1) A fantastic group of friends and family to support you.
It takes a village to raise a child. It really does. And phone calls and short visits from friends and family are not enough. You need constant support and your child needs to feel part of a community. I have fantastic friends and a loving family, but I still feel like I need more. Maybe there is no such thing as enough help, you could always use more.
I now believe you need:
3 adults full-time for the first 3 weeks
2 adults full-time for the first 8 weeks
1 adult full-time for the first 6 months to the first two years, depending on who you are.
2 good babysitters, one for the daytime and one for the evenings - for when you need a break.
Anything short of this and you will be exhausted and you will wonder if you can handle it all.
2) A very loud bathroom fan.
Babies love white noise. They will love it. And bonus, you can enjoy a nice relaxing shower regardless of how fussy your baby is with whomever is watching them during that time. I have this.
3) One year of your salary in savings.
Just in case you need more time than you thought. I do not have this. I would do anything to figure out a way to have more time.
4) A therapist.
Because the pressure and anxiety of trying to be a modern mom is formidable.
I start working from home tomorrow, and I could not be more anxious about it.
(This is obviously not a current photo of the little girl, but it is one of my favorites, and I love the expression on her face... a little anger, a little rebuking, and a lot of attitude. Don't worry cute face, we'll figure this out!)