You’ve done it. You’ve made it. And you’ve made it together. You and your wee one
are approaching that one-year milestone together, and now you’ve got to think
about how to celebrate this momentous occasion: baby’s first birthday.
Planning your baby’s first birthday doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming, in
fact it should be anything but; after all, this is about looking back on your baby’s first
year out in the big wide world, and the two of you tackling it all together and coming
out stronger and better and more bonded than ever before.
Baby’s First Birthday Tip #1: Have Realistic Expectations
The online world is a wonderful and horrible place all at once. We all know about
Pinterest and influencers on Instagram that make every parental event look like a
professional photo shoot with a perfectly smiling baby and the most gorgeous
decorations and backgrounds.
I’m here to tell you that your baby’s first birthday party likely won’t be anything like
that. Your baby will probably cry, a lot. There will be cake everywhere, and there’s a
good chance your baby will enjoy playing with the wrapping paper and boxes from
the gifts more than the gifts themselves.
If you plan on having more than one baby at your wee one’s first birthday party (and
we’ll get to the guest list in a little bit), it’s a good idea to have a designated “baby
area” for the party to help reduce the chaos that ensues with free-range babies at a
party. Investing in a large, comfortable play mat — like the SKIP HOP Playtime
Playspot — that the baby of honor and other young guests can hang out on means
you can keep them as contained as possibly (perhaps even erecting a baby gate in
front of the area to really make sure the play area remains contained.
Baby’s First Birthday Tip #2: Gift Suggestions for Guests
If I learned anything as a mother in those first few years it’s this: You really can have
too many toys. And truthfully, your little one is never going to get around to playing
with them all. Trust me.
Seeing as your baby is approaching or has just passed that 12-month mark, he or
she is most definitely mobile or at least wanting to be as active as possible. Perhaps
there have even been a few tentative first steps. That means stationary toys will be
less appealing to your little one for a little while at least. Some great first birthday
gift ideas are any and all toys that keep baby moving. Anything that will encourage
your little one to get up on those two feet and give walking a go, like the Skip Hop
Playtime Explore & More Rolling Plush Toy, really are the ideal first birthday gift
Tip #3: Choose a Good Time and a Small Guest List
Because this is, after all, the celebration of your baby’s first year, it’s bound to take
place around the 12-month mark. But don’t forget that your baby is going to have
their 12-month shots around that time, too.
Even as an adult, I’m not a fan of needles and shots, so there’s a good chance your
little one is going to be pretty cranky and potentially even under the weather the
days following his or her trip to the doctor for inoculations.
Try and plan your baby’s first birthday either before the trip to the doctor or at least
more than a week after the shots are administered. The last thing you want is a
guest of honor who’s fussy, cranky, and generally unhappy to be there – especially
after all the planning and hoping for a perfect first birthday.
Also, keep the party small. After all, your little one is still getting used to the world
around him or her. Too many people could be overwhelming for not only you but
your baby too. Stick to close friends and family members only. Trust me, your baby
will not remember if all their friends from daycare were there or not.
Baby’s First Birthday Tip #4: Birthday Cake and Food Ideas
It’s easy to forget that you’re essentially throwing a party for everyone except your
baby. Why is that? Well, at 12-months old, there are few concerns in a baby’s life
save for “where is mom?” “when is my next bottle?” “how many things can I fit in my
mouth at once (and likely things I shouldn’t have there)?” “and how quickly can
someone change me if I scream extra loudly about it?”
So, choosing the perfect snacks and even the perfect cake can be unnecessarily
stressful for you, mom. Instead, consider a homemade cake or cupcakes, and
consider the fact that your little one might not even want to eat his/her cake. Mine
didn’t. He didn’t even want to touch the “smash cake” that I paid to have made. He
didn’t want to get his hands dirty…
Light finger foods, veggies, dips, and fruits are more than enough for a first birthday
party. Hoping for a long sit-down dinner at a restaurant is a stretch, but a buffet-
style meal is really the best option, especially if there will be other children and
babies at the party.
Tip #5: Plan Around You Baby’s Nap Time
This might seem like an obvious tip, but you’ll be surprised at how many times
you’re going to be invited to parties at precisely the time you’d rather have your
little one enjoying a snooze.
If you know your guest list invitees well enough and they have babies of their own
and it’s not too much trouble, try and coordinate a first birthday celebration time
that coincides with all of the baby’s nap times (but most importantly the guest of
honor’s). This might seem tedious, but you (and the other mothers at the party)
will be grateful for the time taken to plan out the perfect time for your baby’s first
When it comes to planning your baby’s first birthday party, have fun with it. Choose
party decorations that are stimulating for your baby and his or her guests, and make
sure the focus is on your baby’s comfort and entertainment. Don’t stress about
details like the perfect cake or a five-course meal, but instead create a fun, stress-
free environment for your baby and their guests!