As a person that has little money and is very frugal (I love garage sales and craig's list!) here is a list of my own personal "must haves" as a new mom.
1) A Swing - couldn't live without it - Swings are great for 6 weeks olds and up....
Graco Sweetpeace swing or
Fisher Price cradle swing
Fisher Price Glider Swing
2) a Sling - 3 types - a pouch, a ring sling, and pack carrier type. Each one is great - for a certain type of person. Your best bet is to try some out first before you buy - either at a store, or with friends.
Ergo Baby carrier w/insert or
Moby Wrap or
3) Boppy or My Brest Friend - Boppies are good for football holds, My Brest Friend is good for cradle holds.
4) Stroller - for really long walks in the neighborhood - otherwise, build up those muscles with a backpack style sling like Ergo.
5) Contoured Changing Table Pad - my baby for some reason loves this pad - we have 2 - one for changing diapers, and one for the bed for sleeping. They also fit perfectly in the Eddie Bauer Traveling Bed, which is convenient when they are small as well as when you need to go to the restroom.
4 sided design - LA Baby, Summer Infant
6) Receiving blankets or crib blankets - I find these convenient for propping baby's head on the Boppy while feeding. But some old t-shirts work just as well.
7) Recliner - If you are large-breasted, recliners are wonderful for the football hold. I practically lived in mine for the first few weeks. Also, putting an extra Boppy under the knees relieves the stress on your knees and legs - a Boppy just happens to be the perfect height, and is more solid than a pillow. Also check out the site Biological Nurturing for a great way to recline, sleep, and breastfeed all at once. http://www.biologicalnurturing.com./Pages/howtodoit.html
8) what about a crib? well, as co-sleepers we don't believe in them - but some moms find it convenient to sidecar their crib right next to the bed. I also find it convenient to use a changing table pad for him to sleep in-between us. Other moms like Arm's Reach bassinets. A quiet swing next to the bed can also be helpful. If your room is big enough, consider putting a twin bed or double bed right next to yours - then you have a really big bed!
9) Clothes of course - lots and lots of them - garage sales, bulk lots on Ebay and Craig's List. And clothes are usually the number one item at baby showers. One dad told a friend of mine - we don't need so many baby clothes, we should take some back - he changed his tune after the first few leaky diapers. I personally like creepers with zippers - so much faster than a bunch of snaps
10) carseat of course - Britax brand is considered the safest.
11) Bumbo - I find this very convenient for the bathroom when the baby can finally hold his head up. And he's so proud of himself when he is in it - I love his facial expressions!
12) Most important of all, couldn't live without - a White Noise maker of some type. Make your own cd, buy a cd, or buy a noisemaker. Some swings have them built in. But we take ours everywhere - in the carseat and in his swing.
13) My number one purchase when I was pregnant is my Leachco u-shaped pregnancy body pillow. I still use it - it provides the most comfortable sleep.