A while back Slate ran an article about choosing a baby stroller. Strollers aren't really something we need much of these days, but I've often considered a series of posts for new parents or parents to be on what our experiences were with various baby gizmos.
Most people who write about this grumble (with justification) at the below the belt nature of much of the marketing for baby stuff. For most people, the struggle is not to get too much stuff, including fripperies like the baby wipe warmer. In our case, for quite some time it was almost the opposite.
As I recall, despite the morning sickness and the fact that her stomach was out to here, Trish and I were in a vague sort of denial about Jacob's impending birth. With only a week or two left before the big day, we only had the stuff we had received as part of the baby shower. I felt a vague sort of unease about this, but nothing strong enough to make me say "You're getting in the car and we're going to Babies 'R Us. Now."
It took a friend of ours to give us a good kick in the rear and get moving. She had actually come up to visit and help us move the last of Trish's stuff from her old apartment in Columbia (three hours away) over to our house. That is a story in itself, but she was scandalized at our lack of baby prep.
"I can't believe you guys!" she said. "Come with me, we're going shopping." And so we did.
Fortunately our friend was something of a country girl, so we were not steered towards things like Tommy Hilfinger diapers or what-have-you. We did get a bunch of things that we were later to make much use of, and certainly saved us from many, many trips to get some thing we needed direly post birth. If memory serves, we got such basic items as a crib, a diaper pail, a changing table, wipes, more diapers, a monitor, some functional baby clothes, blankets, bottles, and an extraordinarily useful "baby bag" (where you stuff all the spare diapers, medicines, wipes, chewie things, etc whenever you leave the house, hopefully not forgetting the baby in all the packing). I'm sure there were some failures in that pile of things as well, like the baby backpack thing that Jacob never seemed to fit in right, a musical mobile, and others.
But, thanks to her, we were as prepared with stuff as we reasonably could be.