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Best baby books

Pick the right book for saving your memories.
By Jonathan Fullmer |

For hip traditionalists
My Story: Birth to Five
Parents tired of the same old presentation will find lots to love in Becky Santolamazza’s lively, handcrafted memory keeper. Varied layouts, kid-themed watercolor drawings and strategically placed jewels and pop-up cutouts add up to a colorful, playful spin on baby scrapbooking. As the title suggests, Mom and Dad can track their tyke’s favorites, family tree and periodic measurements though age five, though most sections are devoted to newborn statistics and first-times. Affixed envelopes offer easy storage for the child’s hospital bracelet and lock of hair, and the designated sections for pasting photos are so beautiful it may be tough to cover them. Choose from among 20 cloth-bound, gender-specific cover images.

For harried new mothers
Mom’s Five-Second Memory Journal: A Memento of Motherhood
Let’s face it: Most moms hardly have time to get out of their pj’s, let alone manage a scrapbook. They might prefer this lighthearted, purse-friendly Memento. With more than a hundred witty and often funny questionnaires, checklists, fill-in-the-blanks and other amusements, Mom can express her innermost joys and frustrations and trace her memories of the kiddo in an interactive, diary-like keepsake. She can gripe about her mother’s influence; draw pictures of her (or the munchkin’s) face or hair; grade herself on parenting skills; and keep track of her top-five iPod songs and the things she’d most like to do—with and without the little one. Best of all, the book’s nonlinear structure means Mom can pick it up whenever, without the pressure of daily upkeep.

For lesbian and gay parents
Modern Family Baby Book
Dissatisfied with the scarcity of keepsakes for same-sex parents, Houston-based graphic designer Jenn Starr set out to create her own after her wife became pregnant in 2010. What started out as a pet project quickly evolved into a made-to-order, fully customizable baby book that can accommodate two daddies, two mommies, single or traditional parents, or any specific names (e.g. Mom and Mama); Starr can also add in a photo of the parents before baby’s arrival. Choose from three themes that feature sleek, modern designs and lots of open spaces for photos and baby’s birth story. Traditional sections in the hardbound book are paired with less common ones, such as “Telling the World,” where parents can note “what the neighbors said” and “who bragged about you the most.”

For extended family & friends
Twelve Wishes for Baby
Rag & Bone Bindery’s charming, hand-bound book of promises, suggestions and wishes for newborns contains playfully inclusive categories that make it a terrific personalized gift. Featuring wistful prompts like “Songs I want to sing to you,” “When I first heard you were on the way” and “When they write your life story, it will begin like this,” each page is minimally designed, uncomplicated and unrestrictive. With an array of plain and decorative-cloth cover styles, mostly gender-neutral, Twelve Wishes is an especially exceptional gift idea for the parents’ family and dear friends.

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