5 Tips for Soothing your Newborn baby
Being a newborn photographer for many years, I’ve photographed hundreds of Hampshire’s newest residents. Throughout this time I have learned several techniques to soothe and calm babies to help them fall into a nice deep sleep which allows me to pose them. You are in safe hands with my tips on how to get your newborn baby to sleep.
It’s normal for newborns to cry, it’s their way of telling us that they are hungry or cold or need to be changed. The key to having a successful newborn photography session is being able to calm babies quickly when they get upset.
The 5 S’s tips for soothing newborn babies during photography shoots
Babies like to feel secure and swaddling helps to recreate the feeling of being inside the womb. Swaddling keeps the baby from flailing their arms around and upsetting themselves even more. I will generally wrap babies at some point during their session. Wrapping babies is much more than making a pretty feature in an image, it’s a key tool to helping babies settle and fall into a nice sleep. This is how to get your newborn baby to sleep in the quickest way possible.
I love to use the swaddle up for my kids, CLICK HERE to check it out
2. Side or Stomach pose
For parents at home laying babies on their back is the only safe position for sleeping but for soothing babies, it can be the worst. I find that babies are most relaxed in the stomach pose or bum-up pose as newborn photographers refer to it. During a session, I will often maximize this pose by using different props on the baby because they are most calm in this position. At home, you can try laying your baby on her stomach across your shoulder (in the burping position) to help soothe her before putting her down.
How to get your newborn baby to sleep: shush them! Babies don’t need complete silence to fall asleep, you shouldn’t tiptoe around your baby. When they are in the womb the sound of blood flow is louder than a vacuum cleaner so babies will be used to this noise. During my sessions, I use a white noise machine that plays a rhythmical shushing sound which activates babies’ calming reflexes. You can buy other white noise machines that will play sounds similar to womb noises which also work well.
To save you from shushing all night, use a white noise machine like THE BABY SHUSHER.
Your baby is used to being jiggled around in the womb so this is another great technique to help soothe them. It’s why babies always fall asleep in the car. Once the baby is fed I gently rock them in my arms to help them relax and drift off to sleep. If I have a fussy baby who starts to wriggle mid-pose, I use fast, tiny motions to rock them back and forth gently to simulate the jiggly womb feeling. Supporting the baby’s head and neck with one hand, I can use my other hand to gently jiggle their bottom to help relax them again. Patting your baby’s bottom also helps. *For safety, never, ever shake your baby*
The technique that often works the fastest after swaddling is sucking. Babies suck because it provides them with a feeling of comfort and reassurance. Doctors refer to breastfeeding and bottle feeding as nutritive sucking and call pacifier use non-nutritive sucking (as it provides no nutrition). Non-nutritive sucking (using a dummy/pacifier) helps lower the heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. Some parents are against the use of a pacifier however for the short few minutes that it is used during a session it will not cause any nipple confusion.
Putting tips for soothing newborn babies during photography shoots into practice
The more you practice using the 5 S’s tips for soothing newborn babies during photography shoots at home you will find that there may be a particular combination of techniques that your baby responds to best. Some babies love the sound and will respond well to the shushing or white noise, with other babies you might find that the gentle swinging activates the calming reflex.
I hope this blog has been helpful to you and I’d love to hear about which techniques work for you.