I can also recommend the Panasonic NV-GS range. I have a GS5 and have been very please with it. I too wanted it for our first baby and it fits that bill perfectly. (small enough to stick in a pram pocket or the hospital bag!)
Picture wise, i've been very impressed with the video quality. I'd been told these DV cam's were good but I was surprised at just how good.
Still images aren't the best in the world (they're not bad but they're not brilliant). What they are good for is emailing to grandparents and relatives. Because the inlaw's live in Ireland we found it great for sending updated photos of the ickle one.
Obviously if you've got a dedicated digi stills camera you'd use that, but we don't.
Features wise the GS5 is packed with all sorts of stuff that i'll probably never use. Eg naff effects and titles. However some of these bits, like manual white ballance, I thought I'd never use but in fact I've used quite a bit. The manual focus can also be very handy at times. But mainly it does the simple things very well.
If theres one thing missing it's the fact that it's missing a flash or some sort of light. Some of those stills pics came out very badly due to poor lighting.
Over all I'm very please with it.
I'm sure that someone else will recommed another make or model but my votes for a Panasonic. I'd recommend you pop into Jessops and play with a few different makes and models.
And then like the chap above suggested, find an online shop and buy from them. You could go back to jessops and get them to price match but i'm all for supporting small business's that offer good old fashioned customer service etc.
are one such company.
As regard to buying abroad. We went to Hong Kong earlier in the year and I thought Yippee Cheapie camcorders!!
But when I wrote to JVC, Panasonic and Sony regarding their warranties, all three said that it wouldn't be covered in this country if I bought it in Hong Kong. Sony did say that they would fix it as a jesture of good will but only if parts were localy available? You'd also have to pay import duty on it if customs & excise stopped you on your return. You'd have to convince them you bought it in the uk and took it and all it's packaging with you. Oh! then there's VAT on top of that! Not worth it in the end I decided.
I bought mine online for £649 about 5 months ago. Dixons wanted £850, and would have probably tried to flog me an extended warranty and a sky digital package!
Hope this helps?