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First Birthday Party Prep

How to get the most out of your baby’s first birthday

First Birthday Party Prep

Our plan for Owen's first birthday is to keep it small and intimate, at home. It’s not just that we are working with a smaller budget. We also recognize that the first birthday is, for the most part, more for the parents and the pictures than for our little guy. That said, no matter how intimate, if you want something memorable, a little preparation can go a long way. Here are 8 tips for planning your baby’s first birthday party and how to make the most of it.

  1. Keep the planning simple.

Life is busy. So rather than stressing myself out about organizing the party, I want to do my best to keep things simple. Why? Because if I keep things simple and organized, I’ll be more likely to actually enjoy the party too! Our little pals and gals only turn one once, after all. Finding a venue that's both affordable and comfortable for you and your guests is key. We plan on doing Owen’s party at home, but there are many other cheap or even free options, like parks or a friend’s backyard or house.

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  1. Choose a savory theme.

Bananas are one of Owen’s absolute favorite foods. While we will have loads of various snacks for our close friends and family to munch on, I’ll bake a couple different banana goodies: a homemade banana cake for Owen to eat and smash, and chocolate chip banana muffins for everybody else. We will also have fresh fruits and a kale salad for the health conscious. And of course, beer and wine for the 21+.

  1. Create digital invites.

I love the idea of having handmade invites, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that we're living in a digital world that actually makes party planning (and many other aspects of life) easier. With the Hobnob app, designing your own invitation directly on your phone is easy breezy. You can create your own or use one of their templates. Then, you text the invitations to your friends and family, and if you're trying to reach a larger group, you can even share the link on social media. Mom hacks that make life a bit easier? Yes, please.

  1. Buy supplies that you can use again.

Since we have limited space, anything we buy for the party will be items we will reuse in the future. We don't have a ton of serving dishes and we will need some for the party, so I’ll use this opportunity to make the investment. Not only will I be able to reuse them on the daily, I’ll also get to use all of it to stage my recipes for Household. Two birds, one stone, amirite?

  1. Keep the guest list small.

That’s especially true if you are planning on a birthday party at home. Our space is small, and we don’t have enough room to set up activities for a lot of kiddos. Plus, having to cater to both kids and adults at home can become overwhelming. So my gut feeling tells me to keep the party to family and a handful of friends, and do an additional park play date with all of Owen’s mini buddies.

  1. Create a gift wish list.

Gifts are so sweet, but we are very intentional with the toys we get for Owen. If you are like us, you can create an Amazon wishlist. This can provide guidance to the guests who want to bring a gift to the birthday star. Not only can it help ensure your little one receives gifts that fit your small space, you can also (hopefully) avoid duplicates.

  1. Have a decor that you can reuse and recycle.

I've been dying to put up some of the removable chalkboard wallpaper , and I can’t think of a better time to take the leap. I’ll write birthday sentiments for the party and will let people contribute notes and quotes after the fact. I want to keep the decorations fairly simple -- probably just a handful of fall flowers and, if they are available by then, pumpkins, which will make for a great seasonal decor. The flowers will be in simple bottles and jars that will double as party favors for our guests -- a cute way to thank them while making as little waste as possible.

  1. Take pictures.

We are so looking forward to celebrating Owen and our first year of parenting, that we cannot wait to share this moment with all the folks who have supported us along the way. So of course, we want to make memories, and what better way than to take photos. Our photographer and friend, Amy Frances, will be photographing the party. I look forward to her capturing some portraits of Owen as he reaches the year mark. But I also can’t wait to see all the candid moments of all of our friends and family gathered together for the occasion.

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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