Soothing newborn babies.
Something that may just help you keep your sanity once your little one has arrived.
That most elusive of things for new parents – getting your little one settled and sleepy. Grabbing those precious minutes of rest before the next feed or nappy change! Having a moment to yourself – a little oasis of calm in the whirlpool of chaos that has descended since your return from hospital!
There’s several techniques and tips, many of which we use during our newborn photography sessions to get little one calm and settled and (hopefully!) sleepy in order to get some great images – the principle is exactly the same. So here goes, a few quick-fire tips and tricks:
Soothing newborn white noise
This is one of the best, easiest and most effective things you can do to settle your newborn. Particularly effective for newer babies, it mimics the sounds of being in the womb which studies show are absolutely recognised by your baby in the early weeks of life outside of mum’s tummy. We use a custom-created combination of womb sounds, but there’s a multitude of ways of doing it.
- Phone apps – handy, quick and very portable, you can just set it going and put it down near baby.
- Through your stereo – get a ‘White noise’ or ‘Womb sounds’ mp3 from somewhere like Amazon, iTunes or Google Play and play it through your stereo – the advantage being the greater range of sounds and the ability to ‘surround’ baby with the noise.
- A ‘Shusher‘ – these are fairly new to market and consist of a dedicated device which can be placed down near baby that produces a continuous ‘shushing’ sound, which is similar to those sounds heard when in the womb. They come with a built-in timer and volume controls. You can get them from Amazon or from this supplier
- Consider getting a baby monitor which allows you to play sound files (mp3’s for example) through it – they may cost a little more but when you find a sound that works, you can play it to baby without disturbing them.
Turn up the heat
When inside the womb, the temperature is around 36.5 degrees centigrade – when photographing newborns we will usually keep the studio temperature at around 24 to 25 degrees. This is very warm for adults but ideal for newborns in their birthday suits! A slight increase in ambient temperature can help make your baby feel more snug and comfortable – obviously you need to be aware of overheating. If your baby starts to sweat or get too rosy it’s time to either turn the heat down or take off a layer or two.
Sounds a bit drastic I know but it’s really not. What I’m talking about here is sensory input (sensation and sight) overwhelming and soothing newborn baby to the point of encouraging them to shut their eyes and snuggle down. We find the best way to achieve this is to rock with fairly large movements whilst moving the baby’s line of sight in and out of a light source (not too bright obviously!). The most natural way to do this is to stand with baby in your arms about 90 degrees to a light or lamp, then rotate your torso round to and then away again from the light.
Stroke the forehead
This should be done with the flat of the hand with a firm downward motion from the top of the hairline to the bottom of the nose – again this encourages shutting eyes and produces a repetitive sensation which lulls baby off to sleep.
Make sure they’re comfortable
It may sound obvious but in the sleep-deprived early days it’s all too easy to forget that there may well be a good reason for the unrest – at this stage it’s usually either food, nappy change or comfort required. Ensure their position wherever they are (in your arms or laying down) is comfortable with no awkward limb positions and no drafts across exposed skin.
I hope some of the above helps – a calm and settled newborn can make all the difference when it comes to how you feel!