Although not absolute must-haves, these five things will make your life easier, and perhaps even grant you some peace of mind.
Camera Choose a compact digital model with a resolution of 5 to 8 megapixels to allow for sharp 4-by-6 and 8-by-10 enlargements. An optical zoom of 4x to 6x is ideal for shooting candid portraits at a comfortable distance. To catch fleeting expressions, choose the fastest shutter speed you can afford.
Camcorder Go digital instead of analog for compactness and ease of making copies, and look for an image stabilizer to reduce shaking. To save money, consider MiniDV models over DVD models.
Telephone headset Hold or nurse your baby while you're talking on the phone without injuring your neck. Look for a cushioned earpiece, an adjustable microphone for clarity as well as a switch on the cord to answer and end calls.
Life insurance Protect your children in case of the unthinkable: your death or your partner's. The best value is term life insurance, according to Eric Tyson, MBA, author of Personal Finance for Dummies (Wiley Publishing). Apply before getting pregnant because the weight gain may jack up your premium. How much life insurance do you need? To replace 20 years of income, multiply your annual after-tax income by 15.
Will Your will should include a guardianship agreement. Without one, state law will dictate what happens to your children and your assets in the event of your death.