Without a doubt, all babies’ birthdays are a celebration. It’s a time to honor that moment when your little one came into the world, and you began life as a parent. So naturally, you look forward to that date, mark it on your calendar, and count down to it. But what if that special day doesn’t appear annually on your calendar? What should you do if your baby is due on Leap year, and more importantly, what does it mean to have a Leap year baby?
By far, February 29 is one of the most elusive dates ever. Leap year day occurs once nearly every four years. The babies born on this special day are sometimes referred to as Leaplings, Leapers, or Leapsters. And apparently, it’s pretty uncommon to be born exactly on February 29. In fact, the odds are quite against you, with only 1 in 1,461 Leaplings coming into the world on that exact date. Which means that there about 5 million Leaplings in the world total, the Daily Mail reported (and only about 187,000 in the U.S.).
So how do you celebrate a Leap year baby’s birthday? Well, some parents choose to celebrate the birthday the day before, on February 28, or push it back to March 1. But sometimes, you don’t have a choice. Some states even have statutes on the books dictating which date should be used, but for states that don’t really care when you blow out the candles on your birthday cake, the default is March 1.
Which comes to the biggest question of all: how old are Leap day babies exactly? Do you count each calendar year, or do you only count Leap years? That might explain why some people consider Leap babies only one-quarter of the age that they actually are. For example, Leapling Daisy Belle Ward had her 100th birthday in 2016 — but had a party to celebrate her 25th birthday. When you think about it that way, aging is kind of good for Leapsters.
Other than that, you can have a lot of fun with your little Leaper. You can turn it into a “fours” party, since Leap year is once every four years. You might make four cakes (one big one for the birthday kid, and three smaller ones for the birthdays that they “missed”), or buy four toys. You can even go to four fun places that your child loves (think pizza, the park, the movies, and, you know, a toy store).
Leap year babies are truly in a class of their own when it comes to birthdays. So leap into the fun and festivities of this dynamic day and make it super special for your birthday child. Happy birthday, Leaplings!