I am a huge fan of traditional baby books and have enjoyed filling them out for all four of my sons. And while some say this is an outdated way to record your baby’s memories, I love the easy reference of their development. (How else would I have ever discovered my sons were all the same length, weight and head size at 9 months?)
However, many moms find the detailed list of milestones and picture fill-in-blanks in traditional baby books daunting. And so instead of doing anything, they do nothing at all! And end up with no memories recorded, which is sad!
So today I would like to offer you some alternatives to using traditional hardcover baby books to record your baby’s memories. But before I do, here are my 5 Favorite Things About Using a Baby Book:
- They provides structure for recording memories and milestones instead of leaving it to our own mood or whim!
- Baby books force us to print pics and keep them organized.
- They encourage us to take time to sit down and reflect.
- They are a physical book of memories we can hold and not something that can be accidentally deleted.
- Kids love to look through them as they grow. They feel important as they see how much time we invested in recording THEM!
Baby Book Alternatives
My favorite way to record my baby’s memories (even more than their baby book) is through a baby journal. The one I use is called “The First 1000 Days” by Nikki McClure and it has become my go-to present for all new moms. The reason I love using a journal is because I feel freedom to write down whatever I want. It provides simple prompts like 1 month, 2 month, etc. and blank pages that say first squirrel, first pie etc. Other than that, I can determine what I record. And because there is no pre-determined information to fill out, I feel more apt to pick it up when my kids do something cute or hit a major milestone.
Baby Memory Apps
There is a whole slew of apps on the market nowadays that allow parents to record different memories. The apps vary based on personal preference but some fun ones to look into are:
- Tinybeans is one of the most highly-rated online journals just for parents. You can easily upload a photo, video, milestone or simply a note all from their app. A calendar keeps all of the info organized by date. And do you want to add a special touch to your photos? No problem. Tinybeans has built-in editing capabilities which allow you to add filters, stickers, text and a range of effects. And if you’re a social media addict, the app allows you to share your moments on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But if you prefer privacy, it also allows you to connect with family and friends within the app. You can even send emails to grandparents who may not be quite so digitally savvy. Also, if you want a hard copy, Tinybeans links to a print shop where you can purchase everything from phone cases (starting at $30) to photo books (starting at $45).
- Life Cake is similar to Tinybeans. This app allows parents to upload pictures and stories and share the journal privately with family and friends. I personally like that the app allows you to add siblings, and that you can quickly zoom to a specific age, and even compare stages. Photobooks are easy to create and start at $30. The biggest bonus? You can download up to 1 GB of photos and videos on your computer for free (the app is free for iPhone, iPad and Android devices).
- Day One also allows you to add photos and stories, and entries are organized by date and easily searchable. I really like that Day One has voice recognition capabilities. So if you don’t have time to type it allows you to dictate entries on the go. It even geotags your entry with your current location and makes a note of the current weather.
One of my friends opted out of a using a baby book entirely and just takes photos of every major event with her daughter. Then she continually creates books on Shutterfly of all their memories! To take this one step further, you can add in milestone captions on the pictures so that you have both a picture book and one with milestones.
There is also a fun app by Shutterfly called GrooveBook. It mails you a photo book of 100 photos each month for only $2.99/month. Without much effort or thought, you can have photos albums of your children! For another fun touch to this idea, you can rip the pics out of the Groovebook, write milestones or memories related to the pics and put them in a picture storage box!
This idea is probably one of my all-time favorites because it keeps the kids involved! Create an email account for your child at the time of their birth. Then periodically send them photos off your phone and emails telling them about the funny things they do over the years. If you post about a funny story on social media, use that as a reminder to email them the same story! This method not only establishes an email account for them, it also gives them record of your ongoing love for years! And one day when you are very old, they may sit and read your emails all day long! Did I mention? I loooooove this idea??!