By HarvardHomemaker

I'm a Harvard graduate and homemaker who blogs about living (and loving!) the domestic life with my husband and four young daughters. My blog now permanently resides at www.harvardhomemaker.com. Please visit me there!

Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 01:57:00 PM in Mom Stuff
Tags: baby s first year,  first birthday,  gift ideas,  mom stuff,  photography,  photo book,  diy

Baby's First Year Photo Book: A Special First Birthday Gift for Your Child

I am so excited to share this idea with you!!  When I first started taking these pictures of my daughter each month, I really wasn't sure what I was going to do with them other than have them for comparison (which is pretty neat, in and of itself, I think!)  But I came across an offer for a discounted book on Blurb (an online company where you can make your own photo books), and I had the idea to make a little "baby book" for my daughter as a gift for her first birthday.  It turned out so cute--I just love it!!  It's such a special keepsake for my daughter to mark her first birthday--and her first year!

I do have a traditional baby book that I'm working on for her, too, (it's about half done even though she's past one now--I will finish it, oh, by the time she's five or so!) but I love the simplicity of this photo book.  For those of you who just don't have it in you to spend the time filling out an actual baby book (hey, I know it's not for everyone--especially after the first baby when you have less and less time!), a book like this might be your solution!  I took a picture each month of my daughter on her "month birthday" in front of the same bear to show some scale--the bear really gives you a sense of how fast she was growing.  At the end of the year, I simply uploaded these pictures to Blurb and then filled in a description of what she was up to that month.  (I was able to refer back to her half-finished baby book to help me remember her milestones.)  By the way, if your child's first year is already underway (or has past), you obviously don't need "special pictures" to show scale--this post simply illustrates what I did.  Any favorite pictures from each month would work just as well if you decide to do something like this!  

It will take a little forethought to keep up with the milestones throughout the year (because you will never remember unless you write it down!), but maybe when you take the picture each month, you could also quickly write up a summary of what happened that month--on paper, on your computer, or even in the notes on your phone.  At the end of the year, you can quickly whip up this book, and you'll have a very special first birthday gift for your child!  You could even give an extra copy to grandparents or someone special in your baby's life.

There are so many book options at Blurb, but I chose a small book that was just 7x7 for this project, and I worked within the Designer Series, which means that things were pre-set to some extent.  I ultimately chose the "Geneva" template after messing with some of the others.  By making this a designer book, I had less leeway to play with things, but it also made it faster to create the book--I made it all in one sitting one night while I had my computer in my lap and watched TV at the same time!  :)  If you want the ability to be more creative, you can choose a different style (not the designer series) and play more with backgrounds, layouts, colors, etc.  

I have also made many, many photo books at Shutterfly--things like a family cookbook for my brother and new sister-in-law on their wedding day; photo books that I have given as gifts, such as when a friend moved or for the holidays; and plenty of keepsake books for our own family (see a glimpse of many of these books in my organization post here--the mother load of all tips to help organize your home and your life!)  This was my first experience using Blurb, however.  I have had really good luck with both companies!

The options for photo books are endless... you could pull one together in time for Mother's Day, or give one to your parents after your extended family shares a memorable trip together.  Perhaps someone you love is celebrating a special birthday--what better gift to give than a book of photos through the years?  I am obviously such a huge fan of books like this!  :)  And even though I used to do a lot of scrapbooking, I love how you can make one book like this online, and then you're able to order as many copies as you might need for different family members.  So much easier!  You could even create a book of your family's memories every year and then print a copy for each of your children to take with them one day.

I hope this post has given you some ideas--whether you are inspired to make a book similar to this one to help celebrate your baby's first year or another type of book!  Even if you aren't very tech-savvy, these are easier to make than you might think.  Give it a try--I have no doubt that you'll end up with something very special.  

P.S.  In my next post, I will share another idea of how you can use photos like these for something fun.  :)

Here's how I started my daughter's book... she truly is the best addition to our family.  I can't even begin to describe the amount of happiness she has brought into our home... all five of us can't get enough of that sweet little thing!

Here is the first picture I took, along with a description of the first month of her life.

Here's a glimpse of month five.  It's summer now... growing fast!

Fall already...

Baby's First Christmas--so much to celebrate!

The last month of that very special first year... this picture was taken on her birthday, the day she took her first steps!  :)

Here's a peek at the back cover...

What a special keepsake--and truly, it wasn't that hard to create.  Something like this is much less time-consuming to make than keeping up with a baby book, that's for sure!

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I hope this post has given you some creative inspiration!  Stay tuned for my next post where I'll share with you another fun way to use photos taken throughout your child's first year.  

What photo books have you made?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Until next time... thanks for reading!



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