As a newborn and baby photographer I always get told…
‘you have a real knack with babies’, ‘you’re like the baby whisperer’ and more often than not ‘can I call you at 3am?’.
I wasn’t always so good with babies! In fact, before my biggest girl came along I had barely ever held a newborn. So I do know how hard it is for first time parents and how hard having a new baby can be. Over the years and 2 more children of my own it is very rare I can’t soothe a baby to sleep… well unless baby is breastfed and hungry, I really can’t do much other than pass baby back to mum! haha
I know many of my parents leave their sessions with a few tips up their sleeve to pull out that night when little one inevitably wont settle at 3am so I thought why not write a wee blog compiling some of my favourite and most successful baby soothing tips!
Here they are, in no particular order as such… these are all assuming baby has a clean nappy and has recently been fed! Those are always the first checks to make!
1) Swaddling – It surprises me how many parents haven’t heard about swaddling and don’t know how to do it. Swaddling mimics the close feeling of being in the womb making them feel all cosy. As their arms aren’t flapping about too they tend to not startle and therefore settle and drift into sleep much easier! Click HERE for a great video tutorial on how to swaddle your baby. Alternatively if you are a wee bit all fingers and thumbs like my hubby was, the swaddle sleeping bag thingys look great!!
2)White noise – The womb is a really noisy place to be! Between the sound of mummys blood flow and everything going on outside her body then it’s really not much of a surprise that babies will be more likely to settle in slightly noisier environment. I use an awesome app on my iphone called ‘white noise baby’ in newborn photo sessions. It has a variety of different white noise options, my favourite is doppler ultrasound. I have also heard good things about Ewan the Sheep and My Hummy if like me your phone is permanently by your side. Alternatively if you need help NOW then switch on the hoover or a hairdryer! I’ve done that before in a bind! haha
3) face stroking – I find a variety of face stroking techniques really help. Stroke a finger down the middle of your own nose, you find your eyes naturally start to close so imagine someone doing this to you repeatedly while wrapped up all cosy, wont be long until you are in snoozeville will it? haha. There are 3 ways I do this, all depends on the baby as to which he or she responds best to. First is just running my forefinger from the top of the forehead to the tip of the nose. Next, I use my thumb and middle finger to run my fingers down the sides of babies face. If babies eyes are just not for closing I would then look at running my whole hand over their face, generally if baby isn’t too far from sleep these techniques usually do the trick!
4) cheek to cheek – I find if baby is really unsettled this often works a treat… Swaddle baby up, then lift baby so he/she is facing you, leaned against your shoulder with their cheek against your cheek. Add in a steady, firm back pat and they settle really quickly. I think the warmth from the touching cheeks is really comforting to a baby.
5) remove all stimulants – sometimes baby can just become very overstimulated…noise, bum patting, bouncing, shushing etc. Swaddle baby up, lay them down in a darkened room and leave them for a few mins and see if they will settle themselves. I think often we can get caught up in the fact that we should be comforting our babies every second of the day but sometimes they just need space to calm themselves. Plus this can give you a much needed breather. Step out the room and just chill for a minute and regroup. I know how stressful it is. Babies respond well to calm, so even if this doesn’t settle baby at least you will have had a minute or two to reassess what your baby needs to settle.
I hope these all help a bit! I would love to hear your tips and tricks! Just leave a comment at the bottom of the post!