Plan your baby’s birthday party like a pro!

Congratulations! It’s your baby’s birthday and definitely a reason to celebrate. While this may be an exciting time, planning a birthday party can be stressful.

But it doesn’t have to be. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

Where should I have it?
Home is where your baby is most comfortable, and it’s the most cost-effective option. However, if home is not an option, consider requesting permission from your local church hall or community centre.

Decide upfront how big you want the party to be – don’t feel pressured into spending too much money. At this age, a small affair can still be wonderful. Keep costs down by not sending traditional paper invitations but instead create your own digital invite that you can send via WhatsApp. If you have a smartphone, install a birthday invitation app from your phone’s play store, like this one or here’s another example. The most important details in the invitation are the date of the party, the address and what time the party will start (and end if you want).

What time is best?
The party should be based around your child’s routine – the time of the day where they will be calm and comfortable, which is generally after their first nap and after they’ve eaten. Ensure that baby is fed just enough before the party so that they can be rested, slightly full and in a good mood to party.

Choosing the theme and decor
While having a theme might not make much difference to your baby, it will delight the adults and older children. Not sure which theme to choose? Consider the following:

  • Cartoon character: Choose a character your baby is familiar with, like Mickey or Minnie Mouse, Barney or Winnie the Pooh.
  • Go for something simple and easy, like a rainbow, story book, space, construction or princess party theme.


You can source relatively inexpensive party decor like banners, paper plates, bunting and party hats from a supermarket or party store, but if you’d like to keep the costs down, print out the characters or theme elements from the internet, and create your own banners and bunting at home. Go the extra mile and create a DIY oversized birthday frame using carboard, covered with wrapping paper and decorated with your baby’s name or pictures. Use this frame as mobile party photo booth and snap pics of all your guests in the frame.

Birthday party activities
What’s a birthday party without fun and games? Set aside a safe play area space for baby and little guests where they will be able to play and keep busy.

  • Lay out toys such as building blocks, balls, soft toys and other appropriate playthings.
  • Schedule in some activities for all the children to take part in, like a game of bust the bubble or unwrap the parcel. Bubble mixture is cheap and effective and will keep kids of all ages busy and entertained.
  • Play your baby’s favourite songs so that they will recognise the tunes and have fun – this will create a great opportunity for you to take some cute pictures and videos.
  • Although this is not a must, you could make some calls to find out whether hiring a jumping castle or other party sets is within your budget. You might be pleasantly surprised.

The menu
Some babies might be fussy eaters but thankfully there are a few favourites that will be enjoyed by all. Remember that some little guests may have teeth but some may not, so include options for both. Avoid hard sweets, marshmallows or other choking hazards.

Prepare a mix of healthy, delicious snacks that babies can hold on their own, like:

  • Assortedseasonal fruits cut into pieces.
  • Cocktail sausages or viennas cut in bite-sized pieces, fish fingers and chicken nuggets are all great options.
  • Boil some eggs and then mash them up with a mild sauce like tomato sauce or thousand islands sauce and spread this on crackers. For a sweet version, mash up some bananas for the crackers.
  • For drinks, lay out a few options such fruit juice (dilute it so that it’s not too sugary for the babies), drinking yoghurt, homemade iced tea and don’t forget about jugs of water!
  • For birthday treats, include chips (babies love Flings) and iced Marie biscuits.
  • For the cake, consider buying/making one medium-sized cake and surround it with lots of cupcakes. This way you will be able to hand out all the cupcakes to your little guests so that they can eat them on their own and take home whatever’s left.


Birthday cake 1st party

For the adults, choose foods they can help themselves to – you want to be able to focus as much time on your child as you can. Lay out some easy-to-prepare finger foods such as boerewors rolls, meatballs, home-made sticky wings, and assorted salads like potato or spicy macaroni. You may also opt for hosting a braai complete with all your favourite salads.

How to dress baby
There’s no better excuse for baby to dress up in their best outfit than on their first birthday! Get some inspiration for little girls here. Dress little boys up in formal but cute shirts buttoned all the way up, paired with casual jeans. Add suspenders for a touch of personality.

For more ideas, take a look at the pretty special occasion wear in the latest Ackermans Baby Magazine.

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Images: Getty | Gallo