A baby milestone book is so often on the list of things to do for new parents, but sadly it often becomes one of the first things to fall off the radar. It starts to feel too hard, too time consuming and too much of a chore. A baby book shouldn't be like that - it should be a simple and fun way to record your memories of a time that whizzes by way too quickly.
Think about why you want to keep a baby milestone book. Is it to keep track of your baby's development month to month? Is it to record all your memories in one safe place? Is it creating a precious keepsake that you can pass on to your child once they're older? Or is it all of the above?
Keeping a baby book is a commitment, but it doesn't need to be hard. Here are my top ten tips for making a start, and keeping up with your baby milestone book.
1. Just get started
I know, it sounds obvious right, but all too often I hear parents say, "We meant to make a start, but just never got around to it". Just do it! It doesn't matter if you baby is one week old, or one year old - making a start now is better than leaving it any longer. The sooner you do it, the fresher the memories will be in your mind, and the easier it will be to fill out.
2. Start early
If you're still pregnant, start filling your baby book in now. There's a whole section at the front that you don't need to wait for baby to arrive to fill in. 'About Mum' and 'About Dad', 'My Grandparents' and 'In Mum's Tum' are all easy pages to complete beforehand. Make sure you get your ultrasound images stuck in as well. Trust me - you have WAY more time to do this before your baby arrives. Also, take your book with you to the hospital or birthing centre, as you may just find the time (fingers crossed!) to fill in your birth story, and your baby's birth details.
3. Don't make it a chore
Filling out your milestone book shouldn't feel like hard work - try and have fun with it. Don’t feel like writing out a detailed journal entry each month? Then write a list of bullet points. Want to add colour? Get creative with coloured gel pens and fun stickers. Want lots of photos rather than words? Fill out the stats section only and fill the rest of the page with photos, scrapbook style. Go nuts, and do what makes you happy.
4. Out of sight, out of mind
Keep your baby milestone book somewhere you can see it every day. You’re far more likely to fill your book out if it’s right there. Pop it on the coffee table, the kitchen bench, your bedside table - anywhere you think you’re most likely to see it and use it. Leaving it out also gives your visitors a chance to have a flick through when they’re over.
5. Organise your photos
If you’re anything like me, you’ll take a million and one photos of your baby each month. Which makes going through and picking photos for your baby milestone book a real struggle! What I find helpful is that every time I take a photo I really like, I either favourite it, or add it to an album. Then you only have to go through your collated photos each month when it comes time for printing. This will save you HEAPS of time.
6. Keep notes
Baby brain is a thing! You will forget things. All the time. A year down the track I swear I still have baby brain. Any time you think 'that should go in my milestone book', make a note of it on your phone, email it to yourself, or jot it down in a notebook. This is a lifesaver!
7. Use a pencil first
If you're like me and a little bit OCD, you'll want your baby milestone book to look nice and pretty and neat. This is where using a pencil first comes in handy. I often make mistakes, change my mind, run out of space, and generally make a real mess of things. Writing in pencil first gives you wiggle room for when it turns to custard. Just make sure you use an ink pen (I like the Stabilo fineliner pens), rather than a biro, so it doesn't smudge when you erase the pencil.
8. Use your baby milestone cards alongside your baby book
Get in the habit of taking a photo each month with your milestone cards at the same time as filling in your book. It’s so easy to forget to do one or the other (or both!), so let one be the reminder to do the other. And it’s super cute to use your milestone card photo on each month’s spread.
9. Notes section
Utilise the notes section at the back of the book. These pages are left blank for you to use as you like, but I find them handy to jot down the things that might not make it to that month's page, but I still want a record of. Things like feeding and sleeping schedules, how much formula and how many bottles a day, medical appointments, solids tried and liked etc.
10. Have fun!
This really should be at the top of the list. Have fun with your book. Make it a pleasure to complete and look back on. Now my baby is one, and my milestone book is finished, I love to flick back through it. You forget so quickly how they change, what they were doing each month and what your days and weeks looked like. Your baby's first year is huge and should be celebrated.
I hope this gives you a bit of inspiration to get started, or get back into completing your baby milestone book. Trust me, it's totally worth it.
And if you're looking for a baby milestone book to purchase, make sure you check out our hardcover Hey Baby keepsake journal.