What a Moment! 9 Ways to Document Your Baby's Firsts

We’ve all said it. Children grow up so fast.

In the blink of an eye, your little one is getting their driver's license or heading off to college. That’s why documenting your baby’s firsts is so important. And trust me! After your first baby, it gets harder to record milestone markers because you're so busy raising them! You'll want to remember those precious moments when you’re coping with teenage mood swings and piles of dirty socks!

From opening their eyes for the first time, smiling and giggling, to crawling and taking those unsteady first steps, there are plenty of milestones your baby is going to reach.

Father carrying his newborn in a wrapGreat Ideas for Documenting Your Baby's Firsts!

If you’re hoping to share these firsts or have some on hand for posterity (or their 21st one day!), then these nine ideas are for you. They’ll help you capture and relive all those special moments forever.

1. Capture Those Moments with Photographs.

Thanks to our mobile phones, taking photos of those early baby days is a breeze. Because let’s face it—the way you suddenly notice how their eyelashes curl or how their feet turn slightly inwards when they sleep—make it well worth having a few dozen… or even a hundred snaps.

Sharing these pictures on social media, printing them as a calendar, on canvas, or even making them into fridge magnets helps you revel in the most important moments. Photos also make great gifts for family members, especially if you’re not able to spend much precious bonding time together.

2. Catch Your Children in Movement with Videos.

While pictures capture the moment, videos do it with movement and sound. If your baby is starting to share cheeky grins or is now crawling, standing, and ready to take those first steps, capturing them on video is a great way to remember exactly as they are and track when they happened.

Don’t forget to get a few videos of them playing with you too—they’ll love watching them when they’re older! From rolling a ball between the two of you to blowing out candles on their first few birthday cakes, there are plenty of adorable milestones you’ll want to get on video.

Related reading: "How to Build Healthy Emotional Development in Children."
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3. Write Your Children Heartfelt Letters.

The yesteryear way of documenting things by writing them down is doubly relevant if it means writing heartfelt letters to your little one as they reach a milestone—or throughout the year.

The day you brought them home from the hospital deserves to have a note written about it. The first time your baby spent the night screaming—let them know how angry and helpless you felt and how relieved you were when they finally slept like an angel. Is today the day you’ve gotten your very first gummy grin? Then jot it down and share the joy and love that filled your heart when you got a real smile that wasn't gas!

4. Make a Memory Jar.

If writing letters is something you’d rather do once a year on their birthday, then a memory jar is a good alternative.

Fill the jar with little scraps of paper and notes to your child as they reach certain milestones or throughout the year when you’re feeling the love. These can be as simple as jotting down their first time eating solids (or spitting them out!) and what the food was. Describe how your baby liked it… or didn’t, and if it wound up on the floor. Or make a note of the first song they really reacted to, or the first book they really enjoyed—and you read over and over again!

5. Create Milestone Cards.

While taking pictures of your baby’s first smile, laugh, and stares of wonder is adorable, it’s also a good idea to document their rapid growth and changes.

You can purchase milestone cards online or make your own and print them. These are both good ways of capturing the milestones of your child. Just don’t forget to include their favorite (or your favorite) stuffed toy so there’s a size comparison.

If you haven’t gotten around to purchasing cute milestone cards, then there are plenty of apps that have templates you can add to your images. The best part is that they come with customizable day, month, and year icons and stickers, so each milestone picture can look different.

6. Turn Their First Babygrow (or Sleepsuit) into a Toy.

While holding onto baby sleepsuits and onesies for a second (or third) child is great, so is turning a few of those precious first clothing items into a sentimental stuffed toy.

Their first proper onesie, first little romper, and their first big girl (or boy) dress or suit are all viable contenders. If you're handy with a needle and thread, there are some stunning templates online that will have you happily sewing those first few garments into a cuddly friend they can keep alongside them. As a bonus, this cuddly item is a visible reminder to you of those early days too.

Newborn baby sleeping peacefully on a Baby Memory Quilt

7. Make a Baby Memory Quilt.

If a toy made of outgrown baby clothes isn’t something you’re considering, or you’ve done it already, then go ahead and keep documenting firsts by making a baby memory quilt or to give your teen when they leave for college!

Include embroidered dates of their milestones as they reach them—and why not include some scraps of their leftover onesies too? Don’t forget to embroider a square of their favorite toy at age 6 months, at 12 months, or two years old. Since the quilt is going to be sentimental, you could also consider including a first from you, such as a piece of lace or satin from your wedding dress, or even dad’s bowtie. These quilts make wonderful gifts to kids heading off to college or for a sweet sixteenth birthday.

8. Design a Memory Box.

A memory box is a marvelous way to save mementos of firsts. You can take some of the above ideas and incorporate them, along with items like their Christening ribbon, their first socks, hair lockets from their first haircut, and first-holiday ornament. You can even include essential things like a pacifier or a piece of their security blanket you used to calm them when they fussed.

A memory box doesn't have to just be for their first year either. You can save special memories throughout the years, all the way until their last day of school, or 18th or 21st birthday. Then, gift the memory box to them when they’re old enough to appreciate it.

9. Write a Love Note on Their First Birthday.

One of my favorite milestone markers was something I did for my daughter's first birthday. After every guest arrived at her party, I asked them to write a short message to the birthday girl. Some people wrote little notes about how special she is, others gave life advice about love, growing up, and handling challenges, and some even wrote her notes about how much her parents love her!

I put their messages in a little box, and I’ve kept it safe since then. As a few of the guests are no longer with us, it’s going to be extra special when we go through those notes together and see what blessings, advice, and messages of love and joy she received.

A baby’s first birthday is something you definitely want to document. Keeping cards and words of love from special people in your child’s life means that their advice can reach back through time to touch their hearts in the present.

Which of the above ways to document their first year—and beyond—are you most excited to try?

To get parenting support with a veteran parent coach or information about Heartmanity parenting classes, please call Heartmanity at 406-577-2100 or email jennifer@heartmanity.com.

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Angelica Hoover / Heartmanity ContributorAngelica Hoover / Heartmanity Contributor
Angelica Hoover is a mother, works at Mommy's Bliss, and writes about the triumphs and throes of parenting.

Posted in Perfectly Imperfect Parenting

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