In the first couple of weeks your baby will just feed and sleep all the time. It is a perfect time to photograph newborn babies, before they lose their foetal-like poses. These photos are truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. The key is that baby must be asleep. Soothing baby to sleep is a skill set. Patience is also require.
Soothing Baby – Newborn sleep cycles
Newborns sleep whenever they feel like it. Honestly I am not a big believer that during baby’s first weeks parents are able to tell you which time of day their baby tends to be sleepiest to schedule a photo session. Newborns sleep in short blocks through the day and night. When newborns are awake they’re usually feeding, their playtime at this age is very short. Our newborn photography sessions last for a few hours so normally we have one or two good stretches of a deep sleep for those adorable sleepy baby photos.
Well fed babies are more likely to be pleasantly sleepy for their session. New babies need to be fed regularly in order to keep them happy, they have very small stomachs. I take breaks for mum to feed baby whenever they start to wiggle so they don’t get to the fussy stage.
Newborns are not going to sleep for us in a cold room if we want to shoot the classic naked newborn poses focusing on baby’s tiny features. I use a space heater in case I need it to be warmer in the room. The noise and warmth of a hair dryer on a low setting at a far distance from baby can also give a soothing effect.
White noise is another sleepy baby tricks which is designed to mimic their womb experience. White noise phone apps, white noise machines or just one of the youtube “Soothing Baby to Sleep” videos can be a lifesaver in keeping baby asleep.
If a baby starts to fuss or stir, I begin patting and loudly shushing shhhhh-shhhhh. Most often baby will settle back to sleep.
A gentle rocking often helps babies to sleep as they were jostled around quite vigorously in the womb. When you sway your arms back and forth, you should have a sleeping baby on your hands in no time.
Newborn babies love being swaddled. Swaddling replicates that controlled feeling they had in the womb. Swaddling can help baby fall asleep easier.
Patting is mimicking the heartbeat sensation babies would have been exposed to in the womb. Patting baby with rhythmic beats on their back or bottom helps them settle and sleep.
Being able to soothe a newborn is crucial to the success of newborn photography sessions. To see examples of newborn photography, please visit my website gallery where you can get ideas on how do I photograph newborns.
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