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Updated by michele-1 on Oct 19, 2018
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Top 7 tips to settle your baby by a professional photographer

As a newborn photographer, it’s my job and my joy to photograph other people’s little ones. There are definitely a lot of things to consider, though, and a restless baby can be a bit of a challenge for everyone.



Tip #1 - Bed, Bath, & Beyond

Tip #1 - Bed, Bath, & Beyond

Picture this: Most newborn photographers work with the families to create the dream photographs. After all, you want a photograph where your baby looks like your baby, and for this special time in their life. (It’s an oldie but so true: they grow up so fast.)

One of the most popular shots that I love to take is of a swaddled baby sleeping peacefully.

Of course, this isn’t at all easy to do when little one is more focused on fidgeting, crying, and getting overwhelmed.

How do I get around it? A vital piece of advice I always give to my clients is to ask them to ensure that the baby is well fed, rested and bathed prior to the session. Why?

A well fed and rested baby is a cooperative baby.

In fact, I can usually tell if a baby is hungry or tired because it’s almost impossible to get them to settle. Feeding bub is an excellent way to increase a baby's sleepiness. And while putting your baby to sleep isn't always possible while they're worked up, you might find that a soothing bath can help settle them. A little light massage can also work wonders.(


Tip #2 - Soft To The Touch

Tip #2 - Soft To The Touch

Another regular bit of pre-shoot knowledge I like to share with first-time clients is to ensure that baby is in something that's comfortable. If your little one is feeling a little less than settled, checking that they're as comfortable as can be is an important step to getting them back to sleep.

The most comfortable item of clothing for your bubs is probably a onesie. In fact, I usually ask clients to dress their little one in a onesie, and then to bring along any sentimental clothes that can be featured in the session when we get to shooting. For a photographer, the fact that a onesie is easy to remove is also really helpful.

If you've checked that the clothes your little one isn’t being bothered by a sticker or a label, the next step is in making sure that the nappy is clean and dry. You’d be amazed how often you can check your nappy, only to find that there’s a little surprise causing bub to feel uncomfortable. I always ask parents to check, but I’m always happy to check again. You know what they say: poop happens!

If none of that has worked, then swaddling is going to be your best step to ensuring baby is both comfortable and secure. Swaddling provides a tight and cozy feeling and allows the little one to feel happy in a space that’s a bit more womb-like and familiar.(


Tip #3 - Warm & Snuggly

Tip #3 - Warm & Snuggly

Surprising baby fact: The average temperature in the womb is around 36C (or 98F).

When it comes to keeping babies happily gurgling throughout a shoot, I’ve definitely found that keeping my studio a little bit on the warm side is really helpful. I’m also lucky. I live on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Winters are mild, summers are warm, and spring and autumn don’t get too grey, so I very rarely require any air-conditioning in my studio.

If I ever do have to turn on the heat, I like to set it to a balmy 26C (around 79F). This is a great temperature for settling bub, as they are more comfortable in a warmer environment than a cooler one. If you can’t get your little one off to sleep, consider raising the temperature a couple degrees and seeing what that does for you.(


Tip #4 - White Noise Time

Tip #4 - White Noise Time

I have two boys of my own, and when my first son was born, I had a nightmare of a time getting him to settle. One day, a wise mum recommended a CD titled ‘Sounds for Silence’.

Let me tell you, it was an absolute game changer.

At the time, I put on the “White Noise” track, and he just loved it and settled right down almost immediately. I could have cried with relief!

These days I usually play some general soothing background music, but if I encounter a restless baby in my studio the go-to sound is the ‘Washing Machine’ noise. It might sound crazy, but babies just seem to just love it, and before long they drop off to sleep like perfect angels. Try it, you won’t be sorry!(


Tip #5 - Go With Your Instinct

Tip #5 - Go With Your Instinct

If your little one is finding it hard to settle, then the first thing that you’re probably going to want to do is to take your baby into your arms. There’s a reason for this. It’s such an instinctual and mothering action to take, and can also settle him or her right down.

Not only that but holding your baby can create an everlasting bond. I’ve often found some of the most beautiful photographs that I’ve been able to take have been of a baby asleep in their mum and dad’s arms. It’s a really powerful moment for the whole family.

To embrace a baby is to ensure they are protected and loved. A parent’s arms are the safest and most connected of all the soothing techniques. Every mum and dad has a natural rhythm that they discover with their baby, and sometimes the simplest things can make the biggest difference.(


Tip #6 - Little Lullaby

Tip #6 - Little Lullaby

The baby spends 9 months listening to the sounds of their parents moving around in the world outside. They can hear muffled cooing, talking, and singing, so by the time they are born, babies tend to gravitate towards their parents’ voices. In fact, a parent’s voice is a strong connecting element in the baby bonding process.

This age-old form of communication is an amazing tool to both soothe and connect with babies.

I use it to both settle babies and, in some cases, to draw their attention towards my camera. There are a number of sounds I prefer to make, which can include gentle shushing, quietly talking to baby, and the always reliable humming.

These soft sounds will also help you to relax. Combine these techniques with some rhythmic motions, like swaying and rocking, and you'll find little bub dropping off to sleep in no time.(


Tip #7 – Creature Comforts

Tip #7 – Creature Comforts

The final device that I employ when settling babies is a comforter. Things like dummies (pacifiers), bottles, or mum’s breast (especially if being breastfed) are winning strategies to help calm bub right down.

Before that, you can try with a dummy (or pacifier), so that they feel like they're in a familiar place.

Of course, mum’s breast is best. The combination of familiar sensations, from the warmth and scent of mum's skin, the familiar sound of mum's heartbeat, and the nutritious rich milk delivered at the perfect temperature is the ultimate way to ensure bub is happily fed (and hopefully a little milk drunk!)

Sleep will come pretty effortlessly after that.(

Love Photography - Gold Coast Maternity, Newborn & Family Photography

Located in Mermaid Waters, the Gold Coast Family and Newborn photographer Michele Taylor from Love Photography specialises in Gold Coast maternity, newborn, babies, kids, families and generation photos.(