When I was pregnant with my first child I can’t tell you how long I spent in Barnes & Nobles book stores looking through baby books. It must have been hours and hours that totaled up to days.
I had to find the perfect baby book. The one that would allow me to keep track of all the correct milestones. The one that would have space for all the appropriate pictures – dedicated space for monthly photos for the first year, baby shower pictures, first birthday party pictures, etc. The one that had pockets/inserts for things like the hospital bands, the newspaper from the day of her birth, and our birth announcement card.
After several trips and many hours spent comparing those baby books I finally settled on one that was everything I wanted it to be.
I used it all during my pregnancy. Pasting in ultrasound photos. Tracking gifts from the baby showers. Writing notes to my unborn child.
Then I used it for about a month after she was born and never opened it again until I happened upon it when moving several months later.
It’s crazy how much pressure I put on myself to find the darn thing and to make sure I would be able to track useless knowledge like my daughter’s first food and when she got her first tooth. But the minute that I got wrapped up in trying to keep her alive and fed I forgot all about actually using it.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second child I was going to use a baby book that someone had given me for my daughter that I never opened for him. It remains in its original plastic wrapping to this very day.
So I didn’t do baby books for my children. But, what I did do was create photo books for them each using pictures captured during my pregnancies, their births, and the first few months of their lives.
It all started because I had a promotional code for a free Shutterfly photo book that came in a gift basket of baby bath items. I looked on the Shutterfly.com website and discovered that they had book templates you can alter.
I found an alphabet book template and decided to create for my daughter an ABC book using the pictures I had up until that point in her life. Something that would be a fun, educational read as she learned the alphabet. But also something that would serve as a keepsake and replace the traditional baby book since it was pretty obvious that I no longer had the time or interest in maintaining that perfect baby book.
I spent hours crafting the perfect book for her – choosing the right pictures and background embellishments, aligning the photos just right on the page, making sure to capture all the highlights and important events that had happened in her life up until that point.
But unlike the hours spent hunting down her perfect baby book that essentially went to waste, putting together this photo book was fun! No pressure to remember and track useless knowledge. No cutting, pasting, using stickers, hoarding old paper clippings and hospital bands.
When I received the book I was very pleased with the way it turned out. My daughter and I actually enjoy taking it off her bookshelf to read and look at. I suspect she will enjoy sharing it with friends and family as she grows and maybe even with her own children one day.
And when my son was about 4 months I used my daughter’s book template from three years prior, still saved in my Shutterfly account, to create his ABC book. I changed the photos, and some of the wording and background colors, to create a book that I imagine he and I will also enjoy reading and looking through as he gets older.
So if your baby book is only 20% complete and is now gathering dust as mine was – or if you’re an expecting parent overwhelmed with the variety of baby books to choose from and want to save yourself the headache – I highly recommend a Shutterfly photo book as a functional alternative.