I had a friend ask for a list of things that I found especially helpful for our little girl... I just sent this list to her this morning. I'm sure other moms who have months and years of experience would have lots of good additions too (leave me a comment!) I know every baby and every family are different so these things might not be as helpful to you as they have been to us. Maybe it will be helpful to some of you as you prepare for a baby to come... (it's a pretty candid list, so don't read if you don't want to!)
so when I first started nursing (during the first week) and things were sore a lactation consultant at the hospital recommended that I buy "polysporin" ointment and use it after each nursing to help me heal... it was great and helped a lot! I also used the samples from the hospital of Medela's lanolin cream (it was some "modified lanolin" I think)... I really liked it because it wasn't quite as thick and goopey as some of the other creams - they also gave me some Medela gel pads at the hospital that were really helpful, you could keep them cool in the refrigerator and put them on after each nursing to be soothing, they were sort of sticky so they stayed in place and could be reused for up to 24 hours I think, I saw them at Babies R Us
once we were home and I was walking in to the living room to nurse her at night, I didn't want to turn on all the lights but I also didn't want to trip, so we bought lots of little night lights to help me see!
nursing in our glider has been so comfortable for me, I'd highly recommend some sort of rocking chair if it's at all in your budget (I was thrilled to find mine at the consignment sale) because you'll be sitting there a lot!
Nursing pads that go in your nursing bra are essential in case of leaks... I guess some people never do, but I have - maybe just have some in case you need them and then you could always buy more... so far I like the Avent brand of disposable ones best
I also bought a regular blue reusable ice pack to sit on during the first week or so when we were home, it was really helpful for the overall sore-ness
Moriah LOVES her bouncy seat! I know some people like swings too, but for a small space her bouncy seat is great and easy to move into whatever room we need her to be in... it often helps her fall asleep if she's fussy and not wanting to sleep, it also has been helpful for me to use right outside the bathroom door in the morning while I take a shower, so I can still see her, but she's safely strapped in!
she also really loves to be swaddled, so the SwaddleMe blankets with velcro to help them stay on have also been great
we started giving Moriah a pacifier a bit earlier than some books recommended, but I figured we can't do everything "by the book" and she's really been happy to have one... it seems to sooth her and help her calm down to get ready to sleep
a small breast pump was really good in the early days when I was "engorged" as the milk first came in... mostly that just means you're REALLY swollen and it's not too comfortable, so if you can pump sometimes it helps you feel relief and it helps get things ready for the baby to nurse
the gowns that you see for babies have also been a night time favorite of ours... it makes things much easier for me as I change diapers in the middle of the night, and also lets little Moriah curl her legs up, which she's always liked to do... sleepers with legs made her really mad because she couldn't get her legs curled :)
Hopefully this is a little helpful, it's so exciting to have so many friends who will have little ones soon!