Whether you’re planning an familiar gathering of friends and family or an all-out bash, your baby’s first birthday celebration is bound to be special – at least for you and the other adults and older kids in his life!
Yes, a first birthday party is really important for parents and their guests. Your baby won’t remember this party, and may even be overwhelmed by it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t all have fun. For party planning suggestions and tips on keeping your baby (and young visitors) comfortable, read on.
1. Whom to invite
2. How much to spend
• The amount you spend is up to you and depends on what type of party you want to have for your child.
• Keep in mind that food is the main thing that drives costs up, followed by decorations and the cake.
• Don’t feel pressured to spend more than you can afford – small is beautiful at this age!
3. Choosing a time
• Your baby will possibly still be taking a morning and afternoon nap when it’s first birthday rolls around
• If so, it’s best to plan your party around nap times if possible. And if you’re inviting other young guests, ask for their nap times with their parents.
• Once one starts crying, they all might! You may want to keep the party brief – an hour or so is probably long enough at this age.
4. Choosing a place
• Home is usually at ease to host a first birthday party, and it’s where your baby will feel most secure.
• But if your home is too small for the number of guests you want to invite, consider a local community center or party hall, a restaurant (you may want to go with a kids’-themed place or a fast-food restaurant with a play space), a relative’s house, or, if the weather is nice, a park or zoo.
5. Picking a theme
• Party themes aren’t essential to your 1-year-old or the baby guests.
• You might want to aim for a color-coordinated look or pick matching plates and napkins with a favorite cartoon character, but it’s more for the benefit of the memorable photos than your baby at this stage.
Keep food simple – a lot of it will probably end up on the floor anyway!
• Finger foods work well for both babies and adults, and eating them won’t interrupt play or socializing.
• Some babies may have quite a few teeth and be able to bite into food; others may still be toothless, so provide to both extremes.
• Tiny sandwiches with cheese spread (you can cut them into shapes), cubes of mild cheese, cut-up fruit, pasta spirals, and mini yogurts are good options.
• Your small guests will probably eat very little, so aim for a variety of tastes, textures, and colors rather than quantity.
• And avoid serving nuts, hard candies, popcorn, raisins, marshmallows, and other foods that may present a choking threat to little ones.
• As for beverages, it’s a good idea to have water, milk, and maybe diluted fruit juice around for the kids and mineral water and sodas for the adults.
Keep in mind
7. Games and activities
• Loud bangs from party poppers and bursting balloons may scare your baby, and discarded poppers and balloons are a serious choking threat until age 3.
• Why not have some musical funs, such as dancing with your baby or a nursery rhyme tape on in the background? The baby will also enjoy peek-a-boo games and find toys hidden in a box or under a cloth.
• And, of course, the baby will enjoy helping you open its presents (although the wrapping paper will be far more fun than the gift!).
8. Birthday presents
• By now your baby will appreciate toys that make noise or light up or both, so activity centers are a good choice.
• It’s never too early to read, and textured board books are great fun for your perceptible baby.
• A push-along toy to aid walking skills may be a good idea, and new bath toys are always welcome.
• You may want to consider a big, lasting present, such as a baby swing for outdoors or a rocking horse.
• And if you already have loads of toys, your baby won’t object if some people buy him/her clothes!
• Have somewhere clean, handy, and well-equipped for diaper changing.
• Breastfeeding moms may appreciate somewhere quiet and private to nurse.
• It’s crawling, walking, and climbing time – safety gates and other childproofing devices are important.
• Stowaway precious ornaments and breakables.
• Keep pets well out of the way.
• Keep a watchful eye on the party area for hazards, such as forks and small swallowable objects, and clear them away quickly.
• Babies will play alongside each other, not together, so keep a variety of toys available within a large, safe floor space.
• Relax – let your baby and her guests set the pace.
• Make sure you have a willing volunteer to take plenty of photos and video. You may be too busy, and you don’t want to miss those shots of your baby digging into her first birthday cake!
“Enjoy your Path to Mom. Relish every moment!”
Disclaimer: All content on this website, including medical opinion and other health-related information, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.