A good car seat!! Of course the hospital won't let you leave without one, so this should be one of your most important & first items! Good car seats can be expensive, but since used car seats are NOT recommended (safety issues, they can expire as well) invest in a good new seat! I used an infant seat (Safety First brand) for the first few months. Some buy a convertible seat and use that from the get-go. We now have a True Fit Premier seat for Myles and the starting weight on it is 5 pounds, so if you want to save some money, go directly to the convertible!! Just make sure the one you buy can be used with a newborn & has a long RF (rear facing) weight & height limit!!
A swaddle! Blankets work, but if you have "Houdini in Training" like Myles was at a few weeks old, I can assure you that if you plan to continue swaddling, you will be rushing all over the place trying to find the perfect swaddle. The one we finally found, and loved was The Miracle Blanket. Since I didn't feel safe leaving blankets in the crib (prior to one) I was happy when I got this since it not only kept Myles feeling secure & snug, but also warm. I will say when we stopped swaddling him (he was older then most, about 6 months due to his eczema and wanting to scratch his face) that one reason we stopped is because he was getting too long and leaving his feet free from the swaddle created issues since the swaddle could end up by his face that way.
A good sling or carrier so you can baby wear! This was a lifesaver for me on Sunday mornings in church. Myles would normally fall asleep in his Hava sling (I did a review on this a few weeks back, can be found on this blog here: Hava Review), I also recommend the Ergo carrier for when the baby is past the newborn stage. Many carriers & slings found at Babies-R-Us and chain stores can actually harm the babies hips, so do your research!
We had a Bright Starts Bouncer and Swing for Myles. We used them, but not very often. He wasn't a big "Swing" or "Bouncer" baby.
A good stroller is a very handy item to have. I love my Bumbleride Flite that I got when Myles was a few months old. It can recline & is very light (9 pounds) and folds slim which is very helpful. I had a huge stroller that came with the car seat (travel system) and while I enjoy it for around the neighborhood on walks, I hate struggling to get it in and out of the trunk and how huge it is when it folds. Also very heavy at 21 pounds! I didn't have this stroller till he was a number of months old, but it can accommodate various brands of infant seats (like the travel systems do) so it is worth looking into that too!
Supplies that came in helpful for breastfeeding were:
Re-usable nursing pads. I used Lanisoh disposable ones at first, but the price can add up. I loved these Itzy Ritzy!
A good nipple cream like Medela or Lanisoh is very helpful. I also used Vitamin E and that worked very well for any issues with chapping or cracking in the early days.
I had a Boppy Pillow and used it all the time! I also recommend if you get the Bobby, to get some extra slipcovers.
If you plan to go back to work, or ever go out and leave the baby with a sitter for more then a couple hours, I recommend a good pump. I have the Medela Pump-in-style Advanced. Great pump. Also an item to NEVER buy used! Infections can get trapped in the motor portion of the pump, so if you buy or borrow and get new tubing & sterilize everything, you are still putting yourself at risk!
If you plan to pump and use bottles, I loved the Dr Browns Glass bottles. I got a 2 pack of short ones & a 2 pack of tall. Since breastfed babies don't get large amounts of milk at one time like most formula fed, you probably really only need the short at first.
Other things I can think of are the basic care items like A&D (can't be used with cloth diapers, but we used it to help heal his circumcision when he was first home from the hospital and sometimes will use overnight with a disposable if he has a bad rash). Grovia Magic Stick (cloth diaper safe rash treatment stick), Lotion, nail clippers, files for nails, bath soap/shampoo, baby tub, thermometer (love the Exergen Temporal Thermometer that we just got!), Tylenol, Gripe Water (very helpful!!). I am sure I am forgetting some things, but these items are very good to have on hand!
DIAPERS!! Wow, I almost forgot about them!! We use cloth and love them! I have a ton, most of Myles are made by WAHM (work at home mothers) and a few commercial ones (Thirsties & Bumgenius). I plan to write more later on diapers but we use cloth during the day and still do disposable at night, due to heavy night-wetting. If you cloth diaper, I use a Planet Wise wet bag to store the soiled ones in till wash day & Rockin' Green to wash them.
Books: Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr Harvey Karp, 90 Minute Sleep Program by Dr. Moore, The Baby Book by Dr Sears (I love most all books by him, he has some great ones!), Caring for your baby and young child by AAP. I have also heard the No Cry Sleep Solution is great by Elizabeth Pantley.
Most important items the baby needs: Love, His Parents, A nice calm & cozy home!
**A great resource for me Myles first year, and still.... The Breastfeeding Center. Most all the breastfeeding items (or similar ones), the swaddle, cloth diapers & supplies, awesome Aiden & Anias blankets, (did prior review on those as well) can be found there. As well as moms breastfeeding groups, classes, and a wonderful lactation consultant/nurse who owns & runs the store!! **