Soothing Newborns During Sessions | Shhhhhhhhhh

When we were expecting our first son over 17 years ago my husband read Harvey Karp’s “The Happiest Baby on the Block”. He became the master of soothing our babies.  I use several of his strategies during newborn sessions to help ensure your baby is relaxed and happy for photos.

Five ways of soothing newborns during sessions 

  1. Sucking. Sucking is a natural response that babies are born with, and it can help them calm down and feel safe. Whether it’s nursing or sucking a bottle, soother, or a parent’s pinky finger. We use the sucking reflex to help babies stay calm as we transition between different types of photos.  
  2. Swaddle: It’s like a baby burrito, and who doesn’t love burritos? Getting the perfect swaddle takes practice. I remember my first attempt ended up looking like a mummy gone wrong. But with time, I became a swaddling ninja! We use swaddling during some family and sibling poses. This helps ensure the baby is calm so older siblings don’t lose patience with the process. When babies are awake we also use it to help contain their limbs and to help babies drift off to sleep.  Once babies are asleep, we are able to slowly unswaddle them.  
  3. Side or Stomach Position. We all know that babies should always sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS but when it comes to soothing newborns during sessions, the side or stomach position can work wonders. I will often hold babies on their side. Or in a seated upright position with a little bit of pressure on their stomach, until they fall into a deeper sleep.  
  4. Shushing. Babies are used to hearing the whooshing sound of blood flow in the womb, so replicating that with a gentle “shhh” sound can instantly calm them down. Whether it’s my voice, an app, or my handy baby shusher device, we often experiment during the session with different sounds to see which one your baby likes best.
  5. Swinging. When your baby was in utero, they spent their days being rocked to sleep by movement. This is why we use a swinging movement to help calm your little one as a method of soothing during newborn sessions.   

Not all babies are the same

Not all newborns respond to all five of these strategies. This is why I try out different methods of soothing during your session to find which one your little one likes the best.  One of the reasons newborn sessions are longer than other photography sessions is because of all the time we spend soothing and feeding.  Over time I’ve learned some fantastic strategies for helping calm even the fussiest babies. I always love sharing the strategies with parents.  

Big brother cuddling newborn sister in a blog post about soothing newborns during sessions. Maternity and newborn photography.