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.
The books themselves can be found in any stationary or craft store. I love A3 sized one’s which give you a little more space to work with than A4, although square ones can look lovely too.
Spiral bound books are a good idea too. That way if you mess up one of the pages, it can be quickly and easily removed.
Decide on a decoration theme.
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.
Stencils are a great idea for keeping lines straight and patterns even.
A good set of colouring pencils can make all the difference to simple drawn images. Watercolour pencils can produce beautiful effects, just practice a little before you go for your actual scrapbook.
Add in printed poems or favourite quotes that you really love.
Plan out your content!
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.
Make your own or download ours here:
Welcome to the world.
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.
Christening, Naming or other Birth ceremony (if applicable).
Date, Time, location, Family present, God Parents.
Cards, Family Photographs, Photographs of Gifts.
When did little one first smile? When did they first laugh?
How often did little one feed? When did they start to sleep through the night?
Little one’s weight and height at (include the dates!):
1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, one year, 18 months, two years.
First professional photograph (or just the first really nice one you’ve taken yourself).
When did little one sit up for the first time. Age, place and date.
When did little one start weaning. Date, place and food given.
Favourite places to go – The park, playgroups or just out for a walk.
When did little one first stand up? When, where and how?
Little one’s first Christmas.
Photographs! Gifts from special people (parents, siblings, grandparents, friends).
When did little one get their first tooth?
Was little one ever poorly?
Vaccinations. How were they?
When did little one take their first steps? When, where and who was watching?
Little one’s first Birthday.
Photographs, gifts from special people, a deflated balloon, details from their birthday party, what birthday cake?
First words! What did they say; to who; and when did they say it?
First songs! When did they start to sing? What song?
First trip to the hairdressers or barber. When and where did you go? How old were they?
Remember to save their first curls! Stick it into your book, or pop it in a little envelope and stick this in.
Little one’s Second Birthday.
First special drawings – Take photographs to stick in.
Remember to annotate with the date and their age.
When did little one start to count (even if it is only grapes or chocolate buttons)?
Little one’s Third Birthday.
When did your little one start nursery or pre-school?
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?
Who are their first friends?
Do they have any pets?
New favourite places to go.
Updated June 2020
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