Things that are good to have…
At least 2 “Boppy” pillows (or your preferred equivalent). If a messy diaper leaks on a pillow, just washing the cover won’t be enough. If you make the mistake of taking off the cover after an Incident, you will figure that out pretty quickly. The only thing the cover is good for is protecting the pillow from pumpkin cheesecake. Anything else, just leave the cover on and throw the whole thing in the washer.
Several ice packs in the freezer. Even if you went home feeling 100% fine, you will manage to do something to your neck, arms, and/or back when you are suddenly carrying the baby around and feeding him/her all the time. It really sucks to need an ice pack and the only one you have didn’t make it back into the freezer after last time you used it. Or the last time your partner used it. Not that I’m bitter.
If you’re breastfeeding, a list of books you want to get or have someone bring you from the library. You’re going to be spending a LOT of time doing this, and with a Boppy, you’ll often have both arms free to turn pages. Especially good when the baby falls asleep nursing and you’re too tired to get up but you’re also bored. (However, don’t tell anyone about this – the boredom, the reading. There are people who are scandalized if you do anything other than stare blissfully at your nursing infant for hours.)
10 outfits for the baby in the current size at any given time, or even fewer. You’re going to be washing the changing table cover, the blankets, the bassinet/crib sheets, your clothes, etc. so often that you can really just throw in the baby’s clothes.
Baby mittens. Seriously. You can be as good as you want about trimming their nails, but those suckers are SHARP. Ow. One handful of your arm and a good squeeze, you will think you’re a pincushion. When baby is really mad and grabbing everything, get mittens on those hands. Socks can also work but it looks funny.
It really does help your mood if the outfits and blankets, etc. are cute. They don’t ALL have to be cute, but the majority of them need to be. It’s more cheerful when you’re crying from exhaustion at 2:30 a.m.
A (few) case(s) of Clif bars, Luna bars, whatever you prefer. They taste better than prenatal vitamins and when you’re hungry at 2:30 from all the energy you just expended crying, you will need a snack.
Take lots of pictures, they grow REALLY fast. If your camera has a feature where it will take multiple shots in a row quickly, this is the best thing if you have a wiggly baby. If your camera takes movies with audio, use it. The sounds they make change so quickly, and it’s making me crazy that I can’t remember what our baby sounded like when he was first born. You know, back when his dad would actually wake up when the baby made noise in the middle of the night…
The sizing on kids clothes is just as wack as women’s clothes. Some things labeled 6 months are the same size as the 0-3 month stuff our kid grew out of at 2 months. If there’s something special you want to make sure the baby wears (to take a photo for the relative who got it for you?), compare it to his current clothes regularly to make sure you don’t miss your opportunity.
If a baby hates diaper changes, warm wipes probably won’t make diaper change time any happier.
When you realize the baby has grown out of a particular size of diaper, make sure you take all of those out of the diaper bag before the next time you go out. Especially if you don’t go out often.
Cold air humidifiers work great unless it’s cold in the room. Then they just drench your carpet.
Annoying but true, DON’T BUY TONS OF bottles, pacifiers, or diapers until you’ve tried them and know which ones you and the baby prefer. There have been diapers we hated (coughHuggiescough), and our baby strongly prefers Avent pacifiers to Gerber. Gerber gets the “talk to the hand” routine in this house.