New parents, family members and friends are always so surprised when they learn just how young a baby has to be to star in their newborn photos. In fact, I’d say the average person assumes that the newborn stage lasts up to two to three months. Just as this isn’t the case in the clothing departments, which have a newborn size and then a separate size for babies ages 0-3 months, the photography world only counts newborn as, well, newborn—5 to 10 days old! Yep, that means that, in most cases, the newborn photography experience is only their first or second trip out of the house once coming home from the hospital.
Why so young? Well, the answer is pretty simple. Babies need to be very sleepy and malleable for their newborn photos. When babies are first born their bones are still soft from being cooped up in the womb and then undergoing the experience of labor and delivery. This means they’re as flexible as they’ll ever be and can be posed in all sorts of curled up positions (which are totally adorable). Not only do these positions allow for easy swaddling of all those precious wrapped bundle of joy portraits you see, but their natural tendencies, like keeping their hands close to their face with their legs tightly crossed in the most precious way, are most optimal in this stage. You can see these sweet poses in all of the adorable photos on my website.
Another reason why newborn photos should be scheduled within those first two weeks of life is because week three is when most babies go through their first growth spurt, waking up like hungry little milk monsters and ready to eat all day long. They tend to be more alert and fussier during this stage not only because they’re ravenous, but because they still can’t control their arms or see that far in front of them. Other less-than-lovely perks of week three and beyond include baby acne and, worse, colic, that gas-induced fussiness. As you can see, those first two weeks are the gold standard of newborn photography and truly when it’s best to capture your little one in all his or her glory.
Like all rules, however, this one does come with exceptions. Babies born prematurely, which is often the case with twins, can be photographed past the two- week point. Preemies are technically still in their last trimester and tend to stay in the sleepy stage longer than full-term babies. Their bellies are still developing and their desire for more milk is less intense in those first few weeks. In these cases, we can be much more flexible in terms of scheduling newborn photos. As long as the newborn photos are scheduled for within 5 days of their actual due date, we should be good to go.
When should I book my newborn photos?
With all these unknown facts, I recommend booking your newborn photos well before your baby actually makes his or her entrance into this world. It’s one less thing to have to think about amidst all of the chaos of those first few days. Ideally, we can start discussing dates for newborn photos towards the end of your second trimester. Of course, you don’t know when exactly your little one will arrive. Not to worry—I’ve created an efficient method for reserving a slot that works seamlessly every time: We simply book two tentative dates based off of your actual due date and keep in touch after each doctor’s appointment from 36 weeks on. This way, I’ll know how your doctor thinks you’re progressing, so we can make any necessary adjustments if need be. And, of course, once your baby arrives, make sure I’m in the know. While it’s a lot of keeping in touch towards the end of your pregnancy, it will ensure that the timing of your newborn photos is perfect, just like your baby. Plus, I love chatting with my Mamas as they embark on this wonderful and momentous new stage in life.
If you’re interested in finding out more about newborn photography or would like to reserve your own session be sure to fill out the form below and I will reach out to chat!