How to Prep for Your Newborn Session

How to Prep for Your Newborn Session

If you're reading this, it means you and I have an appointment soon! Working with tiny babies is my favorite thing to do and I'm excited to work with yours! Session prep is actually quite simple as all things circle back to our main goal...

"A sleepy baby is a happy/poseable baby." 

The above quote is basically our new mantra! Generally, when a newborn is awake, they only want one of three things.... to eat, to poop, and to soothe. During that awake time, babies also experience other things such as the moro reflex (the sudden arm & leg startle), hiccups, and reflux just to name a few. You know what else babies usually want when they are awake? To be held.

An awake baby typically isn't too keen on being in a photography prop! A baby that is peacefully sleeping will allow us to move through our poses quickly and most of all safely. A sleepy baby will curl up in a womb-like position easily, and there is little to no tension in baby's body nor the risk of startle. Inevitably, your baby will probably wake up at some point during the session, and that's ok! I structure my sessions to allow for this awake window, and if baby is content, we take advantage of it. However, overall we truly do need the goal to be a sleepy baby. *Note* due to safety, there are some poses that I absolutely will not attempt if baby is awake. 

This wide awake sweetheart was doing her best impression of "wizard hands" and was trying her best to Wingardium Leviosa my camera out of my hands! You can see why being awake isn't always preferable ha ha!  


So how do we achieve this magical sleepiness? 

While we obviously can't force your baby to sleep if he/she doesn't want to, there are ways we can help facilitate the desire for rest!

  • Awake time prior to your session
  • A full belly 
  • A warm room

Awake Time

Try to give your baby about an hour of awake time just before you leave home. Some ways you can do this is by giving him or her a busy morning: maybe give baby a bath, do some kicking around in just a diaper for a while (no pacifier), tummy time, and play time will greatly help! I realize this isn't always possible, but any awake window is helpful. 

A Full Belly

Try to feed your baby right before leaving home. The combo of a full belly and a car ride can help lull baby into a deep sleep, allowing us to start the session as soon as you get to the studio. If you have a long drive, baby may wake up when you get to the studio. That's ok. We will take the time we need to feed baby again so we can start the session with a full belly and a content baby. 

A Warm Room

The studio will be warmer than your home. Your baby will be undressed so he/she will need the ambient air to be a little warmer than it would be if baby were clothed. I will be dressed for a warm couple hours and suggest you do too! If we are also doing family portraits, you may want to arrive in comfy clothes and change when you get here. 

Other Helpful Tips

  • Dress baby in something easy to remove such as a zippered sleeper. No onesies or over-the-head style of clothing please. If baby arrives sleeping, we want him/her to remain sleeping. Difficult to remove clothing can be counter productive. 
  • No tight socks, tight hats or headbands. Photoshop is a great tool, but it's not a magic wand. We want to avoid marks on the skin if we can help it. 
  • Bring a pacifier if you use one. Even if you think you won't need it, bring it anyway. Sometimes all I need is a 3 second distraction. If you prefer not to use one, that's ok too. 
  • If you are bottle feeding, bring plenty extra. We may need to pause for a feeding or two. 

One Last Thing!

You don't have to worry about bringing props or clothing for baby from home, I provide all the things we need for your session.

All I need from you is a sleepy baby!

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1 comment

  • Hello,
    My daughter is due April 4, 2023. We would like to book a full newborn session with you if you have any opening?
    Thank you,

    • Andrea Scott