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3 Easy ways to document baby’s first year

by | Jul 20, 2018 | Baby's First Year, Just Motherhood, Photography | 29 comments

We are all part of the visual era and with so many #instagood and Pinterest perfect ideas on how to document baby’s first year in the prettiest and most unique way it’s super easy to get carried away. This 3rd time around I certainly did…

With Eliana I just took a photo every month. With Lia I used a blackboard and monthly stickers. I still love her photo series (see it here), but storing the massive blackboard for a year wasn’t very practical.

Then with Ava, I didn’t just opt for one or two, but three ways to document every month of her 1st year.

Less is more:

Is there anything more beautiful than a baby in a crisp white vest? I don’t think so and this 1st collection proves that keeping things simple can be beautiful.

I love how her expressions and reactions changed over time as she felt saver when being held by her dad. You can also see her becoming stronger as Mr. Perfect’s hand moves down towards her lower back.

These photos are fun and cute, was easy to take and simply just Ava but I really struggle keeping track of each month when not looking at the image dates, especially after around 8 months old. So that’s where our 1st photo prop proves very handy…

Monthly wooden milestone disks:

These are so trendy at the moment and I prefer them to milestone cards purely because baby can handle and chew on them without compromising the design. The set designed and made by Nectar & Ink are easy to read, gender neutral and our favourite. The set is also very durable and can be used over-and-over again for other siblings.

Of course I couldn’t just take a pic with the milestone disks. I wanted a theme. Being a girl that shares a birthday with Frida Kahlo, flowers instantly sprung to mind. Florals are always a winner and would compliment the wooden disks.

The outfits needed to be special too so I decided to do touches of knitwear (another big baby trend at the moment). It could be a knitted romper, bloomer, bonnet, jersey… As long as Ava wore something knitted.

I used a combination of store bought and home picked flowers for every month.

The mayor challenges of this series:

  • Finding 12 items of knitwear, especially during summer months wasn’t easy
  • This was expensive with me needing to buy flowers and also Ava’s outfits
  • Ava really liked ALL the photo props so set-up and “getting the shot” took a lot of time and patience

Still, I think the trouble was worth it.

“GROW”-ing with your 1st teddy bear:

Neither of the 2 above mentioned collections illustrated Ava’s growth in relation to an object. So, why is this important? Because it’s the best way to really see how MUCH your little one grows in the 1st year.

Being a mom herself, Chantelle from La Fede created the perfect companion for all little ones; Grow bear. He’s soft and cuddly and sure to compliment any baby nursery. He’s even available as a she in blush.

At first I propped Ava into a sitting position next to Grow. He looked huge in comparison to her but as the months flew by Ava grew “into” Grow. She also started sitting unsupported and noticed her bear.

The idea is to keep taking photos with Grow. One on each off Ava’s birthdays and who-knows, maybe someday in the future, Grow will be playing model with our grandchildren too.

Next time…

Looking at all these photos, I treasure them all but if we were blessed with a fourth little person to love, I’d definitely do a combo. Keeping baby’s outfit simple (like the 1st collection), using the disks to easily keep track of every month (like series 2) and having a special friend, like Grow, to show how baby grew each passing month.

So what can you win?

Learn from my mistakes and go with the perfect combo. An adorable Grow bear (in white or blush) and a set of wooden milestone disks. Keeping track of baby’s first year will be cute, easy and fun.

How to enter?

Find this adorable photo of our cutie-pie on our Instagram (@justamamma) and make sure to follow the instructions below it.Just a Mamma Babys 1st birthday

SOMETHING EXTRA!!!! For an extra entry leave us a comment below telling us which one of Ava’s 1st year series you like the most. Visit our previous post, “Turning 1: Celebrating with a cake smash and giveaway” for full terms and conditions regarding this competition.

Give La Fede and Nectar & Ink some love too.

Follow both on Instagram @lafede_designs and @nectarandink

Like them on Facebook @lafededesigns and @nectarandink


  1. Chantelle

    Dis die mooiste 12 maande saam haar beer!!!

  2. Zeenats Carrim

    Love the different and interesting ways too document the years ❤️

  3. Nicke Theron

    I love the floral one! I can just imagine it took a lot of work to keep it going, but it is beautiful and whimsical!!! ❤

  4. Lia

    Definitely the one where your husband is holding Ava. Just so personal and special. Xx

  5. Joanna Wolfe

    In love with the floral version, I’m a sucker for babies with flowers! Such a beautiful giveaway!

  6. Michelle Graham

    The wooden milestones with the flowers and knitwear is really special!

  7. Salome van Wyk

    Wonderlike idees!! Dankie Mamma van mooiste Ava en Lia en Eli!!

  8. Khadija Fakir

    Absolutely gorgeous. I love all 3 ways. My favourite is the crisp white vest. I love it because it’s easy and it’s always available ?. I love doing easy things especially with two busy bodies and a third one on the way. Thank You for showing us how it’s done. Didn’t know it’s so easy. I always look at all these pics and they sooo perfect, and think okay they use a photographer every month . Great post.

  9. Michaela

    I love the Growing with your first teddy bear idea ?

  10. Lize Buitenweg

    Als is so mooi en oorspronklik – maar hou veral van die blomme-tema en Ava se pragtige uitrustings!

  11. Lindsay Kolbe

    Absolutely gorgeous ?

  12. Lauren Hogarty

    I LOVE the Frieda series…. Adore the colours and outfits! What a great competition!
    As always just love this blog!

  13. Anine

    Loving the grow bear!

  14. Anmar

    This is just way to beautiful ?

  15. Robyn

    Next to her bear is super cute

  16. Aimee Stander

    My favorite is the first one in the white vest with your husband holding her.

  17. Megan Gibbons

    Love the plain white, so simple and beautiful!

  18. Mahnaaz Essa

    Definitely the floral version. It’s so beautiful and girly

  19. Joy

    Gosh I cannot choose! Love them all!!!

  20. Beaugary

    Floral version is my fav

  21. Beaugary

    Milestone Cards n floral is my fav

  22. Tasjka Ackerman

    I absolutely love all these beautiful ideas wish I had seen this sooner to do with my little ones… Luckily have one with his teddy, but not every month…

  23. Claudia Mc Namee

    Such a lovely idea …….and I am so stealing it ?

  24. Taneale McFarlane

    I love the simplicity of the white vest on a plain background – I think it makes you focus more on her, and how her expressions and body posture changes with each month ❤️

  25. Kristin Hofmeyr

    I absolutely love the photo series of hubby holding Ava! It’s so special, and simple and you can see how his arms strain as she grows 🙂

  26. Ninette

    I love the crisp white babygrow and having daddy involved in the series makes it just so much more special.

  27. Jacqui Trinder

    I loved the grow with me floral series!!! I adore Frida ? and the idea of “having an excuse” to buy some beautiful flowers?️ every month seems like a great pick me up during the first few months. Our baby girl is due on Oct and those wooden discs and bear are a super cute way of getting a perfect pic (which is not easy!!)

  28. Vikki

    The flowers and milestone cards are beautiful! ??

  29. Jade Hattingh

    I LOVE the grow bear from La Fede!


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