03/27/2014 08:07 EDT | Updated 05/27/2014 05:59 EDT

Ten Things You Should Do Before Your Baby Turns One

There is a laundry list of things that you need to do for and with your baby in his or her first year of life, and it even includes a lot of actual laundry. But the first year does not have to be just doctor appointments, midnight feedings and diaper changes. It should be a time for you to get to know your little one and discover the joys of being a parent.

Try not to feel overwhelmed by all that there is to do with your little one. Instead try to fit one or two fun activities in each week; test them out and see what works best for you!

Join A Post-Natal Exercise Class

Get your self back into post-baby shape while spending some quality time with your new baby. The possibilities are endless: yoga, Pilates, boot camp and aqua-fitness are just a few of the great options available to new mommies. Check out your local community centre as well as specialty gyms that cater to the pre- and post-natal crowd.

Go To The Movies

It may seem like one of the most off-limits places when you have a possibly crying baby, but most major Canadian cities offer movies for moms during the week. You won't feel like you are missing out on all the new releases and the lower volume and dimmed lights are set to make the movies a baby friendly environment. Check with your local theatre's schedule to see what is offered in your city.

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Go To The Zoo

... or a petting zoo or a farm or even a pet shop! Find a place that will allow you to introduce your baby to animals and open up a whole new world of fun to them. They may be a bit young to really enjoy the experience of walking around a zoo, but the excitement and delight of seeing a baby goat or a few bunnies will be well worth the trip.

Find A Good Babysitter

Your first year of being a parent is undoubtedly hectic and it is important to take time for you and your partner. This means finding someone you can rely on to watch over your baby on date night. Take the time to find someone who is trustworthy and responsible and build a relationship with them. A good babysitter is a great asset for all new moms and dads.

Take Photos And Videos

Your little one is going to be changing every day. So be sure to take as many photos and videos as you can to ensure you don't miss a single moment of their journey. Even things you may not think you will miss (their cry, perhaps?) are worth documenting, for nostalgia's sake!

Go For A Swim

At around six months old, community pools will begin to offer parent and tot swimming "lessons" that give you and your little one a chance to learn a few swimming basics. It is a great way to introduce your baby to water early on and also gives you a chance to mingle with other new parents. Not interested in lessons? Just drop in for a fun swim and enjoy splashing around, as your baby discovers something new and exciting.


It could be Hawaii, or it could be a weekend up north, but before your baby turns one, travel with him or her. It may seem like a tough task that will require a lot of work, but it is only going to get more complicated as your baby grows. So prepare yourself by getting out there as soon as possible; not only will it be easier for your but it will help acclimatize baby too.

Story Time

We all know that reading to your child is beneficial and can help to develop their language skills. Some people even read out loud each night during their pregnancy. Story time should be a daily activity, but make it a little more special by heading to the library or your local bookstore. Most libraries and bookstores have great Children's sections with comfy couches and lots of fun, colourful books to choose from.

Join A Playgroup

Before six months, your baby hasn't had too much interaction with other infants. Use a playgroup to get your baby interacting with other babies, while also giving yourself a chance to socialize with other parents. A playgroup will allow you to swap stories and share advice about parenting and give you a great excuse to get out of the house with your little one.

Baby Book Or Memory Box

You are going to want to remember this time for the rest of your life. And you are going to want to be able to look back on all the wonderful moments with your child when they grow up. Whether it is a traditional baby book, full of pictures and hand-written tidbits or a memory box, stuffed with their first soother, a tiny hat and baby shoes, putting together a memento of your child's first year of life is a great idea.

Amidst the smelly diapers, chaotic bath times and all the other responsibilities that come with being a new parent, remember to carve out some time to enjoy the wonders of your growing baby and just have a bit of fun!

Written by Marianne Litman

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