austin, texas maternity and newborn photographer

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When Newborns Won’t Sleep | Baby Haynes

Nothing beats a sleepy newborn in the studio. They’re so snuggly, adorable, and sweet when they’re sleeping. As an added plus, a sleepy newborn = a break for mom. Plus, sleeping babies are great for all those newborn poses we know and love. Unfortunately, not all newborns sleep naturally, and even with help don’t sleep well outside of their homes. Baby Haynes was one of those babies! The good news for you? If you’re planning on a newborn photo session and your little love isn’t a sleeper, photographers like me have a backup plan! Here’s what we did for Haynes.

Sleepy newborn baby on a jute moon prop in front of a background of stars and clouds. Baby is swaddled in a white knit jumper and propped on a white blanket and pillow.

Newborns In The Studio

Sweet Mr. Haynes. What to say? He was super adorable… just not very sleepy! From what his mom said, this is pretty common. Haynes just isn’t a huge sleeper, despite what the story of him in the prop bed might tell.

Three pictures of newborns. Top is a full shot of a swaddled newborn, middle is newborn's face and hands, bottom is just newborn's feet.

I have a lot of “baby wizardry” up my sleeve that helps me rock these little ones to sleep. Some infants are just naturally sleepy, and I don’t have to do much to get them to fall all the way asleep so I can pose them. Others take a little convincing. So, I make the studio a sleep-friendly place. I keep the room extra warm, use a shusher machine, and the baby’s parents and I do frequent rocking. Plus, the star of the show gets extra booty pats, cuddles, and bottles to satisfy them.

Newborns photo montage featuring the same naked newborn on a white, waffle-cut blanket. The bottom right photo is the only photo of the newborn swaddled in white.

Unfortunately, it just doesn’t always work! Haynes had to come back in for another studio day. That’s no worry, and it’s not abnormal. We just go with the flow to ensure babies are sleeping soundly for their big day in the studio.

Newborns in three black and white photos, all sleeping

So, why all the fuss about getting newborns to sleep for their session? As well as being a convenience issue (for the baby, parents, and me!) it’s also a safety issue. Safety is one of my biggest priorities for the newborns I photograph. When they’re awake they get a little wiggly, and since the poses put them into unnatural positions, this can increase the chance they’re uncomfortable or worse — that they get hurt. So, it is best for everyone if the baby is asleep when we’re working in the studio!

Haynes Finally Sleeps!

When newborns aren’t sleeping well, we bring in the props! This allows me to swaddle them so they’re still during their newborn photos.

Two newborns photos. Top photo has a newborn on a jute moon prop on a plain blue background, and bottom contains the same photo with photoshopped stars, clouds, and water reflection.

Funny enough for baby Haynes, he slept great in the knit outfit for his newborn session on the moon prop! Just based on how awake he was before, Mom and I were shocked. The best way I can explain this is that each baby has different conditions for feeling comfy. Haynes loves to be held, and sometimes babies who like to be held have to be tricked into thinking they are being held before they’ll settle in.

A series of two newborn photos. The left photo is before photoshop edits of a newborn on a jute moon on a blue background, the right is the same photo with photoshopped clounds, stars, and a water reflection on the bottom.

But settle in he did! Mr. Haynes looked so sleepy on my moon prop — a newborn studio favorite among parents, and one of my favorites. It lets me practice my creativity in Photoshop. The photo on the left is the one used to create the whimsical photo on the right. Both are super cute (if I say so myself!) but have very different moods. Though, both moods were the result of Haynes finally settling down and letting the magic of the studio come to life.


Sleepy baby or wide awake, your newborns are welcome here at Hello Photography! Click here to schedule a newborn session today.

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