Newborn Session Hints aka "Sleepy Baby Tips"
The peaceful, sleepy babies you see throughout my work all have one common quality:
Their parents followed my simple prep guide before their session!
Bath + Full Feeding + Car Ride to the Studio = Sleepy Baby & Amazing Session!
A peaceful state of sleepiness is the ultimate goal of a newborn session. A sleepy baby is critical to get a variety of poses during the time we have together and to ensure this, I'm asking for a bit of help from you. I've photographed hundreds of babies over the past eight years and have formulated the perfect sleep recipe! Even if your baby is a bit older than our 'recommended' age and we expect them to be awake for some of the time, this recipe can still work!
Step 1: Pack & Prep
I recommend doing this step the night before so that everything is ready to go in the morning. Makes getting out of the house with your new baby just a *little* bit easier!
1. Milk - Breastfeeding? Try to avoid spicy foods or foods that may make your baby gassy the day before your session (broccoli, peppers etc.) Bottles? Please bring enough for 1-2 extra feedings than you think you may need.
2. Pacifiers - Even if you never plan to use one, it can be essential to getting a variety of poses. No stuffed animals attached, please!
3. Clothing - Plan for skin to skin or neutral tops (white, cream, grey or black). Avoid stripes or patterns for the adults if possible. Soft colored or patterned dresses work best for little girls and polo shirts & jeans/khakis are classic for boys.
4. Extras - Diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets & anything to make you feel more comfortable! We have water & coffee and a few snacks. You are welcome to bring food for you and non-messy, non-crumbly snacks for siblings.
5. Special Items - We have all the hats, wraps, blankets, & props you will need. But if there is something special to your family that you would like photographed with your baby, feel free to bring it along!
TIP: Try to keep your baby awake as much as possible the morning of your session! No need to make them miserable, but don't let them sleep all morning!
Step 2: Bathe & Feed Baby
The purpose of a long, drawn out bath is to keep baby awake for some time before you leave for the session. After the bath, put on a diaper ONLY and give them a FULL feeding. Keep baby safe and warm in the car seat - if you are able to do this with diaper only, that is wonderful. If you need to put something on them, a simple snap onesie or sleeper is best. We want to avoid the marks that socks, clothes, and tight diapers leave and be able to remove things easily! Please do not use LOTION on your baby after the bath! Flaky skin is common and most can easily be softened in the editing process. Lotion makes a baby's skin glossy and shiny which is not good for pictures!
TIP: Get dressed and have the car packed before feeding baby so it's the last thing you do before heading to the studio!
Step 3: Drive to our Studio
4500 Pretty Lake Ave Norfolk, VA 23518
Our studio is located in the East Beach neighborhood of Norfolk. There is ample parking on both sides of the street, but most new parents park right in front of our door! It says 2 hour parking, but don't worry - you can stay longer if you're in our studio! You can turn around in the marina parking lot and park on our side of the street to easily unload!
WHEN YOU ARRIVE: Bring baby into the studio in their car seat - I will take baby out myself, being especially careful not to wake them. I will also get baby undressed (even if they have a soiled diaper) myself! There is no need to bring your stroller into the studio.
Rules for the Session:
- Baby is the boss!! We make no promises on specific poses as each baby is different and safety is our #1 priority. No matter what, you will have a full gallery of images!
- Patience, grasshopper. This isn't magic. It is time & we have the experience to make it work.
- Eat, drink, catch a nap. Make sure you are still taking care of you! Many of our moms nap during the session and dads (or grandmas) often take siblings to the park (or beach!) nearby.
- Do not be shy or feel self-conscious about breastfeeding in our studio. We are moms, too, who breastfed our children and take images of childbirth & nursing mamas all the time! You do not need a cover, but we have one available along with a nursing pillow if you need it.
- It will be HOT. Babies like it warm, so we try to keep the room around 80 degrees. Dressing in layers and/or having a change of clothes is recommended. Feel free to step out and get some air. And ignore that we will look like a hot sweaty mess. :)
- Poop and pee are normal. We have your baby naked. It happens and everything we have is washable.
- It's always fun to take behind-the-scenes snapshots and welcome those (especially if you tag us on social media and give us a shout out). But we ask that you don't take photos over our shoulders of baby posed perfectly. Wait for the real thing. It's worth it - We promise!
- If you don't like something, or have specific wishes, feel free to speak up! If you want baby mostly covered or no hats, we need to know from the beginning! If you hate flowers or a certain color, let us know! We will certainly use our creative vision, but we welcome your feedback and want to customize the session to your taste as much as possible!