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Baby Bath Essentials: Everything You Need for a Newborn’s First Bath

Last Updated: January 6, 2022

The first time you give your baby a bath can feel a little scary! So here’s everything you need for supplies and to prep ahead of time – all the baby bath time essentials. The most important thing to remember is baby’s safety and to have a plan of how the bath will go. If you think out the steps and are prepared, you’ll feel more confident and enjoy the excitement of this newborn experience.

Plus, jump below to download the spreadsheet for the Minimalist Baby Registry Checklist.

baby bath essentials

Newborn Baby Bath Time Essentials:

1. Baby tub vs sink

Depending on your home, a baby tub might be optional or an essential for you. We had a very deep claw foot tub in our bathroom. So we got a little baby whale tub and just set it in the bathtub for bath time. It was much easier to reach baby and keep him stable and also nice to not have to clean the tub out every time he needed a bath. And trust me when you’re a tired parent, you’ll be glad you have a baby tub and aren’t cleaning out the tub or sink, yep leave it full of dirty dishes – thats what baby tubs are for. You can still do a sink bath and take adorable pictures a few times, but it just wasn’t an easy option for us!

baby whale tub
Skip Hop Whale Baby Tub: $30. You can set this tub in a kitchen sink (with support!) or the floor of a bathtub or use as a shower baby tub. Works great for infant to a bit older when they can sit solo easier in a regular tub. Fisher Price used to make a similar tub for about $20.
washable bath mat
Non-slip washable bath mat: $13. Depending on your bathtub, this might be an essential or optional item. With a deep clawfoot porcelain tub, we quickly realized it was pretty difficult for bathing a baby in. This mat has been wonderful!

2. Baby towels and washcloths

For baby’s first bath, have a towel prepped, and spread out on a flat soft surface. If your bathroom isn’t near a bedroom, you can put the changing mat on the floor and lay a towel, open on it. And trust me, after you do this a few times it will feel silly even reading this!

hooded baby towel
Carters Hooded baby towel: $13. Carter’s still has the best hooded baby towels. Just buy one! With the hood, these are great for keeping baby happy fresh out of the bath, in colder climates. You can of course, use a regular towel, but they’re pretty adorable and a thinner towel is way easier to hold onto a wriggly baby than a large bath towel.
baby washclothes
Cloud Island Target baby washcloths: $5. I liked having a smaller thinner baby washcloth for easier cleaning. These are cheap and you’ll use them for at least 6 years! You can of course use regular ones, if you prefer!

3. Soap & Lotion

honest baby soap
Honest Co Baby Wash and Shampoo: $9. This quickly became our favorite baby and grown up body wash at our house!
baby lotion
Aveeno Baby Lotion for sensitive skin: $9. Honest Co., Aveeno, and California Baby all make some mild baby lotions, which are great for post-bath moisturizing.

Bath Items You may or May Not Need:

tub drain cover for baby
Baby Bath Drain Cover OXO Tot: $9. Your bathtub might be ready to go for baby and toddler baths. We have a clawfoot tub, and the drain plug was sharp area. So this was a great and easy replacement for baby bathtime!
baby faucet spout cover
Skip Hop Faucet Spout Cover: $13. Again, depending on your bathtub setup, you might not need this. With an old and very deep clawfoot tub with sharp metal faucets this was an essential after baby was mobile.
Rinsing or nesting cups: $10. There are a lot of different versions of rinsing cups and nesting stacker cups. They make great bath toys as your little one grows. And this set is also great for rinsing your baby. You can also use a plastic cup from your kitchen to rinse baby’s head. Tip: Place a folded washcloth on their forehead, then pour toward the back of the their head. This acts as a barrier to keep water from going in their face as much.
Baby Bath Toys: $10. Baby won’t need any toys as a newborn. But as they quickly grow, it’s fun to introduce simple toys. And when they can grasp something these little Munchkin toys are great for them to hold onto or watch float by.
Bath Toy Storage Caddy: $12. While you don’t need this right away, a place to store baby bath stuff is great. You’ll start to accumulate bath time items. We have one similar to this. I loved the shape and small size for it seamlessly fitting into our small space bathroom. And limiting the number of bath toys we have.

Baby Healthy & Safety Essentials

baby nail clippers and file
Baby Nail Clippers & File: $6. Some people find the clippers to be easier, and some like to use the file on baby nails for the first months. Either way, these are simple and great. Skip the lighted variety if you want to trim baby’s nails while they sleep!
baby thermometer
Baby Forehead Thermometer: $18. We had a regular thermometer at home, so if advised by the pediatrician we could check rectal temp. But this forehead one was great to have on hand for quick checks!
baby nasal aspirator bulb
Bulb Syringe nasal aspirator: $3. Take the one from your hospital room (yep, you’re paying for it either way). Some friends like the Nose Frida as well. We barely used the bulb variety, so never tried the Frida.

Baby Bath, Health & Safety You May or May Not Need:

You may or may not need these items in the first three months: comb, humidifier (you don’t need it until/if you do. We used one a few times when it was dry and winter and our baby had a cough), baby Tylenol (get a small infant one in case you need it or if you live in a big city, you can just buy if you need it), Nose Frida or Frida anything (some people love this product line. I never had the need of the extra expense, but you do you!), Boogy Wipes (tissues, washcloths, and lotion worked as needed). So many baby items in the health area fall under the category of “if you need it, then go do a Target drive up order and give them a try”. Bath thermometer, you can use a bath thermometer while you get used to finding the right temperature. It’s not required but there are ones made as rubber ducky toys, that turn a different color if too hot. You can also try the “dip your elbow or back of your hand trick” to find not too hot temp.

Things you don’t need for baby: Gripe water and cough syrup are useless baby items. Pediatricians don’t recommend using these. And they’re not proven to help, so typically I think parents just feel like they need to be doing something. It’s hard to feel helpless when your baby is upset.

Download the Minimalist Baby Registry Checklist Spreadsheet

This post is part of my Minimalist Baby Registry checklist series. You can download the spreadsheet for a “Pay what you want” price. Consider your checklist spreadsheet a planner for everything you need and a baby budget! While your Amazon registry is your shareable list with friends and family for gifting.

spreadsheet for minimalist baby registry checklist

I hope you’ve found these baby bath time essentials helpful! Let me know if you have any questions!

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