Tips for getting baby to sleep
As a mother of two and a newborn photographer for 10+ years, I have picked up a few tips to get baby into a deep sleep. When I had my last baby, who is 10 mths now, I realized that these tips can be applied to your own baby when you are looking to get a few hours of sleep yourself.
- Wear them out
This is most important. I STRONLY recommend keeping baby awake for 2 hours before your session. To do this, undress your baby. The cool air on their skin will surely wake them up. Give them a baby. Use a cool baby wipe to rub across their face (I learned this from an awesome client). 2 hours is key. 1 hour isn’t long enough and 3 hours will make them overly tired.
2. Make sure baby has a full stomach
I always ask parents to feed baby immediately before leaving for their session. This was the baby is worn out from being awake for 2 hours, not hungry, snug and warm and toasty…..Make sure to burp baby. Gas makes them fussy. Don’t worry about waking them up after a feeding. They will crash back out.
- Keep baby warm and cozy
Your baby just spent 9 months at a toasty 98 degrees. When I shoot a newborn session, I keep the room a toasty 85 degrees so baby is warm and comfortable during the session. When they are just born they can’t regulate their body temperature and rely on mom and dad for help. Many parents think their babies are hot because they are hot. That is not the case. Generally, they need one more layer than we do. Even in the summer, if I am inside I keep baby in light wrap. Aden and Anais are awesome for this.
- Wrap baby up!
If I have a baby that won’t sleep right away, the first thing I do is wrap them up…..tight. Just like a little papoose. Arms are snug against their bodies so they feel secure. Again, they just left your womb which is pretty snug. Any thing you can do to recreate this is soothing to baby. Some people say oh my baby doesn’t like to be swaddled. Every single baby I have ever photographed loved being swaddled if it is done right.
- Get a noise machine
In the womb, babies hear muffled sounds like you hear when you are under water. There are lots of great apps you can get on your phone or a plane ole’ noise machine. I like ones that sound like the ocean. Don’t be afraid to put it close to the baby. I keep mine directly by babies head during posing.
- Rock and sway
Babies love to be rocked. If you ever paid attention when you were pregnant, babies are very active when you are STILL. Even in the womb, the rocking and swaying of you walking lulls them to sleep. Hold baby with his bottom towards your chest and his head in front of you in your hands. That way his check isn’t rubbing against you and he won’t start to root and want to eat.
- Turn baby towards light
The very last thing I do once baby is tired, full, warm, cozy, wrapped and I am swaying back and forth….I stand by a window so his eyes hit the light. This makes him close them and there is no turning back. At this point baby will sleep through the entire session and then some. Some moms have told me baby slept most of the afternoon too after feeding.
- Keep calm
Babies are completely aware of your feelings and emotions. If you become stressed baby will sense it and will become stressed as well.
That’s it! Start at step one and work your way to a sleepy baby.
Hope you find these tips helpful!!