How to plan a first birthday party

After sleepless nights, countless diapers and endless smiles, your little baby is finally turning one. It’s a tremendous milestone, one that many parents think might never come. Yet, it always does, and sometimes too fast. It’s easy for parents to get wrapped up in big birthday ideas, so here are a few tips to get started and some suggestions for how to approach the planning with a level head.

Consider the guest of honor

This might go without saying but it’s important to plan the party around your baby’s typical feeding and nap schedule. Ideally, you should have your party after your baby’s morning nap. That way they will be well rested for fun, then ready to nap after the fun has ended. If your baby is too tired, they won’t tolerate sitting still for very long and you’ll have to open all those presents on your own.

Prep the guest list

This is the big “one”, so it’s okay to invite a large list of family and friends. Everyone will want to share in this special day and shower your baby with love. Attendance and enthusiasm for subsequent birthday parties has been known to decrease over time.

Delicious dessert

For many babies, this will be the first time they are trying a sweet dessert like birthday cake. If you’ve been meticulous about their food up until now, it’s okay to let loose and allow your birthday star a special treat. There are a lot of healthy cake options that won’t turn your baby into a sugar monster.

Photo backdrop

In addition to finding the perfect outfit, consider when most people will be taking photos, such as during gifts. Place the focal point of the action in front of a pleasing backdrop. Something as simple as a wall of streamers or a picturesque treeline will add to your photos and you won’t cringe when your trash can in the background is framed on the wall.

Decorate the high chair

Speaking of photos, there will be a lot of photos and videos of your baby enjoying their first birthday cake in their chair. Jazz up a boring high chair with streamers, balloons or a banner to make it pop in pictures.

Brainstorm gift ideas

Before announcing your party, take inventory of what your baby might need. Your friends and family will be eager to shower your baby with gifts so have ideas ready for them. Think about what your baby might need in the coming months in addition to what they need now.

Finally, make it memorable, but don’t go overboard

This is an important day to commemorate, but your guest of honor is too small to understand. Save the clever games and elaborate decor for toddler and school-age parties. Your little one might not have a lot of friends yet (besides Mom and Dad) so you can skip favors all together or offer something your adult guests would like, such as a framed photo of your baby.