So where do we go from here? I would certainly encourage you to investigate all of your options before you invest your money. The Best Way to Save for College, A Complete Guide to 529 Plans, by Joseph Hurley, is a wonderful book that explains these plans all across the U.S.
BIG POINT: If you decide to go with a 529 Plan, DO NOT use a broker! Go directly with the state or Vanguard and avoid any commissions (you can Google your state 529 Plans and find the folks who run the program).
I would start investing immediately whatever option you select. I would contribute each and every month. I would encourage family members and friends to reduce the presents on their birthdays and Christmas, and instead, tell them that money put towards their college fund would be greatly appreciated.