Best Baby Memory Books: A Guide to Selecting the Perfect Book to Capture Baby's First Year

Keeping a memory book for your new baby is one of the best gifts you can give your new child and your family. The years go by quickly and without written and photo documentation it's all too easy to forget the small details of childhood. Fortunately there are more options than ever to create a keepsake for your child.

First, you're going to have to decide upon your format. There are several options available. Here are the five leading books:

Rag & Bone Bindery has two great options for parents. Baby's First Book is a 10" x 11" "fill-in-the-blank style" book. Each gorgeous book is bound with a colored ribbon. Style-wise parents will love picking from the nearly 20 prints for the book's cover. The prints have slightly Asian appeal and are subtle and timeless (my favorite is Blue Topiary). Don't worry about becoming enslaved to this book, at 24 pages it is a manageable commitment–perfect for the parent trying to squeeze in a career and baby. To make recording baby's milestones easy, Rag & Bone provides preformatted pages ready for you to personalize.

Hey, just about anyone can summon up the energy to do that! ($68) Another option from Rag & Bone is their digital scrapbook (9" x 13"). This one's going to take a bit more work and technological savvy, but in the end, the product will be stunning. Once again, pick from the full line of stylish covers. Next step: Filling up the 10 pages inside with your digital prints. It's up to you to tap into your imagination to craft a truly one-of-a-kind book for your baby. Each page measures 8.5" x 11" and will fit in a standard printer. The scrapbook ships with templates from Renee Pearson's digital scrap booking designs. ($39)

For the traditionalists, choosing a book from Crane Stationary will be a natural option. Crane's Childhood Memories Book covers all the important moments in your child's life from birth through graduation. Forget the computer and printer, this requires neat penmanship and thoughtful prose. The company has been around for more than 200 years and has served royalty and celebrity-at Crane they feel each child deserves nothing less than the very best and this marvelous book is no exception. There's plenty of room for personal photos and writing about momentous occasions. The pages are filled with inspirational quotations, such as, "Child's play is not sport, and should be deemed as their most serious actions"~Montaigne. This is an ideal gift for a well-read parent with time to lovingly transcribe the events of a child's life. This lovely tome is a bigger commitment than the average 1-year memory book. $30

If you've got the patience to put together a big project in one sitting a Shutterfly Memory Book is the perfect project. The 12" x 12" Memory book can be ordered directly online. You'll need to download your digital photos into a Shutterfly account. In addition to photos, you can add text to personalize the volume. Shutterfly uses simple drag and drop technology for adding pictures. You personalize text boxes with the big events (Baby's First Steps!).

Books start at 20 pages, but can be expanded to up to 80 pages. An average album will display from 30 to 100 pictures on 20 pages. Select your own cover title and cover photo. Then get cracking on the interior pages. There are hundreds of backgrounds from which to choose for the inside, but unlike Rag & Bone there are only four covers to pick from (blue, pink, daisies and lullabies). Parents with large families will love the ability to order multiple prints of this book-it'll be a treasured album for grandparents and godparents. $54.99 (first 20 pages) next book is only $41.24.

Aesthetes with relentless taste and lots of vision will adore Kata Golda's hand sewn albums. Golda individually crafts these books in her studio in Washington state–no two are identical. The blank albums have felt covers with whimsical animal characters, Each book has 50 interleaved acid free soft white pages with photo corners included. Pick from a lovely array of 15 covers (each one will be a unique treasure as these are done by hand). The large album (8" x 8") can serve as a source of inspiration for parents to add photos, sketches, poems and stories of their child's start in life. Parents who tend to tackle projects a little at a time will like the fact that they can pick this up from sporadically and add special memories of their baby. But if you need direction and structure, this isn't the baby book for you! $108 plain for a $124 personalized cover.

Carter's isn't just making kiddie clothing. They've got a tremendous assortment of baby memory books too. To check out their offerings, visit From the simplest photo brag book to more laborious scrapbooks, there's something for every new parent. Carter's books are well priced and attractive-making them great gifts. A favorite Carter's book is the Smiley Happy Baby Book. At 80 pages, it's formatted for parents to jot down memories and remembrances as they occur. This style is a simple and fun way to capture all the first magic of baby's first year. For those who growl at Martha Stewart endeavors, this book is a godsend. All you need to do is glue in photos and write down the special event from the first year. It starts with a family tree and carries through all the way to the first day of school-a bit more comprehensive than the Rag & Bone book–there's plenty of room for musings on the firsts (steps, tooth, vacation, etc.). The book's bold, bright animal graphics work equally well for boys or girls. $22.95

This is one hobby that doesn't have to be expensive or especially time consuming, but if you get inspired, the sky is the limit. Whether creating an heirloom quality book or simply jotting down the baby basics, don't miss out on preserving these memories forever.

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