3 Alternatives to the "Baby Book"

The “Baby Book” is one of those things we all feel we should create for our babies. The first child usually at least gets an attempt at the baby book. The one where you keep track of milestones, weight, height, etc.. and include pictures from the first year. At the end, it’s a lot of work for parents who are already sleep deprived, tired, and have a baby to take care of on a daily basis!

In fact, I never even bothered with the baby book.. because I knew, while working a full time corporate job and taking care of my son, I had no time for that sort of thing!

Instead, here are 3 much easier alternatives which could be right for you. Just because we don’t have time to bother with creating an elaborately designed book for our babies doesn’t mean they should grow up with no place for the memories from their first year…

Image of a linen memory box full of childhood photos. Photo by N. Lalor Photography in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The Memory Box

This is what I have for my children. It’s sort of like a fancier shoe box, to keep a bunch of loose photo prints in. The box I use is a smaller version of the heirloom presentation box that my clients receive with their portraits.. and the box itself is actually quite important. You don’t want to use wood, because it’s acidic and will damage prints over time. I love fabric boxes in a linen or a silk, put together using acid-free glue, because they’re soft and warm to the touch and won’t chemically impact the contents inside. The other important part of this approach is the fact that photographs are loose. You can throw a few in each year when you get around to printing them. You can include sentimental objects.. like a clay handprint from when my son was 2-years old, or his artwork, birthday cards, and eventually a lost tooth or two. You can even throw in a USB key with digital images.. as long as you make sure to update your storage method since computers and ports change over time. You can weed out photos you thought were amazing three years ago, but now look very similar to the other five images you included. It’s perfect for people who are busy, can’t commit to a book full of images, and have no time for anything.

Image of a laptop showing a set of family photographs. Photo by N. Lalor Photography in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Digital Scrapbook

One of the coolest approaches to keeping baby memories I’ve seen is creating an email address for the baby when he/she is born, and periodically sending little notes and photos to that email as a digital scrapbook. Now, as you may know, I will never be 100% comfortable with a purely digital method of storing photographs and precious memories.. but you have to admit, this sounds pretty awesome. The idea is that when your child is old enough, you give them the login to their email account and they will have this amazing history from their childhood.

And yes, the idea comes from that Google Chrome commercial from a few years back.. which still makes me tear up when I watch it!

Image of a softcover book from Artifact Uprising.
Image of three softcover books from Artifact Uprising.

The Family Yearbook

(photos above are from the Artifact Uprising website)

I’m a big fan of fancy, expensive, museum-quality albums.. BUT, for everyday easy and quick DIY books, a “Family Yearbook” is a great idea. And Artifact Uprising soft cover books make it achievable even for busy parents. Because Artifact Uprising has the software to quickly pull in your Instagram or Dropbox photos from the year and automatically creates the book for you, you can get it done in no time at all.. and the quality is pretty good for what it is. If you keep them stored safely in a box, they will probably last quite well for when your baby grows up.. so she can see exactly what you were up to when she was little! While this won’t be as polished as a proper baby book or a professional-quality album, the mere fact that you’ll have something tangible from those first few years is really the most important thing here.

So what do you think? Did you make a "baby book” for your babies? Is there another way that you absolutely love to keep a set of memories and photos for your little one? Please leave a comment and let me know!