Things you will need for sure:
_ A car seat
_ Somewhere for the baby to sleep
I would also add this to the list:
_ A thermometer (so you can figure out if your baby has a fever and how high of a fever)
Those were the only main things I could think of that everyone needs. I will get more specific now about what I liked:
_ Car seat and stroller system: We like the car seat stroller systems where the car seat is a carrier. It usually only goes up to around 20 lbs, 1 yr, but its great if the baby is asleep and instead of taking him out of the car seat you take out the whole carrier and
_ Diapers various sizes (1, 2…) My last baby never wore newborn size, it really depends on the baby what sizes they wear and for how long. I was a large baby and have always had large babies. My husband was a preemie and wore tiny diapers for the longest time. Cloth diapers are also an option that is out there. I have tried both.
_ Changing Pads
_ Changing Table I like a changing table because my back eventually hurts if I change on beds/floor all the time (some people just use a dresser with a pad on top)
_ Play yard with infant attachment: This is where my most of my babies have slept the first few months of their lives, in the infant area of a play yard next to my bed. The play yard is very useful for traveling or just to place around the house with some toys so the baby can play in it. I bought a bassinet for my last two babies because I always wanted one and thought they were pretty, but it is not necessary.
_ A crib (for when they outgrow the bassinet/ infant section in playard)
_ Mattress for the crib
_ Sheets for the crib.
_ Baby Monitor- we use it when we move the baby out of our room to another room. Some people say they are close enough to the other room to hear the baby, we weren’t.
_ Nail clipper
_ Baby brush
_ Thermometer: We registered for an ear thermometer and then found out it could not be used before 6 months. At the hospital they told us to use a regular digital one with the plastic covers rectally (poor thing) before the baby is 6 mo old, so we had both. I have used a“Temporal” thermometer also, one that you use across the forehead, the one I had started out working well but then it did not seem to be that accurate. I recently purchased one you use on the temple, so far so good. I usually only trust the rectal temperature for babies, though.
_ Diaper Bag (can be a bag/purse you already own that you like and can organize diapers etc in)
Some of these you might get whether or not you register for them, but if there is something specific you like, register for it:_ Receiving blankets
_ Washcloths/baby towels
_ Blankets: It would be good to make sure you have a blanket large enough for swaddling
_ Clothes (I like footed sleepers/pajamas, some people swear by onesies: little t-shirts that snap at the bottom between the legs). People usually give small sized clothing, so if you want you can register in the 6 mo range etc. Look for ease of dressing, changing diaper, and comfort (soft on the babies skin).
_ Soft shoes, socks
_ Baby detergent
_ Pacifier: depends on whether or not you wish to use one, we weren’t too keen on it but it really helped our first when she was a little baby, especially when she was screaming in the car, and so we loved it with her. None of our other children have cared for them (they have sucked their thumbs/ fingers)
_ Bouncer Chair: I liked it so baby could sit there while awake and it would calm them some times. Some people love them others say its unnecessary. For me it helped a lot so I could get stuff done without having the baby cry (plus its great for older siblings to be able to interact with the baby while he/she is sitting). Some people like swings to help calm their baby. We had a new swing someone had lent us for our oldest, and we liked it, but not enough to buy one for the next kids since we already had a bouncer seat.
_ Baby Carrier: For “baby-wearing”. I like it because I can carry my babies and still have my hands free, like when we are out etc, and its especially helpful if the baby wants to be held but you need your hands free for something else. Some people love these others don’t. Our oldest wasn’t that fond of it, but the rest of our children have enjoyed them. There is a great variety out there, but I like the carriers that have two straps for an even weight distribution on the back (my babies have been pretty heavy) and that carry the baby up front. I have a snugli that I like. I also have the “ultimate wrap” but it is harder to use. The Ergo carriers are pricier, but have a good reputation for comfort. I have been happy with mine, so I have never sprung for the more expensive ones, but I usually don't "wear" my baby every day, so if I needed to for longer periods and more often maybe I would consider it.
_Bedding sets are cute, but I have never used all the parts to it (and most people I know haven’t either). I guess it depends on how you are decorating. Some times you can just buy the parts of the set you want rather than the whole set, just something to take into consideration.
_Swaddling Blanket: Blankets that are designed to "swaddle" baby. At the hospital they usually swaddle the baby and it helps soothe the baby, to feel wrapped up tight like he/she was for 9 months. They sell these blankets, we got one for our third baby, but his ended up being to small, but some of my friends love these because they say it is easier to swaddle with them. Whatever the case, I would ask them at the hospital to teach you how to swaddle (or you can look it up online) and make sure you have a blanket at home (it does not have to be a swaddling blanket, just a regular one large enough) to do it just in case it does help your baby.
If you plan on breastfeeding:
_ Breast Pump: Find out if hospital gives free manual breastpump. They are very useful if you plan to pump every now and then, for a night out etc. If you are going to go to work and want to pump you can talk with the lactation consultant at the hospital for ideas. I recently (August 2011) read that breast pump rentals will be included in insurance policies from now on. You can contact your insurance provider for more information.
_ Nursing cover: I like it because it is easier to feed out in public without having to worry about juggling with a blanket and the baby etc. There are many laws out there right now to protect nursing moms but I still don’t feel comfortable doing it in public without being well covered (a la Angelina Jolie ).
_ A couple of baby bottles just in case you ever plan to be away from your baby and want to leave pumped milk.
_ Boppy pillow and the like (for moms you are going to breastfeed). My sister loved hers, and many other girls I know loved theirs, I didn't like it. I mentioned it just because everyone had told me to get one, lots of mothers really love it, but I didn't up until my last child, where I did find the boppy useful :).
Stuff for the future I have seen on registries
_ High Chair (or booster chair to put on regular car chair)
_ Baby proofing items
_ Utensils, cups, bowls etc
_ larger clothes, diapers
Don't get scared with the long list.
If you have any questions about anything I missed or anything I didn't explain well, etc please feel free to email!
The first 5 items I listed above is all I could think of that one reaaaallly needs, everything else is just for comfort or to make things easier or prettier etc but maybe could be replaced with something you already own.