First I want to say that the idea of this unsolicited advice is to publish things that I have learned through my own experience that I did not read about elsewhere, in books or in magazines, or that I read so many conflicting recommendations about that I might as well have not read any. I'm trying to avoid all the really obvious stuff, or the stuff which is widely published. But what I've learned is that all babies are different, and what worked for me might not work for you, so take this for what it is; advice born from the experience of one (well-read, intelligent) mother of two (really easy) children.
Diaper cream is one of those things which everyone has a different recommendation for, which leads me to believe that different things work for different babies. All I have to say here is that diaper creams which contain fish oil will make your baby smell like a salmon cannery, and if you use cloth diapers they will continue to smell fishy even after laundering. Read labels carefully, and try all the other kinds of diaper cream first.
Okay, one more thing. Johnsons 3-in-1 Diaper Cream and Aveeno Diaper Cream have exactly the same ingedients and are made by the same company, so buy the one that's on sale.
Bathing babies is something that I have never quite figured out. They're too big for the kitchen sink (assuming your kitchen sink is clean enough anyway) and too small for the tub, and I can't stomach spending money on one of those in-bath baby holders (which Health Canada advises against anyway). They're slippery as hell, they hate being bathed, and how dirty does a baby get anyway? I resolved the problem by just not bathing my babies very often, until they're old enough to sit up and manage the whole process more-or-less by themselves, as Delphine is. And she still only gets a bath twice a week. Who has time for more?
This is probably too late for the unindentified target for this advice, but perhaps not for you: get yourself a BabyTrekker. They are so much better than the other comparable products I don't even want to go into it. They are way more comfortable, distribute the weight of the baby much more sensibly over your body, and they carry up to 40 lbs, which is considerably more than Delphine weighs at almost three years of age. (I don't let her go in the Trekker any more because I think it looks silly. I am so mean.) Plus you can use them as a front or backpack. I love my Trekker. I just wish they had come out with the Tasteful Taupe model when we bought ours; we have Fugly Forest Green.
You're going to need to get yourself a 5 ml medication syringe. Lots of medications for babies come with 1 mL rubber bulb syringes, which not only make it hard to get the right dosage into the syringe (and then into the baby), but are often too small to contain the whole dose at once. For example, I needed to give Cordelia some Tempra, which comes with a 1 mL bulb dispenser, but I needed to give her 1.25 mL. That means I have to go through the measuring part twice, AND the horribly traumatic squeezing it into the unwilling child's mouth part twice. She's no slouch, and once she's learned that the syringe means foul pink unction, the next part of the dose is going to end up in her ear.
The good news is that some medications come with the good kind of syringe (I think Tylenol is one of them) so don't throw that out after the medication is done, keep it in your first aid kit.
Something more metaphysical to end (because Cordelia's awake now). I had trouble, with Delphine, understanding that she is just a baby for a little while. Intellectually, of course, I understand that she's going to grow up, but in some more primitive part of my brain it seemed that every day of not enough sleep, too many diapers and no time to do housework, let alone read, was just the first day of thousands more of the same. I guess, having never watched a baby grow up before, I didn't really believe it would happen. And it makes sense; any changes in my life until now I have effected through my own labour: I took a course, or looked for a new job, or bought a new condo, or whatever. I'm not used to standing by and watching my life change outside of my own volition.
It's much easier with Cordelia. When I have a horrible day when all she wants is to be held all day, and I have laundry and vacuuming and cooking to do and nothing is getting done, I know that this is just temporary, that eventually she will be able to walk and talk and play by herself, and she won't need me every single minute. That makes it much easier.
Incidentally, it seems this is a hard lesson to learn; I still have moments which I think the Delphine is going to be a whiny, needy, contrary toddler forever, even though I know, logically, that one day she will be a pleasant and helpful three-year-old. I just can't see how it will happen, because I haven't seen it happen before.