No, not the kind you're thinking of. I mean the "essential" crap that all the baby conglomerates like Babies R Us try to convince you to buy. This is a post to all you future moms out there. Kind of a "what to buy" tips and tricks.
I did a ton of research and because of that feel that we didn't waste our money on useless products. We got a few randoms during my shower, but everything has come in really handy! Enjoy:
Prior to birth:
Sterilize everything by week 37. It's been so nice to be home and not have to boil plastic crap or other things for the baby. I didn't sterilize the breast pump until I got home because I wasn't certain if I was going to keep it or not (return policy).
Read books about things other than pregnancy. Around the start of my 3rd tri, I stopped reading pregnancy books and started reading sleeping and childbirth books. Troy and I both really liked "The Happiest Baby on the Block". You can also get it on DVD to make for a quicker "read".
Things to stock up on:
Colace. You don't want that first post partum poo to sneak up on you. That region of your body has already had some trauma and you don't need any more. I swear the first few days I wanted an epidural every time I had to go to the bathroom.
GIANT pads. The hospital will give you some, but you'll go through them pretty quickly (even if you have a c section). If they don't look like they formerly were a phone book, they're not big enough. I've heard horror stories about Always pads causing some sort of post partum rash. I just got the super Target overnight ones and they've been fine.
Dermaplast. The hospital will also give you some, but it's nice to have around if you run out
Food that you can eat with 1 hand. Also make some food to freeze; it's great to have home-cooked food that I just have to heat up
Tucks pads. Not just for hemorrhoids. They're great for just general swelling for your "business"
Batteries. Baby crap takes SO many batteries (mostly C & D). We invested in about $100 of rechargeable batteries and I think it will definitely be worth it.
Things that are great if you're going to breastfeed:
Target nursing tanks. Super comfy to wear around the house, and will fit anyone regardless of how/when your milk comes in. Also only about $17. If you want a formal nursing bra later, it's best to wait a few weeks until after your milk comes in.
Nipple cream. the first few days you can be kind of tender. I like this stuff because it's really easy to put on and is all organic meaning you don't have to wipe it off each time you want to feed: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=motherlove+nipple+cream
Soothie pacifiers. I was against pacifiers at first to avoid nipple confusion, but after Jack "confused" my nipple for an hour long comforting session, I asked for a pacifier at the hospital. Soothie's are really close to a normal nipple and he's had no probably going back and forth.
Nursing pads. Great for just keeping your poor nips away from any material. I ordered mine from a work at home mom on Etsy. The seller name is ArtsyFartsyFooFoo. She doesn't have any listed on her site right now, but send her an email and she'll make them to order. They're really comfy and don't bunch up under clothes. http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6056477
The Boppy pillow SUCKS. It might be because I'm tall, but I much prefer the Breast Friend breast feeding pillow. It has a snap that goes around your waist and provides back support. Because it stays attached you can have the kid up much higher which makes for a much more comfortable latch.
The La Lache League book "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" was helpful. I also attended 2 La Lache meetings while pregnant and found it nice to be around real women who breastfed. Some of the LLL women are WEIRD and it's not uncommon to see a 5 year old getting nursed during the meetings. However, ignore the freaks and focus on the helpful tips.
At the hospital ask to see any lactation consultant they have (it's free). My hospital only had the same one on duty both days we were there, but a few of the nurses were also certified. Everyone has different tips, but they ALL want you to succeed and are very helpful.
Other random things we like/useful tips:
Prefold cloth diapers for burp clothes. Any baby store will have them. They aren't fit to be actual cloth diapers, but are great for catching a little spit up here and there. Of the various brands we have, I like the Gerber organics the best.
Avoid Gerber onesies. They run super small and suck.
Sleep gowns. We have the Gerber ones and they're really nice for diaper changes in the middle of the night. These are my only Gerber recommendation.
Sleep & Plays. You can get these anywhere, but they're basically long-sleeved PJ's that we have Jack in ALL day. Get the ones with a zipper because trying to figure out snaps at 4 am blows.
SwaddleMe Swaddle blankets. Run, do not walk, to get these.
Angelcare Movement Monitor. We have it under his bassinet mattress and I sleep so great at night knowing that an alarm will go off if Jack hasn't taken a breath in 20 seconds. Even though he sleeps right next to us, it's a relief to me that he's taken care of. It's expensive but so worth it. Amazon typically has the best price - around $80.
A bassinet or something to put the baby by your bed. The first few weeks are so tiring that you don't want to be getting in and out of bed to go to the nursery.
Get some sort of carrier for an infant. We have a Moby Wrap and an Ergo carrier with infant insert. I'm also getting a sling. It makes getting stuff done easy and saves your arms when you simply can't hold the kid any more!
Steal everything you can from the hospital. If they put it in your room, they charge your insurance for it regardless if you use it or not. Ask for extras of everything any time a nurse comes in; then stockpile! The best things to take are the Peri bottom to hose down after going to the bathroom and the booger sucker. You simply can't find a booger sucker in the stores that work as well.
Even if you're not planning on registering at Babies R Us or Target, set up a registry on their website for a few items and put in an early due date. After the due date, they'll send you a coupon for 10% off anything on your registry. I then later added items to my registry that I realized I needed and used that coupon to get a great deal!