© 2011 photobookgirl make your own baby book

How to Make Your Own Baby Book – Step 1: Collect Data



Wow, I can’t believe I’ve made it through the first month of motherhood and I can’t believe how fast Photo Book Baby is growing – his cheeks have filled out and his legs are nice and chubby!  I’ve been working on a couple projects simultaneously, a custom baby book and a pregnancy journal.  As you know, I’m not an “off the shelf” type person. If I have the time (or even when I don’t) I love to do DIY projects.  I just couldn’t find a baby book that I liked and then there’s all those weird blanks that sometimes you don’t know how to fill or what to put.  My only solution was to go custom.

I haven’t started physically laying out the book yet – I’m currently in my “collection” phase, amassing all the stuff – both physical items and digital files for those books.  I’ve decided to write a series so you can follow along with me and make your own baby book or pregnancy journal.  It’s never too late moms and dads – even if your “baby” is college bound! (What a nice gift that would be to send your kid off to college with a memory book!)  Let’s start!

Gather all your items in one place.

It’s all about organization and we all know how hard it is to start a project when your files and (and thoughts) are all scattered about.  Here’s some items you may want to gather for your book:

Physical Items:

  • Hospital name bands for baby and mom
  • Congratulatory cards
  • Baby shower cards
  • Baby shower game cards
  • Birth announcement
  • Ultrasound photos
  • Baby shower invitation
  • Scraps of baby shower wrapping paper and ribbon
  • Name card from baby’s hospital bassinet
  • Stamped footprints/ornamental birth certificate from hospital
  • Nursery paint chip cards
  • Lock of hair
  • Photo of you and/or your husband at the same age as your child (I’m assuming this is most likely not digital.)
  • Pregnancy test stick (I didn’t keep mine, but I took a photo of it.)
  • Umbilical cord stump (yes, this is admittedly a bit out there – but my husband’s mom saved my husband’s in his baby book, so when our baby’s fell off, I guess I felt compelled to keep it too. It looks really weird though…LOL!)
  • Newspaper from the baby’s birthday
  • Cultural specific items – for example, my mother bought a Chinese calendar which contains Chinese fortune/horoscope for each day.  The Chinese calendar is based on lunar/solar cycles, (which makes it super confusing to me), so the western calendar date is different than the Chinese date, not to mention the year is 4709 and not 2011!  Other cultural calendars include Indian, Islamic, Jewish… A lot of these calendars can be found online.

Put all these things in a basket or area on your shelf until you are ready to work on your project.  At some point you can scan these items (300 dpi jpeg recommended) for use in your photo book.  Read my post on scanning your photos/items here.

Digital Items:

  • Photos of everything: baby shower, baby bump photos, nursery preparations, and of course baby!
  • Baby’s Horoscope on his birthday (mine’s a Leo like me!)
  • Personal notes/journal on baby – milestones, etc. (more details on this later)
  • Congratulatory emails
  • Facebook status posts (you can do a screenshot of your friends’ comments)
  • Cost of Living/Current Statistics – i.e. cost of loaf of bread, gallon of milk, gallon of gas, world population, President of the U.S.
  • Anecdotes from “this day in history” – i.e. notable births, historical events, news headlines

As for the last two items, you can find information by Googling your baby’s birthdate, using keywords such as “world news from (insert date)”, “this day in history (insert date)”, “notable births (insert date)”.  A lot of this type of information can be found on Wikipedia.

(UPDATE 4/2015: Unfortunately, this free product was discontinued and they are no longer taking new sign ups. Therefore I removed the link to the site. Check out my follow up post on this subject and my list of resources for finding fun extras to put in your baby book! Coming soon!) During my online searching I also found this free, digital scrapbooking tool from Tommee Tippee (a Babies R Us product line) called The Day Baby Was Born.  It guides you through steps to make a digital scrapbook that you can share online via Facebook or print out by following the prompts.  “This day in history” type information is instantly gathered for you from sources like Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha and you can choose which items you want to include.  It’s a very easy way to collect the info you may want to include in your own custom baby book, or you can use it as a standalone book in itself.  It’s pretty fixed though in terms of how it’s laid out, but eh it’s free…

Just as it’s important to gather all those physical items in one place, I store these digital items in a folder on my desktop where I can just drag and drop anything and everything related to my baby book.  You can create subfolders into categories such as “pregnancy”, “baby bump photos” etc. per your preference.

Until my next post, keep on collecting folks!

Tell me – what kinds of items are you collecting for your baby book?

P.S. Click here if you’re looking for my main “how to” series on making your own photo book




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  1. Claudia Alaniz
    Posted September 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm | #

    Congrats on your little one. I am 7 months pregnant, today, with my first (Yay! and Eek! at the same time) and am looking forward to squeezing in time to create some photo books for little one. I am still new to digital photobooks but have started practicing with a few gifts on Shutterfly and am working on a few on Picaboo and Mixbook. I have yet to start on our wedding ones – we celebrated a year this September. Thank you for all the tips and reviews, they definitely help. I came upon something online about Pinhole Press for photo books and wondered if you have ever heard of it.

    • photobookgirl
      Posted September 16, 2011 at 9:23 pm | #

      There’s so many companies out there Claudia – I haven’t tried them at this point. Congrats on your upcoming arrival! Get ready for a big life change and a lot of joy in a small package. If you haven’t checked out my wedding photo book series – be sure to take a look! Best!

  2. Claire
    Posted September 24, 2011 at 8:50 pm | #

    I think Step 1 should be: Have a baby. 🙂

    • photobookgirl
      Posted September 24, 2011 at 9:01 pm | #

      You’re right! LOL – actually you don’t really have to have a baby – you can also make one for someone who has 🙂

  3. Lynn
    Posted January 27, 2015 at 10:05 am | #

    Am I missing the posts for Steps two, etc.?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted January 28, 2015 at 11:06 pm | #

      Hi Lynn,

      I guess when I started the series, I must have had something in mind, but you’re right, I never got to posting the next steps! I suppose I was somewhat thinking it would then go into more general book making steps which I linked to at the bottom of the post. There are also more baby photo book posts here. But I will try to think of where I would go from here for a baby book specifically and I’ll write more! Thanks for the encouragement!

      • Lynn
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 8:42 am | #

        Having children will do that to you! I have been wanting to make our own baby memory books (dislike the store-bought ones) but need some guidance as my brain is going in too many directions at once to sort it all out! Thank you for all you do!

        • Lynn
          Posted January 31, 2015 at 8:43 am | #

          Having the worst time trying to think of all things I should be record keeping, visitors, etc.

          • photobookgirl
            Posted February 2, 2015 at 1:33 pm | #


            Don’t stress yourself about it. Jot down what you can remember now. I actually keep a journal in a regular word doc on my computer and I also sometimes jot notes in my phone in the notepad. When it comes time to compile I just pull from there. I don’t write everyday – sometimes just once a month, sometimes every 2 months, but any little bit helps and I don’t beat myself up for not remembering everything 🙂 It doesn’t have to even be a journal – even just a little list of thoughts to help me jog my memory.

        • photobookgirl
          Posted February 2, 2015 at 1:35 pm | #

          I’m glad you’re finding it helpful. I’ll be putting out more blog posts about this – I’m actually working on my real “baby book” now – I have smaller year in review books, but not THE baby book yet (and my guy is 3.5!) It’s never too late really. I’ve even thought of going back and making myself a baby book (someday!) 🙂

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