4. Bath Time
Ahhhh, bath time -- our favourite (what?? I'm not British) time of the day.
The frequency of bathing babies varies greatly from mom to mom: some do it every day and some do it once a week (yikes). The truth is, they aren't exactly rolling around in the dirt or getting sweaty at the gym, so you don't need to bathe them every day. That said, however, they do get pretty gross from daily grime (spit up, errant milk, and the occasional blowout).
Trying to bathe a newborn baby in the kitchen sink is kind of a joke; it's like trying to grab a greased watermelon in the deep-end on the 4th of July. Also, baby poop and preparing dinner in the same general area? do not go hand in hand [Kramer: I prepared it while I bathed. Germophobe from Elaine's office: throws up in mouth].
You really do need a baby bathtub because babies cannot sit up (or control any part of their body, for that matter) for many months. Depending on your bathroom situation, here are some options:
People who live in small spaces are gaga over the Puj Tub.
You can use it in any sink, even a small one. This is a good option for people who live in a small space because you can easily store it or hang it up on the wall. This is also a good tub for c-section moms because it doesn't require any bending over.
Also for newborns is the adorable and oh-so-popular Tummy Tub (below), called so because it's like being back in mom's "tummy". I use this tub downstairs because I can fill it up in the kitchen sink and put it on the counter. I also like to take it outside for a little alfresco bathing. The only downside to this tub is that it's a bit difficult to access and clean your baby's nether-regions.
Mind you, these are just for young infants and can only be used for the first 4-6 months or so.
For a longer-lived baby tub, I recommend the quintessential "blue tub". You know, the one everyone has. It can be used throughout all stages of infancy: newborns go in the newborn sling, which little Lucie is pictured in below (yes, I recommend the incrediby sharp knives overhead as well)(kidding), 3-6 month olds can use it in the reclined position, and "sitters" (6+ months) can use it sitting upright. At $25 on Amazon, it's a great buy.
For the end of the first year and for travel, we also love the Ducky Inflatable tub. I enjoyed it so much on our trips that I now use it instead of the blue tub because it's larger, way more fun and hey, it quacks like a duck! This is for a baby 6+ months who can sit unassisted. And it's 12 bucks, so, yeah.
Update 12/10: Lucie is 10 months old now and no longer uses an infant bath tub because she tries to stand up and ends up toppling over on her face. Now, her ass is in the regular tub. So there, 10 months is about how long you'll use it. In case you were dying to know ;-)
You will also need some linens: towels and wash cloths. Yes, you can use a regular human adult towel, but babies soil them so often (something about being in warm water makes them pee riiight after you take them out), you're better off getting small baby towels that you can wash often.
Newborns can get cold very easily since they don't have much body fat, so get hooded towels to keep those little heads warm. There are a ton of hooded towels out there -- make it easy on yourself and get a towel/wash cloth combo pack. Trend Lab makes a variety of super cute towel sets.
If you want to indulge, I highly recommend the Pottery Barn hooded towel. It is so thick and luscious, you won't want to use any other towels. Have it embroidered with baby's name and it makes a fabulous gift.
You need some baby shampoo to clean out all those cracks and crevices. I use Johnson's Lavender baby wash because it smells so great. The Honey/Apple bath is rad too. If you are concerned about formaldehyde or just want something more organic, go for the Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo or California Baby.
Splish, splash biyotches!
Next: 5. Sleeping