I’ve decided it’s time to work on my youngest sons’ baby book. I feel a bit overwhelmed as I poke through all of his pictures, so I’m flipping through his older brother’s baby book I made a couple years ago to follow the same recipe. Here are the highlights:
1. Focus on the first year.
It’s a daunting a task to gather and edit all the photos we take nowadays. So, to do a complete compilation representing baby’s first few years in one book is a lot to undertake. Consider tackling those first 12 months to start with.
2. Use front and back covers to tell a story.
Use the front cover of your book for the birth photo and the back cover for the first birthday photo. The changes a baby goes through during the first 12 months are truly incredible.
3. Add an introduction page.
Don’t forget to include a page with baby’s newborn shot in the hospital and key info: name, time, date, weight, height.
4. Put monthly pregnancy photos side by side.
Put in your progressive pregnancy shots side by side — even if they’re taken in different places and different poses. It’s amazing to see how your body can morph to accommodate this little person. Although, looking at my last picture, my person didn’t look so little. Eek.
5. Write a little story about before they were born.
You can include how you told Dad the big news and how they flipped around in your tummy when music came on …
6. Add pregnancy photos of you and your spouse.
It’s nice to look at those sweet pictures of the two of you with excitement in your eyes — before you had any idea what was about to hit. (Photos, below, by Tristan Spinski)
7. Save a place for sonograms.
Because I made a photo book on the computer, I left blank page to paste in our real sonogram photos after I got the book. Or, of course you could scan them and put the digital file in.
8. Consider using a footprint sticker.
A lot of hospitals offer a sticker to use for the baby’s first footprint. You could ask in advance or pack one just in case. The sticker allows you to put it on whichever page suits you without having to take the book to the hospital — especially if it’s a book you create online. (There even happened to be a photo snapped of Marcello holding up the sticker, below.)
9. Tell the birth story.
The story with our second son was pretty eventful. I went into labor in the car with my husband and our 1 year old — and I was driving. Our son was making fun of my sighs of pain (which was funny enough to actually make me laugh), and we were holding his little brother about two hours later! I would hate to forget the details, so I’ll have to take the time to write it out in his book.
10. Add day/week/month labels.
In the first days, I added a label with how many days old my babe was — see picture below, in blue. Then, I went to weeks and then graduated to monthly labels.
Tip: I read somewhere to take newborn pictures between five and seven days old. The idea is that their heads become unsquished, skin color normalizes, and baby acne hasn’t set in. Boy, am I glad I followed that advice. I took his picture on day eight and he started getting his baby acne on day nine!
11. Add scripture or quotes.
Popular scripture verses for baby books:
- “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart …” Jeremiah 1:5
- “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13
- “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14
- “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father.” James 1:17
- “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
- “You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly.” Proverbs 3:24
- “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD. The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3
12. Take pictures of baby with special items from loved ones.
We’ll keep the quilt my son’s great grandfather made him forever, so I wanted to make sure I took a special photo of him with it as a baby. Makes a great backdrop, too.
13. Get a professional photo of the family.
One parent is usually behind the camera, so it’s worth it to hire a professional to capture a moment of everyone together during the short period time your little one is still a baby. If it’s not in the budget, ask a friend or family member to snap a few pictures. (Photos, below, by Lexey Swall)
14. Add details and stories.
It’s an effort to add captions to photos, but you’ll be glad you did. Adding funny or special stories to pages makes it much more personal and memorable.
15. Add a milestones page.
One of my favorite pages in the baby book is his milestone and vitals page. At the end of each month, I put a little note in my phone summarizing what my son was doing so I could put them all together into the book. I also added the vitals from the doctor’s visits on the side.
16. Attach DVD sleeves in the back to store digital backups.
I added these adhesive pockets in the back to store my photo and video files.
I did this book on MyPublisher. It’s the 15″ x 11.5″ deluxe hardcover, which is big and dramatic. I do yearly albums in the classic linen 11.25″ x 8.75″, which I love, but this special book calls for something more dynamic. The only thing I would change would be the size of text I used. It blew up just a little too big in the larger format.
It’s a big task to gather everything and organize it into a baby book, but it’s worth the time because you and your child will cherish it. Ok, I think I’m motivated now to go start my second one!
- Start a yearly birthday question tradition here.
- View my monthly photo project from Adriano’s first year here.
- Get some tips on taking your own photos here.