These are all things our parents and their parents lived without. In addition, they either weren't around when Zander was born in 2004, have been significantly improved since then, or we just didn't know about them. So, for us they are considered advances in baby gear.
1) The Amby Baby Hammock. This is not new, just new to us. Some good friends swore by the Amby and some other friends lent us theirs. So far, it works great and that's where Cassandra sleeps most of the time instead of a bassinet or crib.
2) The Swaddle Me blanket by Kiddopotamus. Basically, who needs to learn how to swaddle when you can just wrap your baby in this? We had something similar when Zander was born, but he would just kick himself right out of it. This thing is like a straight jacket. Worth every cent. You can see a picture of Cassandra wrapped in one in this post.
3) Diapers with a stripe down the middle that change colors when wet or dirty. When Z was in diapers, we would sometimes just peek in the diaper around the leg opening to see if he needed to be changed. This unfortunately often resulted in something we called "Poo finger." (Use your imagination.) Now, Pampers brand has diapers with a stripe that changes color from yellow to green when it is soiled. Goodbye Poo finger! Hello worrying about the potentially dangerous chemicals that make up said stripe being up against Cassandra's baby bottom.