I use a Medela pump in style. The only thing I have to compare it to is the hospital grade pump they loaned me while E was in the special care nursery so I can't say whether it's better or worse than any other consumer grade pump, but it's served my needs well. I'd buy it again, which is not the case for all of our pre-baby acquisitions. FWIW, having used it and seen the way all of the parts connect, I'd totally feel comfortable using a second-hand pump, if you have access to one, and I'm generally a little neurotic about stuff like that. The only part you'd be reusing is the motor and the bag - anything that comes near you or the milk can be purchased separately at a reasonable cost, so all of that stuff would be brand new to you.
The requests for pump info made me think about what things I really like and what things I could do without. I now present you with MY unsolicited-but-hopefully-not-without-value list of baby must-haves*:
#1, hands down: Aden and Anais swaddling blankets. These are the only blankets we found that were big enough to effectively swaddle our little wriggler. We tried the miracle blanket and it was a total fail. I know they work for a lot of people but Elliot was out of that thing in five minutes or less several nights in a row before we retired it. He couldn't get his arms free but had no difficulty pulling his legs up out of the sack part. The A&A blankets are big enough that we can wrap them all the way around him for a secure hold and they still work on our nearly 15 pound chubster. Bonus is that they are gauzy enough that I don't panic when he pulls them up over his face (as I found him this morning - see Exhibit A below) and they were perfect for draping over his infant seat when he was little and we didn't want people fawning over (read: germifying) him.
The best book we own is Dr. Sears' The Baby Book, or the bible, as it's called in our house. It's got a LOT of information on a LOT of different topics. We have yet to encounter an issue it couldn't help us with - knock on wood! (His vaccine book was super-helpful as well.)
I believe I've mentioned this before on this blog but the itzbeen timer was more valuable during the first few weeks than I can put into words. I don't know how new parents get by without one. If you or your little one ends up needing any medication during those early days, this gadget is all the more essential. Sleep deprivation seriously messes with your sense of time and there were many times where I insisted E "couldn't possibly" be hungry or wet, only to glance at the timer and see I'd completely lost an hour or more.
black and white drawings book (any): We got Look Look by... I can't remember the author (Peter something?) but you can find it on amazon. This was the first inanimate object that would hold Elliot's attention for more than a second or two and it was such a relief to give our silly sounds and faces a hard-earned break!
moby wrap: Lifesaver.
prefolds to use as burp rags: Economical and way more absorbent than any of the other options out there.
sleep gowns: These were really great when he was a newborn and we were doing frequent diaper changes during the night but trying to maintain as much infant sleepiness as possible! We consistently reached for these first right up until he grew out of them all.
vicks rectal thermometer (the little oval-shaped one with the short probe): This is SO easy to use and I was waaay stressed about rectal temping. We do it frequently for peace of mind and I really appreciate having such a user-friendly tool for the job.
10,000 mAh rechargeable D batteries: The swing burns through battery power like nobody's business but the high mAh rating on these makes them last forever. We rotate ours maybe once a month?
Cloth diapers and accessories: We are cloth diaper addicts. I could write a whole post about our loves and hates in that department but I don't want to bog this post down with it. Send me an email at [name of this blog] at gmail if you're interested, or maybe I'll do a separate CD post soon.
A couple of brand showdowns:
Boppy v. My Brest Friend: Boppy, no contest. It's easier to nurse with because you can squish it into different positions and it's also good for propping the baby up in various ways (pre-sitting, tummy time, etc.).
Medela v. Lansinoh lanolin: Medela, again no contest. The Lansinoh brand has a weird, waxy consistency that gets all over everything and doesn't absorb at all.
Things I wish weren't currently taking up space in our house:
- Infant bathtub: We've used it twice. We take him in the regular tub with us.
- Storage bottles for breast milk: The bags are easier to use, easier to freeze (you can lay them flat then stack them), and they hold more milk. I'm not talking about the bottles that come with the pump - those you need. I'm talking about the little "pre-sterilized" vials that are sold in 12 packs and hold less than 3 oz. of milk each. Ours still have the safety seal intact.
- Non-disposable breast pads: I bought a bunch thinking I'd be using them daily but I only leaked for the first couple of weeks and could have gotten by with a single set or one box of disposables.
- 1001 baby blankets: We registered for a couple and received about 25 as gifts. Other than the A&A swaddlers, a handful of flannel receiving blankets, and one special hand-knit treasure, we don't use any of them.
Good luck and happy registering!! :-)
*These are the things that worked for us. They might not work for you because that seems to be how it goes with all baby stuff - one person's godsend lands in another person's garage sale pile. (See blurb above re: widely-celebrated miracle blanket.) That said, I was always on the look out for reviews I trusted when we were working on our registry and shopping plans, so here are my top picks, for whatever they're worth to you!