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How To Create a First Year Baby Album. Fast.

Apr05

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A lot of us are very good at making that first baby book. We carefully write down every milestone and memory. We take a ridiculous amount of photos. We lovingly arrange everything into a beautiful keepsake that we will always cherish.

But by the second or third kid, we are tempted to just give him or her the login information for our Shutterfly account. I mean, that laundry is not going to fold itself.

But I remember my second daughter Summer asking me for a baby book for two years.  She would constantly pull out her big sister’s album and one day I overheard her tell our babysitter, “My mommy is still working on my baby book.”

It crushed my heart.

I was making too big of a production out of this. This was more important than laundry. And that night, I sat down and put together her baby book.

summer-baby-book-2

And so can you.

Here are the easy steps to creating a Baby Book that will document your child’s first year:

First ask yourself, does it feel easier to create a baby book using an online photo book service or using an off-the-shelf baby book, which we’ll call “offline”? There is no right answer. Whatever feels easier for you. You can create gorgeous albums on Shutterfly, Mixbook, through iPhoto on your Mac or a variety of online sites. In fact, if there is a baby book site that you absolutely adore, please share!

Many of these album websites will have premade templates that you can use to make your book and include fun spaces where you can note your pregnancy cravings, when your child first crawled and baby’s first words. You think you won’t forget any of this stuff. You will. You’ll forget to pick up your kid from school once too. Hopefully only once.

If you go digital, make sure you order a hard copy of your album. Kids love looking at photos online but there is something magical about a baby book you can hold in your hands. And make sure it has a hard cover. Those soft covers don’t last long.

Choose Your Photos Quickly. If this is your second or third baby, you will have far less photos which is a big help. Don’t spend time adoringly staring at every photo and lamenting over the passage of time. (You can do that later when you pore over your magnificent baby book.). If you are ordering photos for an offline baby book, just click through and order any photographs you think you might possibly use. Once you are looking at them in person, you’ll be able to weed out a lot. And big kids love to create collages and cards from the discarded photos.

How To Create an Offline Baby Book.

For the first year, just throw any keepsakes in a drawer. This might include a copy of your child’s birth certificate, a baby announcement, a lock of hair in an envelope, your dreams and aspirations for their lives, their first birthday party invitation, etc. Then you can easily pull all this stuff out after they turn one and create an album/ scrapbook.

It is also helpful to keep a small notebook where you write down any milestones or things you want to remember. I would focus less on his or her height at 4 months and more on things like… how did you come up with your baby’s name, the first smile, favorite foods or funny stories.

If you didn’t do any of this and your child is already in preschool or even grade school, don’t panic! Just sit down with your partner and write down as much as you can remember about your pregnancy and the baby’s first year. This, along with some cute photos, will get the job done!

To create a baby book offline, go to A.I. Friedman, Target or anywhere you can buy photo albums and pick out a book.  You can also order online.

You can either pick out an official baby book that includes prompts to share different memories and stories or one that just has blank pages like Kolo scrapbooks. I really prefer blank pages. That way you can include whatever you want and there’s no guilt if you don’t feel like documenting how you and your partner met or your baby registry list. (What kid will ever care what you registered for anyway?!)

I also like albums without photo sleeves. This way you can cut and arrange photographs however you like and add any keepsakes. Buy double-sided tape to attach the photos. Tombow is my absolute favorite adhesive for albums.

Feel free to write notes in the margins and add anything that helps personalize the book.

Remember, You Aren’t Writing The Odyssey. This does not have to be a comprehensive book about every detail of your child’s first year. It’s just a sweet keepsake so you can remember something other than being tired and overwhelmed.  Your kids will love their baby books (no matter how short and simple) and you will love that you made them.

Baby book photo (Summer)

summer-baby-book-1

Really, I Just Want Something Super Digital.

Okay, okay, I’m a serious paper gal but if you really just want an online baby album, try a site like Limetree where you can safely store messages, photos and videos for your child. You can pick a date in the future when your child will be able to access all the information in chronological order. 

So whatever you decide to do, now it’s time to get started and check Baby Book off your to do list.

About the author

Kelcey Kintner

http://www.mamabirddiaries.com/
Kelcey Kintner writes the humor blog, The Mama Bird Diaries and co-founded the cheeky advice site, The Mouthy Housewives. This Columbia Journalism School graduate also drives a gold minivan because you can't fit five kids on a Vespa. An award winning journalist, she still secretly longs to be an Olympic ice skater. You can follow her on Twitter @mamabirddiaries.


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7 Responses to “How To Create a First Year Baby Album. Fast.”

  1. Lana Apr 06 at 2:32 pm Reply Reply

    I love using MyPublisher.com for books. I ordered our wedding albums through them and they have great quality paper, an easy program to use, and quick shipping. You can usually find a few coupons too- like 50% off type coupons! I’m currently starting to put together our baby-to-be’s book.

  2. Penny Apr 06 at 2:52 pm Reply Reply

    When my youngest of three was about 9 I happened to pick up his baby book and glance through it. I had filled out the first few pages, but as I thumbed through it I realized HE had filled out the rest! This crooked writing saying who his teachers were, what he liked to do etc. It crushed my heart, too! However, he’s 30 now and still speaking to me, so I think he’s forgiven me ;-)

    • Isabel Kallman
      Isabel Apr 06 at 5:36 pm Reply Reply

      As heartbreaking as it may have been in the moment, that’s absolutely precious, Penny.

      • Penny Apr 07 at 11:57 pm Reply Reply

        Isabel, it WAS! It was SO sweet. I think, being the third, he just figured he had better go ahead and take care of it, as he never asked me to do it.

  3. Isabel Kallman
    Isabel Apr 06 at 5:47 pm Reply Reply

    I make all my annual family albums through Blurb.com (in fact, there’s a post on this website about it)

    However, I am beyond impressed with some of the templates that Shutterfly now has. They have partnered with some really great designers. The ones that I like best are in their design collection. I love the photo book templates by Paislee Press and also the photo baby book template called “Year of Firsts.”

  4. Jenny Apr 07 at 12:27 am Reply Reply

    I used a “baby’s first year calendar” for my daughter. I hung it up in her nursery so I saw it multiple times a day. I would record “firsts”, new foods, visitors, experiences, etc right on the calendar. Later I added pictures for each month. I’m really happy with it.

    • Kelcey Kintner
      Kelcey Kintner Apr 07 at 10:22 pm Reply Reply

      Love that idea! You get it done little by little.

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