The first year of your baby’s life is full of milestones. First smile, first solid food, first laugh and hopefully even the first time they sleep through the night. All of these wonderful firsts culminate in the big celebration – your baby’s first birthday!
Create a memorable and stress-free first birthday celebration by following these tips and tricks.
Plan the party around your baby’s schedule and temperament. Your baby will do best if the party is arranged around their naps so they aren’t tired or hungry. Having a well-rested birthday baby will help ensure a smoother party for everyone. If your baby is easily over-stimulated, keep the guest list small and plan some activities in another space for older kids. That way the noise level won't get out of control. Your baby is the star of the day so keep the focus on her needs and everything else will fall into place.
Keep it short. Chances are your baby will be somewhat overwhelmed by the birthday experience. Even with a small crowd, all of the attention, singing and energy can be a lot for a baby to process. Keep the party to an hour or two at most to avoid a meltdown. If you can’t keep the party short, plan on giving baby some breaks in a quieter space throughout the day.
Have a family-only celebration before the guests arrive. Take time to be with your baby. Take pictures and have a small party with just the immediate family so you can enjoy the special day without the noise and fuss of a big blowout. You’ll be happy to have those pictures of just the family after the big day, and your baby will be more relaxed during that time.
Delegate. You’ve done a great job taking care of your baby through the magical first year – so congratulate yourself by letting others help with the party so you can enjoy it too. Bring in food, let others deal with clean up, and hire a babysitter if there are going to be many kids in attendance. There should always be someone in charge of keeping the peace and ensuring little guests are entertained.
Décor should be simple and baby-proof friendly. Stay away from long tablecloths that crawling babies could grab on to, and don’t decorate with latex balloons since they can be a choking hazard. A simple way to personalize your décor is to print and enlarge a picture from each month of baby’s first year and hang them around the party space.
Assign a photographer and videographer. You want to participate and engage with your baby during this party, not be observing everything through a screen. Pick a few adults – or teens – to take pictures and capture video of guests and the birthday baby during the event. Make sure you are in pictures too!
Celebrating your baby’s first birthday can be a magical and wonderful event – just remember to take time to enjoy it and create a party that works for you and your baby!