Preserving Those Precious Memories
The hardest part of being a new mother is taking the time to simply enjoy your new child and store away all of the precious memories. New babies require a tremendous amount of time and energy. You are completely consumed caring for your infant, when suddenly, your baby is a toddler, and you never had a chance to start, much less finish his baby book. This scenario is so common that it’s actually embarrassing to mothers everywhere. There are ways to be sure those memories are preserved, however.
The best plan of attack, especially if you are expecting your first baby, is to fill out the baby book before he is born. Obviously you don’t know his birth weight or have those tiny footprints yet, but a significant portion of most baby books contain information seemingly unrelated to your little bundle of joy. Family trees, information about Mom and Dad, grocery store receipts, popular movies, and the like can all be dealt with before baby’s arrival.
As the third trimester draws to a close, young mothers-to-be are left with a great deal of anticipation with no outlet. You can only fold tiny clothes so many times, after all. Why not use that time to work ahead? Assemble the photographs of baby’s first house, the nursery, and family members. Write amusing anecdotes about your pregnancy and baby showers. Find those ultrasound pictures and paste them onto the right page. Do as much as you can, because you will never have this much spare time again – or at least not for eighteen years.
The Early Days
Immediately following the birth of your baby, follow your doctor’s advice and sleep as much as possible. Hopefully, you will feel much more rested a week or two after baby’s arrival, and can start using his sleeping time as your work time. During the long naps of a newborn, assemble the materials from the hospital. Birth weight and length, birth certificates, wristbands and hospital photos are now ready to take their place of honor in the baby book.
Write as much of the birth story as you can, or even simpler, print out the email you sent to all of your friends and family and paste that into the book. Reading an email designed for others to read, your grown child will truly get a sense of the love and pride his mother feels for him, her new baby. After the birth information is recorded, there are surprisingly few pages left to fill. These involve monthly updates, teething, and milestones. Unfortunately, these are actually the hardest to finish.
The Rest of the Year
After a couple of weeks, newborns realize it is much more fun to be awake than asleep, and the real work of motherhood begins. As you spend the next twelve months exclaiming over every burp, coo, smile, and step, jot a note about important dates or milestones and throw them into the baby book as they occur.
Don’t try to find the time now to fill the book in, just stick the occasional note, especially those from the doctor with height and weight measurements, into the book. Descriptive emails should be printed out and shoved into the book as well as extra copies of your digital pictures. When you print your pictures, get a few extras of your favorites and throw them into the book, too.
Someday, when your child is sleeping through the night, and before you have another newborn, you will find the time to actually fill in all of the little blanks. The notes, emails, pictures, and doctor statistics should cover most of the necessary material. As for the few remaining spots, leave them blank, take a guess, or make it up. Don’t worry, every mother does it. After all, your focus is on loving and reveling in your little miracle, not the exact moment his third molar came in.