Part of my job as a newborn photographer is ensuring a baby stays asleep during their photo session. Babies are best photographed sleeping because they don’t have the startle reflex that often happens while babies are awake.
So, how do you soothe a crying baby? How do you get an awake baby to fall asleep? I use several methods actually! Most of them line up with the 5 S’s if you’ve heard of Dr. Harvey Karp.
I always keep my studio cozy warm. Newborns have been used to living inside a 98.7 degree womb, so the heat feels just about right to them.
The first thing I do in the studio for a fussy baby is swaddle them. I wrap baby’s arms with a stretchy knit blanket and fold baby’s legs against my stomach as I hold underneath their head. This creates a womb-like experience as their arms and legs are only able to move minimally.
The second thing I do a start a gentle bounce and sway in this position. Babies are used to being inside the womb where they are constantly moving around with their mother. The bouncing and swaying is a soothing feeling to babies.
Along with a warm studio, I also keep white noise going. Babies have been hearing the world through a sound barrier, so noises would sound extra loud to them. The white noise also mimics the sound of a heart beat.
The last thing I do is use a pacifier. Sometimes babies don’t have a strong rooting reflex. But, if they do a pacifier will help calm them down.
Once a baby is completely soothed, usually sleep comes quickly! And then they are in the perfect mood to be photographed. 🙂
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