As a newborn photographer, I am often called the “baby whisperer” by most of my clients. I certainly didn’t feel like that as a first time parent so I thought I would share some tips on what I do at the studio that may help you out in those first couple of months.
At my Five Dock studio, I try and mimic the womb environment as much as possible during the session. My little clients are fresh out of the womb, so to help settle them, I try to create an environment they are familiar with.
1. Room temperature
The studio is always warm, a touch warmer than what most adults are comfortable with. During the cooler months I use a heater to warm up the room. Mum’s womb was always nice and toasty so giving your baby a nice warm space will help them settle.
2. White noise
There was always a lot of noise happening in mum’s womb – baby was hearing the heart beat and other various organs working. During the newborn photo shoot, I will have my app on for background noise for baby. I use “Sound Sleeper”. I like this app because it has a lot of options for noises and so you can change the sound you use as your baby grows.
During the session I like to start with the womb sound, if baby doesn’t like that I move on to the vacuum (which surprisingly settles most babies) then the last noise I like to use is the “Shhh”.
Remember your baby was in a very snug spot in mum’s womb, so some of them may feel unsettled if they feel a lot of space around them. There are a lot of swaddles in the market and each baby will respond to each type differently. Jersey swaddles are great as they are stretchy, linen swaddles give a firm wrap and if you have a wriggly baby (or you’re not confident in your skills yet) the Love to Dream swaddles are awesome because you just have to zip baby up.
The other tip about swaddles is to see how your baby likes to position their arms. Some babies like to have their arms up and some like them down close to their bodies. Go with what your baby likes and swaddle them firmly (like a baby burrito).
4. Tick off your checklist
Babies cry for a lot of reasons but there are some regulars that you can check through to see if that is the reason why they are crying. Having a mental checklist sometimes helps to alleviate the stress when handling your crying newborn.
a. Are you hungry?
Newborns feed a lot in the first couple of weeks. Whether they are on a routine or they are feeding on demand, our little people are usually hungry caterpillars at this early stage.
b. Is your nappy dirty?
Some babies hate the feeling of a dirty nappy so by changing their nappy they usually relax and are happy again.
c. Are you tired?
For me, this is still the hardest concept to grasp – overtired babies. I always just think “you just need to close your eyes kid” but our little ones are still learning. For me, I used to swaddle my little one and give him a little rock before putting him down. This can take between 5mins to an hour depending on how much he was fighting it.
The biggest tip I have on settling newborns is to relax. Yes, it is way easier to say than do but like anything, the more you practice the better you will get at it.
When we are stressed, our bodies then to tense up and if you’re holding baby they will physically feel your stress and react accordingly. Shoulders down and take a breath.
For me, when my newborn was howling, I told myself that crying was his way of communicating with me. By looking at his crying in a different light, it really helped me reduce the stress I felt when he cried and I was often able to help him get comfortable again. Our babies are little for the shortest of times, it is hard but don’t forget to enjoy the moments too. Remember those sweet, precious moments like their little hand grasping your pinky finger as they feed, and use them when things get a bit hard.
You got this mum and dad!
Keep on smiling,
Niña (aka mama with a camera)