Baby Whisperer // pro tips from a newborn photographer
So many moms ask me about the magic I use to get their little ones to sleep. And I get it. When I was a new mom I would have killed for some of the tips and tricks that I have learned over the years. I was definitely NOT a baby whisperer when I started out! It has taken lots of practice, and lots of tears (both babies and my own) to find a few time-tested ways to soothe, calm, and get babies to sleep.
So here’s my gift to you moms. A few of my secrets to (hopefully) help you on your journey. Every baby is different, so just remember, don’t give up! You will find the things that your babe likes the best.
- Breathe. This seems obvious – but have you ever noticed how when you are tense you hold your breath? You do. Notice it. This I’ve learned from my yoga teachings, but it’s fundamental. Your body can’t relax when you’re holding your breath – so let it out. And then let in a big gulp of fresh oxygen. Flood your blood with that and feel your whole body loosen up. Your baby knows when you’re tense – and it makes them tense. I know the crying can make you crazy – but sometimes you just need to take a big deep breath. PS – physiologically there is some crazy amazing stuff that happens to your body and your brain when you take full slow breaths. Just give it a try!
- Babies need to eat. I know nursing can be brutal. BELIEVE me, I know. I used to want to cry every time I needed to feed my first born because it was so freaking hard and painful. I promise it gets easier – but you know what – there is no shame in feeding your baby however you need to feed them. But 9 times out of 10 – when they cry, it’s because they want to eat. Or suck. Which leads us into point #3
- Paci! Babies calm themselves by sucking. Even if they’re not eating – they will use you as a human pacifier. So… if you would like to take a shower/nap/eat a sandwich without a baby attached to your boob – maybe give those little paci’s a try. I promise – they will not destroy your babies ability to eat. I PROMISE. Baby has the hiccups? Paci will help those go away too!
- Speaking of eating sandwiches… momma – you gotta eat. Your body will stop producing milk if you aren’t intaking enough calories and staying hydrated. (This is why I always have snacks for moms at the studio!!) And yes – this happened to me with my first, and again with my second during a hot summer when I wasn’t staying hydrated! Voice of experience here…
- Keep it Hot. When you walk into my studio for a newborn shoot it’s like a sauna. Crank up that heat guys! Babies wanna be warm! although do be careful that if you are cranking your heat your not bundling them too. Warm temps are great when they are just in their diaper or a onesie, but they can get overheated if you have them bundled AND your heat cranked. I always pre-heat by space with a heating pad, so that I’m not popping baby onto a cold space with bare skin! Just remember – do NOT leave them on a heating pad or touching it – as it can burn their delicate skin!
- Vibration. Moms figure out pretty quickly that babies love to be jiggled. We bounce our feet when we hold them – or we rock in a rocker. But it gets exhausting! There are some amazing products that do the jiggle for you. Be it an actual bouncy chair or swing – you can also find battery operated gadgets from Amazon (my go to shopping site as a new mom) like my lulla-vibe that can be used anywhere. They’re fantastic!
- Sound. My babes never sleep in silence. We either have a white noise app of some type or an actual fan/heater blowing for noise
- Swaddle! Whenever I have a fussy or uncomfortable baby that doesn’t want to sleep I find that a nice snug wrap tends to do the trick. The tighter the better! Remember – they were all cramped and stuffed in your uterus for 9 months. They aren’t used to having space around them!
- The limp limb test. Your baby is asleep, right? And you try to move (because your entire body has fallen asleep from holding them in some crazy awkward position) and immediately they wake. Crap! Back to square one… Use the limp limb test to see if they are truly deep enough in their sleep to move. Simply lift and arm or leg slightly and let it go. If it falls without resistance, they are ready to be moved!
And if you just need a break – bring your baby to me! Moms always get to relax while I shoot – so you can count on a few hours off, with a break here and there to feed baby, of course. I’ll even change your babies diapers. I know you need a break ladies.
And remember to schedule your newborn sessions early though, because the studio fills up! I always recommend coming in for a consult a few months before your due date – to chat about colors, props and ideas!