The first few years of your baby’s life are typically the most heavily documented, which is why baby journals have remained a perennial favorite for new parents. Recording each milestone along the way not only allows you to track the rate at which your child is reaching them, but also provides you with a wonderful piece of memorabilia when your child is no longer small. The world is a rapidly changing place, however, which means that the old-fashioned baby books of years gone by are no longer the only option for new parents with a penchant for journaling. Before you snag the first journal off the shelf, these are five of the things you might want to consider.
- Ease of Use – Between midnight feedings and frequent diaper changes, early parenthood isn’t known for being rife with free time. That means that, by sheer necessity, you’ll need to choose a baby journal that’s easy for you to use and update on the fly. You’ll need to be able to make new entries or update existing ones in the little amount of time you’re able to carve out while Baby is sleeping or with the grandparents, so make sure that you choose one that doesn’t require a ton of work. An intricate journal filled with calligraphy will be a beautiful keepsake in theory, but in practice is more likely to end up abandoned as you go about the business of parenting.
- Convenience – A large, cumbersome book makes for a great accent on your bookshelf, but may be little more than a blank book taking up space if it’s too difficult to manage. You’ll need to choose a journal that’s easy to handle and convenient to update. If you’re constantly glued to your smartphone, a digital journal that you can update on the go may be the most efficient route for you to take. Stay-at-home parents who aren’t as tech-savvy may find that a traditional journal is the best choice. The method that’s most convenient for you will depend largely upon your lifestyle, so take it into account when you’re choosing a journal.
- Method By Which the Journal Will Be Updated – If you hate your handwriting, aren’t a confident speller or don’t like the idea of keeping a physical book around to collect stains, spills and mishaps, a digital journal could be the solution to your quandaries. Parents who aren’t so invested in technology or who like the idea of physically writing out the chronicle of their baby’s first year, however, should consider a traditional baby book.
- Storage and Organization – In homes where space is at a premium, adding another clunky book to the shelves may not be the best idea. A digital journal that’s backed up online or on a removable storage device also isn’t prone to damage or loss in the same way that a physical journal may be. Consider where you’ll be storing this precious information and how you want to organize it while you’re choosing the journaling option for your growing family.
- Customization Options – Artistic and creative parents may want something with more of a scrapbook feel than a clinical run-down of milestones and feeding schedules, while minimalist parents may find that they have little patience for the frills and cutesy feel of a heavily decorated baby journal. Think about the level of customization you’re looking for and how much you want to manipulate the pages. Digital and physical journals alike will all have different levels of customization ability, so think about what you’re looking for and the options available to you through the journals you’re considering.
In the end, the type of journal you choose should be a reflection of who you are as a parent and what will best fit your lifestyle. The last thing you’ll want is a baby book with the first few pages filled out and the rest left blank, or a book that doesn’t accurately portray your baby’s new life. Make sure that you choose wisely, as you also won’t want to take time out of your busy schedule as a new parent to transfer information into a new journal if your first choice proves to be less than efficient.