When you come to visit us, we find the session goes smoothly when your baby is really sleepy. Usually, a nice full belly and a warm room is enough. However, this does not always go to plan and baby sometimes finds it difficult to settle. Firstly, don't worry if your baby is unsettled, sometimes that is just the way it is.
That is why we allow such a long time in our Hatfield studio to make sure we get you the best images possible. We find sometimes parents worry that their baby is being problematic but they are not at all. They are just being babies. Unless your baby is not feeling 100%, or is suffering from Colic or is just having a case of FOMO (fear of missing out), they usually go to sleep eventually.
If your baby is calm, but awake, there are various baby whispering strategies that we use to try and settle your baby. It was only after today when a couple came back to view their images and said that they had taken tips from us on how to settle their baby that I though this would be a useful post. We don not claim to be experts but these are some of the things that work for us...
Our Baby Whispering Tips:
We usually begin our session by swaddling as we find this to be a really effective way of making your baby feel safe and secure, as if they were still in the womb. Depending on what feels more comfortable for your baby, we either place the hands by their side or across their tummy. We pay attention to circulation, we want a firm wrap but not too tight.
How to swaddle at home? Click here
A good old rock with a consistent and steady pace can be a good way to settle a baby into a sleep.
A gentle pat on the back can be effective. This can give reassurance but also may bring up any wind that might be causing an issue.
Light and Dark
We use this when rocking your baby. We rock them between our modelling light (on low power) and the darkness of the rest of the studio. This rapid change between light and dark can be enough for your baby to close their eyes and fall asleep.
A nice stroke from the forehead to the bridge of the noise is a relaxing soother. Also a gentle stroke across the eye brows too.
We have used various methods from creating our own 'Shhhh' noises, to using white noise apps. We now however use a Baby Shusher. You have no idea how many dad's have sat in our studio and ordered one there and then! There are loads of variations on Amazon but this is what we use
Hands away from face
Once baby gets their hands near their mouth it can stimulate their desire to feed, even if they are not hungry. If baby is awake and their hands are working their way to their mouth, we gently hold their hands away from their face.
We find once baby is swaddled that if we hold them in an upright position, this helps them work out any wind that might be preventing them from settling. We sometimes accompany this with a gentle bounce.
A full belly and a warm room are usually enough for baby to fall asleep.
We have found that it helps to put baby down on a warm surface as placing them on cool material can wake them. We also do this with baby wipes by warming them first. This prevents a warm, sleep baby from startling with a cold wipe.
If it is apparent that baby really isn't going to settle, we will not push on. The comfort of your baby is really our priority. If it doesn't work out that day, we will simply reschedule so you do not need to worry.
Try some of these tips at home and see if they work for you!
Sara and Lee