Congratulations, you’ve nearly made it through your baby’s first year and now it’s time to celebrate!  We’ve put together a first birthday party checklist to help you plan a successful party.

Schedule the Party for After Naptime.

At 12 months, many babies are still taking two naps a day.  Plan your party for just after a nap (probably late morning or mid-afternoon) so your baby will be well-rested and ready to party!

Keep it Short.

Chances are some of your guests are also working around their children’s nap schedules, so for the happiness of all involved, keep a first birthday party short—perhaps one to two hours.

Decorate with Mylar Balloons.FirstBirthdayBoy

They cost a little more than latex balloons, but with their fun designs and shapes, they make a much bigger impact.  Also, they’re less likely to pop and become a choking hazard for toddlers who put everything in their mouths.

Have Two Sets of Snacks.

Have one table for baby-friendly foods (e.g., Goldfish crackers, yogurt melts) and another for adult-pleasing snacks.  Most grown-ups will be much happier enjoying brie on crackers than squeezing pouches of applesauce into their mouths.

Clean the High Chair.

High chairs can get super grimy.  Since your baby will probably be sitting in it while all of your friends and relatives take photos, give it a good wipe down before the party.

Make or Buy Baby a Small Cake to Smash.

A cupcake works great.  If this is your first child, whip up a batch of applesauce-sweetened gluten-free oatmeal muffins frosted with plain Greek yogurt.  If not, pick up a cupcake from the grocery store with three inches of green icing on top.

Designate a Photographer.FirstBirthdayGirl

Ask a friend or relative to take pictures of the party so that you can be in them—especially the happy birthday singing, cake smashing bit. 

Limit Gifts.

One year olds don’t need many toys—they’re usually perfectly satisfied with a cabinet full of Tupperware.  If you’re trying to avoid the onslaught of toy clutter that comes with children’s birthdays, ask guests not to bring gifts, or request that they bring Baby a book.

Plan Activities for Older Kids.

If older kids will be coming to your party, have some simple activities ready for them.  Hide things in the yard and make a scavenger hunt, or set up a craft station. 

Whether you’re having a small family party at home or a big blowout at a party venue, we hope these tips help you throw a first birthday party everyone enjoys.  Happy birthday, Baby!