1. A swaddle wrap of some kind. The best one we ever used was a woombie, little sassy slept so much better in this then any other type of wrap. I ordered mine through baby half off, for you guessed it, half off.
2. My ring sling, a new discovery with little sassy. I have a sakura bloom double linen and I could not love it more. I still use it and she is 20 months! I never thought I would like it as much as I did I thought the extra "tail" would be so annoying, the comfort of it was amazing and the "tail" was actually helpful as a nursing cover, or head cover. Plus since it wasn't bulky I was able to wear her under my fleece or coat when it got cold out!
3. A good stroller, with big sassy we had the standard Graco travel system, it did its job and served its time. While pregnant with little sassy I tried out many different strollers and realized that there was a good reason to spend the extra money to get something that was a dream to push, compact and built to last. We have two, a bike trailer/jogger that stays home and a compact maclaren that stays in the car.
4. For big sassy she hated a swing and loved her little papasan baby seat. Little sassy was not such a fan of the seat and loved her swing. If I were doing it again I would definitely bug just the little seat and try and borrow a swing. Those suckers are $$$!
5 .Good car seats. I know this is probably a horse that has been beaten to death a thousand times, but keeping the kids safe in the car was so important to us. Plus I refused to deal with a car seat that was a hassle to move around from car to car. Both sassies have Britax car seats, little sas is in big sas's hand me down convertible and big sas is now in a frontier 85. Carseat.org is a great site with tons of good info about different safe car seats, talking about ease of install, whether a seat will last as long as a child needs it and much more.
6. Cloth diapers. Big sas was the queen of rashes, I wish someone had told me this option before she was too old. We wanted to eradicate that problem with little sas so we turned to cloth. There is a dizzying array of options out there and in some other post and time I will attempt to scale that mountain. For us, we chose Gro Via all in ones.
7. Breastfeeding accessories, every item in this lists deserves its own bullet point, but I think they should be together. I have nursed both girls and these items have literally saved my life. Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter my midwives were actually shocked at how well this worked and now recommend it to everyone they know. Lansinoh breast pads, super thin and crazy absorbent. The gel cooling things that Lansinoh sells are amazing too. Cheap nursing tank tops from Target to wear the first few crazy weeks of nursing. 2 Cheap nursing bras that fit slightly larger cup size then when fully pregnant. Buy them cheap because what you need the first month is not what you will need forever. And after renting a hospital grade pump, owning an expensive one, the best hands down pump I have ever used is a Avent Manual. A good nursing pillow ( I used a boppy) helps more then you could ever imagine.
8. Soothers, pacifiers, nukkies, whatever you call them, buy a few packs of different kinds. Both sassies loved them. I know this is right below breastfeeding and blah blah no soothers and breastfeeding but I don't buy it. Little sassy was born with suck blisters on both hands from sucking her hands so badly in the womb. If she had not had a soother she would have used me instead. (we use/used mam brand for both girls)
9. A rocking chair. Both sassy girls loved to be rocked and rocked and rocked. Especially when they are sick. Buy the best one you can afford and plan to keep it until you are done with babies and even after. A good quality name brand rocking chairs that are kept in good condition resell at amazing prices all day long.
10. Fisher-price baby tub with the sling in it. What an amazing invention. Sure you can attempt to wash baby holding onto a 8lb slippery little fish that flails about, but really why would you want to? I also really love Dr. Bronner's baby soap and a really gentle lotion at first like California Babies.
The last thing I think every new mother needs is your own good sense. In this day and age there is nothing that is more doubted and questioned then a mothers own thoughts about her baby. We are constantly questioned and coerced into being told what is best, what we need to do and how exactly to do it. A mother knows things and without allowing yourself the joy of discovering that, you miss out on things. If something doesn't feel right, quickly think about it, ask yourself why. If you can't figure it out (and keep in mind I am NOT talking about things that are dangerous such as not treating illnesses, riding without car seats etc.) then talk to other moms, talk to a trusted doctor, google it, read a baby book. Discover what other people are doing and figure out if it works for you. Some babies like swaddles, some like rocking, other babies want to not be touched. Who cares if your best friends sister did it this way, it doesn't guarantee it will work for you. Empower yourself, be proud that you are making choices that help your child.