Top tips for soothing your newborn baby

January 16, 2023  •  1 Comment

You may be reading this through blurry eyes or about to embark on your newborn journey when your newborn baby arrives soon. And you clearly clicked because you are in need of some ideas to help settle a baby that seems relentlessly crying or fussing.

As a newborn photographer, with over 9 years experience of newborn babies and as a mother of two children, I have seen my fair share of unsettled and unhappy little sleep assassins. When parents come to my studio for their newborn shoot, they are often amazed by how I settle their little one, get them to sleep and get them to stay there. They often leave with a few of my little tips and when they come back for future shoots, it's lovely to hear how they put them into practise and how successful they are. So this is not an endless list of course.... I cannot give away all the secrets of my experience and training but these will most definitely help. Now I also cannot guarantee that all of these methods will work for you as every baby is different but I'm confident that they will make life a little easier. 

First things first BREATHE and know that you are doing a fab job! Parenthood and having a Newborn baby is like a whirlwind of chaos at times and let's face it, no-one gives you a manual so we are all kinda winging it to start with until you find a method for you and your baby that works. But no matter how hard things get you are not alone and you can do this. So take a moment to breathe, try and relax. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your baby will become. It's funny how they pick up on your stress. 


So here are a few of my top tips for those times when you might be thinking - "can I get a refund", "my baby is broken". We've all thought it!! 


Tip 1 - Check the basics

I know this might sound really obvious but in times of sleep deprivation and endless nappy changing it can sometimes be the smallest of things that might be making your newborn baby unhappy or a little fussier than usual. So working through a mental checklist of the basics is a great starting point. By basics I mean checking the following; 

-Are they hungry? 

-Do they have a wet or soiled nappy? 

-Are they at the right temperature? 

-Do they have wind? 

As your newborn baby grows you will spot the cues and signs that some of the above things might be a problem and you will instantly be able to work out what might be wrong. There is often a difference in the cry of a newborn baby who is hungry versus a newborn who might have some trapped wind. If in doubt, begin with trying to wind of burp them or rub their tummy in a circular motion if it might be a gripey tummy. A dummy will often help to relieve symptoms too as the sucking motion can provide relief. If it doesn't seem to be wind, then you could try to offer food. 

You've worked through the list above and eliminated the main things, so now you can assume that they might be tired or having a fuss which can sometimes be totally unexplained but they just want some cuddles and comfort. 


Tip 2 - Shushing...............

In almost all of my newborn photoshoots, you will hear me shushing and very loudly and rhythmically. I often find myself having to tell parents that I'm not telling them to be quiet - that would be just rude. But shushing, like white noise is comforting to a baby. I tend to Shush to the count of 3, so Shush, Shush, shush. So give it a try and don't be afraid to make it as loud as you can get it and quite close to baby's ear. You can buy shushing machines believe it or or you will find an app for it too! 


Tip 3 - White noise 

Similar to the principal above, white noise is a huge tool for me when I am carrying out a newborn photoshoot or an older baby shoot. Even during some sitter or cake smash shoots, I still get it out for those children who have grown up with it as a baby as it is a source of comfort and familiarity to them. Your baby hears all sorts in the womb but as you can imagine, none of it will be clear but muffled and to them, will seems very loud. All those day to day sounds like the hoover, hairdryer, washing machine, car engine, motorbikes are noises that your baby would have heard in the womb. So having spent 9 months listening to those sounds on repeat, why would they not find them a comfort. There are endless app's for white noise or simply pop 'white noise' into your prime or apple account and you will have endless choices. My personal faves are the hoover and hairdryer and they are the most familiar. And crank up that volume!! I will have white noise on all the time during a newborn photoshoot so don't be afraid to keep it on even when they do settle or sleep. You will just zone out to it. What I do not encourage or promote is using white noise to drown out a baby crying. It should be used as an aid to settle and sleep. But also remember the process may not be as instant and pressing the button and they then stop, it might take a few minutes and a few times. 

Tip 4 - The off button 

During my newborn photography training 9 years ago, I was taught that babies have an off switch. As a childless adult at the time I actually believed there might physically be a switch. But it's not as obvious and simple as that. When I tell parents I am pressing the off button I mean that the little temple that sits at the top of the bridge of the nose, in between the eyebrows, that middle spot that when stroked with your finger can have your baby relaxing and closing their eyes in no time. The forehead in general is also great for rubbing and soothing but the sweet spot is right between those eyebrows. It will make those eyes nice and heavy and most babies will find it hard to keep those eyelids open. For those future world leaders out there, those tougher than tough newborns that are determined not to close their eyes and fight it, you can even stroke gently down and over their eyelids making it even harder for them to keep them open. 

Tip 5 - The rocking and patting 

Now think about it, your newborn baby was in the womb for 9 moths whilst Mum moved about all the time, rocking them this way and that way, back and forth, left and right. So when they are out of the womb, recreating that rocking motions will again give them the comfort that they were used to and help to settle them. "of course, I hear you shout", that's what the baby rocking machine and bouncy chair does! So you can try these methods or pop them in a pushchair to rock or go for the classic rocking them in your arms. And I know that constantly having your baby in your arms when you are trying to do things can also be tricky so slings are perfect for enabling you to multi tasks. As well as rocking, patting your baby on the bottom also adds to this , because whilst you are doing so the natural motion of patting will provide baby with a rocking sensation. This can be really useful if they are lying down in a crib and start to fuss, trying a little rhythmic pat can often give them that little rock back to sleep. Combine it with a loud shushhhh noise and even better. You may also find that vibration work in a similar way if you have this function on a bouncer chair. 

I use this technique so much that I find it very hard to keep still. I find myself stood in many a shop queue rocking back and forth because it has become so habitual. lol I know, I know, I must look very odd!! 


So there you go, a few little tips that might just help.If you come and have a newborn photoshoot with me, you may find yourself picking up a whole heap of others! 


If you do want to find out more about any of my shoots or services then please do not hesitate to ask. 


Hi there, I wanted to express my admiration for the incredible images featured here. Your skill in framing and capturing the perfect moment is impressive. The aesthetic quality of your work really shines through. Great job! Anja from
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