When a baby is on the way, the parents-to-be try so hard to have everything in place, ready for their new arrival. There are the items, however, that no one mentions to new parents or at least are not stressed as being those crucial necessities. These are the things that will truly help new parents in the first few months as they're getting to know their beautiful new baby, who, by the way, does not speak the parents' language. Some people will say they can tell by a baby's cry what he or she needs, but in reality, it's a guessing game. You check their diapers, feed them, burp them and snuggle them. Eventually, hopefully, they stop crying, but you can't always be sure which of the things you did is the thing they needed. And wrist rattles? They are not going to help you when you go to change a diaper and you immediately discover that the diaper did not contain all its contents and you're at DEFCON 1 with toxic poop everywhere.
Burp cloths. Lots and lots of burp cloths. It's amazing how often and with such force those little tummies will send back up what just went down. Sometimes it's a little and sometimes it's a lot. Keep plenty of burp cloths handy in every room where the baby will be.
Spray stain remover for laundry. New parents do lots and lots of laundry and at least half of it will have been peed on or spit up on; some of it will be your clothes and some will be theirs. Somehow babies have really good aim; they can spit up their entire lunch and it will all land on you. Even if you only have one baby, your laundry will quadruple. They go through many outfits in a day and bath time for the baby alone will generate an entire load of laundry: towel, two washcloths, onesie, pajamas, second pair of pajamas because they peed on the first pair before you got the diaper fully secured, cover for the changing table because they peed on that, too. Buy the spray stain remover in the largest container available.
Baby wipes. Diapers are a given, but you also need lots and lots of wipes. You'll see why when you open up a mega-poopy diaper and it's everywhere. You'll be lucky if you only use half a pack of wipes for those diaper changes.
Food for the new parents. Feeding the baby is easy. Either the baby has breast milk which is available and hopefully plentiful and already warmed up or formula which is just as easy, especially because the dad can help prepare it. What you'll really need is food for the parents. The new parents are already walking around in a zombie-like catatonic state due to lack of sleep. Even if they have a chance to sleep, they don't because they're checking every fifteen minutes to make sure the sleeping baby is still breathing. These are not people who are going to be able to put together a coherent meal plan for themselves. They need to be able to pull something edible out of the refrigerator or freezer, toss it in the microwave, push "On" and walk away.
Baby monitor. There is a large range of baby monitors as far as price and features. Having a baby monitor is crucial for new parents who need to relax but often don't unless they know their baby is sleeping soundly and comfortably. Although they are pricier, there are video baby monitors so parents can actually see the baby while he or she is sleeping. There are also movement-sensing monitors with pads that are placed under the baby that detect movement.
Bathtub for baby. A bathtub is kind of a given, but so many people try to get the cute or fancy version. You do not need the deluxe, turbo-charged, spa-in-a-box version of a baby bathtub. It just needs to be a simple, one-piece, no-accessory affair. You need to be able to fill it up with warm water, put the baby in it and drain it when they're done. The baby does not care if it has a happy cartoon face. In fact, neither will you when you just used an entire package of wipes trying to get all the poop off your baby's backside.
Bassinet or crib. This is also a given, but the point is to use it. At some point the parents have to put the baby down. Yes, it's the best thing for new babies to be held and cuddled by their parents, but parents also have to go to the bathroom and get dressed. Swaddling the baby in a blanket and setting him or her in the bassinet for a couple minutes is going to be okay. And as the baby gets older, they will need to start sleeping in the crib or they will be sleeping with youâ€¦in your bedâ€¦forever.
Bottom line: go for simple and functional and use the tools you have to help your baby adjust to life on Earth and also to protect your sanity.