What happens if my newborn doesn’t sleep through the shoot?

We all know newborn babies sleep all day and are up partying – I mean feeding all night, so there usually isn’t any worry with them not sleeping through their newborn photo shoot.

But as you also know little ones are so unpredictable and rightly so, they have just entered a whole new environment from the one they have known for the past 9 months.

Awake newborn photoshoot

I’ve only ever had one tiny little bundle that did not sleep for 3 hours and 30 minutes!

This is really rare, but it can happen, so let me put your mind at ease.

This particular shoot I managed to get a beautiful gallery.  She clearly didn’t want to miss out on all the fun, so we gently established a nice routine. When she was a little unsettled, mum breastfed/cuddled and then straight into pose. I literally had minutes between each pose before we repeated the calming process again.

This may not work for other newborns, so I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve to help them fall to sleep.

Best time to photograph newborns

We ideally like to photograph newborns between 5 and 16 days old, as this is a really sleepy stage.

Before coming to the shoot, I’d recommend trying to keep your little one awake for a while with some nice tummy time or a nice cosy bath, something you know is that keeps them interacted and calm.

If it’s within your routine or baby shows signs of needing a feed, I would do so before setting off or on arrival in the studio. We all know a full baby is a happy and sleepy baby. If you feed beforehand, a little top-up just before we start is always a great idea.

I would dress your baby in easy removable clothing, so we do not disturb if they do happen to be asleep on arrival.

If you know a dummy or a comfort blankets helps, bring this along as it can be used in between poses to create a nice calm routine.

If they are still wide-eyed and ready to take it all in, undressing and wrapping in a nice cosy blanket will help to settle them.

We can create some beautiful natural awake shots, and it can also be a great opportunity to capture some sibling/parent shots or using some props that allow your baby to be warm and snug.

If all the above has been tried and your little one still doesn’t feel like sleeping, I always reassure parents not to worry. I want you to be relaxed and not worrying that we won’t get the perfect shots because we will.

Babies do give in after a while, with the right room temperature set to recreate the feeling of being in the womb, a full tummy, some cuddles and white noise/shusher app will almost always settle them off to sleep.

We are then able to do some poses with baby asleep, for example: lying on their tummy, on the bean bag, on the little bed with chin on hands, in the basket or the bucket.

Either way we can work together to create the perfect gallery, after all, looking back on these photos in years to come will be totally worth it.

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