How to settle your newborn to sleep – 5 Useful tips!

How to settle your newborn to sleep

One of the biggest worries new parents have when booking or when they turn up for their newborn photography session is what if my newborn does not settle! This is a common worry, however, I have several ways I help to settle your newborn to sleep, which may be of use to know.

Before I discuss my tips and what works well for me during a session, I always check the newborn is dry and has had no accidents and is not hungry.  Both easy to check and the baby will often root if hungry. I always make sure the studio is of a certain temperature so the baby is not too hot or cold and if they have fed they have been winded, as sometimes a newborn can get wind pain, which can cause them to be unsettled.  Once these things have been checked, I then move on to the following suggestions.

1. The first tip is to swaddle your newborn.  Newborns like to feel safe and secure and swaddling is a great way to achieve this.  Wrap them up nice and tight, however, make sure that they do not get too hot and the wrap is not restricting their airway in anyway. I always tend to start my sessions with wrapping as I find this a great way to get a newborn to settle and relax into a deep sleep before we move onto more difficult posies or ones where the newborn is unwrapped.


Here are examples of the first type of wrapping I use, which is a full wrap technique

Once your little one starts to relax and fall asleep, I then move to this wrapping technique, where I expose the feet and hands.

2. The second tip is white noise. White noise often helps encourage sleep.  A groundbreaking 1990 study found that white noise could be helpful. Forty newborns were studied, and it was found that 80 percent were able to fall asleep after five minutes of hearing white noise.



Now days, your phone will have white apps that you can download often for free, however, I recommend the Baby Shusher that you can purchase on Amazon.You can have it on a timer for 15 or 30 minutes, and is has a controlled volume setting.  The rhythmic shush reminds the baby of being inside the womb, and I have found it works extremely well.  This item would be a great present for new parents!!!! This product can be found at

3. The third tip and an extremely useful item that I would recommend, is the Summer Infant Portable/Sleep Aid for Babies, which soothes and vibrates. I place this next to the baby, and the gentle vibrating helps to relax and encourage sleep.  It also plays several songs which is nice perhaps as part of a bedtime routine when your newborn gets older, and also includes a couple of sounds. One of these is the sound from the womb which are newborns will relax too. You can buy this here

4. The forth tip is gently rocking and swaying your newborn. I always remember when my children were little ones, if they wouldn’t settle my husband used to take them out in the car.  The movement of the car, always worked a treat, even if my husband was out driving in the middle of the night!!  Or even putting them in a pram and pushing it backwards and forwards.  If only someone could invent a product that would rock your pram backwards and forwards for you! Newborns seem to react well to gentle movement, so if a newborn is unsettled in a session, I firstly swaddle them and then I rock them gently from side to side.  Another tip is if they have stomach pain, keep them on their side whilst rocking as this will help with that discomfort.

5. My fifth tip is the power of touch.  Gently stroke the newborn on the forehead or just between the eyes.  Small soft stroking combined with me saying shush into the baby ears, seems to work wonders and you often see a newborn fighting to stay awake with this approach.

I have been working as a newborn photographer for several years, and on most occasions, one or several of these tips have helped soothe a newborn.  However, as long as your newborn is settled, awake shots are just as beautiful.  Some newborn photographers are unwilling to undertake a newborn session after 2 weeks, however, I have photographed newborns up to 5 weeks before and at this stage, you often get some gorgeous awake shots.


I want parents to feel relaxed and comfortable during a session and not to worry about whether their newborn will sleep or even have an accident on one of my props or wraps.  By allowing lots of time for a session, nothing has to be rushed, as the key is to produce beautiful images of your newborn, to cherish forever!

To book your newborn session, please email

Don’t forget as your little one grows older, a sitter session is just perfect to capture this milestone.  My friend, Emma at Capture the Light Photography loves to photograph babies as they grow older. If you’re looking for a great family photographer in Olney, near Milton Keynes, then check out her blog.


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