Last year when we found out we were expecting, I let the cat outta the bag when I was just eight weeks pregnant during a phone call with my friend Emily Ley. She of course is the talented superwoman behind the Emily Ley brand and if you don’t know her you’ll want to. A few days after our chat I received a copy of her gorgeous baby book in the mail as a surprise gift and I think I squealed a little as I flipped through the pages. I would finally get to fill out my very own baby book with memories of our own little babe! I couldn’t wait to get started!
At long last over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend I spent some time with Andrew filling out some of the pages. Someone had asked about how I use the book and I figured it would be helpful to share a little about that here with you too. So below are some of the ways I use my book along with a few tips and suggestions. You can snag your book here and can also purchase separate inclusion pages for things like adoption, infertility and more.
I love EL’s heart so much and that she’s recognized everyone’s journey to parenthood looks very different. Her book is the perfect way to help you document you babe’s journey regardless of what that looks like for you!
Save and document EVERYTHING. During our journey to conceive, I saved a LOT of things. I especially saved a lot of the photos I took on days when I would head to the clinic for fertility tests and procedures. My thought was one day I would truly treasure those photos as a small part of a bigger story. And I already do! When we finally did get the news we were expecting, I started saving more tangible things though. Airplane tickets while I was pregnant, postcards from places we visited, a movie ticket from our five year wedding anniversary when I was 6 months pregnant, notes and cards from friends and family, baby shower invites, and notes written down on things like food cravings, first baby kicks, photos of my changing belly and so forth.
Because I saved so many items and took many notes, when I sat down for the first time to fill in L’s book it was easy to work with all of the information I had been saving. I was so glad I had made note for things that are mentioned in the book (like food cravings which I mentioned here!), and for things that there weren’t spaces for in the book I was still able to make room for them (like shown below; I made a page in the book of all the places L and I visited while he was in my belly!). All of the items I did not use in the book went into an IKEA box where I will keep them and add to as L gets older. He can then decide if he would like to keep it all.
Research and settle on how you’ll save and print your photos. My mother in law brought over Andrew’s baby book the other day and one of the major differences between her baby book and EL’s (or any modern baby book I would imagine!) is the older one had very few spaces for photos throughout it. I think the 1980’s were a little different! I love that Emily’s has so many perfect spots for visual memories and photos to be shared. On many of the pages, Em prompts you to tape in what looks like one photo but I love using Social Print Studio’s mini instagram square prints! I can put up to SIX of these little cuties in one spot where you may put a standard 5 by 7 horizontal image. And the best past? For $15.00 you can snag 48 images. What a great deal!
When it comes to organizing your images, the power of hashtags comes in handy too. We used the hashtag #sweetbabybosse to share photos on social media throughout our pregnancy. When it came time to select what images I wanted to print via SPS, I simply searched that same hashtag and all those tagged photos were culled together for me to choose from! But even better, you are not limited to only photos posted via your Instagram.
You can take photos from your phone or computer, edit them if you’d like them to look like the rest of your instagram feed (I use Pictapgo to edit my photos) and then simply upload them to SPS to print so they look cohesive with the rest. If I have a photo I want to save and print but not share to IG I save it in a folder on my phone which I will then batch upload to print when L is 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and finally a year!
Keep you book supplies handy. If you’ve ever done any type of scrapbooking you’ll know what I mean here. I keep some double sided tape, a few black Gelly Roll pens, and some scrap paper in the box of mementos I mentioned above. Said box then sits in the nursery closet on top of the box with the baby book in it. This way when it’s time to work on the book or save items to add to it, I have everything I need in one place! Other items you may want to include? Colored pens, washi tape, stickers and more!
Ask for extras! I asked for extras with just about everything in my pregnancy and L’s birth. Extra sonogram photos, extra copies of paper items and even an extra copy of his foot prints from the hospital. Again, I might not use both copies but as I was cutting up sonogram pictures to tape into the book I was so thankful to have asked for both the printed photos AND the CD. I’m telling you, pregnancy hormones and baby brain are a real thing! I nearly cried as the scissors sliced into the photo strip of my little baby in my uterus haha
There are no rules! If you use Emily’s Simplified Planner (like I do!) and are a perfectionist (like I am!) you may find yourself feeling conflicted on actually USING your planner out of fear it won’t look perfect. I didn’t want to fall victim to that with our baby book though and certainly didn’t want to put off making progress on it simply because it wouldn’t look as perfect as I wanted. So with that being said, go with your instinct as you fill out your book, put what you want where you want to put it (some of my pages are way more busy than others or have more text on them), and set aside a few days in your pregnancy to fill out things that are fresh in your mind prior to baby. Because once baby comes it’s a whole new world and time is precious.
Oh. And your baby won’t care about perfection once they finally are old enough to appreciate their baby book!
And the most important way I use our EL baby book? Make it a process you can joyfully enjoy with your partner. It shouldn’t ever feel like or be a chore. I knew before I wrote the first word in this book that sitting at the table filling this thing out for hours on end would not be Andrew’s cup of tea. But I also knew he wanted to be a part of the book and that his writing in there meant a lot to me (and would mean a lot to our son one day). So I went through and tagged pages that he could help with. The ones that stood out the most to me? The page with birth predictions, the Letter to You page, the How Mommy and Daddy met page and a few others.
After encouraging Andrew to fill out these pages at his convenience, I found myself tearing up with the eloquent and sweet things he wrote! I know our son is going to be so thankful to read the things his Dad wrote to him.
Happy baby booking, my friends! Enjoy xoxo