If you’ve browsed Hershey newborn portraits online for inspiration for your baby’s photo session, or if you’ve just seen your friends’ newborn photos, you’re probably already in love with those portraits of cozy, sleepy newborns. Sleeping newborn photos have such a precious look of sweet innocence, and when you look back on them years later, they can bring back memories of watching your little one slumber.
As every parent knows, though, getting a newborn to sleep isn’t always easy. So what is the best way to get your baby to sleep for their newborn photo session?
How to Get a Newborn to Sleep for Hershey Newborn Portraits
Newborn portraiture is one of my specialties as a photographer, so rest assured that I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve for lulling newborns to sleep. As a parent, though, there are some things you can do to make those adorable sleepy portraits possible.
Try to Time Your Baby’s Sleep Purposefully
On the day of your newborn photo session, try to keep your baby awake for a few hours before the session. You might bathe them and play with them for a while, for example. You don’t want them to be uncomfortable – you just want them to be awake and in a good mood if possible. That way, when you arrive for your session, they’ll be ready for a deep nap.
Fill That Baby Belly
Once your baby has been awake for a few hours and is getting tired, you can seal the deal by feeding them right before their session or when you arrive for your session. When your baby has had their fill, they’re likely to fall right into that amazing, deep “full belly” type of sleep.
Some babies start to fall asleep while you’re feeding them. It’s tempting to let them fall asleep right then, but it’s important to burp them before we start the portrait session. If your baby has air in their belly, posing them for photos can make them uncomfortable and wake them up.
Prepare Your Baby for Sleep Before Feeding Them
While we do want a moment to burp your baby after you feed them, we want them to then be able to transition into sleep easily and stay asleep as we start taking photos. If your baby falls asleep clothed, they may wake up when we try to undress them for their portraits.
Consider undressing your baby and wrapping them loosely in a blanket while you feed them. This way, it’s much easier to wrap them or pose them nude without having to take off a onesie or anything else that could be complicated. As an added bonus, a loose blanket won’t leave lines on their skin, so they’ll look especially smooth and soft for their portraits.
Bring Your Trusted Favorites
Many babies will fall right asleep after you feed them, but others need a bit more effort to be lulled to sleep. I have a variety of tricks and tools at my Hershey newborn photography studio to soothe babies to sleep. You know your baby better than anyone, though, so when it’s time for your baby’s newborn session, you will probably have found the newborn sleep techniques that your baby loves most.
I encourage you to bring anything that helps your baby sleep at home. Maybe it’s a book you read to them, a lullaby you sing or play on your phone, a scent you use in their nursery, or whatever it may be. We may need to soothe them back to sleep a few times throughout the session, so anything can help.
What If Your Baby Doesn’t Sleep for Their Newborn Portraits?
With all the tips above chances are that your baby will be asleep for at least part of their session. Regardless, though, don’t worry! I have plenty of experience photographing both awake and asleep newborns, and we can still create absolutely beautiful newborn portraits while your baby is awake.
Keep in mind as well that if you’re stressed about trying to get your baby to sleep, your baby may pick up on that stress, making it more difficult for them to sleep. Just relax, follow the tips above, and know that you’re in the hands of a professional and it will all turn out wonderfully.
If you have a baby on the way, I would love to help you get the heirloom Hershey newborn portraits of your dreams. Contact Karissa Zimmer Photography today and let’s book your session.