The first cry of life is such a sweet sound. After working so hard to bring a little one into the world, or waiting patiently through months, possibly years of bureaucracy to have a little one placed in your arms, those first moments of life are something treasured forever. Somehow all of the difficulty, being uncomfortable, waiting and anticipation do not matter anymore as your little one is now in your arms either sleeping soundly or resting comfortably with eyes wide open taking in the. These are the sweet moments you want to cherish for the rest of your life. But how do you do that in the busy of figuring out a new baby and going off little sleep?

Having a newborn can be overwhelming, yet rewarding at the same time, as you get to help this little being thrive and grow. There are so many little moments to document, and I know when I had my first, I had a hard time not photographing every little thing. I often talk to moms who are excited and want to document this time, but are worried about several things: “How do we ensure we can get great images of my little one? I love the little sleepy photos and the ones where we get to love on him for a bit, but what if my baby is fussy? What if my house is a mess? What if I don’t like how I look?” These are common questions, and I want to share with you today some tips on how best to prep for a newborn photography session with your family.

Tip #1: When should a newborn session be scheduled?

The best time to schedule a newborn session is a few weeks before you give birth or before your little one arrives in the world. Let your photographer know when your due date is and she can plan accordingly, realizing that most due dates are more of an estimation than an exact science. If it’s not possible to find a photographer ahead of time, there still may be time to find a window after your little one is in the world, so be sure to ask.

When I plan for a newborn session, I leave several days across a couple of weeks open knowing that mom could give birth early, on time or late. Once I know the baby has arrived, then we make more of a definitive schedule for a session. Most babies photograph best between 5 and 10 days old. That’s not to say a beautiful newborn session can’t happen outside of these parameters, but most little ones sleep a lot during this window of time, seem to be less fussy and don’t mind being swaddled and curled up tight next to mom.

Tip #2: For an in-home newborn session, what should I have on hand and how should I prepare my home?

The great thing about a newborn session in your home is that most everything you need is right there. The main thing to have on hand is extra milk/formula and diapers. I bring many items with me so my clients don’t have to worry about much. That includes everything from wipes to hand sanitizer to blankets, wraps, a heater, etc. My goal is to have my clients feel as comfortable as possible during their session. This is why I also tell clients not to worry if things are out of place – it’s completely normal for your life to be a bit chaotic after having a baby, and the great thing is that I can crop items out of a photo and even help you stage the room a bit. So not to worry – you’re completely taken care of. Something else I offer my clients before the session itself is a document on how to get baby sleepy and comfortable before a session, as well as foods to avoid if you’re breastfeeding so as alleviate any potential gas pains. This helps them prepare for both themselves as well as their baby.

Tip #3: What do we wear and how many outfits should I have for my baby?

The nice thing about in-home newborn sessions is that we can keep things really simple. Clothing that is comfortable, light-colored and easy to move around in is best. For your infant, a simple onesie, maybe two as a backup, is perfect. I tend to capture a combination of images including your little one in a small onesie to others of them naked and curled up in a blanket. I don’t use a lot of props or extra items, but instead try to focus on the small sweet features that make your child who he/she is. It can be everything from the long eyelashes to the puckered lips and tiny fingers and toes, as well as capturing some priceless moments of mom/dad holding their bundle of joy.

Though this is just a taste of the tips I offer my clients, my hope is that these can help you best prep for a newborn photography session and offer you a little less stress in capturing your memories. If you or someone you know is expecting, I’d love to hear from you and answer all of your questions! Contact me today to set up a consultation for capturing the sweet memories of your little one. They change so fast and the time is gone before you know it!