Most parents of older kids will tell you that the baby years go by so fast. (It might not seem like it now if you have a baby that wakes up at 3 a.m. every night or a toddler whose favorite word is “No!”) Take time to gather pieces of memorabilia that will someday remind you of this stage of your baby's life, because it’ll be gone before you know it. Create a baby memory box.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Baby Memory Box Items for a Newborn
- Baby Memory Box Ideas for a One-Year-Old Baby
- Baby Memory Box Ideas for a Baby Boy
- Baby Memory Box Ideas for a Baby Girl
A memory box may also be used to remember a child who passed away. If you're interested in other unique ways to honor a loved one, you can consider a custom urn from a store like Foreverence or even have a memorial diamond made from ashes with a company like Eterneva.
Here's what you should put in your baby's memory or keepsake box, and we'll tell you why, too.
Baby Memory or Shadow Box Items for a Newborn
1. A copy of a newspaper from the day your baby was born
You know that in the digital age, it’s relatively easy to access newspapers from the past century. You can ask Siri almost anything, from the top-rated song on the day you were born to the cost of a gallon of gas from that same year.
Your child will still have access to that same information, but having a newspaper is so special. Someday, your child will enjoy flipping through an actual newspaper from the day he or she was born.
2. Bracelets from the hospital
Don’t just toss away the bracelet from the hospital. Instead, put it in your baby’s memory box. You’ll look at this item with awe and amazement once your seven-pound baby boy turns into a six-foot grown man with facial hair.
Another benefit of keeping the bracelet? You can use it as proof that the child is actually yours! Pull down the baby memory box, check the name on the bracelet, and reassure yourself that yes, you did bring home the right kid.
3. A diaper
It should go without saying, but place an unused diaper in your baby’s memory box. Save one from the smallest size that your baby ever wore, whether it was from a box of newborn diapers or preemie diapers.
4. Commemorative birth certificate from the hospital
Most hospitals give you a commemorative birth certificate, complete with handprints and footprints. You cannot use the item as a piece of official documentation, but they’re fun to have. Put it in your baby memory box.
5. A journal about your pregnancy and labor
Unless something traumatic happens, many women have a hard time remembering specific things about their pregnancy and labor.
Make a note about how you felt during your pregnancy. You may want to mention whether you craved certain foods. Write about any strange dreams you had about the baby and whether you found out the baby’s gender before he or she was born. Tell the story about how you chose your child’s name. Talk about the events that led up to going to the hospital.
These stories are fun to look back on, especially when your children become parents themselves. Daughters often like to know how their mothers tolerated pregnancy and delivery.
Baby Memory Box Ideas for a One-Year-Old Baby
Life with a one-year-old may feel much more hectic than life with an infant. You will have less time to put things aside for your child’s memory box, but here are some items you may want to keep.
6. A unique newborn article of clothing
By the time your baby is one, he or she may have gone through three clothing sizes. Since your baby can no longer fit in his newborn outfits, set one or two aside to put inside your child’s memory box.
You may choose a baptism outfit or an item that supports your favorite team. You may also consider setting aside a special pair of tiny shoes.
7. A lock of hair
Some one-year-olds don’t have a lock of hair to cut, while others have so much hair that they get regular haircuts.
If your child has hair aplenty, you may consider cutting off a random curl to keep in a plastic baggie in the baby memory box. It’s a precious reminder of a chubby-cheeked toddler who stole your heart.
8. A special blanket
Someday, when the child is less attached to his or her favorite blankie, you may consider saving it for posterity.
Who knows — maybe it will become a family heirloom or displayed in your child’s presidential library someday.
9. Birth year coin set
The United States Mint sells specially-packaged collector’s items called birth sets. You can purchase a set of coins (penny, nickel, dime, quarter, and dollar) made in your child’s birth year. The coins are shiny and new because they’ve never been circulated.
At some point during the child’s first year, you may consider purchasing a set for your baby’s memory box.
Don’t rely on digital technology for all your family photos. Print out photos periodically. It’s easier than ever to print from Google photos, so there’s no excuse for not getting it done.
Baby Memory Box Ideas for a Baby Boy
It doesn’t matter whether your baby is a boy or a girl. It’s nice to keep memorabilia from your child’s early days. You may do a good job holding on to items for your firstborn, but as you have more kids, life gets more chaotic. That leaves the youngest kid in the family with an empty baby memory box.
Here are some more ideas on what you can put in the baby box for your baby boy.
Did you or a family member purchase your son a ballcap celebrating your favorite team?
This cap may be special one day, especially if your son ends up rooting for that same team later in life. Consider holding on to this item so he can give it to his own son someday.
12. Sonogram picture
Did you choose to find out the gender of your baby during your sonogram? Keep the image that shows how you discovered he’d be a boy.
13. Bow tie
Is there anything cuter than a little baby boy dressed up in a bow tie and suspenders? Once your son gets too big for the tie, tuck it in his baby memory box. Maybe he’ll use it for his own son someday.
Baby Memory Box Ideas for a Baby Girl
Moms are usually excited to purchase baby girl items for their new little bundles of joy. It’s like getting to relive a childhood toy doll experience. Here are some things you might want to put in your baby girl’s memory box.
14. Hair bow
Some hospital staff members decorate a newborn girl’s hair with the tiniest of hair bows. They sometimes use gel to get the bow to stick to your baby’s hair.
Place the little bow in your baby’s memory box after it falls out.
15. First doll
It won’t take long for someone in the family to buy your little girl her first doll. Once your daughter grows out of playing with the toy, you may want to put it in her memory box, especially if it’s an item important to your daughter.
16. Growth chart
It’s incredible how quickly children grow. Parents of infants sometimes look at the growth of their infants and toddlers with pride.
You may want to put growth reports from each doctor’s appointment in your child’s baby memory box. From these reports, you can look back and see the length, weight, head circumference, and how your child compares to other infants the same age.
Making Lasting Memories
How are you planning to store the items you’ve gathered? Think you’ll find a way to organize the materials “someday?” As you’re waiting for that free time, consider buying a plastic storage tub around the size of a shoe or boot box. Label a box with each of your kids’ names and toss items in the box often. You may want to store the box in an area of the house that the kids can’t reach.
Enjoy time with your babies. Take lots of pictures, but at the same time, don’t ignore the older members of your generation. Take photos of your grandparents with your tiny tots and learn about what to do with old photos.
This is a special time in your life — congratulations on becoming a new parent!
Looking for more? Read our guides on baby keepsakes and what to put in a DIY memory box.