We’ve all seen those adorable photos of new little babies looking so peaceful and relaxed and not a care in the world. As new parents, we want similar photos of our children to send out to grandparents, make into screensavers, and blast out to our social media pages to show off our amazing baby. But then session day comes around and BAM! – your baby does not want anything to do with it.
You’re thinking, “Why won’t you stop crying? I’ve literally done everything I can think of, but you’re still not happy. Don’t you know I’m paying good money for this session? Sarah’s baby cooperated in her session, why can’t you just go to sleep and let us get some nice photos?!” If this is happening during your session, I want you to stop, breathe and remember one thing: all newborns cry. This is a natural, real emotion that all newborns have for most of their first few months of life. It’s not abnormal. There is nothing wrong with your child for doing it. It is nothing to be ashamed of. They aren’t doing it to embarrass you. And when you stress out about the fact that your baby is crying, that then makes things even worse because he or she knows you’re upset.
Don’t let the crying upset you. Embrace this moment in time. It won’t be long before you forget how her little forehead wrinkled up whenever she screamed, or how his toes would get all stretched out and tense when he was upset. Let me capture these little details. These crying photos can evoke real emotion and demonstrate the love you have for your child as you try to soothe him or her. Your child can look back at these photos once they’re all grown and remember the solace that they found in your arms. These tender moments are just as important, if not more so, than the sleeping, posed photos.
The point of booking a newborn session is to help you preserve the first memories of your child’s life. While posed photos are cute, you’re not going to look back and think, “Remember how cute she was whenever she would lounge around the house in frog-form?” because that didn’t happen. You’ll look back at these photos and remember all the nights you walked your baby around the house or rocked him in a chair and hummed lullabies to try to calm him down. Those times are very stressful, but they also help you form a bond and that’s what makes these photos treasured.
I've found that when babies cry during a newborn session, they're more or less trying to communicate something to us, and what we do next is try to meet their need. She might be crying because she's hungry. So we pause and let mom feed the baby. He might have pooped or peed and doesnt like the feeling of being wet. So we pause and change his diaper. Sometimes a baby will cry - and they've been fed, they've been changed, they should be warm (I keep it set to 80 degrees in the studio during newborn sessions); everything seems to be fine. That's usually when they're communicating that they don't like the position they're in or the outfit they're wearing is uncomfortable - we'll change something slightly and they'll be happy all over again.
All that being said, if you have your heart set on those peaceful, posed photos, we will just take our time - all the time we need - and take our cues from baby.