During newborn sessions I have parents ask me all the time, “how did you do that?” They are referring to how did I get their crying baby to fall asleep and relax. Most parents that come in for their newborn photography session have just survived another sleepless night with their newborn. Newborns take some time to adjust to their new world. And new parents are also learning to adjust to their new life as parents. I have 4 children of my own and have year of experience soothing newborns in my studio. Here are my top 3 tips to help your newborn baby sleep.
1. Fully tummy and well burped.
In the middle of the night, it is tempting to carefully set them down in their crib when they fall asleep in the middle of a feeding. Are you thinking Indiana Jones?
This a a quick solution but usually doesn’t last long. If you know your baby is due for a feeding, make sure they get a full tummy. Just a snack can lead to them waking again in another 30 minuets for more. Encourage them to get a full feeding, keeping them awake if needed. After the feeding burp them! That milk coma looks like it will last, but inevitably they will start to get restless with gas. Make sure your baby gets a good burping before you set them back in the crib. During my photos sessions, I have learned that this is really important for me to be able to have a content baby in my hands. Gas can really upset the session.
2. Swaddle The Baby
I have parents even ask me to teach them how to swaddle! They always claim their baby can escape. I even have parents come to me and say “oh they hate being swaddled” and guess what, I get them from crying to swaddled and content in no time, leaving their parents surprised. The swaddles I use in my studio are not intended for long term use. However you can get similar effect with the right kind of swaddle. Here are my top 3 recommended styles:
Muslin swaddles are large, and light weight. They don’t have much stretch to them so they can’t be as secure fit. However, I never worried about my baby getting overheated with these. The sleep sacks are quick and easy to use. You will need to get larger sizes as your baby grows. Classic stretchy swaddles are the most similar to what I use in studio. The stretch helps make the swaddle more secure.
Swaddling secret!!–Pin their arms down by their side instead of near their face to avoid escaping.
3. White Noise Machine
I remember dropping to the floor and crawling out of my newborn’s room at snail speed to avoid being detected. I would even enter that way when I needed to check on her. The number one rule in my house for a few years was “don’t wake the baby!” For my 4th baby I finally purchased a white noise machine and it made a world of difference. My older children could get ready for the day without waking her. My husband’s snoring wouldn’t startle her at midnight! In my studio I use it for every newborn session. It really does work to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. I recommend buying a machine instead of using your phone. For one, you won’t want to have to leave your phone in baby’s room. But for another reason, they are tested and proven to be safe for babies.
There you have it, my top 3 tips for helping your newborn baby (and you!) sleep!