The normal baby essentials:
- 6-8 receiving blankets
- 1-2 warmer blankets
- 6 burp cloths, I used a package of cotton cloth diapers which worked great
- Plenty of diapers and wipes- we purchased cloth diapers and covers
- 8-10 newborn size gowns and one piece comfy outfits
- hats- depending on the season
- infant car seat
- place for baby to sleep
- place to change baby - a bed works fine too!
For a preemie:
- Preemie size diapers depending on your little one's weight - Gwendolyn came home at 4lb 9oz /17 in.
- a few preemie size outfits up to 6 lbs - I only had 5-6 and this was enough
- a foam wedge to raise head when sleeping - I cut a crib size one in half to use in 2 places
- a car mirror (this was essential for me since Gwendolyn was on oxygen and a feeding tube)
- a night set-up next to sleeping area; soft light, diapers, wipes, feeding supplies, etc...
- A double portable breast pump - my favorite is the Medela freestyle and it worked just as good as the hospital grade Medela's I had been using. I pumped for 13 months.
- A place for baby to sleep - with a 45 degree wedge
- a sound machine or sound CD - one I recommend is below in the amazon link
- A stroller and car seat combo - for those long visits to the Doctors
- An infant car seat with a good insert for supporting the head and body
And a good carrier to wear your little one:
Instead of my ring-type sling (which I did love) I would purchase one with a bit of shoulder padding. The Maya Wrap sling is a good quality choice
available from Amazon as well
Looking back I wish I had a knit wrap-type carrier like the following:
The Snuggly Wrap (similar to the Moby and Sleepy Wraps)
I had a Didymos guaze wrap-type carrier that took some work to put on when she was little but I did use it quite a bit that first winter home - especially when walking to her doctor appointments in the cold.
available on Amazon
When Eleonora got to be about 15 lbs I started using the Ergo Baby carrier and this has been a purchase well worth the cost. We have loved it and still use it at 27 lbs.
/www.ergobabycarrier.com - I purchased mine from Diapers.com
there is also an infant insert available on amazon.com
These are the basics of what we had ready and ended up using - along with all of the medical equipment and oxygen we needed to have.
I am somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to baby items and what worked for me may not at all be what is right for you of course!
I would love to hear what you considered essential in those first weeks with your preemie at home.