When it comes to work, my files, projects, and papers are ordered and systemized with military precision…but I have to admit I’m not the most organized person on the homefront.
Besides, has anyone ever looked back at life and regretted not keeping a neater home (Hells no!) My philosophy is not to let life pass you by while you’re vacuuming (this is why I bought a Roomba). As a general rule I clean enough to keep a healthy and presentable home…but choose to live life rather than clean it. (Plus anytime I invite my mother over, she takes it upon herself to scrub, clean or dust anything she feels is sub-par – which is basically everything!) This used to drive me absolutely crazy. But when “Dr. Strangely-loves-to-clean” comes for a visit I’ve learnt to stop worrying and love the Mom.
Before Sweet Pea was born I knew things at home were going to get a little crazy so I decided to bring some of my work-life organization skills home. This included making a Baby Binder – a great way to keep all the baby’s papers, medial documents, schedules, recipes, keepsakes and thank-you card lists organized and close at hand.
In those sleep-deprived first weeks when you’ve got tons of hospital, doctor and government paperwork to deal with, gifts to keep track of, appointments to make and feedings to log, this binder comes in really handy!
What you’ll need:
– A binder
– Tab dividers (I used large ones for the major categories and smaller tabs to divide items within a category – see below) Here’s a great site for free tab and label printables
– Sheet protectors (good for holding official docs, brochures or other items you want to keep in the binder)
– Plastic ring binder envelopes or zip pockets (good for holding blank thank-you cards, vaccine books, keepsakes etc…)
Table of Contents:
Here is the table of contents I came up with for my binder – (I admit, a lot of this was overkill – but it will come in handy eventually) You can expand or contract this list to fit your own family’s needs. You can also take each section and make it into a series of smaller baby binders. To make things easy, I’ve included links to where I found free printables that you can use…I’ll also add free downloads of some of the sheets I created custom graphics for – feel free to use them for your own binders.
This section includes a series of lists such as: Emergency Contact Info (info-sante, poison control etc.), Family Contact Info and Babysitter Contact Information. Here are some free and stylish contact lists that you can fill out and print.
Baby Care Logs:
This section includes things such as: A Baby Care tracker (We took this to the hospital with us and used religiously the first couple of weeks to track our baby’s eating, diapering and sleeping until Sweet Pea regained his birth weight.) You can also include items such as a Pumping Log and Solid Food Log for once you start introducing foods and need to take note of any allergies or adverse reactions to foods.
In this section I put things like my insurance information, Baby’s vaccine book, medicare card, Doctor’s visit log, Immunization/medical records, a growth tracker, tooth chart and medication log. (I take this section out of the binder and with me to all medical appointments)
You can find various medical log printables in these places:
This section won’t likely be needed until later – but it is a place for eventual babysitters or the daycare. In this section I added babysitter notes for us to put any info the sitter would need, While you were out notes for the caregiver to report anything back to us, baby favourites list where we can list songs, toys, food or activities Sweet Pea likes to make things easier for caregivers, a morning routine list and bedtime routine list.
Recipes: This section is pretty self-explanatory. I keep my crock pot freezer recipes here, baby food recipes for once Sweet Pea begins solids, and organic Baby Product Recipes here.
Here you can keep things like baby’s passport handy and well as packing checklists for the suitcase or diaper bag so you don’t forget anything vital when leaving home
Milestones and Keepsakes:
Here I placed a baby’s firsts log sheet to note when the little one hits certain milestones (sleeps through the nighs, turns over, takes first steps etc…) I also included a zip pocket for various keepsakes (hospital bracelets, first lock of hair, ultrasound pics etc…)
Here you could put things like government docs (Social insurance card, Birth Certificate), Maternity leave documentation, or daycare wait list info.
This was kind of a catch-all for anything that didn’t warrant its own section. I put a baby gift log here so I could keep track of who gave what and who I needed to send thank-you cards to. Manuals and warranties for the baby car seat, stroller etc., a website password log for all the baby-related sites I signed up for, a lullaby cheat sheet, baby coupons etc…
Another great idea is to put pens, scissors, tape, markers, glue, etc. in a zip pocket at the front of the binder so these things are always close at hand. I also have a monthly calendar placed at the beginning of my binder so I can see any upcoming baby appointments or events at a glance.
Anyway, there is also lots of online inspiration for creating your own baby binder. You can purchase adorable graphic templates on places like Etsy. Pintrest is also a great ways to source free binder printables. And tons of helpful blogs that offer free downloads of family binder sheets or talk about how they organize their baby binders.
If you’ve got a couple moments before the craziness begins, a baby binder will help you stay organized amidst the chaos.