As you’ve read in my previous post about fun ways to measure pregnancy belly growth, I love documenting special times in my life. Once my son was born, of course I had to find as many ways as possible to document his growth. Here are a few fun ideas:

Heartbeats

We brought a digital voice recorder to every prenatal appointment with our midwife and when it was time to listen to the baby’s heartbeat, we started recording what we heard. Our first recording was at our first appointment at 11 weeks. The next recording was at our next appointment at 15 weeks and we were so amazed at the difference between those two recordings! For the 11 week one, the heartbeat was so quiet since the baby was so tiny so we used software to amplify the sound. But by the 15 weeks recording we no longer needed that software as it sounded much stronger. In case you are curious, here are those two recordings:

We recorded the heartbeat at every appointment until he was born. Later on, they do start sounding really similar, but I also love hearing our conversations with our midwife. It’s a priceless memory for me!

Sonograms

Your baby’s first photo is a definite keeper! It’s one you just can’t wait to see; a first glimpse of your little one growing inside you. Many people have multiple sonograms, or ultrasounds, throughout their pregnancy. We chose to have just one and have many wonderful images from that session. You can frame the images or keep them handy to include in a future scrapbook.

Awe, look at those chubby cheeks!

Handprints and Footprints

Many people take handprints and footprints of their newborn baby; later on it’s fun to marvel at how tiny they were. But why stop there? Keep taking handprints and footprints as they grow. You could take them every three months for the first year and maybe every six months for the next few years, and then yearly as long as they will let you! You can frame them and hang them together or keep them for the scrapbook. You could even make notecards with the newborn footprints and use them for thank yous. Check out these handprint kits.

handprint and footprint displayed in his room

G’s handprint at 9 weeks

G’s footprint at 2 days

Another fun way to record baby’s handprints and footprints in to put them on clay plates. This is a more expensive option so depending on your budget you may want to do this less often. But it is so beautiful to have some of these decorative plates! I found someone that just makes beautiful art out of hand and footprints. Here are a few things I had made (I removed my son’s name from the pictures):

Hand print with his birth stats on it. It’s hanging in his bedroom.

His handprint and footprint at 8 months old. This plate is in my kitchen.

Hand and Foot Molds

Take handprints and footprints to a new level, or rather a new dimension, with 3D casting kits! I bought this infant hand and foot molding kit. It contained everything I needed to make one hand and one foot mold. It is definitely a two adult job and works best when baby is napping. My first attempt didn’t turn out too great, as you can see below:

G’s four month old hand, but tip of middle finger is missing

G’s foot was not done well, plus he was so big that I didn’t have enough ingredients for the whole foot!

Photo with Same Toy and Background

Find a cute stuffed animal or other soft toy and place your baby beside it. Every so often, maybe every month or so, take a photo of your baby next to that same stuffed animal – and with the same background (on the couch should work fine). It will be fun to see how your baby grows in relation to the toy and it will be fun to see how tiny they first looked next to it.

Monthly Photos For First Year

Take photos once a month for the first year. I know you are taking so many photos of your new baby the way it is, but for this project try to take some good pictures that show their face well and are simplified in composition. If you can afford it, go to a portrait studio. I was working on improving my photography skills during my son’s first year so I took it upon myself to take as good of pictures as I could. (I have a Canon EOS 20D.) I just recently put those 12 photos in a small collage in his scrapbook – and I love how it looks! You can really see how he changed during that first year. Here is a picture of my scrapbook page:

Photos with Mom or Dad

Here is another photo opportunity; take monthly pictures with either mom or dad holding the baby, or both together using a tripod and the timer on your camera (or a friend). You will want to be sure the photographer stands back a bit so you can see the baby’s size relative to the parent. I didn’t do this as much as I wanted to but I do treasure the few photos I have that show exactly how tiny he was in my arms. *sniff, sniff*

Me and G (10 days old)

Picture of Foot/Hand in Parents’ Hands

Are you tired of all the photo opportunities I am giving you? I hope not because I have one more idea that involves taking pictures. Starting when your baby is a newborn, take pictures of their hands and feet in your hands and feet. Take similar pictures over the next few months. They make for very sweet shots!

G’s feet in daddy’s hands

G’s feet in my hands

Weight and Length

With all these fun options I have showed you, don’t forget to get the basic growth information for your baby – their length and weight! You can take these measurements yourself or make note of them when going to their checkups.

With all the photo opportunities I listed, you could really create quite a gallery on the wall. Mix and match the various handprints and footprints with pictures of hands and feet and pictures at various months. If you use the same frames and organize them cleverly, you could create an awesome wall display! Why do I always have these great ideas after the fact?!

Wendy – Parenting Tips 365

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