Are you nervous about how your toddler or older child is going to handle the newborn session? Don't be...
Newborn Sessions typically take place within the first two weeks of babies arrival. Your family is finding its new flow and your older children may be experiencing anxiety with a new little one around and you too may be a little anxious about your older child are going to do at your Newborn Session. I want to share a few tips that may help ease everyones nerves on photo day as well as in the home!
Practice Makes Perfect.
Rule #1: Safety First
Rule #2: Do these 4 things once a day in the week leading up to your session date.
Rule #3: No Pressure. Never force them to do something they aren't comfortable with, this will cause extra anxiety around baby and potential to harm baby.
Rule #4: Don't give up. Tomorrows attempt may go better!
Make it a game. Ask them where is babies nose, where is babies feet, where is babies belly button, where is babies ears, etc. allowing them to touch baby. Have them do gentle pats to babies back or belly just like you to help sooth baby. Practicing with their own babydoll. Being the diaper or bottle helper can help them feel like an important part of the new family dynamic and bond with the new baby.
Have them practice sitting still next to baby on the couch while baby is swaddled. If that isn't feeling safe. Sit with them with baby on your lap, but still touching if possible. Read to them both while sitting together or sing lullabies to the baby together.
This pose is a popular request, to prepare for see if your older sibling will practice laying still side by side, being gentle and calm. Again I keep baby swaddled. "Oooo's" and "Awwees" can go a long way with encouraging behavior.
Younger kids I often photograph helping to hold baby while they are sitting on your lap. Older kids that understand how to be gentle and can ask for help when they feel unsure can usually accomplish holding poses pretty well and often love their moment in the spot light. Practice keeping babies head supported and emphasis the importance of being gentle and paying attention while holding baby. Sitting criss cross leaning back on a couch or wall with baby in their lap facing out (again que the Ooos and awwees) or with baby on their legs while supporting their head and talking to them, recommend something they should tell their new sibling about.
Plan for after their role is over.
- I take all of the family portraits first. This way everyone else can change and relax for the remainder of the shoot which can be 2-3 hours depending on how baby does for their solos. Most of my families will bring a second car or a family member to take the older sibling/s home after their portion of the shoot is over. I keep a very quiet, warm atmosphere while photographing baby and understandably this can be quite boring for the other kids.
Siblings are welcome to stay, here are some ideas of things to bring for them for after the shoot:
- Snacks! Praise and a Treat. While I do provide a small assortment of drinks and snacks, having their favorites or their own containers may be helpful.
- Screens if you allow. Some parents will set up their kid with movie and nap space. Please NO screens until after they are done.
- Favorite quiet toys, blanket or books.
- I have a large grass front yard that kids are welcome to play in with supervision.
Preparing Baby for a Successful Newborn Session.
Check-out our blog post filled with simple, yet important steps to prepare your newborn and get the most out of your session.
Are you expecting a bundle of joy?
I would love to hear from you and discuss how we can create some magical memories for you and your family at this special time in your lives.