I’m going to let you in on something that most people don’t realise - being a newborn photographer is not just about the photos.
When you come in with your 10 day old new baby, you are bringing your story with you. Your birth story, how you’re coping with a new baby, with breastfeeding, your relationship, and your experience so far with motherhood.
I’m often one of the first people you’ve seen since you left hospital, and you come in vulnerable, exhausted and having just been through one of the biggest milestones of your life. And you’re about to spend the next three hours or so letting me handle your precious baby, telling me about your birth and experiences, and feeding in front of me.
And so with this in mind, I want to point out a few things that become part of the EXPERIENCE.
1. Listening to you.
Yep, a good part of the 3 hours is spent really listening to you and your experiences, letting you vent, sharing my own experiences and just giving you the space to unload about becoming a mother for the first or second or third or fourth time! Empathy is paramount.
I’ve had parents come in almost at the point of tears and leave feeling they will be fine - because as a mother and also someone who has seen many many parents of newborns, I know just how difficult, stressful, amazing and overwhelming it can be and that sometimes you just need someone to listen.
I love this part of my job and I am grateful that parents feel comfortable enough to open up to me.
2. Newborn Safety and comfort.
I often get parents asking if their baby’s breathing is normal, or is this sleep normal and so on. I’m not qualified to give you medical advice BUT I do have a pretty good idea now of what is normal and I definitely keep an eye on this during the session.
I know that babies breathe erratically or faster sometimes as they enter the first stage of sleep - and I’ve calmed many a new parent’s mind about this.
I know how to hold and handle babies so that they feel secure and have been trained in safe posing.
I know to follow a workflow that is the least disruptive to a baby - such as wrapping over an outfit so that i can work my way from wrapped to dressed to naked shots in a way that doesn’t constantly upset baby.
I know hunger signs and watch for signs of any tummy distress or whether they simply need a cuddle from mum.
I know that babies cannot regulate their temperature so that when they do get undressed, I need to keep the studio warm and at the right temperature.
I know to watch and care for your baby at all times because there is nothing else more important.
3. Your safety and comfort
I’ve told a mum to go to hospital once the session finished, because I noticed she was shivering in my warm studio and I strongly suspected mastitis. She let me know she did have it and thanked me for noticing so quickly.
I try and give parents a little break - they can sit down and relax for a few hours while I settle the baby. It’s just a tiny bit of pressure taken off.
I provide all my parents with clear pre-session guidance and a What to Wear guide, so they aren’t stressed out or confused.
I’m aware of the signs of PND.
And I can recommend amazing and qualified lactation consultants, pre/post natal yoga teachers, massage therapists and other services so you know where to go.
Being a newborn photographer means I am going to spend a few hours with brand new parents in their most vulnerable and exhausted period and I am 1000% aware of this and take it seriously.
They truly aren’t just photos, they are an experience and service and you should always book someone you are confident and comfortable around.