Posted: Feb 12, 2014 6:00 AM
Intimidated by the task of keeping a baby book? There are many ways of documenting your baby's first year of life, but if you want a classic baby book, there are many ways that can make shopping for one and updating it throughout the first year easier. Here are some tips to make keeping a baby book a breeze.

There's a running joke in our family that my mom had high hopes for filling out baby books for each of us kids, but never could keep the momentum going. The amount written in each baby book represents where my mom was in her parenting journey. My brother, first child, has a full three months filled in and several pictures. My sister, second child, has the first month and enough sketchy details scribbled throughout the rest of the book to get a good idea of her first year. But my book? Well, I'm the baby, and we consider it a grand accomplishment that my book has my full name, date of birth and one favorite toy recorded — a monkey. That's it.

Clearly, good parenting doesn't require keeping a baby book or saving clips of hair. But if it's a project you want to attempt, it doesn't have to be intimidating. In fact, with a well-organized baby book and the right approach, you can have a lot of fun creating a memory book for your baby.

Things to look for in a baby book and some tips to keep it going:

Consistent month format

There are many different setups for baby books, but I think the easiest ones to fill in and keep up are books that have the same page format for 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, etc. all the way through the first year. My kids' baby books have the same simple fill-in-the-blank questions for each month — things like New Things I Discovered, New Places I Visited, New Foods I Liked, etc. It makes it very easy to quickly update once a month.

It needs to sing to you

When shopping for a baby book, look through the pages and format and make sure you really love the design of the book. If a baby book doesn't sing to you, you're probably going to keep it on a shelf. Branch out of the baby department stores and check boutiques and higher end stationery stores for beautiful quality baby books. If you fall in love with a good book, you're more likely to use it, and the investment will pay off. After all, this isn't a stroller that you'll pass on to a consignment store when your kids are grown. This is a cherished keepsake!

3-Ring binder style

Buy a 3-ring binder style baby book. It gives you a lot more control for how you fill it, allowing you to add extra pages (like letters you write to your baby), move things around and give your baby book more of a meaningful scrapbook feeling. You can also add clear portfolio pages or photo album pockets so you have a place to tuck extra photos, ultrasound images, drawings, etc.

Forget about the tooth charts

Don't stress out about having to fill every single chart in a baby book and only focus on the things that are important to you like places you visited, funny things your baby said, etc. That tooth chart? Nobody cares when your son got his lateral incisor. After filling in the first two teeth, I actually wrote in marker across my son's tooth chart, "Can we just conclude that you're 10 months old, you have a mess of teeth and I can't keep track of this stuff anymore?"

Designate an update day and make it fun

I've made it a habit of taking a weekend morning — maybe once a month — and sitting down with my kids' books, a cup of coffee and a good pen.

For years, I've made it a habit of taking a weekend morning — maybe once a month — and sitting down with my kids' books, a cup of coffee and a good pen. It doesn't take long to jot things in, but I enjoy the process of remembering new discoveries and adventures we enjoyed over the past month. I try and print a few new photos every month, and whenever I get prints in the mail, I use it as a reminder to tape some in the baby books and add new stats. Keep your baby book in a place where it's easy to remember to update, and add a nice pen, some decorative washi tape and pretty stickers for good incentive to keep it up.

Don't forget mementos

More than words and status updates, my kids love looking back at the keepsakes I've tucked into their books — envelopes with their first haircut clippings, wings from their first flight, the first picture they ever scribbled, family Christmas cards and birthday invitations and itty bitty footprints. Use tape, photo pockets and extra pages to make room for these extra mementos.