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Welcoming a new baby into your home is a wonderful and emotional experience. One reason why an in-home newborn session is so wonderful is that everyone can be more relaxed and comfortable (and stop for a snack break whenever necessary). I love being invited into your home to document these sweet early days for you, because let’s be honest, you are so sleep deprived those first few weeks you aren’t even sure which foot your shoe goes on.
One thing is for sure, the moment you met your baby, you fell in love. Those tiny lips, wrinkly little fingers, and those sweet sweet baby sighs had you completely smitten. You try to sear every single detail into your brain, certain you won’t forget the way they scrunch their nose when they yawn or how their entire hand curls around one of your fingers. Inevitably, they do grow into a toddler, a preschooler, and a dreaded teenager. But occasionally you will have those fleeting memories, how they seemed to fit perfectly in the crook of your arm and the tiny little dimples you used to spend hours admiring in the middle of the night (when you obviously should be sleeping but how can you when they are just so cute it hurts).
An in-home session is a perfect way to document the whirlwind of this short season in your life. Parents often find themselves anxious about preparing their home. But truly, my goal for you is to do as little prep work as possible so you can sit back and enjoy your session that will be full of snuggles and admiring your sweet newborn baby.
Follow my FIVE easy steps for a stress free in-home newborn session.
Ideally, you would contact your photographer while you are still pregnant. Some may require you to book with them while you are in your second trimester, others may have a bit more flexibility. Personally, I prefer when mamas book their newborn session late in their second trimester or early in their third. I like to start sending information before the baby is born, so you’ll know what to expect and can plan ahead. The best (and sleepiest) time for newborn photos is between 7-20 days old. This gives the family a little time to settle into a new routine and the baby is still sleeping pretty much most of the day. A sleepy baby tends to make for the smoothest sessions (but a baby that is awake can work too!).
Ideally, we would want a sleepy baby for their photos. Try to wake baby up about one hour before their session, give them a bath, play with them (coo, sing, admire etc), change their diaper, and then start feeding them about 15-20 minutes before the photographer is scheduled to arrive. I personally like to have my babies in just a diaper but wrapped in a snuggly blanket so they don’t get cold. Let your photographer know when the baby ate last and when you expect them to be hungry again. It is important to keep in mind that it isn’t usual for babies to eat more than normal on the day of their session. It may not look like it but they are working up an appetite.
A few additional steps you can take: Add lotion to dry hands, keep mittens on their hands the day of (to avoid scratched faces), have a bottle prepped (if they take a bottle), and a pacifier nearby. These are all great ways to help the session run as smoothly as possible.
If you have older children participating in the session it usually goes one of two ways. They are either super into helping and taking photos with the baby OR they are totally not interested. For the little ones who want absolutely nothing to do with their new sibling have stickers or small candy like smarties readily available. We can hide the stickers/candy around the baby to get them involved. I know it sounds crazy but it works!
You just had a baby, we don’t expect you to have a spotless home. Just hide the clutter in the closest, laundry room, or an unused corner. Your photographer likely won’t be utilizing every angle of your home. Make sure the nursery is tidied up and your bedside tables are clear except for lamps and decor. When I get to a client’s home I typically will remove anything that we don’t want in the photo and put it in a corner that I don’t plan to shoot. Just remember to keep it simple!
Every photographer has their own preference, but for me I always bring a space heater (babies love the warmth), a white noise app on my phone, wraps for swaddling, a few props, and lighting equipment.
Don’t stress about anything! I know this is easier said than done, you’ve hired a professional to do the heavy lifting for you. An experienced photographer knows how to put a baby to sleep, will be able to soothe a fussy baby, and will know when the baby is ready to eat. Try to enjoy the moment, sit back and soak in every minute of your session and focus on the ones you love.