How I get babies to sleep in the studio
Updated: Jan 13
Welcome to day 2 of my sleep week!
Today I thought I would share with you the things I do to help baby fall into a nice deep sleep. Although there are many lovely images I can capture with baby awake- it is ideal if baby sleeps for a short section of the session at least. I can then capture my signature shots I get in EVERY session and it makes for a wonderful gallery with the combination of the awake and asleep images!
So to begin with baby has to be nice and full for us to stand the best chance of a nice deep sleep. You know yourself after a big meal you begin to feel sleepy. I also like to find out the reason behind these things I am telling you so I have gone to the trouble of finding out why this is!
So sleepiness after eating is a response of the body to chemical changes during the digestion process. Our brain releases hormones which causes us to become drowsy. But for newborns the process of feeding, sucking, swallowing and digestion is physically quite tiring for them too.
Even if babies have not long been fed, it could be that they just need another few sips and they will be full enough or soothed enough to be settled ready for their session.
When Olivia was a baby, I made the mistake of being a bit too strict on the idea of "well I fed her only 1 hours ago she can't be hungry". If I were to go back in time I would of just fed her before trying everything else- because by the time I had tried everything else to soothe her- she would be due a feed again and we would both be frustrated, hungry and tired!
Obviously we must be careful not too over feed baby, but in a lot of cases in the studio, that extra little feed can really help
Never underestimate the soothing effects of a good swaddle! It is what newborns are used to, they love it and it keeps them feel warm and secure.
Newborn babies have a really good startle reflex sometimes the tiniest noise or movement can make them startle- especially whilst on their backs. So swaddling them helps to make them feel secure and are less likely to startle themselves awake or become frustrated with not being able to drop off to sleep because they keep startling
Do the swaddle quite tight (but not too tight) the idea of it is to secure their limbs and provide that comforting secure feeling
I used to use a square blanket when Olivia was a baby- fold on corner down slightly, wrap each side across to the other side, bring the bottom corner up and then the whole bottom piece of material up and around baby (I have put a video on my Facebook page! www.facebook.com/oliviaroseimages)
Be sure to check baby regularly to make sure they aren't too hot whilst being swaddled
Stroking between their eyes
I honestly did not know that everyone doesn't know this trick! Baby's (and cats!) love it! So gently stroking over and over between their eyes. I call it "the on/off button"! Sometimes I tap lightly between their eyes and other time I just hold my finger between their eyes. It makes them close their eyes and usually they think "oh this is quite nice" and they keep them closed!
Many parents have seen me do this in the studio and it is magic! If your baby just needs that extra bit of coaxing- try this!
Rocking and patting
Babies love a good pat! This is because it reminds them of their mothers heart beat when they were in the womb. It makes sense as to why they find it so comforting! Being swayed reminds them of the sensation of moving around whilst mum is walking around when they were in the womb too. Try swaying with baby and patting their bum and they will find it so soothing!
It seems obvious but keeping baby warm is very important if you want them to drift into a nice deep sleep. You know yourself when you are cosy and warm it makes you very sleepy! It certainly does in the studio- parents and myself can be often found yawning away! At night time keep baby away from windows and doors that might be letting in a draught.
Baby's cannot regulate their own body temperature so it is important to check regularly if they are too hot or cold. If they are swaddled for example keep an eye that they are not over heating
Here is a guide for how many layers of clothing baby should wear according to how hot/cold the temperature is
I have a white noise app that I will sometimes use in the studio- it is called "the baby shusher" and it costs £3. You will often naturally find yourself shushing in babies ear to comfort them- the app does it for you
White noise sounds very similar to the continual whooshing sound made by the blood flowing through arteries near the womb and that is why babies find it so soothing. It also muffles out other noises. For example if someone was to drop something loud on the floor, that noise wouldn't be so prominent and startling if the white noise was playing (and hopefully wouldn't startle baby awake)
White noise is just as effective for older babies and toddlers too!
White noise can be a great aid in a successful bedtime route too and there are many white noise cuddle toys out there. More on white noise toys later in the week!
I hope that sharing what I do in the studio to help the babies fall to sleep has been an interesting read!
Do you have any sleep inducing techniques that you use at home? Please do feel free to share them with us!
Hopefully your babies will be yawning away in no time at all!
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