1. Yoga/exercise ball - Large
This is a total life saver. It serves three key functions. First to rock the baby to sleep in the first 6 months prior to sleep training. Second to roll the baby on it on his tummy while you hold him. And last as a computer chair. We don’t have room for one of the over priced and ugly gliding rockers in our place so the yoga ball is the best $20 we have ever spent.
2. Woombie Swaddler
Only the hospital nurses seem to be able to use a blanket swaddle that doesn’t allow the baby to escape in 4 seconds. If you are like most mortals you will buy one of he velcro swaddles or some other “swaddle for dummies” product. We have tried them all. The problem with the velcro swaddlers is that they wear out pretty quickly and in order to get them tight enough you need to limit the baby’s movement too much which can be damaging to their development. The Woombie solves all this by using a stretchy material and smart design giving just the right balance of snug and movement.
3. DSLR Camera
A must have if you actually plan on documenting your child’s life. It doesn’t really matter if you are a Nikon or Canon guy, just having a good camera to capture great images is huge. Take the time to do some research and learn how to actually take good pictures with it by using the advanced features and you will be rewarded with awesome images you can share, print and save.
4. Flip Video HD
Most of the new DSLR cameras are doing video now but having a small flip video is essential for quick, easy and convenient. You don’t always want to drag out the big DSLR or video camera when your kid is acting cute or doing something you want to quickly capture. I have mine close at all times so I can easily start shooting without having to think about it. It is also great for people that don’t understand video editing and want to easily share with friends and family. Additionally it is an easy albeit limited software solution for the unfortunate people not using a mac.
5. Content Management & Storage System
I know this is terminology usually used for website management but between pictures and video you will have so much digital content for your kid you really need both software and a couple of smart workflows to handle and actually do something with any of it. At the very least buy a couple of external hard drives, one to store and one just to back up everything. I use two Drobos just because I am sort of anal about redundant back up. To give you an example of one of my work flows I have an apple script that creates a folder structure for me for each one of my imports. I insert my card from the camera, copy the raw originals to a folder, then import into my Aperture library, export two different size jpg versions into separate folders and then stack and rate each photo. I make sure I have at least two copies of everything from the card before to erasing it. All this prior to editing a thing.
6. Mac Computer - Any
PC just doesn’t come close to providing the creative tools that are standard on a mac. The iLife suite alone can provide 95% of people everything they need to manage and share content. The ability to make books, order prints, easily edit and make movies then master a DVD make mac the only smart choice for dads. If you are a die hard windows/pc guy, I am sorry, you are wrong and need to switch.
7. Be Prepared, A Practical Handbook for New Dads
This is an awesome book. Funny, clever and brilliantly illustrated and provides a truly well researched and amazing wealth of information. I have used so many tricks and tips from this book I end up showing the book to every new dad I meet. Don’t ask, just order it on Amazon.
8. Wireless headphones
If you don’t want your TV, Movie or Sports watching to completely end then this is a required purchase. Unless you have a huge house with a man cave you can disappear to without any noise making it to the baby’s room then you will need a way to keep the decibel level below the wake the baby level. With a good set of wireless headphones you can crank up the action movies and still enjoy the loud explosions without disturbing the entire household.
9. A Good Play Gym
And lots of interchangeable toys. While this is pretty much standard equipment for babies, the amount of time your baby spends playing in it pushes this to the top 10 list. Having lots of changeable hanging toys ensures they are stimulated and don’t get bored (and they do).
10. A Sense of Humor
If you don’t have one you will burn out quickly and destroy your household, seriously. You have to find things like getting peed on or projectile baby poop funny. You have to accept that your sleep patterns will change and unexpected things will happen. If you can’t laugh at most of it then you will end up just being angry and annoyed most of the time. Nobody wants to live that way so just learn to enjoy your baby vs fighting all the changes he brought.