When I was pregnant with numero uno, I scoured the entire Barnes & Noble bookshelf for “the” perfect baby book. Amazon and the Internet weren’t really my go-to back then. After looking at them all, I walked away feeling discouraged. There was tons of stuff in there I didn’t need and a boatload of things I wanted to share, but there wasn’t room. So, I did what most moms do when they can’t find a solution.
I made my own.
I’ve found it to be a wonderfully inexpensive, easy-to-update and versatile book. Yes, after (almost) six kids I still do them. But, I think it’s the system that’s allowed me to stay on top of them instead of neglecting their presence. Every summer, when I pull out the books to update them, the kids line up to re-read their treasure trove of memories. It’s quite awesome and it also buys me an hour or two of peace and quiet. In the summer. Golden.
Here’s how I do it.
1.5″-2″ three-ring white notebook
Clear page protectors
1. The book has five sections: Birth/Pregnancy, Medical, Sacraments, Birthdays and School. For school, I just put a few basics and then I use these school boxes for more details, school photos, teacher’s names, artwork, assignments, etc. For those tabs, I used sheet protector tabs so they were even with the rest of the pages. I found mine here.
2. Sheet protectors were used for two reasons: they keep the pages from getting dirty and/or ripped and they’re easy to slide in and out if I want to switch up the order of the pages.
3. A writing pen is clipped to one so I always have a ready writing tool when I’m inspired to update them.
4. Save big updates for either the Christmas or summer break. When my kids are really little (under age two), updates usually happen every 3-6 months. I figure even if I’m a little hazy on the details, I’ll never remember that I was. Better to write it down a little late than never at all!
5. I choose to handwrite the updates, rather than type them. There’s nothing I love more than coming across my mom, grandmother or great-grandmother’s handwriting in an old file. It always makes me feel more connected to them.
6. For sacramental records, a copy is in the baby book, but the original is housed in our safety deposit box. That’s what you do when your house catches on fire. That really happened when Will was four months old. Ever since then, all important documents are stored at the bank.
7. In addition to filling out the information, I’ve chosen to include extras, like birthday cards and invitations, shot records, a few photographs and school acceptance letters. Over time, the amount of things I include has been whittled down, but I wanted it to be a scrapbook, of sorts, but without all the work.
8. For the cover of the book, I adapted a design that I loved from iHeartOrganizing (she created our household binder that I purchased on sale on Cyber Monday). Then, I slipped a 12×12 piece of scrapbook paper behind it and on the end of the binder. In our family, each child has a family color, so I stuck to those when decorating the outside of the book so I could quickly and easily identify them (see above).
9. When it comes to paper, you can use plain ‘ol white paper or pick something up from an office supply store. Looking back, I’m not the hugest fan of this baby footprint paper, but it’s what I loved then and so it stays. The kids will likely care less about the paper and more about the words written on it. At least that’s what I’m hoping.
10. As a bonus, you can download the PDF I created: Baby Book Template. The fonts I used were Ondise (script) and Century Gothic (text). Those are slightly different than what you see pictured above. Just don’t sell it or present it as your own. It’s my baby gift to you.
Perhaps this DIY idea makes you feel a little less intimidated and a bit more inspired about doing your own baby book for your children. Pinterest is overrated on this one. I mean, yes, there are some crazy awesome ideas on there, but in the middle of kid one’s first year, I would’ve thrown in the towel.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
The goal is to record memories, not obsess over how cute you can make them and then forget to update the book! Happy reminiscing.