Newborn Sessions with Brittney Hogue
How to prepare for your baby's first professional portraits
There is something so very sweet about being able to photograph a baby and record those tiny details of the first days of life. So let's look at how your session will evolve and what steps you may take as a family to have a laid back and enjoyable experience!
How to prepare for the session
Many newborn photographers will give you a list of ways to encourage a sleeping baby for your session that shakes up their normal schedule in hopes to exhaust them. My philosophy is a bit different. I highly encourage parents not to disturb their newborn's schedule. Make this a day like any other day. Baby's like to do things their own way after all. If we all knew the secret to making a baby fall asleep, none of us would be exhausted new parents, right? So please, don't buy into all the hype of bathing your baby before you come out or withholding a feeding. Let your newborn be a newborn, meet her needs. A happy baby is much easier to photograph than one who is overly tired, overly stressed and in need of comfort by mom and dad.
If you are breastfeeding...
Breastfed babies are scheduled at least five days after birth. If you are having challenges breastfeeding, please let me know! My only requirement for breastfed babies is feeding be well established. If you're exclusively latching, perfect. If you are finger feeding, perfect. If you are exclusively pumping right now, perfect. Our goal is to have a FULL tummy to encourage a happy little one. That's all that matters.
Since breast milk is digested quickly, please plan to top baby's tummy off after you arrive. We will immediately undress your baby down to a dry diaper and he or she may need a little encouragement to settle down again.
Additional tip: Please avoid gassy foods such as dairy, leafy vegetables, beans, etc for the couple of days before your session. You might also consider gas relief drops (simethicone) or essential oil use (diluted peppermint oil across the belly) if you know your baby struggles with gas. Please discuss these options with your pediatrician or lactation if you have any questions or concerns. Both of these options are over the counter remedies and work a little better than gripe water.
If you are formula feeding...
Formula fed babies can be scheduled any time after feeding is well established, meaning when you recognize your baby is satisfied after eating. This most commonly occurs at least five days after birth, but if you have to switch formulas to find what works for your newborn, this might result in going into the second week of life.
The day of your session, please plan to bring a little extra formula with you than you might normally plan to bring. If your little one is difficult to settle, we might use a bit more formula than you typically would at home to encourage a calm newborn. For a session last 2-3 hours, plan three ounces on the small end and more like six on the large end. It is unlikely a five day old baby will go through six ounces, but having too much formula is always better than not enough, right?
If you are open to utilizing the pacifier during your session, please plan to bring it with you. I am comfortable working with babies who are not using a pacifier at all, but sessions can go easier when a pacifier is utilized. Even if your baby "refuses to take a pacifier", you are still welcome to bring it. How we use a pacifier to calm baby in a newborn session is not the same as how we use it as parents to help sooth our upset newborn. Pacifier use in a newborn session is limited to a few moments at a time and usually just to keep your baby feeling secure during posing transitions. It can also help prevent us from over feeding your baby.
Where to go
My in home studio is located at 227 Herget Street in Pekin, IL 61554. You are welcome to park directly in front of the house. We are directly next door to a small park. If older siblings are also attending the session, we can plan to photograph them with baby first and allow your support person and kids to head next door to play on the park if you would prefer. As a general rule, please plan to have a minimum number of people to attend your session. My home is very small and I will have seating available for four people only during an average session. I can have some toys available for children around 3-4 years old or younger and please do not hesitate to bring your own toys with you to keep a sibling occupied if needed. Our goal is for everyone to have a low key- stress free morning.
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