Tips to help settle a newborn to sleep

How do I settle a newborn to sleep during my sessions? Over the years, I have worked with many newborns. Clients are always worrying about what if their baby doesn’t sleep during the session, but I have several tips that I use in all my sessions, that I wanted to share.

Before I discuss my tips and what works well for me during a session, I always check the newborns nappy and that the baby 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.


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. At some stage during a newborn session, I will wrap the baby as I find this a great way to settle your newborn to sleep and relax into a deep sleep before we move onto more difficult posies or ones where the newborn is unwrapped.



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 here. Lots of parents are so impressed with how it helps settle a newborn to sleep during the session, that they are on the internet, buying one whilst the session is happening!


I always remember when my children were babies, 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!!   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.

One of the items I use in a session to help settle a newborn to sleep, is the Sumner Infant Baby Portable/Sleep Aid for babies. The vibration gives your baby the comfort of movement even when standing still. Includes white noise, lullaby, and heart beat sounds for additional soothing. You can purchase this here


Gently stroke your newborn on the forehead or just between the eyes.  Small soft strokes often helps along with a gentle patting on the bottom or the thigh. Make the patting as rhythmic as possible. BABIES THRIVE ON LOVING TOUCH. Babies who are rarely touched have brains 20% smaller than babies who are touched a lot. Studies have shown that routine touch and massage can lead to improved physiological, cognitive, emotional and social development.

Gentle and loving touch can help small babies grow stronger and feel less anxiety. In many hospitals and birth centres, newborns are placed on the mother’s chest or abdomen to give them as much skin-to-skin contact as possible.


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.  I would love to hear of any tips or tricks that you find have worked well with your newborn.

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