"I wouldn't worry about a changing table. I have always found it easier to change a moving target on the floor. Just remember the baby will grow up with or without the cute diaper bag, carseat, expensive stroller. But, if it allows you peace of mind, makes you feel pretty or like a good mother, it is worth the expense too."
Mom of 6
"A good baby thermometer is a good idea. Honestly, the best thing to do is probably to hold off on most things, wait until the baby comes, then see what you really need. It is so easy to get caught up in thinking you need a ton of stuff before the baby gets here, but you may end up spending money on things you will never use."
Mom of 5
"Here's a non-essential extra that I love: the Bumbo. I also think a bouncy seat is really nice to have, but not essential. Oh, and I really like having a changing table. Ours has 3 big drawers and a side cabinet and it holds everything! I'd say a changing table is an expensive "extra" that would be worth getting when you can afford it later. I prefer a changing table because the baby is at waist level and they can't get away from me so they're less squirmy. Changing a diaper on the floor when you're 9 months pregnant is not fun."
Mom of 7
"I consider myself a "redneck" Mom--so, take these thoughts at your own risk. When Heidi was born, we'd only purchased a bed for ourselves a week before (I'd been sleeping on the floor before that--yes, at 8 1/2 months pregnant.). I only had cardboard boxes for ours and Heidi's dressers. Thanks to Mom for helping me sew cute things for the crib we borrowed from Scott's Grandma. After that, I pretty much decided most everything else was ephemera. Swings come in handy for some kids. If you have a cryer, I might go get one or borrow one (not before). My children never would take a pacifier because I was too yummy, apparently. Beyond that, a few good cloth diapers will come in handy for spit up messes. The rest is all a bunch of marketing hype. Decide for yourself if you'll get drawn into it."
Mom of 4
"Most things you can wait on. When you think about it, you really only need a car seat so you can take her home from the hospital. (You'll probably want a few other things, however, to be a little bit more comfortable.) Make sure you have something to rub on you after the baby eats, if you are nursing. I think they might give you something at the hospital, but I can't remember. Anyway! It will really help. Otherwise you will get really sore." (Lansinoh Lanolin; can be found just about anywhere they sell baby items)
Mom of 3
"I thought I would need everything ( plus I kinda had that " I want to OWN everything" syndrome) but really, borrow as much as you can and try it out (I'm talking bouncers and swings, maybe even the tub if you like that idea) and then buy it when you like it! :)."
Mom of 5
"I can't say enough good things about swaddle blankets! Super lightweight, soft, muslin cotton. At first I didn't want to buy them because they're pricey, but they very quickly became my favorite blankets! Especially if you plan on swaddling. love, love love!!!!"
Mom of 3
I hope this helped answer some of your questions! You are going to be an awesome mom, the best your kiddos will ever have, in fact. ;)
Any extra bits of advice?
General consensus - No
Most of my sisters just used the bathtub with a hand towel and filled the tub just one or two inches. A general rule of thumb is to never fill the tub higher than the baby's belly button when they're sitting up. Of course, when they're newborns, you'll probably use the sink more than anything else.
Some of my sisters and I used baby bath cushions. You can find them on amazon.
General consensus - At first, yes
I always wear one for the first little while then transfer back to my old ones when I get better at nursing and am more regulated. Just make sure that you get a decent day bra and a couple of nighttime bras, just in case you leak!
General consensus - Yes, but...
I mean, you've gotta bring diapers and wipes, clothes, blankets, etc. with you when you go places, but there are so many options out there. You don't really need a fancy schmancy diaper bag, but in my own personal experience, it's a lot easier to keep things organized in a bag that's made specifically with moms in mind.
General consensus - Yes
I think the general consensus for every mom everywhere is a "yes" but opinions on the type of stroller you should get vary vastly. It all depends on your lifestyle and needs. Jogger strollers are great for active moms (obviously) but be aware that the tires can pop (which gets old after a while). A common theme between the moms was that buying a travel system was really helpful so that you can easily transfer the car seat carrier to the stroller and not wake the baby. I've had a Contours Options Elite that I purchased off of Amazon for YEARS and have been very happy with it.
General consensus - Yes
4 kids later, and I have yet to purchase one, but my sister's all agree it's very useful to have. The pac n' plays with the bassinet are really handy so you don't have to bend over, but you can get by with just a regular one. Sisters said that the Graco brand have been good to them, but Chico has been nice, too! If you don't already have a crib, or can't afford one just yet, the pac n' play works great!
Pac n' Plays
General consensus - Not necessary
If you're in a smaller place, like an apartment or just a smaller house, or the baby is in a room that's near where the everyday action takes place, it's not really necessary. Some of my sisters chose to purchase baby monitors because the baby's room was upstairs or downstairs and they were worried they wouldn't be able to hear their baby if they cried. One sister purchased a monitor so she could get to her baby quickly before he woke up the rest of the family, and one sister decided that, for the sake of her paranoid spirit, to invest in one.
Before my oldest, Chelsea was born, I reached out to the best mothers I know (my sisters) to ask for some advice regarding various items. Now, having been a mom of a newborn for two kiddos, I've accumulated my own opinions and advice and found that they basically coincide with those of my "panel." So! here's some advice that might help you, too, whether it's your first or your third (but especially if it's your first).
photos c/o Mariasha Rowland