Getting your baby sleep, tips from a newborn photographer

Baby sleeping in bed that is a newborn prop
Sleeping Newborn baby one week new

Getting your baby to sleep

Having a new baby is such a blessing. However, getting your baby to sleep can be difficult. You have been waiting for nine months to meet this little person. You plan, and you prepare, and you count down the months. Then, before you know it, your baby arrives. What you quickly learn is that your new baby doesn’t sleep as much as you thought they would. With baby not sleeping, parents don’t sleep, and that is a recipe for a hot mess. As a mother, I remember the exhaustion, and all the emtions.

When I think back to that time, I remember crying happy tears, feeling so excited, exhausted, and crying for no reason at all. I needed to sleep so bad, but on the other hand, I wanted to be awake. I tried to hold my new baby and not miss a minute when my baby was awake. After a couple of days of this, I soon realized that sleep was imperative. As a parent of a now nine-year-old , rest was something I needed, and something I wish I had some tips for myself. How do I get my newborn to sleep? So I have listed for you tips that I use when I photograph babies, and have to get them to sleep.

How do I get my sweet baby to sleep?

The part I couldn’t figure out was how, how to get my new baby to sleep? New babies are up every 3-4 hours for feeding, diaper changes, and maybe just because they need to be held. Sometimes it is just super hard to get a baby to sleep period.  I meet so many first-time and even 2nd or 3rd child parents who come to my studio to have their newborn photographed, and they are exhausted. Throughout their session, I have a lot of parents who leave my studio and want to take a few tips with them to help their baby sleep.

Photograph of new mom wearing a black tank top holding her seven day old baby with a wood backdrop
New parent with her week old baby

If you’re struggling, here’s a few tips I use throughout my sessions and amaze parents by getting babies into a deep sleep and keeping them asleep for several hours. I am able to keep them asleep while dressing them, undressing, posing, and moving them around. Of course, this isn’t magic, there’s always a baby or two who won’t settle, and we adjust the session to keep baby comfortable.

About keeping baby warm

I keep my studio warm. What we have to remember is that baby was just in mom’s tummy, with a temperature set at a nice warm, comfy 98 degrees. Now I am not saying I suggest you set your thermostat to 98 degrees, that would be crazy, expensive, and could be dangerous to baby. But I am saying babies like to be kept warm and being cold will keep them awake. For my newborn sessions, the studio is warm. Keeping the room cold would be impossible, it keeps baby awake. I wouldn’t get even one photograph. I am always keeping my studio around 78-81 degrees on the high side. The babies I photograph are mostly naked or in a diaper, so I take that into account.

New baby wrapped in a beige stretchy swaddle wrap, lying on his side smiling.
Baby wrapped like a burrito in a jersey knit stretch wrap

White Noise

White noise can mask abrupt sounds during the session. But not just normal white noise, a noise they’ll be somewhat familiar with, “The baby Shusher” This is one of the best investments I have made. This miracle shushing noise calms baby, the same as white noise does, but in a familiar sound. The difference is, it shushes. Parents always ask where I got it and where they can get one. So, I have attached a link for anyone who in need of a shusher. And this really does help and work. Follow the links above or this direct link:

Wrap that baby up

One thing that works, with almost every baby I have had the pleasure of photographing is, swaddling. As a photographer, I call it wrapping the baby, and I have taken classes on different ways to wrap babies for safety, different wrap looks, and wrapped poses. I remind my client that you have to remember that your new bundle of joy was in the small space of your stomach, and for nine months that space grew slowly keeping baby tight, secure, warm, and safe. Babies like to be held and wrapped snug.

Wrapping safety

Safety first! Now let me explain what I mean by tight, I don’t want this taken out of context. I have taken professional workshops and training. I never wrap baby tight around the neck area. Wrapping to tight at the neck can cause asphyxiation. It is imperative to not wrap your newborn too tightly in the neck area.

photo of a baby girl in a newborn prop bed, holding a baby doll and wearing  a pink swaddled wrap
Newborn baby girl wrapped in a pink stretchy wrap

I use stretchy jersey knit fabrics for swaddling. This way it is stretchy allows baby some room to move, and it will enable me to swaddle or wrap the baby a couple of times with a single piece of cloth. You can find these wraps made commercially, on, or merely purchase material at your local Joann or Hobby-Lobby.

I order mine from a couple of vendors listed below. If you’re not booking a session with me, I would highly recommend asking your babies’ doctor to show you how to wrap them snug if you do not know how.

Fancy Props

Baby Bliss Props

Please take a few minutes to leave a comment, check out my newborn portfolio, or contact me if you have any questions

Safety Disclaimer:

I am by no means whatsoever an expert or a Doctor with how to get your baby to sleep. I What I can say through my experiences and training, I have found these techniques to work for myself as a photographer and mother. This does not mean all of these things will work for you.

I can tell you a large number of my clients leave saying, “we need The baby Shusher, space heater, and those stretchy wraps.” Or parents who come back to view their images and rave about the sleep they’re getting from these few simple techniques. I hope that these “Tips from a Newborn Photographer” help you as a new parent. As a mother of three, I know this information was helpful for my children. I wish you all the best with your new little sweetheart, and I hope this allows you to get some sleep.

Product Disclaimers

Product Disclaimers:

All of the links provided are for reference only, I have no vested interest in any of the links provide and to not represent the any of companies whose links I provide to help you. One exception is as an Amazon Associate I earn compensation from qualifying purchases.

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Hi there, I am Melissa. We moved to Arizona when I was five years old, so I consider myself a desert native. I am the mother of three wonderful children, a wife to an amazingly loving and extremely intelligent man, and a lover of animals. (We live on a small farm) I am the proud pet owner of a Chocolate Lab, miniature wiener dog, 26 chickens, 2 goats, a horse, and a miniature horse named Switch. Photography has always been a passion of mine, and 13 years ago I was able to form a successful small business doing what I love. I feel so blessed that God gave me this gift that I can pass along to others and bless them with.