It was a sunny May morning when I arrived at Baby Luke's home in quaint German Village. As first time parents the house was filled with an aura of both joy and some worry. Worry that they are doing right by this tiny human that has stolen their hearts overnight. I consider a lot of my job to ease parent's anxiety so they are able to stop and enjoy this fleeting time in their lives. I'm going to take you behind the scenes to show you how I create sleepy newborn photos with relaxed and loving moments with Mom & Dad. Everything I'm going to share with you can be used to keep your fussy baby happy and asleep so you can be happy and asleep.
Before I even arrive I send a preparation guide to Mom & Dad. The guide has two main things they can do to get baby nice and sleepy for when I arrive. First I ask them to keep baby up for 1-2 hours before I arrive. You can do this with stimulating baby toys that have lights and the color red. You can also give them a baby massage . (Go to the link to learn how to do properly do a baby massage and learn all the health benefits.) Secondly I ask them to feed/nurse baby right before I arrive so they have a full belly. A baby won't be ready to sleep if they are even a little hungry.
When I arrive I prepare the room we will be photographing in to make it womb like. Womb like you say? Yep, every technique I use is in some way replicating the womb, where baby was so happy and secure. Learn the Happiest Baby Method and the 5 S's HERE. I employ 3 of the five S's at every session. I use the shushing method by bringing a white noise machine and turning it on pretty loud in the room. This is the sound they will most relate to next to your voice. Then it's essential to keep the room really warm. This isn't one of the 5 S's but it's essential, especially when we want to see baby's sweet new skin and belly button. I keep the room really warm by bringing a small space heater.
Then I will take baby and swaddle them pretty really snuggle. They love to feel tight and secure like they were in the womb. You can see how to swaddle a newborn HERE. As you can see in the video, don't be deterred if they are fussy as you are swaddling them. They most often calm down once you have them wrapped up tight. If however they are still fussy I use the 4th S of Swing. My favorite way to swing them is to sit with your knees together, baby swaddled in your lap and their head in your two cupped hands. Then loosely swing your knees back and forth and let their head loosely rock back and forth in your hands. Don't hold on to their head with your hands but let it rock back and forth loosely on your gently cupped hands. This movement imitates being in the womb when Mom is walking around.
Once baby is asleep I will then gently unwrap them from the swaddle in the warm room for photos. If baby starts to wake up I will do three different things. I will use the 2nd S of Side Position by lying them on their side. The last S I will use is Suck. A pacifier or Mom's pinky finger might be needed as babies love to suck and it soothes them in-between feedings. Lastly I will gently use my finger to rub between their eyes above the bridge of their nose. This will often put a baby back to sleep. If you rub gently on their cheek while sleeping it may trigger a smile. That's how I often get those adorable little smiles in photos while their fast asleep.
Hope you love Baby Luke's photos as much as I do. I'd love to hear from you in the comments.