Hands up who has an old baby book of their own at home? Baby milestone books used to be really popular and back when I was little, they were one of the most popular items to gift an expectant mother or newborn.
They can still be bought online and in a few stores that have dedicated baby sections (John Lewis, Debenhams and Mothercare to name a few), but they definitely seem to have fallen out of favour as of late, which seems a shame because they really are a lovely idea!
Baby books are a way for parents to record first and particularly significant events during their little ones first years. Years that fly fast so quickly you’ll be lucky if you remember the really big things, never mind the precise moment that baby took their first step, or the day you bought their first pair of cruising shoes.
So yes, in theory, baby books are great. Here’s the but:
The problem with shop-bought baby books, is that although the concept of capturing your babies milestones in print for posterity is a fantastic one, they’re often a bit inflexible to use.
Printed on beautiful paper, often with gorgeous artwork; super cute hand-drawn illustrations and pretty embellishments, they look amazing. The perfect gift! BUT, they have a very specific format and to fill it in entirely, you have to stick to that.
That’s not going to suit everybody.
Flicking through my own baby book from almost 40 years ago, there’s whole sections that aren’t filled in. Not deliberately, that’s just how life goes. You’re never going to capture absolutely everything, but the fact that there are whole empty pages is a shame.
Then there’s the problem with photographs, or lack of.
There definitely aren’t enough spaces for photograph and the spaces that are there, are pretty rigid. There’s no place to add photos ad hoc, just because you wanted to capture a random moment that was special to you, or to be the slightest bit creative.
Yes, you could also have a photo album. You probably already do, but it would be nice if you could create a baby book that felt a little more complete.
Of course, I treasure my own baby book. That’s totally not the point I’m making.
Moments carefully preserved by my Mother, in her neat, handwritten print. Moments that were important enough to her that she wanted to keep just for me. A little book of me, completely unique.
I just think, we can improve on the format slightly.
So how could you go about creating the perfect baby keepsake book?
We’ve already established that the biggest issue with most beautiful pre-made baby books is that they can’t be completely 100% personalised.
If you want to be totally flexible with your baby book, you could go down the route of creating a scrapbook. This is a much better idea because you can record exactly what you want, where you want and have it look exactly how you want.
However, because there’s no structure at all, the blank pages of a scrapbook s can seem way too daunting for most people to want to tackle.
This is where having a rough format or list of baby milestones comes in.
For my own children, I decided that scrapbooking was the way to go. I just didn’t want to have to add my memories in a specific order or miss out things I wanted to remember just because a baby book didn’t include those things.
Scrapbooks themselves can be whatever you decide to make them.
Even if you’re not the greatest artist in the world, embellishments like ribbons, pretty papers and transfers can be bought for minimal cost almost anywhere, including supermarkets and pound shops. Decorate the outer cover and inside, around the information as desired.
I’m not sure if I like the idea of an index at the front of a scrapbook, because my content is too changeable. What happens if I want to insert extra pages at 6 months or a year?
I did realise early on however, that I’d need some kind of template. A list of baby firsts to look out for, to make sure I didn’t miss anything really important.
As a general rule, most babies follow a pretty similar pattern when it comes to reaching important, life changing milestones.
So here we have it. Before embarking on your baby scrapbooking adventure, here’s my guideline list of 30 baby milestones to take you up until just after they turn three.
Include photographs and announcements of your little one’s birth.
Date and time born.
What was the weather like outside?
Full given name.
Position in the family (e.g. I am the first Daughter of - - - - - or, I am the third son of ---------).
Weight and length at birth.
Date, Time, location, Family present, God Parents.
Cards, Family Photographs, Photographs of Gifts.
1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, one year, 18 months, two years.
Photographs! Gifts from special people (parents, siblings, grandparents, friends).
Photographs, gifts from special people, a deflated balloon, details from their birthday party, what birthday cake?
Remember to save their first curls! Stick it into your book, or pop it in a little envelope and stick this in.
Remember to annotate with the date and their age.
Where did they go? When did they start (date and age)? What did they wear? Did they bring a packed lunchbox? Who was their key person?
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