Tips from Hanne, Founder of Dollydust Baby Books
You can fill your baby book in many ways; actively during your baby’s first year or you can start writing the book even when your child is bigger. I’ve done it both ways. When I was expecting, I bought a printed baby book for my firstborn, but never finished it. I remember feeling guilty when I no longer remembered the exact milestones mentioned in the book, and it got complicated when photos had to be ordered separately… Well the rest is history and the idea for a customizable baby book was born.
When years later I got to finally fill my firstborn’s baby book with the Dollydust book editor, my son was already six years old and I had hardly written down any of his childhood memories apart from a few milestones. As I browsed through my son’s baby photos, suddenly the memories came flooding in, right down to tiny, precious details of what we’d done together and the affectionate nicknames we had for him. I added plenty of photos, stories and a poem printed on his christening invitation to the book. In the end, the book turned out beautiful, and one day he can browse through it to find out what he was like as a baby.
I began to expect my second child after already developing page templates for Dollydust Baby Books. As I wrote my second child’s story, I got to test how the pages worked and began to fill his baby book already while I was pregnant. I updated his book once a month, taking a monthly photo of him always on the same blanket. His “My Months” pages have been lovely to look back on later. You forget so much so quickly – the sounds your baby makes, favorite things, small everyday details that kindle memories. Also his Monthly Pictures photo series turned out simply charming! In fact, I gave printouts of the series as presents to relatives when he turned one.
My tips for filling in your baby book while your child is still a baby:
* Describing how you felt when you were pregnant and capturing your growing tummy make for precious memories. I really recommend it!
* After your baby is born, you can begin filling in the My Months section once a month (or, say, once every three months if you wish) on how the previous weeks have been. Your child grows at an astounding rate in the first year and gathering a series of pics on a single page (page: Year in Pictures) just shows how much your child has changed in a year! To create a series, try using the same background and focal distance. You can take a look at our Pinterest board My Months for some inspiration.
* Tiny footprints. Take an imprint of your baby’s footprints on a thick piece of paper. You can cut it out and glue it to the book once it’s finished. I painted my baby’s feet with non-toxic children’s paint, which was a pretty messy affair! Only later I discovered that inkless print kits by different suppliers were available online.
* Milestones. You can collect your baby’s milestones on the pages Milestones I and Milestones II; when your baby turned for the first time, first steps, and so on – anything you felt were special moments (you don’t need to record everything!). You can also take a photo with your smartphone and add straight to the book.
* After finishing the My Months pages at the end of your child’s first year, you can easily create more summaries on eating habits, sleeping, bathing, characteristics, etc. Looking at the My Months pages afterwards may suddenly kindle memories for instance on how your baby slept in the first year.
Tips for filling in your baby book later when your child is bigger:
* Don’t feel guilty if you never managed to finish your baby book or start one in the first place! It shouldn’t be a burden that requires remembering every minute detail, but can easily take the form of stories that your child can turn to for answers later on: what they were like as a baby, what they enjoyed, and pics of course. The book is no less valuable if you don’t remember every tiny detail.
* Although it’s not so easy to fill in the My Months pages later on (I left them out from my second book), some time and distance from the baby months gives some perspective: a little later, it’s easier to figure out the baby’s character and write down features that in hindsight could be detected already during the early months. You can easily make a Dollydust Baby Book more into a photo book and choose exactly the templates you want.
A few more tips:
* My mother had glued snippets from the newspaper issued on the day I was born. I forgot to save the newspaper on the days my children were born, but managed to get a copy afterwards by phoning the local newspaper. Also libraries often have digital copies of old newspapers.
* Baby’s Monthly Pics can turn into a stressful ordeal if you try to ambitiously get a pic each month. Even if you begin a lovely series of pics with say a number tied from flowers next to your baby, I recommend taking another, more simple photo without the number as well, just in case you don’t manage to finish the series. When you take a simple pic with a fuss-free (or even the same) background each month, you can easily add a number to the picture later on using our image editor, which comes with plenty of fonts and clip art numbers to choose from.
It’s been heart-warming to notice how much a printed baby book can mean to a small child. They are so interested in themselves, and at the same time, the book shows them just how important they are. My children have never been too interested in looking at photos on the computer, but they do enjoy flicking through their books… And there is something extra special about the feel of real pages between the fingers. A baby book may remain fairly untouched on the bookshelf for many years after the childhood years, but becomes interesting by the time your children have kids of their own at the latest!
Congratulations to you and happy creating!