When I first had my baby I had no idea what kind of items I was going to need or use once he arrived. I was inexperienced and unknowledgeable about all of this stuff. I had researched plenty of things on the internet and definitely at Babies R Us and Baby Depot. After I left each place I thought to myself, "Am I going to need all of this stuff?", "how am I ever going to afford all of this (not to mention where am I goign to store it all)? Once my baby shower was over, I got many of the items I had on my baby registry and I was very happy, yet I still didn't know if I really needed it all or not. Figuring out the solution to your baby's needs is where it all comes into play.
Out of all of the wonderful gifts that my friends and family gave to me, there are still only a select few items that I absolutely love and use the most frequent (mainly because my baby loves them). I can tell you all of these helpful gadgets happen to be the simplest inventions. You see all of these fancy, battery operated toys that just seem so complex and the majority of them are just unnecessary corporate money-makers. Here are a few of the items I ended up using the most and really getting what you need out of them.
The original Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier. It is amazing and I got through some of the toughest times with that thing. You can start using it when they're just newborns as opposed to having to wait until they're 3 months old like many carriers. This helps with parent-baby bonding and makes your baby feel calm up against your chest and close to you. I used this (and still d0 since they offer it in a larger size) when I went grocery shopping, Christmas shopping, cooking and cleaning around the house and out on walks. I really liked using it in the grocery store and shopping, etc. because it kept me from having to put him in a germ filled shopping cart or him touching anything that could have germs on it. I would also use it just walking around the house when my baby was upset it helped to calm him to sleep. A nice feature is that the top will flip down, so when they're old enough to hold their head up on their own, you can turn them around so they can see where they're going. I just absolutely love this thing.
A set of "ring-a-links" toys. You can get them at Wal-mart, Toys R Us or any other store that carries baby items. They're just a very simple toy that has been around for ages. They're simply little plastic rings that link together and are different colors and textures. You can take them anywhere and they're quiet for places like church or school assemblies.
A portable baby swing is another great thing that I used often. This particular Fisher-Price model folds up totally so it will easily store in a small space and fit easily in a car. It's lightweight and easy to carry so you can type articles on your computer, wash dishes or clothes and your baby can play in his swing wherever you happen to be at the time.
A nice carseat/stroller combo is a great thing to add to your baby registry because sooner or later, you will need a stroller and you will need a carseat when you leave the hospital. Usually those combo packs come with a beginner carseat for newborns up to around 25 pounds. I would recommend getting a Graco because the newer models have an easy buckling and and unbuckling system so you can gently remove baby without a lot of bold, rough movements. I got mine at Toys R Us and they usually have them in stock so you can take them home with you the same day.
I hope this helps you in whatever stage you and your baby are in right now. If you're still pregnant and looking for good items to add to your registry, please consider these items, especially the Baby Bjorn Carrier because I truely believe you will put it to some good use in the future. Good luck.