So You're Having a Baby and Want Newborn Photos...

Congratulations! Having a baby is the biggest adventure you will ever partake in! It's a wonderful, wacky, fun, and exhausting experience all wrapped up in one tiny, little bundle of joy.

Many who have a new babe are interested in having newborn photos taken. You know the ones - those perfectly posed images of baby snuggled up, swaddled in buckets, wearing dainty little hats and bonnets. Those images.

Before the pandemic, there was a major push with newborn photographers to capture those picture perfect images within the first two weeks of birth. I'll admit, this was my personal preference as well. But, I was open to photographing an older baby, too. Why? Well, if I only photographed babes that were only two weeks and younger, I wouldn't have been able to photograph my own baby, since he was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for over two weeks. We didn't get to bring him home from the hospital until after that two-week mark.

But why do photographers want babes so young? Typically, because this is when babes are the most sleepy. They're having minimal awake moments. They curl up into poses easily, as if they're still floating around in mom's womb. They also have yet to develop a startle reflux at this young age.

But, I'm here to say that I've thrown out that two-week rule. In fact, I actually try to actively avoid photographing babes within the first two weeks of birth.

When the pandemic happened, photographers were rightfully so deemed inessential. So we couldn't work through lockdowns. And because of this, babes were born and we had to wait to photograph them. By the time lockdown restrictions were lifted, I was photographing babes that were five weeks and older. Was it a problem? Nope. Not even in the slightest. In fact, I found the older babes easier to photograph than those truly new babes. And why was this you ask? Well, I've chalked it up to this: everyone was more relaxed and settled. Mom had had a chance to recover. She wasn't still wearing pads or diapers. She wasn't hobbling around in pain from an episiotomy or Caesarian section. Her milk had come in and become a little more regulated, her breasts weren't tender and nipples weren't swollen. The parents had figured out a feeding schedule that worked for both them and baby, and they were much more comfortable holding baby and allowing others to hold baby. Essentially, babe's parents were getting into a rhythm of parenting. And that is truly beautiful.

The other reason I've decided to throw out the two-week rule is something I've already hinted at above - so many babes cannot be photographed within that time frame. As an active supporter of the NICU and a fellow NICU mom, I understand that so many babes are born in precarious situations. They have feeding problems and are connected to tubes, they are jaundiced and have to undergo phototherapy. They are born needing lifesaving measures. And because of this, they stay in the hospital for extended periods of time, ranging from a few extra days to weeks to months. And just because they essentially "aged-out" of the two-week window doesn't mean that NICU parents should miss out on those delicate newborn photos. I'll gladly photograph a babe at any age. Just recently, I photographed a four-month old "newborn" because he was born early and needed a lengthy stay at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. And you know what? That newborn shoot went perfectly. Most NICU babes are premature (born early), and therefore, continue to have lengthy sleepy windows well beyond those of babes born at full-term. They are small, and remain small for many months. So even though they're weeks or months older, they still look like a newborn babe. And even better, older babes are capable of smiles beyond gas smiles and showing off personality, making your pictures a little more dynamic.

So don't fret if you don't get newborn photos done within the first two weeks of birth. I'm here to say, let's throw that two-week window out with the bath water. And if you're photographer will only photograph a babe in the first two weeks, maybe it's time to throw them out, too.