One of my sweet cousins had a baby about 7 months after Goose was born, and between the financial pinch of me quitting work and the time pinch of the stores where she was registered being too far from Goose's crib where she required naps at frequent intervals, I had to come up with something . . . inventive, shall we say. Some of the things were pulled out of my own "supply" closet, while others were purchased, and my mom split the cost with me. I felt we were able to shower my dear cousin with items that I had found to be very helpful as I transitioned to being a new mom.
Baby Sling - one that I had been given that didn't work for us.
Ear Plugs - I bought a multi-pack when it became clear that the tiniest noise over the monitor would rouse me from sleep. (Yes, I needed a monitor. Our bedroom and the nursery are on different floors. We slept in the spare room for a while but had to keep the doors closed to keep the cats out.) So I put a pair in a small plastic bag and gave them to her that way.
Safety Pin - I attached it over my bar strap to indicate which side Goose was due to nurse on the next time. (note, 1. that typo is my way of not really typing the actual word for all the weirdos out there searching such things to find, and 2. I didn't actually stick it through the fabric, but I put the strap inside the pin. Otherwise the straps would have been shot in short order!)
Soothies - Goose had some trouble latching on, so these gel pads were, well, soothing. I see that Medela has a cheaper version though either way, I'd look for them locally to avoid shipping charges. I had a package left over.
Incontinence Pads - Though I did not need them for their intended purpose, I had some on hand to put underneath Goose and me when I nursed her in the side-lying position. (Scroll down to see links for nursing while laying down.) I hadn't thought about it at the time, but I have since bought at a consignment sale a washable, reusable pad for Goose's crib that would work well, and would pull double duty!
Heavy-Flow Maxi Pads - I had some left over that I passed along to her.
Mother's Milk Tea - a friend had given me a few boxes, so I passed one along.
Nursing Pads - though now I might be tempted to try to make some...
Safety Q Tips - for some reason, I seemed to have trouble finding these in stores. I don't think I was looking in the right places. :>)
Disposable Changing Pads - Especially at first, I hated the thought of laying my baby down on a nasty changing table in a public restroom. I bought a package of these pads, and I think I only actually threw one away, so they certainly last. (They are also good for diaper blowouts - which we thankfully didn't experience very often.) Since I had so many left over, I just gave her a loose one.
Things I bought:
Medela Micro-Steam Bags - We battled thrush forever, and I since my cousin intended to nurse and keep working, I knew she'd have to pump, and these are a quick and easy way to make sure things are sanitized.
Aquaphor - I didn't realize this had a "following" as a diaper rash treatment, but it sure worked for us. Don't bother with the more expensive baby version, I'm pretty sure it's the same thing.
Pacifiers - I don't remember the brand we used, but we got them at Target and they were very round, which seemed most like mama.
Links - we used these to attach everything to everything else.
Mesh Laundry Delicates Bags - I love these bags for washing socks! They're intended to keep your unmentionables safe in the wash, but they work wonders for keeping tiny socks from getting lost. I also found myself much less stressed when I went to fold, for some random reason. I buy them at the Dollar Store.
Milk Freezer Storage Bags - I wanted to support her decision to nurse as much as I could! She tried the ice cube-type trays for a while but found them more difficult to thaw when the baby needed milk at daycare, so she switched to the bags.
Cute Zipper Pull - for the diaper bag! I seemed to be all thumbs when it came time to try to unzip my diaper bag in a hurry, so I found a cute zipper pull to be very helpful.
Journal - I was able to find a few of these on sale. When Goose was tiny, I journaled everything - diapers, sleeping, nursing - to try and figure out why she cried so much. I also made a brief foray into elimination communication (also known as infant potty training) and wanted to track her diapers for that, as well. When she started on solid foods, I tracked them in the journal, as well as new teeth. I still make a brief entry for each day noting sleep (because we still struggle), and I also keep track of certain potty issues she may or may not have. And, of course, anything cute she happens to do or say. :>) You think you'll remember, but you never do.
Rum - it was a small bottle. Just in case.
The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD - I cannot say enough good things about this! You can read an article from Parenting magazine that gives a summary here. I think all new parents should see it!
Anybody have any other tried-and-true things that you might add to the list?
For more frugal ideas, visit Life as Mom.