“Can we call you at 2am to come and do this when we can’t get her to go back to sleep?” – Every Newborn Client Ever.
I get this line at almost every newborn session and it always makes me laugh! Today I’m going to share with you some of the tips and tricks that have helped me earn my Baby Whisperer status. These tips may help you better understand what you’re seeing from me during your session, as well as give you some ideas to help you during those 2am feeding parties.
Think of this time in your newborn’s life as the 4th trimester. Anything that we can do to help mimic the movement, noise, and feeling of the womb will be comforting to your little one, who has only been out in the world for a short time. Creating a “womb-like” environment for your baby is key to success in my newborn photo sessions and can be very helpful for you at home as well.
The 5 S’s of Baby Soothing
If you’ve ever read the book The Happiest Baby On The Block then you know about the 5 S’s of baby soothing:
Let’s break those down a little bit more
Swaddle: Your baby just spent the better part of 9 months in a very confined space. Now they’re out in the world with very little control over their tiny limbs. Newborns startle easily and that can be a scary thing for them. Swaddling helps keeps their arms and legs secure and relaxed.
Side or Stomach Position: Newborns feel more content on their side or tummy. Positioning baby on their side or tummy while in your arms or lap, or on their tummy over your shoulder will help them relax. Remember, this is technique is only used for soothing. When it comes to sleep at home, baby should always be on their back.
Shushing: In the womb, your baby heard noise constantly… blood rushing, food digesting, muffled sounds from outside of your body. Mimicking those sounds will help them feel right at “home.” During your session, you will see me use a Baby Shusher and occasionally make shushing sounds into baby’s ear to help them settle.
Swinging: Surely you’ve noticed that your baby sleeps well most of the day and then parties hard at night, right? While you were pregnant you were on your feet quite a bit during the day, and all of that walking and moving around helped rock your baby to sleep without you even knowing it. I’ll be willing to bet that once you got home and got comfortable on the couch or in bed, the dance party in your belly started! Movement and swinging (more than just a slow rock) is a helpful trick to help calm a fussy baby.
Sucking: Sucking is a natural reflex for newborns and is very calming. I encourage all Moms to consider bringing a pacifier, but I will certainly respect your wishes if you have chosen not to give one to your baby. I am fully stocked with Jollypop newborn-size pacifiers in the studio that you are welcome to use and take home with you.
Other Soothing Techniques That I Use In Studio
Staying calm. As trying as it can be at times, staying calm and having patience is so important. Little ones can feed off of our frustration and negative energy. You will never see me lose my cool during a session… while I have a full arsenal of tricks up my sleeve to help baby settle, I fully understand that baby is in control of the session.
Warmth. My studio is kept at roughly 80 degrees for a newborn session. While the adults in the room will certainly be “glowing,” baby will be relaxed and content even while naked. The warmth not only soothes them, but also prevents the goosebumps and veins that typically show when your skin gets cold.
Vibration. We talked about swinging, but that type of movement isn’t always possible when I’m trying to get baby into a certain pose. You may see me use a special vibrating pad made for babies to help soothe your little one during posing. I find that it’s especially helpful for gassy babies!
Forehead rubbing. Gently rubbing baby’s forehead and the bridge of their nose is another great trick to help them stop fighting and settle into dreamland.
Baby-led posing. While this isn’t exactly a settling technique, it’s certainly something worth mentioning. I go into my newborn sessions with a certain workflow in mind, but every baby is different. If your little one won’t settle into a certain pose then we will move on to something else. No pose is guaranteed and I will never, ever force a newborn into a position that they are clearly not comfortable with. Some babies love being on their tummy while others prefer to be swaddled. Whatever the case, I will be following your little one’s lead on what poses we can safely and comfortably achieve.
Give some of these techniques a try at home with your little one, and you too will be a Baby Whisperer in no time!