Parents usually ask me about my secret, how i can make a baby sleep. I have some tricks that i use during my newborn sessions, but it is also worth being aware of really important things,that can help you a lot. Here are my top tips:
Swaddling during your newborn photography session will help the baby not only feel comfortable but helps to hold the pose as well. If the baby is unsettled and awake at the beginning of the session, I usually start with wrapped poses. It allows me to have a couple of pictures for my gallery and it makes babies asleep, so I can easily move on the unwrapped poses.
Any light, repetitive movement
Move baby to a crib without waking them:
—Watch their eyes. If your baby’s eyes are darting under their lids, they’re in deep sleep. Wait until their muscles are relaxed and they’re breathing deeply. Then administer the floppy-arm test: Lift up an arm and drop it. If baby doesn’t stir, you’re good to go.
—As you ever so gentyl lay them in the crib, keep one hand on their back and the other on their tummy. That continued pressure will ease the transition. If they startle, try patting their belly before you slink away.
—Try to maintain whatever position they’re in as you pick them up and put them down. Lay your baby flat (not head first) into the crib. Use a step-stool if you need the extra lift.
The same applies to my photo sessions. Once the baby is asleep, every transition to new pose has to be done very gently. Especially when the baby is naked, I make sure that I cover them till the last minute, hold my hand on their back to feel secure. Some of the poses are highly requested by parents, like bump up or froggy pose. Unfortunately, not all of the babies are comfortable with specific poses. We always try to go through several numbers of set ups to be able to provide a wide choice of images for your gallery.
Stick to early bedtime
When considering how to put a baby to sleep, timing is just as important as a routine. At around 8 weeks, babies have a rise in melatonin, a drowsy-making hormone the body releases when it’s time for sleep, which means they’re ready for an early bedtime consistent with the sun setting. If you keep them up late instead, they become overstimulated and harder to put down. Melatonin levels rise somewhere around sundown, but given that sundown can be anytime from 4:30 in winter to 8:30 in summer, stick to the clock and put your baby down around 6:30 or 7 p.m. for the most success. If the sun is still up, close the shades.
The best time to do the newborn session is in the early hours. We normally start at 8-9am, which we experienced the best period of the day for doing the newborn sessions. I understand it is not easy to get ready early and some mums would prefer to come by midday, but trust my expertise, morning hours are the best to work with your baby.
Change your baby’s diaper before the night time
Unless your baby has pooped or soaked through their diaper, you probably don’t want to change them at all in the middle of the night, to keep them in that sleepy state—especially if they’re only waking to feed. At the beginning of my session we leave the nappy on the baby, that I only remove for the beanbag images. If any accident happens, that is totally normal, I am always prepared to change the whole background. Every props I use is being washed after the session.
If you put your baby in the crib when they’re already asleep and they wake up in the night, which all humans do, they won’t recognize their surroundings and will need your help getting back to sleep. Try to put your baby down drowsy but awake. This will help them learn to self-soothe and fall asleep—and, more importantly, fall back to sleep—on their own. Feeding before and during my newborn session is another import thing, that we have to talk about. Even if you are breast feeding your baby, I recommend you to bring a bottle, which fills them up faster. You have more control of the amount of milk, that your baby is actually having.
Dimming the lights
When you get up for a night time feed, don’t turn on the bright lights. Buy an LED push night light that operates on batteries (so you can put it wherever you need it) and turns on with a quick touch. In our studio we also have roller blinds, which allows me to control the light, try to help the newborn to fall aspleep easier.
Create the best temperature
Put a hot water bottle in the bassinet or crib, which will warm it up and can sometimes make the transfer from your arms to bed a little easier. (Don’t forget to remove the hot water bottle before the baby is in!) Playing soft music or tranquil sounds from a white noise machine or app. I am using a baby shusher, which I found the best to make the babies asleep. We have a high temperature in our studio, usually 24 C degree. The comfort of your baby is the most important, this environment helps them to feel really cosy. It is advisable to wear more layer of clothes, that you can take off. Enjoy this period of the day, when you can lie down. I always encourage the parents to have a nap or even a sleep during my photo session. Your baby is in good hands with me.
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