FOR A NEW BABY:
Thermometer - A digital thermometer is fine. The "ear thermometers" currently in vogue are fine for babies over three years of age but a rectal digital thermometer is more accurate and a more important issue in infants during the first 2 months of life. We are concerned about potential breakage of the glass thermometers. The ear thermometers have the advantage of being very quick to use but the temperatures can vary significantly. The thermometer strips available to be used on a child's forehead are NOT RECOMMENDED! They're okay for aquariums, but unreliable for children! We do not recommend glass rectal thermometers in older infants due to concerns of breakage while taking the temperature. We are really more interested in trends than the actual temperature in those 4 months old and older.
Medicine spoon/dropper - Kitchen teaspoons and tablespoons are not accurate for the measuring of medications so a medicine spoon or dropper, preferably one that measures in both teaspoons and milliliters, is needed.
Infant acetaminophen drops (Tylenol/Feverol) - Call before giving these to a child under 2 months of age. After 2 months, feel free to use this as directed for fever, teething pain, etc.
Car seat - This is one of the most important items to obtain for your child. Most seats are now safety tested to meet government standards. They can be purchased at yard sales or flea markets but be sure to check labels for safety qualifications.
Ipecac syrup - If your child eats or drinks a potential toxin (plant, medication, etc.), first call Poison Control at 1-800-848-6946. If you are then instructed to induce vomiting in your child, give him/her ½ ounce (one tablespoon) of Ipecac if under 6 years old or 1 ounce (two tablespoons) if over 6 years old. Have him/her drink several glasses of fluid (Gatorade, water, etc.) after this. Vomiting should follow shortly. Always call Poison Control BEFORE attempting to give Ipecac; some things are better left in the stomach. It is better to use activated charcoal in most cases, and this also can be purchased at the pharmacy.
Plug-in outlet adapters - Small plastic adapters to plug into empty electrical outlets are important once your baby begins to explore!
Diapers - Either cloth or name brand disposable diapers are fine. Generic brands or off brands of disposable diapers do tend to create more problems with diaper rash.
Patience & a sense of humor! - Enjoy your baby!