Your baby’s first birthday is an important occasion, and it’s certain to be the one birthday out of many that you will always remember. This first birthday is both a beginning—and an ending. It’s the end of infancy and the beginning of toddlerhood. While your baby will always be your baby, she’s now likely to be taking her first steps away from you, and you are beginning the long journey of chasing after her, trying always to keep her close.
Planning a baby’s first birthday can be an adventure itself. Whether you are a first-time mom, or an experienced mother with multiple children, this will be THIS baby’s first birthday—and the pictures, videos, and memories will be priceless. You will want to get the most out of it so the memories last forever.
Marking the Milestones
You’ve spent weeks planning, you’ve got the decorations ready, you’ve shopped and bought presents, being sure to choose the best toys for a 1-year-old, because she needs big girl toys now that she’s officially a toddler. And all the while, your mind has been filled with memories.
In the first year of life, a baby undergoes many changes and conquers many milestones. Your baby has gone from the warm little bundle you first held against you in the hospital, to a tiny person, with feelings, emotions, and a whole lot of personality.
In the first year of life, some important milestones take place. First, there’s the lifting of the head. Then the first smile. The first roll-over during tummy time. The first time she sat up on her own. The first time she crawled, pulled herself up to a standing position, cruised around the furniture, and likely took her first wobbling steps—or will very soon.
The first year is also the time that your child learns that she is loved and safe. That she has an important place in this world. And you accomplish this together!
The ending of this first year together is a worthy cause for celebration.
First Birthdays From The Outside Looking In
Chances are, before you had you your own child, you thought first birthday parties were much ado about nothing. After all, how much does a one-year-old understand about their birthday? Do they even know what it’s about? And the hoopla and hurrah has grown out of all proportion in recent years, with written invitations, or elaborate E-vites, themes, entertainment, cake, and a second “smash cake” for the birthday boy to squish all over his sugar-stunned and blissful face.
Sure, you smiled at the proud mother and showed up at the party with a gift bag stuffed with some of the best gifts for a 1-year-old boy you could find, but you really didn’t understand what the fuss was all about. Why all the hoopla for a party he’ll never remember?
But now, you are THAT mom, proudly sending out the invitations and buying the perfect smash cake your little one. And you’ve somehow magically forgotten the cynical attitude that you had about elaborate first birthday parties back when you were childless and on the outside looking in. Now you are completely willing to believe that even your childless friends are celebrating this milestone along with you and your baby with nothing but joy in their hearts.
First Birthdays are Fun!
Besides all of the wonderful, complex, and emotional reasons for having a first birthday celebration for your baby, there’s this—they are fun! In fact, the first birthday is one of the best birthdays for adult fun. In later years your child will have formed friendships, and you will be spending the day at a trampoline park, ball-pit, or bouncy-house and celebrating with pizza, balloons, and arcade games. You will inevitably have to baby-sit someone else’s rowdy child because the parents just dropped him off instead of attending. It’s exhausting.
For the first birthday party you don’t have to worry about inviting your child’s friends. Instead, you can invite YOUR friends, and beer and wine are perfectly appropriate—and encouraged!
It’s Your Party Too!
This is a day to celebrate not only your baby’s many milestones, but also your own. After all, a year ago you were a frazzled, exhausted mother still sporting a deflated baby bump and believing you’d never get more than two hours uninterrupted sleep again. You were lucky to manage to get a quick shower every other day, and then you spent the time in the shower hearing phantom baby cries that had you jumping out of your skin and sticking your head out of the shower curtain to listen in vain.
And now you are sleeping through the night at least some of the time, your hair is freshly washed and you can finally zip up your favorite jeans! Your baby is not only alive, she’s thriving! All of this is cause for a celebration of your own accomplishments this past year.
The Pictures, The Posts, and The Videos
A first birthday party is also the perfect time to immortalize your memories with some adorable photos and videos. This is a big part of the reason that you went to so much trouble to decorate. This is why you chose the perfect colorful, themed decorations and the cutest cake. It’s the reason you bought her such a beautiful dress—and then a second dress to wear after the cake smash.
A big part of the first birthday party experience is the pictures that you’ll have as cherished treasures for the future. Someday you will pull them out to show her first boyfriend while she cringes with embarrassment.
And of course, it isn’t only about keeping pictures and videos for the future–you will also want to share on social media the adorable video of your baby smearing cake all over her face while she shoves it into her mouth with both chubby hands. There are anxious relatives in faraway places awaiting these photos of your cake-covered baby!
It’s true that your baby will never remember her first birthday party, but because you immortalized it into digital memory, it will always be the in the cloud, waiting for the day you both will look back at it together. Maybe it will be when she is going off to college, or before her wedding day. Or maybe it will be when you are helping her to choose the smash cake for her own child’s first birthday. But you will both be glad that you put the time and effort into marking her first birthday as the enormous accomplishment it was for the both of you.