1. Baby Carrier: I have loved my ErgoBaby carrier; we got it when Liam was about a year old, but we use it all the time at the zoo, grocery store, mall, parties, etc. The ergo is developmentally sound for the baby's spine because it offers more complete support under the baby's bottom; it is also great for mama's back because it moves the child's weight to your hips instead of your upper back. I hear you can also nurse in the ErgoBaby, but I had already weaned Liam when we got it. Dominic rides in it occasionally at almost 4 years old. I loved my ZoloWear ring sling with Dominic (while he was the only child), but struggled with it when I had Liam because I worried he'd fall out while I was bending over to help Dominic.
2. Sleeping: I was an adamant non-co-sleeper before I was an exhausted new mom. Once sense and exhaustion kicked in, we tended to co-sleep for ease of nursing at night - roll over, boob in mouth, back to sleep (repeat all night). At the times I wanted my own space for sleeping or for daytime baby naps, we really liked our Amby Baby Motion Bed (the baby hammock), as pre-rolling babies were quickly soothed back to sleep if they stirred in the night. Around 6 months with both of our boys (when the outgrew the Amby), we moved them to a floor bed (short IKEA mattress on the floor) in a thoroughly baby-proofed room down the hall - if an Amby is out of the budget or too weird looking, I highly recommend skipping the crib and using a floor bed from the start.
3.1. Stroller (and a little about carseats): DO NOT GET A TRAVEL SYSTEM. I HATED MY TRAVEL SYSTEM STROLLER. IT WAS WAY WAY WAY TOO HEAVY AND CUMBERSOME, and there are much better options available. I wish I'd registered for something like a Phil and Teds stroller that can convert to a double when/if more children come along. They are an expensive initial investment, but this would have been awesome to have when child two came along and there wasn't a baby shower to be seen. You can buy a carseat converter if you like to keep your baby in the infant seat (which I didn't do with the second child... bizarre). What we used and liked: Maxi Cosi infant seat and Pearle Stroller - it is a stroller the size of an umbrella stroller, that has clips to hold your carseat in it. It is basically a compact make-your-own travel system that takes up a tiny fraction of your trunk space and is super easy to travel with. A free hand-me-down double stroller that is way too heavy and takes up our whole trunk (did I mention free? priorities shift with child 2).
3.2. Carseat: As a first-time mom, I tended to leave Dominic in his infant carseat when we went grocery shopping, to the mall, to a restaurant, etc. That is the whole appeal of an infant carseat, after all. When my second came along, I rarely kept him in his infant seat to take him out of the car. If I had a do-over, I'd probably just invest in an awesome (Brittax?) convertible carseat that will last from newborn through 18-years-old (or whatever the current carseat law requires).
4. High Chair: do not waste money on an expensive cushy one. We LOVED our $20 IKEA Antilop high chair - you can hose it off on a bad day, wipe it with a sponge quickly on a good day, and easily take the legs out to fit it on the floorboard below your child in the backseat for a road trip to grandma's. You can buy a $5 pad for it for when a baby first starts sitting up. If money is no object, I would recommend a Stokke Trip Trap Chair or Svan High Chair, which convert to independent toddler chairs and on to an adult chairs as your child grows (another expensive initial investment that would be worth it long-term).
5. Play Mats: we really liked the easy cleaning and compact/simple storage of the IKEA play mats... they were also inexpensive compared to the ones that light up and "teach your infant spanish and long division"... a topic for another post another day.
6. Changing Table: we used a changing pad on top of a dresser, and liked having at least 2 covers so one could be washed while the other one was getting pooped on. Ha! When our children started rolling a lot, we just stowed the pad behind the bathroom door, and laid it on the floor to change them.
7. Baby Spoons: the plastic Munchkin brand spoons you can buy at the grocery store or Target hold baby food better than the standard rubber coated baby spoons.
8. Wipe Warmer: used it with Dominic, could care less about warm wipes when Liam came along.
9. Diaper Bag: we LOVE our black Columbia messenger-style diaper bag. The key for us was unisex because Ryan is often out with the boys alone and doesn't want to carry a quilted pink paisley diaper bag that looks like a purse. When we no longer need it for diapers, it will be a great multi-purpose messenger bag.
For nursing mamas:
1. Breast Pump - thought I didn't want one with my first, ended up wishing I'd had one from day one! I loved my manual Medela Harmony pump initially, but then I needed to pump hands-free, so I got the Medela Freestyle pump and had no complaints. They make excellent pumps.
2. Nursing Bras - get fitted at a maternity store (Motherhood Maternity had a TON of options) and buy several of these! I preferred the ones that clipped open/closed on the strap near the collar bone (as opposed to opening in the front middle). I didn't find any I liked while nursing Dominic so I only wore nursing tanktops, and looking back at pictures, I regret this decision... saggy... enough said.
3. Nursing Tanktops - if you aren't big on supportive bras, buy one in every color, otherwise, these are great for lounging around at home or wearing under cardigans for easy nursing access while out and about.
4. Gerber Prefold Diapers - Use these as burp cloths. They are super absorbent for spitup and leaky boobs. A dear friend suggested folding one up and putting it horizontally across my chest inside of my bra to manage leakage while at home or at night (best suggestion EVER).
5. Bottles: we liked Dr. Brown's with child 1, by child 2 we didn't want to wash that many pieces each time we used a bottle and opted for the Playtex (?) ones that just had a few easily washed parts.