One of the most precious moments in parenthood, besides your child graduating or getting married, is when your child was born. In fact, it's probably the most important event in your life since becoming a parent. You look at your baby and see a miracle, a new life you've brought into the universe!
One of the best ways to commemorate this life-changing moment is to create a baby memory book. A physical memory book you can hold in your hands would also make a great companion piece to a Memories Timeline, which is the digital version.
What is a memory book?
A memory book is any kind of scrapbook or photo album that securely archives photos and other thin materials, like paper items (such as baby photos or prenatal sonograms) or pieces of textile, say from a first jump suit.
A memory book is more personal than a regular photo album, because it's dedicated to a particular special event or person, like your baby and their birth. It's like visual diary that you can open up to revisit the past whenever you like. So let's see how easy it is to make a memory book for your baby.
Creating a memory book
1. Gather and curate
First things first: gather the materials you would like to include in the memory book. Remember, this is not your grandma's old-fashioned scrapbook, although you're making this memory book in the spirit of that tradition. Don't be afraid to get creative and think outside the box. If you simply gather stacks of film photos, you'll just end up with a regular photo album.
Collect photos, postcards, and holiday and birthday greeting cards. Other memorabilia include sonogram photos, baby footprints, and even a lock of hair. You can even press dried flowers from bouquets that were given to you while you were in the hospital. It'll remind you of the support and love people gave you during this momentous event.
Think like a museum curator. What "artifacts" from your child's birth would you like to display in your family museum? By viewing your memory book like a tangible version of your family history, because that's what it essentially is, you'll be able to come up with creative ways to tell the story of your child's life.
2. Choose the memory book
One of the most important aspects of the memory book is the book itself. There are many choices out in the market. If you're an online shopper, don't forget to check out a good old physical store as well. There are some unique albums and scrapbooks available in actual stores that you might not find in an online one, especially stationary boutiques selling products handmade by local book binders.
To save costs on adhesives like glue, which can be messy anyway, we suggest you check out photo albums or scrapbooks that already have adhesive applied on to the pages. It's faster, cleaner and you can easily rearrange your content. There are also many cover types you can choose from, but the most popular are hardback, which are usually made of tough recycled cardboard. Since your memory book is special, and you want it to last for many decades, think about investing in leather-bound memory books, even if they are a little bit more expensive.
Another important aspect to consider is their capability of archiving precious materials like photographs. Most photo albums and scrapbooks use protective film that is acid-free and are certified for professional archiving. However, it doesn't hurt to take the time to check the product description to make sure your book is indeed archive-worthy.
3. Get creative with layouts
As we said earlier, the memory book is not just any old-fashioned scrapbook. You have the freedom to get creative not only with the content you choose, but with the layouts as well. You can go with a clean minimalist style to direct focus to the content itself, or you can make complex collages to tell a unique story about your baby and their birth. You can even draw or write on the pages themselves, especially if your memory book has film covers on top of the content. It will give your memory book an extra dimension.
The important thing to keep in mind is that each piece of content, whether a photograph or other material, should shine as if it's a superstar. This means you should probably avoid overlapping materials too much if you're trying to make a multi-piece collage. In order to tell a coherent story, the sentences must be clear. So, visualize the story you want to tell before arranging the content on to the pages.
4. Create a narrative
Once you've figured out your layout, think about how you want to present your baby boy or baby girl's story. You can also arrange photos like a timeline, showing their sonogram photos first and then their birth photos from the hospital. You can then include photos of their first birthday and continue adding more photos and keepsakes up until they're five years old (which is when the toddler phase ends and they begin their journey into adolescence).
Collaboration is a natural part of being in a family. Doing things together, like an art project that everyone will be a part of, is a great way to bond with each other. Encourage other members of the family to collaborate with you. It's simply a good bonding experience with your busy family members who you might not always have the chance to converse with regularly. Also, this will give your child different perspectives from various family members about their birth and toddler years.
Beyond the book
It's fun and satisfying to make a memory book for your baby. But what if you could go one better and put those memories safely online so that ever remote family and friends could see your photos, videos and keepsakes, and stay up-to-date with your child's development in real time, as it happens?
There are a range of products that let you do this; ours is called a Living Timeline. It's a private space online where you can save stories, and invite others to reminisce about great moments in your child's life. The Timeline stays online forever, so they will always have this memento from their youth, and can pass it on to their own children when the time comes.
Whichever option you choose, a memory book is a great way to keep your memories of your child's formative years close.