I’ve been called the baby whisperer!
New parents are often amazed that their baby stays in a deep sleep while I move them into different positions, and wonder what my trick is! Well, I’m going to share a few of my hints and tips here. Hopefully they will help you to get a bit more sleep at home, too!
When you come into the studio, I will show you my white noise machine. This plays a variety of different sounds which are really soothing to a new baby. I prefer a womb noise – a gentle heartbeat and swooshing sound, to echo the sounds that have been the soundtrack to your baby’s last 9 months. This reminds your little one of being snug and cosy inside your tummy, and will help them to relax and feel safe.
Not too hot, not too cold…
When I am photographing your baby naked, I keep the studio really warm. Think about how warm it has to be for you to be able to sleep naked, with no covering on you. Well, that’s how warm it needs to be for your naked baby!
When I wrap your baby in more than one cotton layer, I will turn the heat down. I don’t want your little one to get too toasty, and wake up because they are uncomfortable!
At home, make sure you dress your baby according to the temperature in the house. The Baby Centre has some useful information about how many layers to dress your baby in at night.
Babies are soothed by being touched! It’s a scientific fact – you cannot spoil a baby by touching them too much – it helps them to relax and keeps them calm and settled.
I will touch your baby gently but with confidence, which makes them feel safe. I will stroke their forehead to help them to drop off to sleep if they are fighting it, and I will use my hands to cradle your baby as I move them, to keep them asleep as they are gently transitioned between poses.
At home, you can stroke your baby’s forehead to help them to drop off. When you place your baby in their crib, keep your hands placed on them for a few moments until your little one has relaxed in their bed, and you are certain that they are still sleeping, before removing your touch. (And when this happens, take the opportuntiy to eat something or drink a HOT cup of tea – while you have the opportunity!)
Full tummy, clean bottom!
I know… obvious, right? When a baby in the studio is showing feeding cues (rooting, sucking hands etc) I will ask parents to offer some milk, as baby runs the show and gets to decide what we do next!
The other end of a baby can be just as unpredictable! Sometimes a baby will be squirmy and unsettled – this is often the sign that there might be a poo on its way! The good news is that I have lots of spare blankets and wraps, in case of accidents. And afterwards, they relax into a lovely deep sleep and feel really relieved!
If all else fails, swaddle!
All of the things above are designed to make your baby feel safe and secure and womb-like. If a baby is particularly sensitive, I will use a well practised swaddling technique to make them feel just like they did when they were still in the womb.
A good swaddle is a technique I have worked hard to perfect. It has to be tight enough to resist escaping arms and legs, but not too tight to cause your baby to overheat or be too restricted.
Your midwife may show you the best way to swaddle your baby yourself, using a large muslin or blanket, or you can use a pre-made swaddling blanket such as the GroSwaddle, available through the GroBag website or via Amazon.
When you come to Capture the Light Photography for your newborn photographs, I will demonstrate and explain these and many more hints and tips to you!