Being that I'm on my third kid thus far and knowing some up-coming new mommies, I'm thinking it's about time to put a list together of some of the goodies I like to use with our kids. I'll try to keep this list updated as I get more experience.
One of the best books I've come across is The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. Great read for those who love a common sense approach to childbirth. She reviews interventions doctors use, why they came about, when they're needed, and the pros and cons.
Another book I keep going back to is The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by LLL. Not only does it talk about all the benefits of breastfeeding, but it's a great reference for any problems you may have. It talks about breast infections, going back to work, latching properly, etc. This book has a concordance so it's easy to find what you're looking for.
For our kids health, How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor by Robert S. Mendelsohn has been a great reference. He dispells a lot of myths regarding vaccines and talks about the different fears you may have, along with listing some home remedies. For example, fevers...why our bodies create them, that they're HELPFUL, and when to worry.
If you're interested in our experience with cloth diapers, check out my cloth diaper reviews. There are also links to a pail, liner, detergent, and minishower that make it all work for us.
For disposable diapers, I prefer non-chlorine. We started with Pampers with Karrots, which worked well, but have you ever walked down the diaper isle in a store only to find you have a complete lack of oxygen before you get to the end of the isle? Just thinking about all those chemicals being placed on our babies' most sensitive areas, left on for hours, made me rethink them. So we switched to chlorine-free. Thus far, I'm loving the Earth's Best diapers. I've also tried Seventh Generation, but they don't hold nearly as much as the Earth's Best. They sell them at Babies R Us, but I've found them cheapest by the case at Diapers.com. Their training pants are the best I've found also. Our kids mostly use them for bed time.
For diaper cream I prefer Avalon Organics Zinc Diaper Balm. It's mostly made up of the active ingredient, zinc, which means it works!! And no added unnecessary junk. For cloth you're not supposed to use diaper rash creams as it can damage the diapers. Instead, we use cornstarch. It keeps them dry and helps avoid any irritation.
Now, even if you don't want a changing table, you'll want some waterproof lap pads for those inevitable blow-out messes. These are also helpful for containing accidents if baby's in bed with you.
I wrote up a review on carriers. My favorite thus far is the Ergo Baby Carrier. I can put baby on my back, front or side and it's super comfortable. You can find these used on ebay and craigslist if you're trying to be frugal. Another favorite for when they're fresh out of the womb is the Maya wrap. It's super simple, you don't need an added insert, but not as comfortable when baby gets heavier.
For sleeping, though baby's usually in bed WITH us, I love having the Arm's Reach Co-sleeper. It attaches to the bed so baby can't fall between her bed and yours, which kinda extends the safe sleep space on your bed. It's where our baby naps. It's also portable and doubles as a pack-in-play. When our babies got bigger we took off the bassinet portion and detached the sleeper and they continued to sleep in it. With this, I'd also recommend getting at least two waterproof pad for their bed. It'll aid for when they're sleeping in it more permanent so you can change it and go back to sleep if they leak at night. Plus, if you get one that lays flat, you can use it to avoid soiling accidents (potty AND spit up) if they're going to sleep in your bed.
As you probably know, I'm a huge advocate for breastfeeding. Child was born rooing and soon after mama's boobs start spraying...God ordained. Your milk gives the baby the perfect nourishment, gentle on tummy (less fussiness), and they get the antibodies to all the yuckies you've been exposed to (which I've heard how great it is for clearing up mucus when sprayed up their nose or ear infections when sprayed in their ears). Plus, I've found it makes life easier. At night, with baby in bed, I just roll over whenever she wakes up, pop it in her mouth, and go back to sleep. No need to sterilize bottles or worrying about dropping them. You don't have to heat anything up as it's the perfect temperature.
With that, one of the best resources I've found for nursing bras is Breakoutbras.com. They'll help you find sexy nursing bras, like HotMilk, as well as comfortable. The woman who operates it gives reviews on them and talks about sizing and how to find the best fit, etc. My favorite bras has been the Bravado. Apart from that, I prefer wearing a cami with a build-in bra under my shirts. They need to have elastic straps so you can get easy access and won't be cutting into your boob. I got a 3 pack at Costco for around $12.
For those who desire to pump, my Avent Manual Breast Pump works great. I've also used the Medela Swing Breast Pump, which is a single electric one. It works well, too...especially when I don't want to deal with pumping manually.
If pumping, you'll also want to get some breastmilk storage bags. I've only used the Lansinoh ones, which work perfect.
If breastfeeding, you'll also need a ton of breast pads. I prefer the cloth, reusable ones as they're pretty frugal, especially if used for multiple kids. I tried some Bamboobies ones, but they didn't lay flat and were rather obvious when worn. Whichever kind you get, make sure they're breathable, i.e. no plastic.
If you pump, you'll need bottles...if your child will take them. We have Breast Flow ones. Our babies have used them, but they're kind've awkward as they're build different than most bottles so that they're more like the breast. We've also use BornFree. They make glass ones, but I'm one to freak on if they throw it and break it so we simply had the BPA free plastic ones.
Once you start preparing food (consciously), you may want to look at some storage system. We got the KidCo Feeding System, which comes with the storage and food mills. We've never used the electric mill, but the storage is great. You can make a batch, freeze in their trays, and when ready, pop it out and it fits in the feeding dish.
One more thing you'll want is a chair for your little one. For all kids we've used a travel booster seat, even at home. It helps support them well if they can't sit up on their own and, unlike the high chair we had, they don't get stuck in it.
Besides squirting breast milk up a baby's nose, Little Noses Saline Drops have been helpful to have around the house. We've also found the Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer to work really well...and no sticking anything up their booties or worrying about them breaking the glass.
For teething, we've used Hyland's Teething Tablets. The kids liked them so much that they'd sneak in our room get into the bottle, which, though can get expensive, wasn't going to harm them as they're homeopathic. Melody, right now, also has a caramel amber necklace that I got during a deal with mamabargains. Since we got it she hasn't needed tablets and she's gotten at least two teeth in since them. (BTW, did you know that teething can cause fevers in babies?)
For lotion, I love using coconut oil. It smells great, moisturizes, and won't hurt them if they get it in their mouth...in fact, I've heard of mothers feeding their babies coconut oil. It's made of lauric acid, the same healthy fatty acid in breastmilk. (Here's an article on why's it's good for you.)
On the go, I like to carry hand santizer. The brand I like, Clean Well, is non-alcoholic (as we've all heard of kids tripping out on the alcohol) and has a pleasant aroma.
As far as nail clippers, I prefer biting their nails. I can better tell that I'm not going too deep that way.