One of my friends has just has their first baby and entered the wonderful world of parenthood. As it is their first they are adjusting to the lack of sleep a newborn brings and the joys of becoming a Mother and Father for the first time. She noticed the wonderful castings I have on my wall of the girls as babies and asked me how I captured their time as a newborn and the girls first year. As a parent I think we often worry that we will forget the newborn years as they do go incredibly fast.
When you have a newborn, it is an incredible experience to gaze down at the tiny little life you are now responsible for. The thing is; they grow up so fast - and with such vigour - that those early days can be forgotten.
However, there are a few things you can do to put yourself back there, and it’s a lovely thing to do every now and again. So, for the benefit of my friend, I thought I would put together this list of ideas. Some I did myself, and some I didn’t get around to - although I wish I had. It’s just a collection of those little physical prompts you need to take yourself back to those glorious first few weeks. Take a look and let me know what you think.
Take better photos
If you are a parent these days, you are very lucky indeed. A lot of us have amazing cameras on our phones that give us digital images of special occasions. And there is none so special as the first few weeks with your newborn. However, I would recommend that you get as good a picture as possible of your little one. You might have photography skills yourself, or you could hire a professional photographer. Either way, you will regret it if you don’t have some high-quality snaps. When I think about my girls in those first few weeks, it’s a little hazy. But, a glimpse at a crystal clear photo brings it all back - every little wrinkle on their newborn faces and the sheer chunkiness of those gorgeous baby thighs!
Print your own artwork
If you have a high-quality snap of your newborn, why not make use of it by blowing it up and framing it? It will make a great addition to your walls, and add some of your family’s personality to your home. You could think about getting a photo canvas made up, too. You might not want to keep them hanging up forever, but trust me. Large canvas or photo prints are a lot harder to lose than a digital file or some loose 6” x 4” snaps. Plus, they’ll be great to wheel out when your children hit those landmark birthdays and you want to embarrass them in front of their friends!
When I was a child, making videos was a lot more expensive than it is these days. For one thing, you would have to rely on tape, and also, editing was nigh on impossible unless your folks had friends in the TV business. Now, though, you can get powerful editing software on your smartphone for less than the price of Starbucks coffee. It’s amazing, really, and I recommend that you take advantage. We’re the first generation that can make great quality home movies and edit and produce them in a matter of minutes. You will end up taking hours and hours of footage, so I would suggest using it sooner rather than later. Five, ten, fifteen years down the line you will be able to look back and swoon over your little one and, most probably, receive abuse from your children about your horrendously dated dress sense.
The memory box
We have memory boxes for both the girls and all you need to do is open them up, and it whisks you right back. Hospital tags, welcome cards, and their first pair of tiny little booties - it’s all there. We’re not usually the hoarding type, but you have to make exceptions sometimes, right? And if we didn’t have the memory boxes, I can almost guarantee we would wish we did.
Moulds of hands and feet
I’m not exactly sure when these became so popular - but we were given about five or six sets for each child when they were born! It’s such a simple idea, but it works so well. Although photos and video are great mediums, they don’t give you a good representation of size. With the moulds, however, you can grasp your child’s hand or foot once again - exactly as they were back then. So, fifteen years down the line, you can use your moulds to remind yourself exactly how far your kids have come. Even if they have fully embraced the moodiness of their teenage years.
Keep a baby diary
This is tough to do, I’ll admit. But keeping a baby - if you can - will give you a far greater insight into your memories than you can hope to get from anything else. You’ll have lots of great experiences, and plenty of bad ones too. But it all makes up the whole, doesn’t it? You don’t have to go to enormous lengths. Sometimes just a few words will be enough to take you back to a time and place that you never thought you would revisit. Good writing skills will help, of course. But if you can get past your biggest critic - yourself - you will find it easy to jot down your feelings and experiences. And, all those funny little stories that you write about will make for a perfect speech at an eighteenth birthday party or wedding reception.
OK, so there you go. I hope this has helped any new mums and dads out there have some ideas for preserving memories of your newborns. It’s an incredible time, but the inevitable baby-brain might make you a little forgetful! I’d love to hear from you if you have anything to add - how about sharing your tips in the comments section below?