I thought it would be fun to write a blog post on my five ways to make babies happy! I have quite a few parents who come to their newborn session and leave with a whole new perspective on how to take care of their babies. So here is my list of five!
ONE: Babies Like It Hot
I keep it at 81 degrees. Although the Houston/Katy Texas area stays very unbearably warm…we keep it at a more manageable temp indoors. I feel like I can’t handle hot Texas summers, but being in the studio for a session doesn’t bother me as much. Weird. Anyway, the warm temps puts a baby into a deep sleep. Even though my prep guide warms parents of the heat, a lot still find it pretty hot. (Good thing I keep my back room cool with the fan blowing)
TWO: Wrap Your Babies Snuggly
Most babies really don’t like to be loose with their arms out, especially right after birth. The secret tip of newborn photographers is if a baby is super unsettled…you wrap them up. A wrapped baby will go immediately to sleep…or calm down in happy bliss. Another eye opener for parents is how I wrap babies. I always talk through my processes while working. I’m like a doctor explaining steps along the way during a session. But wrapping a baby with their hands away from their face is a sure bet to get them settled down quickly.
THREE: Loud Shushing Noises
Lots of parents will try to calm their babies down by shushing. Everyone knows I absolutely love my little shushing machine to help babies settled to sleep. (You can buy yours here.) What most don’t realize, is that the sound is pretty loud. Not ear blasting or anything…but it’s not a whisper. Kind of the same way you would firmly reprimand a small child where it is forceful…but not yelling. Also, parents should shush close to the baby’s ear. It quiets them down into a quick slumber and reminds them of the sounds in the womb. If you are using your voice, try to keep your shush’s lower. Also, often I will talk to my babies in low smooth tones to calm them if they get hysterical. I usually bring them close (their cheek to my cheek) and say lovingly and low “It’s ok” over and over.
FOUR: Rock Your Babies Near A Light Source
This is a potential game changer for most parents. When I get an awake baby, I wrap them, shush them, then begin rocking them near my light source. Big tip is holding them tightly while rocking them. Try to keep them in a little ball. The swaying motion, womb tightness, and the light is a mini-hypnotic for them. The baby will try to focus on the light. And as you are methodically swaying in front of the light, the movement causes their eyes to get too tired and heavy to keep track. They eventually just give in and fall asleep.
FIVE: Pat Your Baby Firmly
Last but not least, I see so many parents who feed their babies and gently burp them…like with their finger tips. (How sweet…but no!) Yes, naturally the gas in their little bodies will come up and they will burp. However, sometimes that takes a lot of time. What I’ve often demonstrated to parents is a firmer pat. No, we are not beating a baby or anything remotely like that. But placing a broad hand over their back, putting the baby on your shoulder, or having them face downward at a 45 degree angle in your hands and providing slow firm pats will get a burp out. The two images below show a great example of the angle of how I hold babies. (This was a midwife at a birth I attended doing a check on a little guy. I don’t strip them down naked to burp them, but this is a good view of what 45 degrees looks like.)
As a bonus, clients should consider getting a baby wipes warmer. (Milk warmer too for bottle feeding mamas.) I do not like putting cold wipes on a baby’s bum. They are sure to scream, shriek, and be very upset with you if you do. And if a baby pees or poops in the middle of the pose, I leave them in it until I get the shot…as long as they are happy! But during a session, I will take my wipes and place them near my heater to keep them warm. Before I place any wipes on a babies bum I make sure it is warm…not hot, but warm. When my clients come to their session, I generally handle all diaper changes, wipes, even bottle feeding if I can.
Hopefully this sheds a little light into some of the things the parents that have come to my studio have said were useful tips and have helped them navigate their new world with baby much more successfully!
Contact me for your newborn session! www.joannaboothphotography.com