Blog entry written by: Rosalind Julia (Windhoek, Namibia based photographer)
So when exactly is the perfect time to photograph a new baby? The answer used to be between six and fourteen days, but after seven years of photographing well over hundred newborns I have come to realise that the answer is not so simple.
I have photographed a six day old whose lungs were not fully developed so she stopped breathing several times. I have had many ten day old babies who have not slept. On the other hand I have photographed four week old babies who have slept the entire session.
I have found many factors play a role in whether a baby sleeps or not.
- Whether baby mind being naked or not. Some like to be swaddled up tight, some hate being naked, some like a firm weight on them.
- Is baby sensitive to touch? Some babies are ticklish and with the constant touching and fiddling it disturbs their sleep.
- Is baby sensitive to sound? Sometimes just the click of the shutter can startle a baby. With that shutter clicking up to 200 times during a session it can cause the baby to wake up.
- Does baby have FOMO? The fear of missing out. Even at two weeks old, social babies just love human interaction and are not big fans of sleep. My middle child was like that, so I have lots of experience.
- How is mum feeling? If mum is feeling pressured to have the session in the first two weeks but is tired, is still getting the hang of breastfeeding and is overwhelmed with this new life to care for, her stress can affect the baby.
So, I do not pressure mum into having the photo session in the first two weeks. Three and four weeks old are also just fine. Babies that are a little older are normally more settled. They have figured out breastfeeding and fall asleep relatively easily. At each session I take some time to get to know baby and what they like and do not like. I take things really slow and the session is always a success with beautiful photographs at the end.
Often, slightly older babies are awake for a little while and are happy to lie in a basket or prop and be photographed. And sometimes I even get smiles and yawns that involved their whole little bodies.
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