both parent and baby. The only down side about the Ergo that I see is that the baby can only face inward. Chase loved to be able to look out once he got big enough in the Bjorn. But you can use the Ergo for much longer as it will accommodate more weight. If you are wondering about a wrap - 1) they are too hard for men to figure out, nor do they want to be all wrapped up and 2) they always seemed too hard to maneuver out of when I needed to transfer a sleeping baby.
9) Lots and lots of onesies, sleep sacks & pajamas that zip - not button! Forget all the cute outfits and shoes. Babies LIVE in onesies their first three months. And they grow out of things so quickly, it's not worth wasting your money on tons of cute clothes that they'll wear once and most likely spit up on. Due to the high risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), sleep sacks are great for newborns since it is advised that no blankets be in the crib. And lastly, if I had any say in the manufacturing of baby clothes, I would ban all buttons on pajamas. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to button pajamas in the dark.