Back when Carter was first born, I bought a set of month-by-month onesie stickers from Etsy that I used to document his first year. At the time, I seriously thought I was the MOST creative mom on the block.
But boy, oh boy, have some of these other moms outdone me by a mile! There are a ton of amazingly creative ideas floating around out there—so inspiring, that they almost make me want to have another baby. (ALMOST. We’re not even out of diapers yet, after all.)
In any case, here’s a countdown of the 10 most creative ways (according to me, and Pinterest) to record your baby’s first year.
10. Month-by-month Comparison Photos
Kristen Honeycutt’s collage of little Max is sort of similar to my attempt with Carter, but she did a couple other interesting things. First, Max’s raccoon is helpful to be able to gauge Max’s size by comparison. (Either Max grew a lot, or the raccoon is shrinking, because the difference between months 1 and 12 are huge!)
I also love how you can see Kristen’s style coming through with the blanket and Max’s clothing. Any little guy can pull of a white onesie, but Max is pulling off some serious style in some of these outfits! Did you see month 3?!
9. From Belly to 12 Months
I always love when parents get in photos with their little ones, and Rosie’s month-by-month series with Logan is especially creative. Her first photo is of her belly when she’s still pregnant, and by holding him in the same spot every month, you get a better idea of how much he’s grown by comparison.
This is one of the easiest ideas to pull off by yourself – just prop your camera up on a counter or a tripod, and use a timer or remote to take a shot every month!
8. ‘My First Year’ Poster
I spent the entire first year of my son’s life dealing with a serious case of mom-brain. I could barely remember to put pants on every day before leaving the house, so the chance of me remembering the date Carter crawled for the first time was less than zero.
That’s one of the reasons I love the ‘My First Year’ poster—simply fill in the blanks, and voila! You have a record of all your baby’s first milestones, and a personalized piece of artwork for their bedroom!
7. Baby’s 1st Annual Report
If you like the idea of the ‘My First Year’ poster, but you’re looking to take your baby-tracking to another level, the Baby’s 1st Annual Report might be for you.
Inside this 13-month calendar, you’ll find spots to add photos of your little one, as well as clever prompts for tracking important stats like “Mood By Time of Day” (baby’s and parent’s), and “Toys vs. Floor Space in Main Living Area.” This is one calendar you won’t be able to throw away when the year is over.
6. Custom Year One Infographic
I’m pretty sure this summary that Ami at Lifelove & Lucy made for her daughter’s first birthday is the cutest infographic in the history of the world.
This is quite the hefty DIY project, but lucky for the rest of us, Ami is now offering custom designs on Etsy!
5. Clean + Simple Baby Books
Most of the ideas in this post can be turned into a book pretty easily, but there’s something unique and refreshing, yet simple and timeless, about the books Johanna McShan made.
Documenting her pregnancy and the first year of each of her daughters, Mia and Ausha, each spread of the books displays one large photo, paired with her thoughts about that month. Joanna sells templates of all her books, and you don’t even have to have Photoshop to use them!
4. First Year Quilts
When I was pregnant, I could get lost in the baby clothes section of Target for hours at a time, looking at all the adorable onesies that I couldn’t wait to buy for my baby-to-be. As it turns out, I could’ve saved a LOT of money, had I realized just how quickly he’d outgrow one size and move onto the next. So, finding out that there was something creative I could do with all those outgrown clothes was music to my ears!
I recently discovered the idea of first year quilts—quilts created out of your favorite pieces of clothing from your baby’s first year—and I can’t wait to go back through Carter’s old clothes and start making something memorable out of them!
Craftastical offers a tutorial and a size guide if you’re interested in taking the DIY route, or you can send all the clothing into Etsy sellers like Southern Charm Quilts or Heart and Sew, who can create a custom quilt for you!
3. Chalkboard Adventures
Downhill skiing, running track & field, and figure skating in the Olympics is a lot to do in the first 20 weeks of life! These photo illustrations made by Kara at Life with Fingerprints are beyond creative, putting baby Cannon in a different scene every week of his first year.
Worried about your own drawings skills in creating 52 photo scenes that are this creative? Just keep it simple! Your baby’s adorableness will do most of the work. Can’t think of anything to draw? Maybe try using words instead of drawings.
Oh, and just to give credit where credit’s due, not only is Cannon Kara’s fourth baby, but she already has a 52-week series under her belt from her son Bennett’s first year, and a 12-month series from her daughter’s first year!
2. 365 Days of Baby
If you were inclined to think Kara was in over her head with 52 weeks of photos, you’re going to think Jennifer is downright crazy—in the most awesome way possible.
Jennifer’s project is called 365 days of T, and she takes a photo of her son every day, with the day’s number shown somewhere in the photo. This takes some serious creativity and dedication, and the result is just amazing.
1. 365 Love Letters
This project was also done by Jennifer Borget (the mom who did 365 Days of T), but I couldn’t not include it. It’s so beautifully done. In her 365 love letters, Jennifer paired photos of her daughter with a loving thought, message or quote. Each individual photo is amazing in itself, but the project as a whole is remarkable.
I can only imagine how much her daughter will appreciate having all these photos (and the resulting book she created) when she’s older.
Is that one, giant boatload of cuteness or what?!
I hope these ideas inspire you as much as they’ve inspired me, and I’d love to see or hear your unique ideas about how to capture your baby’s first year in photos, too!