Emily is almost 2 months old now (what?!) and I've started to get the hang of things (if only barely and with much trepidation). Here are the things that I could not live without*, in my new life as a mom:
1. How to Have Your Second Child First: 100 Things That are Good to Know the First Time Around by Kerry Colburn and Rob Sorensen.
This book gave me tips, ideas, and validation. It was like my best friend was telling me everything she had already learned, and that it would all end up okay. I highly recommend reading it while pregnant for tips, and then again in those first few weeks for reassurance.
2. All the burp cloths. Seriously, just buy all of them. And don't try to use extra receiving blankets like I did; they're not nearly absorbent enough.
3. An infant swing. Get one that plays music and has different speed settings. When nothing else works, this handy piece of machinery can usually get my little fusser to sleep.
4. Tommee Tippee milk bibs.
Breastfeeding is, to say the least, messy. And Emily is not what you would call an efficient eater. Milk would be all over her by the time we were done, and she would break out with some (in my opinion) horrendous baby acne. I bought these bibs and voila, no mess! (Okay, there's still a mess, but it's at least contained.)
5. I wasn't going to include this, but considering it just saved me an hour of crying, I'm highly recommending a front carrier. Not only is it handy when shopping (because an infant car seat is going to take up your entire cart) but it is an easy way to calm a crying baby. I just strap her in and go for a walk and within minutes she's out. Try/borrow different types. Not all will be comfortable for you, and what you really want is something that is easy to put on and easy to put her in.
6. The Rock and Play Sleeper. This is our version of a bassinet. I love how portable it is (I take it into our bathroom when I want to take a shower but keep her close), that it keeps her at an angle that is supposed to help with reflux/colic, and that it keeps her feeling snuggled without needing to be in a swaddle. I don't worry about her turning over or spitting up or experiencing a massive startle reflex in her big, un-snuggly crib. The fact that that last one is even an issue for me probably tells you I'm very much a normal First-Time Mom Worrier. But whatever. It helps me sleep at night, and I think it helps her, too.
7. A diaper pail. I prefer Arm & Hammer's, but it's not perfect and maybe there's a better one out there for you. Anyway, I know some people don't see the point in getting these when you can just throw diapers in the trash. But let me tell you, in a two-story house in the middle of the night when your baby has diarrhea? You don't want to be running downstairs repeatedly and you most certainly don't want that smell lingering. Enough said.
Of course there are many more things you need, and even more that are just good to have, but these are just a few things that I found were extremely helpful after living with an infant for a few weeks. Hopefully soon I'll be able to do a post of the products I was told I needed and really didn't. **Update** You can find that post here.
*For the record, I'm receiving no compensation for endorsing any of this stuff. I just really like it.