I know a few people having babies soon, and I just wanted to share my list of the things I absolutly couldn't have done without in terms of babygear... so here it is in no particular order except to say that the top five were absolutely indispensible, wheras the 2nd five are just really handy items.. Now I must stress that this is just what WE found was really useful for our babies & environment. All babies, houses, parents & experiences are different of course - this is just what worked for us.
I wouldn't survive without our bean bag. It allows me to get down on the floor with Jett and Zali, without being really uncomfortable. Being at their level is good, even if you are just with them reading a book, watching tv etc. They do their thing, you do your thing but you are together.. And they don't cost the earth so once ours got really threadbare and yukky, we just got a new one.
Now we definitely didn't use these for actual nappy purposes. But we've since used them for everything else possible and we do use heaps and heaps. We got given all of ours 2nd hand (thanks Jackie!) - I don't know if I'd go out and buy them new, hemmed squares of fabric do the trick as well.
Before Zali and Jett were in their cots, they were in Nic's borrowed bassinet which was just really really basic but it was fantastic as it was ON WHEELS. This meant we could roll Jett and Zali to sleep, just like they taught us at sleep-school. We could also move the babies around to quieter/warmer/cooler locations in the house. Or just get them out of the laundry so we could do the washing! I'm having trouble finding a picture of one but imagine one of those washing basket holders people use in the garden.
Zali and Jett spent a lot of time on their play-mats as babies. We borrowed one the first time round, and bought one for Jett. I'd fork out for one rather than make do with hanging things off the clothes airer etc etc! Here's jett on his..
About the best thing I got from my job (it certainly wasn't new skills, promotions or a secure career) was a cot sound machine. It attaches to the cot with velcro, has a little light but best of all, it makes wave sounds which after a few minutes, slowly fade away to silence. You can also get it to play a tune, or sound like a river, and coolest of all, you can get it to be sound activated, so if the baby is startled in the middle of the night, the waves come on and soothe them back to sleep. Some people have suggested it actually sounds alarmingly similar to darth vader breathing but we know better! It iss great cos when we went away we could take it with us and it is a familar sound for them in their unfamiliar environment.. I'll put a picture up soon, but in the meantime, it's sort of like this one (click on the image to see the details) but without the aquarium bit I spose!!
Everyone gets one of these in one form or another pretty much. We had both the old style and the new, and we used them pretty evenly. The old style was more fun, the new style more stable and easier to move around. We used them every day for hours.
This will seem weird but we just use this stuff soooo much. Ever since Zali was eating we've used the spoons and the bowls. You can buy them pretty cheaply from the supermarket in packs of 12 spoons so there's always one handy - and the bowls have lids so they are easy to transport food as well as to serve it from.
Unfortunately you can't buy this one - you need to be lucky enough to have a biggish aquatic centre nearby. Since Zali was born they have been a lifesaver to me - I can get an hours childcare while I swim or gym (also good for 1/2 hour swim + 1/2 an hour reading/resting/reviving!) all for a couple of dollars. In Lane Cove I didn't have to book so I could just go whenever it suited everyone's naps. Here it's still worth the extra hassle of being there on time just for a break - I'm not a huge fan of swimming but I really enjoy the time during the day. Fitness First do the same thing - in fact their Lane Cove creche looked even better, but it is a bit more expensive if you count the gym membership as well.
This is probably just a hot weather thing, but they were essential for us to keep the newborn babies wrapped and happy without them melting. I'm nore sure what you do in a cold climate. Anyway we needed about 6.
We used both of these things heaps to get advice, to help us with settling the babies, for reasurrance and peace of mind. Even when the answer wasn't really clear, it still helped to talk about it with the nice people there...
It would be remiss not to mention some of the things which I know that others have found essential but just didn't make our list. Jackie swears by the automated swing thingy (Zali just didn't take to it) , Denny would add the baby bouncer thingy that you hang from a door frame and the baby can bounce up and down in. I recon she'd also mention her swishy mobile which could be operated by remote control.