Having Your Baby's First Birthday Party

Congratulations! Your baby is almost one year old, and it’s time to have a 1st birthday party. If this is your first baby, you might like some good first birthday ideas. And even if this is not your first child, you may still appreciate some good first birthday party ideas for making it a warm and loving family occasion.

Who is the First Birthday Party For?

One of the most important things to remember is who this birthday party is really for. At the ripe old age of one, your little one is hardly likely to remember anything about it, except for the birthday cards and pictures that will remain in the scrapbook or photo album afterwards. A one-year-old baby will also not appreciate all the pretty birthday decorations in the same way that you do. When you dress your little girl in her gorgeous, pink “birthday princess” outfit, bear in mind that she will probably make it absolutely filthy in seconds with bits of chocolate, ice cream, and all the other available goodies.

1st Birthday

Having Your Baby's First Birthday Party - merfam / CC BY 2.0

Therefore, renting a hall, a live band, and an elaborate catered meal would not exactly be appropriate here. You might enjoy all the pomp and circumstance, but it is hardly worth it if the hero of the occasion can’t stand it and screams all the way through. If you invite dozens of workmates whom your baby has never seen before, your little one is likely to find the whole experience far too overwhelming and the party will end in tears.

The first rule, therefore, when making your baby’s birthday party is to think what would make the birthday girl or boy happy. At the age of one, most babies are still leery of strangers. They also find loud noises overwhelming. Some babies at this age are still afraid of balloons, so you should try to save those until next year.

For all of these reasons, you should keep all birthday themes fairly low-key. Don’t be seduced by all the colourful advertisements and promises presented by the ” birthday supplies” industry. Your baby would most likely be happiest with a small party, soon after naptime, with a group of their closest friends.

Therefore, keep the birthday invitation list fairly small. If your little one already goes to playgroup, for example, or you know a group of other young mothers and their babies from your visits to the park, these would be the best people to invite, along with your close nieces and nephews, Grandma and Grandpa. These are all the people that your baby is familiar with, and their presence is guaranteed to make your little one feel happy and loved.

Your baby really doesn’t want loads of loud birthday decorations and scary noises. By all means use colour-coordinated plates and serviettes if that makes you happy, but provide healthy finger foods and dips that babies and adults alike would enjoy eating rather than foods that your baby has either never eaten before or would not be any good for them. Banish anything like peanuts that could get stuck in small throats or cause allergies.

Dress the baby in something gorgeous for the photographs at the beginning, but make sure that it’s washable and don’t stress when it gets absolutely filthy!

Also remember that babies of this age tend to play next to each other, rather than together. So lay out plenty of safe toys for all the little ones to play with together on a mat. Games should be age appropriate.

For a list of party games appropriate for babies, children, and adults, click here.

Also make sure that the room is baby-proofed, with all breakables and potentially dangerous items well out of the way.

The party doesn’t need to go on longer than about an hour and a half. After that, if you want, you can put your birthday boy or girl down to rest and the adult guests can have some social time together once the focus is no longer on the birthday.

Most important of all, don’t stress. A 1st birthday is not a wedding. It doesn’t require anything elaborate. What really counts is a happy baby and some gorgeous photos in the family album!