Newborn Photography – Ottawa’s best newborn photographer shares tips on how to sooth a baby
Many parents ask me how I am able to get their baby back to sleep so quickly during a newborn photography session. To be honest with you, I wish I had known half of what I know now back when I had my babies (who are 9 and 11 years-old now!). The truth is, it takes time and practice to get the swing of things. Just like it took me time to learn how to pose newborn babies for photos, it also takes time to adjust and get to know what works and what doesn’t for your little one. For first time parents, everything is so new and overwhelming to them. At times, it may seem that you just don’t know what you’re doing. I know that was certainly the case for me and my husband back when we had our first son. But the truth is that everything is new for baby too! They have just spent the last 9 months enjoying the warmth and cuddle of being all snuggled up in mommy’s belly and suddenly everything changed for them. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to make this transition for both of you a little easier. Here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned over the years while photographing little ones:
1) The first thing I recommend is to make sure baby is clean (diaper change), fed and comfortable. Sometimes all baby needs is to be fed or to have a clean diaper! Babies usually start turning their heads, opening their mouths and putting their hands in their mouth when they start getting hungry. Although we’re told babies usually feed about every 3 hours, every baby is different and watching for these signs will help you keep baby happy and content.
2) Swaddle. For my kids, I was convinced that they did not like being swaddled. They would cry and get their arms out and I was certain they did not want to have their arms in. But the truth is that most babies looove being swaddled. If you think about it, they had just spent the last 9 months not really being able to move in mom’s belly; at least for the last couple of months before they came out. Being swaddled gives them a sense of security and comfort. At my Ottawa studio I swaddle them quite tightly for newborn photos but I always tell parents that’s not how you want to swaddle them at home. Click here to find some instructions on how to swaddle a baby at home.
3) Make sure baby is not cold. The truth is nobody likes being cold… at the studio I keep the temperature nice and toasty since the newborn baby will be naked while I photograph him/her throughout the newborn session. For my kids, before I changed them, I would always run the wipe or cloth under hot water so that I wouldn’t startle them with a cold cloth on their warm skin. Making sure baby is not cold at my sessions always helps them sleep and be comfortable.
4) White noise. Here is a link for the white noise I use throughout my newborn photography sessions. Back when I had my boys, which really wasn’t that long ago, there was no YouTube or apps that we could use. So we resorted to the vacuum cleaner, the hair dryer and things of that nature. Nowadays there are so many ways get these white noises and they really help! These sounds help mimic the sounds that babies heard while in momma’s belly and it’s yet another technique to help sooth your baby. 🙂
5) Rocking the baby. I always tell my clients that if their baby is moving, I’m moving with them! Sometimes when they’re laying on the beanbag while I do their newborn photos, they will start moving a bit and wanting to wake up. If I just put my hand lightly on them and start moving it slightly from side to side, they usually go right back to sleep. At home, you can rock your baby, put them in a swing and even go for a car drive. Moving and rocking them lightly is a great way to put them back to sleep.
6) Giving them a soother. I know, I know… we are told not to give them soothers. And I totally agree that if your baby doesn’t need one, then you shouldn’t give it to them. However, there are some babies that really have that need to soothe by suckling. It’s their instinct. And in that case, I recommend a soother. During my newborn photo sessions, I always tell parents to bring a soother along. In case baby starts waking up while I transition them in between poses, I put the soother in their mouth and they usually go right back to sleep.
I hope the tips above can help you a bit! Please note that these are just my opinion and you should always talk to an expert in case your baby is still having a hard time settling after you try all of the tips above. I know it can be tough in the beginning to find out what works for your little one and what doesn’t but this time truly flies by and soon they will be giggling and playing with you! Enjoy this time with them and make sure you get to rest as well. Thanks for stopping by! 😀