What to Buy
It's good to stretch those dollars, but when it comes to safety, don't skimp. Car seats, cribs, strollers and infant swings should all be quality pieces, even if they're pricey. Take a peek at publications like Consumer Reports for reviews and safety ratings. (Here's the Consumer Reports Car Seat Buying Guide from January 2012.)
If you can, go ahead and splurge on items that you're going to be using frequently, too. When you're exhausted in the wee hours of the morning, the faults of a cheap breast pump might be enough to push you over the edge.
There are plenty of things that you can get cheap, though. Remember that friends and family love to help. Terry advises: Register for everything. "It may seem greedy, but as a friend told me, people want to help, so let them." Keep tags on gifts so you can return stuff you don't need for stuff you do. As Jonah said, "People LOVE buying little tiny baby clothes, so you might end up with 80 onesies per baby in one size that only lasts a month, but have virtually no clothes in the next size."
One of the best things about the multiples clubs mentioned on the previous page is the sales. Most have a couple of big sales a year of gently used items, and you can find furniture, clothes and toys -- pretty much anything you need. If you don't pick up everything your nesting instinct desires there, you can still plan ahead on a budget by checking out consignment stores and hitting up friends and relatives for hand-me-downs.
Keri reminds us that hospitals will send you home with a lot of diapers, so you can wait until you have their sizes figured out (yes, it matters) before you buy in bulk. (And you do want to buy in bulk. Terry swears, "You will go through 12 to 14 diapers a day in the beginning -- per kid.")
The same goes for bottles. Babies can be surprisingly picky about them, so Terry's tip is: "You can buy them individually, so it would be a smart idea to do that, figure out what works, then go and buy at the very least 6 of that brand."
And while you'll need multiples of some things, you don't necessarily need two (or three or four) copies of everything. One bottle warmer, for example, is fine for a few babies.
Now that you're set with the stuff, let's talk to-dos.