‘I’m a new mum and this is all very new to me! How do you get my baby to sleep through a whole session?’
As a newborn photographer, a lot of my job is getting your baby to sleep and keeping them that way! As I’ve trained and practised, I’ve picked up some fantastic tips on how to get babies to sleep and keep them asleep. Now I’m going to share them with you.
I had a family in my studio today to view their gallery of images. As the photographs flashed up on the screen of their beautiful baby asleep in lots of different outfits, different poses, cuddling teddy bears, wrapped up, naked…. etc. etc. Grandma asks “did baby sleep the whole way through all of this?!” And the answer was ‘Yes!’ well…. most of the it…
I’m a baby-led photographer and my sessions always allow plenty of time for baby to feed, be cuddled and just generally be a baby. But I also have lots of tricks and techniques to get baby to sleep and keep them that way. You might find this list helpful as a guide of what to expect at your newborn session or you may also find the tips helpful for you to use at home!
Number 1: Wrap!
Babies love to be wrapped. I always begin my session with baby wrapped up and upright in the ‘potato sack’ pose. This is because they are wrapped up tight, snug as a bug with their legs folded right up onto their tummy and their hands up by their face. They are warm and secure just like in their mummy’s womb. Also, the upright position of the pose releases any trapped wind that may be lurking and that’s why this pose gets the most smiles!
Number 2: White noise
I use an app on my phone (on aeroplane mode) called ‘sleepy sounds’. It plays natural sounds such as rainfall which was my little boys favourite as a baby. Babies love white noise as it’s similar to being in the womb again.
Number 3: Shushing
When in their mummy’s tummy, baby would hear the wooshing noises of mum’s intestines and organs all around it and it would be loud enough to drown out all other noise. That’s why baby’s like to be shushed! It has to be quite loud as they can often still have a little fluid in their ears. They love this noise so much! Some photographers like to use a piece of equipment called a ‘shusher’ which is available from Amazon; I prefer to shush myself as I feel I can vary the sound more and have more control over it so baby doesn’t get sick of it or allow it to blend into the background.
Number 4: Rocking
I have a trademark rock which is like a figure of 8 hip swing. Standing with baby, holding them tight to my chest and shushing them whilst rocking is a sure-fire way of getting even a restless baba off to the land of nod. If this doesn’t work, baby is probably too hungry to sleep. Even when I’m getting baby off to sleep in a prop or on the beanbag in a pose, a little rock goes a long way.
Number 5: Tapping
Babies love a bum tap! When they are curled up in the womb, their bum is the closest thing to mum’s heart and a bum tap replicates mum’s heartbeat and relaxes them instantly. If baby doesn’t like a tap, then a rock or stroke will do it.
Number 6: Stroking their face
Sometimes all baby needs is to lie still, be shushed and have a little face stroke. Stroking down the forehead to the nose works the best as it makes them close their eyes and drift off to sleep. Usually I’ll give a couple of stroked then hold my hand over baby’s eyes. Works a treat!
Number 7: Feeling secure
Above all else, baby has to feel secure before they will relax into sleep. That’s why they panic when they are stripped off and their body jerks open with arms stretched out. It’s just natural protection instinct. To stop this, they must feel secure. Therefore, when I’m wrapping or undressing baby, I’ll always try to keep 3 points of contact. As soon as their arms and legs are secure they will begin to relax more.
I hope you’ve found this little insight helpful! If you have, please give it a like and a share, I’d be so grateful.