Our own, Joe Knight, became a first-time father just a few weeks ago. He has been sharing his thoughts and experiences with us since the big day. I am a father of three young children, ages: 5, 4, and 1. I am still pretty new to this myself, but have discovered a few must-have items over the last 5 years. These items are not must-haves for your child. You won't find any diapers, clothes, food, etc. This is a must-have list of items for Mom and Dad. These are things that will provide a combination of comfort and/or entertainment for Mom and Dad. All new parents quickly discover that time, comfort, and entertainment are short in supply and high in demand once your new arrival enters the world.

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    Baby Car Mirror

    That safe, slow, first drive home from the hospital is more than a little nerve-wracking. If every driver had a newborn in the car, auto insurance would be unneccesary since there would never be another car accident...EVER! But as you drive home from the hospital, with both hands on the wheel, you will quickly discover that you can't see your baby! He/she will be sitting in their car seat facing away from you for the next 1-2 years. Don't you want to be able to see that cute little face? Get a baby car mirror. It goes on the head rest of your car's seat and allows you to see your baby as you drive. They'll be fine without one, but it sure is nice to see that sleeping/crying/giggling face.

    Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Musical Mirror
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    Baby Shopping Cart Cover

    You'll be making lots of runs to the store: baby items, groceries, and everything else. Once your baby is big enough to sit up, you could just put them in the shopping cart seat as you stroll around the store...that cold, wet, germ-infested shopping cart seat. Better yet, why not add a little luxury to baby's lifestyle and give yourself some peace of mind. A shopping cart cover creates a cushioned paradise for your baby and a nice barrier between them and those nasty germs. I just wish they made them for adults too.

    Comfort & Harmony Shopping Cart Cover
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    DVR

    Want to watch TV? Good luck. Your baby doesn't care if it's the season finale. Baby is hungry...NOW! A DVR is your only hope to ever watch TV again.

    Motorola DVR
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    Video Monitor

    A video monitor can do a lot for Mom and Dad. A quick look at the monitor can help determine if that cry from the crib deserves a comforting visit. A video monitor will provide hours of entertainment too. You will be able to watch as your baby wrestles the teddy bear, makes faces, tries to talk, and does a long list of both silly and amazing things while falling off to sleep. It is worth the cost for entertainment value alone.

    Summer Infant Complete Coverage Monitors
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    Pack N Play

    Traveling with baby is always an adventure. Traveling becomes even more of an adventure when your child will be staying overnight away from home. A Pack N Play takes all of the worry out of where baby will sleep. It's a crib/playpen/changing table/etc. Best of all, it folds up for easy travel. If the Olympics were to add a Parenting Decathlon, there is no doubt that Pack N Play Assembly would be one of the 10 events. I estimate my current best time at about 20 seconds.

    Graco Pack-n-Play