The concept of a baby book is lovely. Somewhere to keep all the memories and data month by month, year by year. A place to document the milestones (because if you asked me the first time my son did XYZ I don’t really recall the specifics).
My mom made me my own baby book. It is in fact something to cherish as an adult. I love how they are super organized and everything is in one place. The problem is the upkeep. Who has time for them anyways?
I have a baby book filled out for my first born. I have to admit there are times I fell behind and there are blanks in there because I just didn’t keep up with it. I didn’t keep up with what tooth came in on what day or maybe when he first laughed. It’s hard finding the time.
I’ve heard people comment and laugh about how the more kids you have the less attention to detail, more easily getting lost in the shuffle…like a baby book. For my daughter I did go out and buy a baby book. I was even gifted a baby book called Lucy Darling’s memory book, aimed at keeping it simple. It limits each month to the same four questions, with some additives for holidays, milestones, and the early years. It was gifted from a fellow mom who knew me very well and understood the essence of time when being a mama.
While I see the challenges with keeping up with the baby book I also see the value in its purpose. I’ve tried a few things throughout the years to keep up with the special memories and ways to document it. Here are my top three favorite alternatives to baby books.
Notecard calendar: You only need two supplies to keep up with this alternative idea to a baby book. A notebook calendar has more longevity for years throughout their childhood. Go to the dollar store and purchase a few packs of lined notecards. You will need 365 cards in total. Step 2: grab a pen and date each note card for every day of the calendar year (only the month and day). For example write January 1 on the first card and December 31 will be your last card. From day to day and year to year you can document memories, funny quotes, and experiences on each note card. On each line underneath the date you will document the year followed by the memory. There’s no commitment or obligation to fill out every day of your notebook calendar. It’s a fun and creative way for your child to look back on their memories from year to year on each day. I suggest purchasing something to hold them in so they don’t get damaged or bent. Like a baby book this takes some time and commitment but it doesn’t require you to document things every day or try to remember every milestone like when I freaking tooth came in. You pick and choose at your leisure. The strategy that I use since I know everyone is busy is the notes section on my phone. I have a running list with the date and the memory and when I have time I update the notecards.
Qeepsake: Have you heard of Qeepsake? It’s a brilliant idea for busy parents who don’t have time for a baby book. When I first signed up it started off as daily text messages with a prompt such as a question about your child to document on their website. As they advanced their business and created upgrade opportunities their system changed a bit. I now get daily Facebook messages with the prompts or question about my children. And guess what… it’s free! Now that I have two children the messages alternate by day. The message prompt is specific to developmental milestones based on your child’s age. You can also log into the website to create a journal entry at any time and even add a photo to the journal entry. Your next step does require some money contribution if you would like them to compile your entries and print them off into a nice book. Simpler than a baby book, conveniently being sent to your phone. If you don’t like the question or don’t have time to answer it you just ignore it and wait for the next day’s message.
Creating an email address for your child: I have created an email address for each of my children. My initial purpose was so that we could send special letters and messages to them and they would get the password when they turn 18. It’s also a fun way for other family members or friends to send them messages too. The way I continue to use their email accounts is by sending pictures and special memories of things that we have done together or their milestones. It is somewhat similar to a baby book in that it’s creating a space to remember and document. A benefit of using the email system vs a baby book is having longevity. You can continue to send things through their lifetime and as frequently as you want. I send pictures, special memories, funny quotes, and every year on their birthday I respond to a set of questions about them such as favorite foods and what do they want to be when they grow up.
I’ll continue to be attempting to keep up with the baby books that I have for my child, but I’ll also use some of these strategies along the way since it helps make life a little bit easier and they last longer than the first year of life. So to all the busy moms, dads, grandparents, or caregivers out there I hope these are helpful for you because they have definitely put less pressure on me trying to remember what to put in a baby book and when to do it while also still mimicking the purpose and concept of a baby book.
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