Now that we've had Theo for almost two months, a few items have emerged as incredibly useful and I though we should share. These are listed in order starting with the most useful. (Just to be clear, these are things we already own and use, so please don't buy them for us -- but feel free to buy them for yourselves if you have a small baby and think they might work for you too)
1. Total Baby - This is an iPhone app which takes over once the baby is born. At the hospital they'll give you a sheet you can take home and use to keep track of feedings, naps, and diaper changes. Total Baby does it all. If you don't own an iPhone or iPod Touch, it's worth buying one just for this app. - $5 available via the iTunes store.
2. Prince Lionheart The Original Slumber Bear. This is essentially a glorified teddy bear with a white noise machine inside -- which happens to be "womb sounds". Theo's too young to sleep with a teddy bear, so the box inside comes out and hangs on the bassinet. The first night we got this, Theo slept for six hours. Since then he's gotten up to routinely sleeping 8+ hours every night. This thing chews through batteries pretty quickly but it's worth it.
3. Fisher Price Soothe N Play Bouncer - Woodland Animals. Because Theo likes to bounce, although honestly the vibration isn't enough for him and we actively have to rock him with a foot.
4. Baby Swing For those times we need Theo to sleep and he's fussy and we don't want to hold him, this thing plus the white noise iPhone app are wonderful! It goes hand-in-hand with the bouncer, but sometimes Theo wants to bounce, and sometimes he prefers to swing.
5. IQ Baby Baby Buzz. This isn't as important now, but when Theo was less than a month old he really hated being on the changing table, and the music this guy plays was the only way we could get him to calm down even the slightest bit. It chews through batteries like there's no tomorrow, however. It needed new batteries every 3-4 days!
6. AngelCare Baby Monitor. This is just a baby monitor on steriods. It's got the audio, of course, but it also has temperature with alarms so if the baby's room gets too hot or too cold, you know. But that's not the reason this makes the list, especially since Theo still sleeps in the room with us. This monitor comes with a motion-sensitive plate that slides underneath the mattress. His breathing is enough movement to set off the sensor. Should he stop breathing (or get picked up by us), the monitor notices that, sends a warning beep in ten seconds, and ten seconds later alarms. Theo doesn't have breathing problems or anything like that, but SIDS is very scary and this gives me a lot of peace of mind, especially once Theo started sleeping for 8+ hours each night.
7. White Noise iPhone App. Like the name says, plays white noise out of the iPhone speaker. I crank it up as loud as it goes, and it really soothes Theo. Very useful at some of the worst moments. The only downside is if you need to turn it off, and sometimes Theo is crying, I need to turn it off faster than the process of unlocking the phone allows. - Free via the iTunes Store, with ads and nags.