by Anya Dunham, PhD
Ten ideas for simple, practical, and beautiful projects to DIY for newborn baby
Making something special for your newborn can be such an enjoyable experience as you prepare for your baby’s arrival.
It's no secret that babies grow and change in the blink of an eye. So is it worth making things that will only be used briefly?
My answer is, yes!
It's a nice way to relax, do something you enjoy, and connect with your baby. Plus, you can choose to make things that will last through your baby’s first year - and even beyond. This article is about such “long lasting” projects.
My favourite DIY projects for a newborn baby fit into one or more of these three categories:
Do you sew, felt, or knit? Perhaps, you make your own soaps or home cleaners? Here are 10 simple, practical, and beautiful DIY projects you can make for your baby. I hope you give a few of them a try.
Little hooded towels are great for keeping babies cozy after a bath. But have you seen those handy apron-like towels that allow you to wrap your baby right on your chest, safely using both hands?
Have you heard that young babies see contrasting colours best? Although this is true, don’t feel like you have to stick to a black-and-white or a bright primary colour palette. Your baby’s vision will improve very rapidly:
- By 2 months she will be able to scan her surroundings thoroughly, and
- By 6 months she will see as well as an adult 1,2.
Have fun choosing any colour combinations you like!
This DIY fabric basket (tutorial coming soon) is simple, soft, and fits beautifully into any nursery décor. You can use it to store baby essentials like diapers, wipes, lotions, or tiny socks. Later, it can become a toy basket in your baby’s play space: no firm edges to fall on.
If you are a confident seamstress, you will enjoy sewing a Baby Nest (also called a baby lounger):
The Nest is a clean and cozy space for supervised play, tummy time, diaper changes, and rest. Use the Baby Nest at home or bring it along on all of your adventures!
(The Nest should not, however, be used for sleep (see AAP recommendations). In addition, it should never be placed on soft, uneven, or elevated surfaces.)
We used our Nest every day in the first 4 months. I found the Nest particularly helpful for visually defining “baby’s space” for older siblings.
Homemade wipes are much more affordable, better for your baby’s fresh skin, and kinder to the environment. Here is a tutorial for cloth wipes and wipe solution.
If you plan on breastfeeding, make your own washable breast pads. They will be more comfortable and discrete that the single-use ones you can buy in stores.
Babies like exploring different textures and small details. A sensory toy like a taggie blanket made out of fabric and securely sewn-in ribbons make nice alternatives to store-bought plastic toys.
A keepsake or memory box is a small box for keeping special memories about your baby’s birth and the first year. Buy or make the box now and begin adding some of the items, like ultrasound pictures or a letter to your baby. Continue adding items after your baby arrives (things to include in a keepsake box for baby).
Baby’s first clothes will likely be worn only for a few hours. Are they worth making? I think so. They are the very first things your baby will wear; they will feature in precious first photos; and they can be saved in a keepsake box later.
Make a sleeper, a hat, no-scratch mittens, or a headband. Consider making both “Newborn” and “0-3 m” sizes, even if your doctor has given you a good estimate of your baby’s size. Sometimes babies surprise us with their weight or length at birth!
So, what are you going to make?
1. Slater A. (2002) Visual perception in the newborn infant: Issues and debates. Intellectica 34:57-76
2. Maurer D, Lewis TL. (1979) A physiological explanation of infants' early visual development. Canadian Journal of Psychology 33(4):232-52
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