Baby’s 1st Birthday- Ideas for Celebrating

baby's first birthday hero

Hooray, you made it! Congratulations on being a parent for one whole year...and surviving. Your baby’s first birthday is a day for great celebration. Many parents look forward to this day for months. Here in 2020, things are a little bit different because of COVID-19, but don’t despair. We have compiled a list of fun things to do to celebrate your little one’s first year of life, social distancing included. 


Smash Cake 

There is nothing cuter than the look on a baby’s face when they get their first taste of cake. It can be a look of utter shock, confusion, elation--some baby’s even cry. Providing your baby with their own smash cake is one of our favorite ways to celebrate their first birthday. What is a smash cake? It's a smaller version of a regular cake that you hand over to your baby to do with whatever they please. Some mamas call their favorite bakery, others get joy out of baking one at home. If you are worried about sugar content, check out this healthy smash cake. It doesn’t matter to your baby who made it, they usually end up “smashing”, squeezing, pounding and grabbing. Some just go right in for the taste! Whatever their reaction, it’s a joy to witness, and you’ll want to capture it. Rather than being occupied by your own camera, consider setting up a first birthday photo shoot (keep scrolling), and include your smash cake with it. 

smash cake

First Birthday Photo Shoot

By now you know that the years go by FAST. Doesn’t it seem like your baby was just born? How could a whole year have passed by? A first birthday only happens once, so you might want to consider hiring a photographer to capture your baby’s personality, favorite things, etc. Personally, I think exposed toes and bellies (or thighs) are a must for a first birthday shoot. If you are considering a first birthday photoshoot, you’ll want to think about the following:


Location Does your baby like being outdoors? Do you have a favorite park? If you aren’t sure where to go, ask your photographer! They usually have some favorite spots up their sleeves. Being outdoors is a great way to maintain social distancing too.

Time of Day You don’t want to plan a photoshoot for naptime or you’ll end up with pictures of a tired and cranky baby. Plan for a time of day when your baby is usually happiest, and rested. 

Bring snacks Some puffs or a puree pouch may save your life if your little one gets hungry during the shoot. Whatever their favorite snack is, pack it!

Extra outfits Have a few outfits picked out and bring them with you. We all know diaper blowouts come at the most inconvenient times, right!? A first birthday onesie is always a darling choice! Ours are great because you can completely customize yours to your liking. And if you have a brilliant idea, but need someone to help bring your vision to life, our professional designers are here to help you for free!

First Birthday Onesie

Toys and Props Balloons, toy trucks, smash cake, comfort items...whatever you want to be included, bring it with you. Remember, you are going to look back on these pictures for years and years to come. What do you want to remember about your baby from this special time? 

Chalkboard Sign If you want to remember all of the details, grab one of these personalized chalkboard signs to include in your shoot.

You Are you going to want this shoot to be all about the baby? Or do you want to get some family shots? Considering this ahead of time will help with outfit planning, blow drying, etc. 


The photoshoot probably won’t go perfectly. Be prepared for that. As long as you get a few good shots, consider it a success! 


Plant a Tree

This one may seem a bit unusual, but hear me out. How special would it be to have a tree in your yard that grew right alongside your child every year? You could take birthday pictures, first-day-of-school pictures, prom pictures by this tree and see how it grows over time, just like your child. No yard, no problem? Grab a new houseplant. Be right back, going to do this now for my daughter’s birthday in November.

First Birthday Plant a Tree

Car Parade

By now you’ve probably heard all the rage that is the Birthday Car Parade. Leave it to parents to create a fun way to celebrate amid a pandemic. If you have a large social network, and/or a big family nearby, this is a great alternative to an in-person party. Personally, the introvert in me loves this set-up, as I only have to talk to people for a short amount of time, but still get to wish my loved one a happy birthday. You can even have a little goodie ready to hand out to your drive by guests with these sweet thank you cards. Organizing a birthday car parade is really a nice way to get to see everyone and celebrate this big milestone in your child’s life, while still keeping your family safe.


First Birthday Gift Ideas

If gift-giving is your love language, and you want to get something special for your baby’s first birthday, my #1 go-to gift is a book. A book is something that they will keep for years to come, or you can add it to a keepsake box for them to have forever. For my kid’s first birthdays, I wrote each of them a letter (either right inside the cover of the book or I taped it inside) inside the book. They love going back to those letters and hearing my words about their first year time and time again. You’ll likely get toys, clothes, etc. from loved ones, and let’s be honest more toys = more mess to clean up. Try the book idea and let us know which book you chose!


However you choose to celebrate your baby’s first birthday, be sure to take it all in. It’s a huge moment for all of you. Congratulations mom or dad, you’ve made it through sleepless nights, are experiencing a love you didn’t know was possible, and are raising a beautiful human. And you’ve been doing all of that for a whole year! You deserve to be celebrated too. Cheers!

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