The tradition of the New Year’s baby

It’s a staple of news coverage at the start of a new year: The first baby of the year.

A lot of people hate the “first baby of the year” stories, but I kind of like them.

You never know exactly what you’re going to get with the first baby stories. The baby and the family could have any kind of back story, any kind of birth story. It’s a true grab bag — and as a result, I think it can be a true reflection of a community, too.

I’ve only drawn “first baby” duty once so far in my career and it was a nice couple with a pretty typical story. But sometimes the new baby might be born to a teen mom or to an immigrant family or maybe to a same-sex couple — all families who are in our communities, but who aren’t often reflected in news pages or newscasts.

This year, my newspaper’s reporter was assigned to write about the last baby of 2012 and the first baby of 2013 in our county. I thought including the last baby of the year was a nice twist — after all, they get the benefit of a tax deduction for their baby.

My own family celebrated a new addition with the new year. My newest niece was the last baby born at her hospital in 2012, so we had plenty to celebrate on New Year’s Eve.

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