Baby monitor: These are good to alleviate the anxiety associated with “missing” the baby’s cry when you are not in the same room. Since we’ve moved to a bigger house, I invested in a video monitor. It is a luxury item that is extremely useful. It’s so nice to look at what my toddler is doing to decide whether or not to enter the room.
There are also monitors marketed for SIDS prevention. These monitor the baby’s movement with a pad and set off an alarm if baby doesn’t move within a certain time frame. Families describe false alarms, decrease sensitization to the alarm, and/or unnecessary anxiety. The intention is not to take away from the paralyzing fear I feel each time I discuss SIDS. It’s important to mitigate risks, but a monitor like this is not the most effective strategy. It is not worth the money.
Swing: The period of development where inconsolable crying peaks is also the peak of parental helplessness. At times, the swing was the only way I could calm my babies at 2 month old. I know that it is not the safest place to sleep but we were in survival mode and they were supervised.
Babies consolidate their sleep systems until they are 3 months old and really do need help getting to sleep when they are younger than this age. There is no point “teaching” them how to go to sleep on their own until that age. Point being, a swing is a very useful piece of equipment. I found it’s utility proved itself more-so for baby 2 & 3. I simply had fewer hands available to rock or bounce!
There are all kinds of versions of swings with an accompanying range in price. Some people swear by MamaRoos…. feedback on these seem to be that they don’t move fast enough! I’ve not used one for my babies, a hand-me down side to side motion Fisher Price did the job for us.
Rocking chair: This is really nice to calm a baby early on and for breast feeding when they are older. I suggest you DO NOT use a rocking chair to breastfeed for the first month or so (while you and the baby are learning). You just increase the risk of nipple blisters because the baby is trying to suck while your breast is moving! After breastfeeding is established, these are a wonderful thing. I have had many, many precious, cherished, blessed and utterly exhausted moments in our rocking chair. I actually wish that I would have spend the money for a really nice one with our first. The Costco version does the job but certainly not as comfortable as a full on rocking recliner.
Bassinet: This piece of equipment opens a whole can of worms. We could have an entire discussion around the pros and cons of co-sleeping, room-sharing and the risk of SIDS. I would be more than happy to provide more information on the evidence. Again, you may already have ideas of how you would like to do it. Some people want their baby in a crib in a different room right from the beginning and others want a bassinet in the master bedroom. If you would like a bassinet for the first while, try to borrow one or get it consigned. You don’t use it for longer than a couple months anyways (they grow too big for them). I found a bassinet more useful for baby 2 and onward because it was a contained space where I could put new baby down in the midst of all the action (and not worry that someone would step on her.