Five Ways to Put Your Baby to Sleep, According to a Newborn Photographer

06/30/2017 08:29 pm ET
Malka Ahmed Photography

Congratulations, you’ve just been handed a squishy new bundle of joy! As a newborn photographer, I specialize in capturing babies at this early stage of life, but it’s not easy and not without its fair share of challenges. For one, a baby needs to be in a deep sleep in order for me to correctly pose him or her, otherwise it won’t work out. To help streamline the process for me, I use these five different ways to get your newborn to fall asleep and stay asleep so that I can photograph them, but as a newborn parent you should start doing the following, too, so that you can get some much-needed rest yourself.

*Please note, the following steps will only work if you have a happy baby (tummy full, diaper clean, burped, etc.)

1) Swaddle

Some babies may act like they hate it, but most will settle into swaddling. In the womb, babies are used to confined space—they don’t know how much they crave it until you’ve swaddled them properly. There’s a reason why you’ve seen photos of newborn babies swaddled in colorful wraps –sometimes it’s the only way they’ll sleep! Soft, stretchy fabrics work best for a good swaddle.

2) Move around

Ever wonder why babies tend to fall right to sleep when you take them out for a drive? Babies like movement because while in the womb they were being swayed side to side whenever Mom moved around. So, rock your baby in your arms or invest in a good swing. A swing is too big to put into my own photography studio, so I use a Tranquilo Mat (it was even featured on Shark Tank!) and it ALWAYS puts the little ones to sleep.

3) White Noise

This is so crucial. Babies are so used to loud noises in the womb, and yet when they come out we present them with complete silence. No wonder they are so unhappy! Keep things noisy! Keep the TV or radio on, or even download one of the many free white noise apps. You will thank me later on when your baby grows older and can sleep through anything! I use the very aptly named Baby Shusher for all my sessions–it even puts parents to sleep!

4) Pacifier

This is completely up to you, but babies that like to suck for comfort do stay asleep longer. Some babies hate the pacifier (my own son hated it) but sometimes it makes all the difference!

5) Keep the above methods consistent

Eventually your baby will learn the cues that “Mommy and Daddy are putting me to sleep” because you are doing one or all of the above consistently on a regular basis. It will almost be like magic – you start with a squirmy, crying baby – but once you swaddle, turn on white noise and provide movement, your baby should calm down and fall asleep.

By utilizing the above methods I’ve been dubbed the Baby Whisperer many times by clients, and I haven’t come across a baby I haven’t been able to put to sleep yet. Hopefully these steps will help you put your little one to sleep, too!

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