A Baby Book Is More Important Than You Think, So Don't Make This Mistake

Keeping a baby book I've always been a firm believer that you should learn from your past mistakes, whether it's parenting, relationships, or that awful style trend you wore 15 years ago that's now back on the racks.

But there's also something to hearing advice from someone else, a person who's been there and done that and, in sharing their own self-reflection, might have a few helpful lessons that could make your life easier, better, or less embarrassing. 

And that's exactly what you'll find here in my weekly column. First up: my thoughts on the dreaded, guilt-inducing, much-debatable baby book. And why you should do it differently than I did.

Back when my first daughter was born nine years ago, I bought the fancy schmancy keepsake baby book, and for the first few weeks, I filled it out, elegant pen and all.

Then I realized it was sort of lame, and time consuming, which is hilarious now that I have four kids and think to myself, "What was I so busy doing with one tiny baby?" So I bought a blank journal and just jotted down notes instead. First smiles, cute things she did ... it was brilliant!

I kept it up for the first year or so, and then started writing a blog, where I chronicled stories of her -- no pictures of her but enough that I felt like I'd have something to show her when she came to me in 20 years and asked me what she was like as a baby.

Then I had another kid. And a couple more. And while I kept up my blog and took photos every month for the first year, that brilliant journal got shoved in a bookshelf somewhere. And the sweet things my son and two subsequent daughters did ... well, they're gone now. All the funny things they said, the baby milestones they hit and when, the little tidbits of their first year and toddlerdom -- all completely evaporated into thin air.

And that just plain sucks.

If I could have a do-over, a chance to rewrite that part of their history, I'd keep the book, or at least I'd find something similar but easier to use so that I'd have all those memories. Those precious moments neatly stored away to look back on now that my children are so grown and I wonder where all the time has gone.

I mean, how long does it take to jot down a few sentences at the end of each day?

If I were to be a new mom now, I'd send an email to myself with the funny words or cute conversations we'd had, all marked with their names in the subject line and later dumped into a folder for each child that I'd created. All automatically dated and time stamped.

And I'd use something like a private blog or an app like DayOne, which I only recently discovered, that lets you take photos, jot notes, and print it all out.

Because as much as I used to think I'd remember everything about my children as babies, in reality, I don't have a lot of vivid memories at all. And I really wish I did.

Do you think it's a good idea to keep a baby book?


Image via Caitlinator/Flickr


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Karis... KarissaMartin

I completely agree! I started my son's baby book and wrote in it for the first 4 or 5 months, but then stopped, put it away and forgot about it. Out of sight, out of mind. Then last September I got the idea to start a simple little blog for my son, where each day I would right a short letter to him, telling him what he did that day or how he made me smile. Just a way to say I love you everyday. With each entry I try to include a photo as well. My family and friends love it, and they ones that live far away get to watch him grow with each new post. I love it, and will continue the blog for as long as I can.

My blog is: http://iloveyoudailyblog.blogspot.com/

fave82 fave82

I do think its a good idea to keep a baby book. Numerous times i asked my mom about when i hit my milestones or started on baby food and after 30 years her memories are fuzzy to say the least. Entries in my baby book were a little sparse. I try to keep up on my 2 daughters books.. Its MUCH harder with the second one. I figure if i can write in it once a month then ill be happy. I may not have an exact date for when they rolled over.. But at least i can say with certainty what month they were in. I keep the books on my nightstand .. So they're almost obnoxiously in my way. That way i can't forget.

Lobelia Lobelia

My son is 6 years old and Ive never kept up with his baby book. I regret it now.

Lacey Tierney

Maybe it was just my own crappy start in life but i've never once cared to know about my infancy or toddlerhood. Knowing milestone details would mean nothing to me as an adult so no, I don't think it's important to keep a baby book

Alicia Anne Yadock

i got my babys first year baby book, i filled it out.... though some things didnt make sense... like his favorite 'stuff'. i dont think he really knew how to tell me that under a year old

Lilly... LillysMama0308

Wow Lacey Tierney that is SUCH a wonderful out look on it.. Even if you dont, you dont think your child would??  Iam sorry I SOOOOOOOOOOO disagree.. I think they are very important.. My mother thought just like you and guess what.. As a adult I would have LOVED to look back at something like that and go wow. I have 2 girls and a step son.. I kepted up one all 3 of their baby books.. My daughter's baby books I ofcorse started since the day I found out I was pregnant with both.. With my step son I pick up where his mother left off.. She thought like you it wasnt important enough to keep up on..

kimmi... kimmieb87

My mom kept up with moth mine and my brothers baby book and I looked at both of them when My son was in his first several years of his life. I wasnt very good with writing things down in his book and still am not. I do however make scrapbooks of everything and I have made three complete books of my sons life this far from Oltrasound pictures until his 4th birthday witch was in January.

Vanessa Pereira-Hagen

You made me feel soooo much better!!! I've been thinking lately (son is 5.5 now) how I slacked on his baby book and have this huge guilt because I can't get the time back and can't really make one now...I have a few things I jotted down on lil pcs of paper and threw into the book, but to be honest, I'm not even sure where the book is now!!!  I def found comfort in the fact that I'm not the only mama that failed this little task!!  Thanks!!! :)   My son won't be the only adult that doesn't have a complete baby book from his past!  Fwew!

yergi... yergie1985

I never bothered. If he asks me what he was like when he was a kid we have tons of video so he can actually see for himself.

corri... corrinacs

What a wonderful article with a ton of truth to it!  These are OUR memories of our small ones!   They won't be small for long and you'll forget all of thier antics.

My best suggestion is take plenty of videos (easier these days since most phones come equipped with that feature) and take plenty of pictures!

And I have devised a scrapbook.  Now I'm going through book 5.  I take pictures of everything from important events to the mundane.  I jot down notes and quotes in that book as well!  I just love the time I spend reflecting on the last few months and the wonderful things we did :).  Its a fun activity for me and I get to catalogue my children's lives!  

My family come over and I pull all of them out and they love to carrouse through them and see how much they've grown :)

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