I recently read a blog posting from another user about going to Babys 'r' Us and seeing all the nuevo "gear" (crib entertainers, baby monitors, baby wipe warmers, etc.) that so many consumers are convinced they need in order to raise a baby.
Here's my response:
The best part about all of that "gear" is that, as you have observed, most of it is totally unnecessary. I was a new mother on a severe budget almost two years ago. We found that the only essentials were: the car seat (otherwise you're stuck at home), the sling to carry baby in ($30 and we're still using it with the same almost-two-year-old), and the diaper service or just the diapers and diaper covers.
Everything we started with was donated to us by other parents except for the sling. By "everything" I mean a changing table, clothes and a few toys.