Today we’re talking all about my favorite baby book, the very best baby book, the Childhood History from Promptly Journals. This post is not sponsored (I was gifted my first Promptly Journal years ago and have since bought a dozen between my subsequent pregnancies and gifts for friends). This post may contain affiliate links.
Promptly Journal Review: Best Baby Book
5 years ago we were moving from Ohio to Boston. We hired a moving company through a third party and the nightmare situation happened: the truck company doubled the price of our move and held our stuff hostage until we agreed to pay.
As I thought through the items sitting on that truck I was very close to telling them to keep it all. For the rate they were charging we could replace everything on there (an old crib, a used couch, boxes of plates and silverware, linens, baby toys, some of my clothes).
And then I remembered my baby books. I had considered bringing the two Promptly Journal Childhood Histories with me in the car but had packed them up with the other books in the living room and they were sitting on that truck.
We negotiated a bit and paid the driver. Mostly for those baby books.
(We then filed a complaint, a report, spent hours on the phone with a parent company, and vowed to never hire movers again.)
A few years later we have four of these beautiful linen-bound books (well, the most recent one I bought is actually a leatherette cover) and they are my most cherished physical possessions. They’ll be the first things I grab (after, of course, my children and maybe my backpack with camera gear + laptop) in the case of a fire. They’re irreplacable.
Why Promptly Journals are better:
The Promptly Childhood History does such a great job helping you capture lots of aspects you might not have considered documenting about your child – little details of their persanality that seem so unforgettable right now and that you’ll cherish having written down later.
A lot of generic baby books have spots for you to record generic memories and stats about your baby. They guide you through the first year of life and help you remember the ages your baby took their first step and what their first solid was.
Promptly Journals go a step beyond and ask questions you otherwise wouldn’t have thought to answer – things like
- “Your baby smiles when…”
- “What is your ritual/routine that you enjoy doing most with your baby?”
- “Favorite toys to play with..”
What is included in a Promptly Childhood History:
- Family Tree
- Pregnancy journal (section for each trimester)
- Infant (1st weeks, and each month)
- Sections for each year 1-18
- Letter from parents
- a few blank pages for extra memories / thoughts/ special moments
What I love about our Promptly Journals:
- I LOVE that Promptly Childhood histories go beyond the baby stage and provide a place to bottle up your child’s developing personality all the way through childhood through age 18.
- I love the mix of prompts and space to record meaningful moments + thoughts.
- I appreciate how physically well made these journals are. From the thick paper to the beautiful linen binding, these are gorgeous books I keep on our styled bookshelf in our living room.
- I really like the size and how they work well on a regular bookshelf in contrast to some larger or cheesier baby book options.
What I don’t love about our Promptly Journals:
- I don’t love how the linen can get dirty and is hard to clean. I really love the look and feel of the linen binding but opted for the leatherette this time because we use and handle our journals a lot.
- I don’t actually love the spots for pictures. I have yet to print out any pictures and include them in the book and don’t love the idea of how thick the book would get with all those extra papers inside.
How I use our Promptly Journals:
- I routinely fall behind during the first year of baby’s life and the monthly sections available for baby’s first year aren’t entirely filled out. Thats okay and I fill in things I remember when I have the time. I will also sometimes scroll through social media from that month and add in some memories of things we did after the fact.
- When the kids are little I spend time on a Sunday afternoon filling in the book by myself.
- As the kids get bigger (toddler age) I love to ask them the questions in the journal. I write their answers down in quotation marks and if my answer differs from theirs, I add that without quotation marks. For example, a toddler will often say their favorite dessert is the one we had last night, even if that was the first time they ever had pie and generally prefer the chocolate chip cookies we make together each week.
- On Mother’s Day each year, I set aside time to write annual letters to each of my kids in the blank-lined sections in their Promptly Journals. I write my feelings about being their mom, things I’ve noticed about them this year, what I love about them, and what I hope they learn/know this year.
- Sometimes I’ll ask visiting family members to contribute to the blank sections for each age. For example, my brother was visiting when I was filling out my son’s 4-year-old information and I had him write a few lines about what my brother loves about his nephew. If I had thought about it, I might also transcribe meaningful notes or cards from family members into this part of the book.
- My kids LOVE to get these down and read about when they were little. My daughter will pull hers down once a month and ask me to read it to her. They love hearing the funny anecdotes and seeing how they’ve changed (and how they’ve stayed the same) since they were younger.
Other Promptly products we love:
We have the Love Story journal which I love but we are not as diligent in filling in together. We didn’t get this one until about 7 years into marriage but I have a goal of getting better at this so we have a full book to look back on in 50 years. This also makes a beautiful wedding gift that we love to send to friends getting married (or for an engagement or first-anniversary gift).
I also have a copy of the couples connection journal and the parent/child journal which we haven’t used yet. These are great resources for intentionally connecting and I’m excited to use the parent/child journal when my kids are a bit older (and better at reading + writing).
I bought the gratitude journal for myself for Christmas and love it.
I also have the blank linen-bound notebook as a personal journal for myself. I use it as a place to reflect and emotionally process more than a place to record specific events. My one complaint about this one is it is a different size than the regular childhood histories. If it were larger I would buy a blank one to act as our family journal to keep on the shelf with our other books.
Here’s a list of what they offer right now:
- Childhood Histories (my favorite product)
- Love Story Journal (have and love)
- Autobiographical Journal
- Travel Journal
- Blank Notebook (have and love)
- Gratitude Journal (have and love)
- Adoption Journal
- Remembrance Journal
- Missionary Journal
- Birthday Memory Journal
- Christmas Memory Journal
- Connection Journals (couple, parent/child, and siblings) – love the research behind these
- Kids Journals
- Emotional Intelligence Journal
What color should you order?
I have different colors for each of my kids’ childhood histories and love that they all look good together. I intentionally picked colors that would work on a shelf in my living room. I also picked gender neutral colors because I bought these books before I knew if I was having a girl or a boy.
If you want to have the same color books for subsequent kids, there is no guarantee the colors will stick around. That said, the sand, navy, and grey have been a constant for the last 5 years. They’ll often introduce new limited edition colors in collaboration with an artist or motherhood influencer.
I have the sage, and ochre, and sand in linen and the cashew in leatherette.
Where to buy Promptly Journals:
You can order Promtply Journals directly from their site where you can see all the color options and different products available. They will also occasionally do sales or promotions (the most I have ever seen is 30% off which happens maybe twice a year).
You can also easily order their more popular products right on Amazon.
These are beautifully made and thoughtfully designed products that I can’t recommend enough. I buy them for myself. I order them for friends and family (a favorite baby shower gift if I haven’t already told the mom-to-be to order one for herself once I knew she was expecting). This was also my first purchase I made when I found out I was expecting each of my last two babies.