While there are many products on the market that could be called essentials and do make life easier with a newborn, the absolute essentials are the following.
A Car Seat. Obviously you can not drive in a car with a baby without one! Car seats run the gamut in pricing. My advice is to purchase the most expensive car seat you can comfortably afford and/or choose one that fits best in your car or on the stroller you would like to purchase.
A safe place for baby to sleep. Wether you are planning to co-sleep, use a bassinet, pack n’ play or crib, plan out what you will need for your baby’s sleeping environment. Remember, the only thing that should be in your baby’s crib is a mattress and sheet.
Food. Whether it’s breastmilk or formula, make sure you have everything on hand before you have your baby. For breastfeeding that means a good nursing bra, nipple cream and nursing pillow. For bottle feed babies, have bottles and formula on hand for when you get home from the hospital. And if you plan to, a breast pump. It’s worth looking into if our health insurance will provide you with one.
Diapers. To start you’ll need newborn sized diapers.
Clothing: Again, to start, most babies wear newborn size clothes but will quickly grow out of these so do not purchase too many!
Other gear that's good to have: a few swaddles, a stroller, baby carrier, bouncer/swing, bathtub and thermometer.
Please let me know if you have any other questions about essentials.