Capture Your Baby’s Milestones

The first year is filled with so many baby development "firsts" -- rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking, and talking, to name a few. And then there are the other baby milestones parents treasure -- first tooth, first haircut, maybe even a first trip in an airplane. I tried to stash all of these memories in my mind when my twin sons were infants.

However, I find that the older my boys get, the harder it is to recall some of these important baby milestones. That’s why I’m thankful the twins’ grandmother made a baby photography collage that highlights their month-by-month baby development during their first year. Here are some other great ways to document a new baby’s first year.       

First year calendars: These calendars typically come with special stickers to help you keep track of baby milestones like crawling and walking, as well as your new baby’s first tooth and haircut.

Baby books: Keepsake journals have been around since you and I were infants. But now, you can use online photography sites to create personalized books specific to the events in your little one’s life, like the first trip to the zoo. If you are really crafty, scrapbooking is a beautiful way to preserve baby milestones, too.

Shadow boxes: You can always tape a lock of your little love’s hair into his baby book, but if you’re looking for something a little different, try a shadow box, an enclosed glass-front case that shows off mementos, while keeping them safe. Include the lock of hair, pictures taken during the first haircut, and before and after photos in the 3-D display. Shadow boxes are also a great way to display your new baby’s first photo, his hospital identification band, and the outfit he wore home from the hospital.

Handprint and footprint mementos: Many parents make impressions of their newborn's hands and feet with ink, paint, or plaster. Visit a local do-it-yourself pottery store to capture your little one's prints on plates, mugs, and more. Carry this tradition forward by making the same impressions at around 6 months (or when your new baby starts to crawl) and at around 1 year (when she starts to walk). You can display these keepsakes together to show how much your baby grew during her first year.

Pictures and videos: Smartphones -- with their camera and video capabilities -- have made it so much easier to capture the moments when your new baby reaches a milestone. But if your phone is lost, stolen, or damaged, those moments can be gone in an instant. Make sure you back up photos and videos to your computer at least once a month or use an online photography service.

When you are busy with diaper changes and feedings, it can be hard to find the energy and time to get creative and find ways to document baby milestones. But I promise you won’t regret preserving these precious moments before they become fuzzy memories!

by Jeannette Moninger