Let’s face it – getting your baby to sleep isn’t always a walk in the park. As a newborn photographer, the importance of having a sleepy infant means the difference between a stress-free shoot and extra time for cooing. However, I’ve come up with some tricks through the years to get your newborn comfortable and sleepy enough for a trip to Snoozetown:
1) The Proper Swaddle
Wrapping your baby in their soft blanket takes a certain skill and prep, so you’ll want to get it just right. Place your blanket in a diamond shape, and put baby at the center. Fold the top triangle down and tuck beneath their head. Tuck your babies legs up to their belly and then fold the left side over your newborn, and tuck it underneath. Then, grab the bottom corner, and fold it up towards the right-top side. Finally, take the remaining right corner to the left. Pretty soon, you’ll notice your perfectly-tucked baby’s eyes getting heavy!
2) The Nose Rub
This is a unique trick I’ve found to work pretty well over the years. If you rub the inside of your soft hand very delicately down your newborn’s little nose, it helps soothe their fussing and find their center. Their eyes will start to close with the gentle repetition, and should get them to sleep in no time.
3) The Burp
When was the last time baby ate? If it was pretty recent, there’s a good chance they might be feeling a little gassy! When burping the baby over your shoulder, try to pat 5 times, then rub your hand in a circular movement and repeat until baby burps. If you try to pat lower on the back, you might even notice a huge improvement. A lot of people think you should burp higher then what actually works!
4) The Pretzel Hold
When the baby is uncomfortable from gas, or if something had upset them and are finding it difficult to settle down, the pretzel hold is a great way to help baby find their peace. Hold them in your arms and cross their little legs into what we commonly call “Indian style,” then push them up so their legs are touching their belly. Hold that pose a little tightly, since they might cry a little at first, then simply rock back and forth while holding them in this position. This will a great help for any gas pains, too!
5) The Tight Wrap
Don’t forget – baby spent nine months in the womb, so they’re used to feeling a little squished! When you’re wrapping your newborn, keep the blanket very snug. It helps remind them of the comfort of being back in the belly, which is what they’re used to, and helps kickstart their snooze.
6. The Milk
Every parent knows that newborns have a love-love relationship with their milk. After all, when your baby starts crying, one of the first things you’ll want to check is to see if they’re hungry. So whether we’re in the middle of a photography session, or if you’re sitting at home, try to gage their hunger with a bottle of milk (or by attempting to nurse). The end result is often a happy baby with a full tummy, ready to snooze!
Do you have any tips? Feel free to comment below, and share your sleepy strategies!