In almost all of my Newborn Sessions, new parents ask me if they can bring me home to help settle their baby, or tell me I have the magic touch.
The truth is, helping newborns settle is more about method than magic, and I have memories of the first few days with my firstborn, trying to work out how on earth to soothe her. She was a particularly fussy baby, and I like to think now that she was doing her best to train me for my future career! Here I will share the things I learn back then, and use in every Newborn Session, to settle newborn babies:
1. Feed them!
This one may sound incredibly obvious, but a baby with a full tummy is usually a happy one. New parents may be inclined to doubt that their baby is hungry if it seems they've only just been fed, but cluster feeding is very normal in young babies so they may well just be wanting more milk - even when it's only been half an hour since their last feed.
If I have a baby who isn't settling into a nice, deep sleep at a session, I will always ask that they're fed a little more. Once they're nice and milk-drunk, sessions go much more smoothly.
2. Make them feel secure.
Babies don't have a great deal of room in the womb, so once they're out in the world, they can find it very unsettling to have so much space, especially when their reflexes can suddenly send their little arms flying!
The easiest way to keep them feeling secure is to hold them comfortably, keeping their arms and legs nice and secure. Babywearing is also a fantastic option and still allows you use of your hands. When trying to lay a sleeping baby down, it really helps to hold their arms close to their bodies for a few minutes while they relax.
3. Use white noise or rain noise.
The womb is a noisy place and, while it makes sense to us that no noise promotes sleep, for babies silence is a totally new and strange concept, and playing white noise can quickly soothe a crying baby and send them to sleep.
There's no need to buy expensive hushing toys either, there are plenty of apps to choose from and even Youtube videos. I use a rain noise app at every Newborn Session and it works wonders every time.
4. Experiment with different holds.
Most people naturally cradle a newborn, but some babies much prefer to be held upright, with their head on your shoulder, or tummy down over your forearm - this last one is especially good for babies who struggle with wind.
If ever a baby starts to stir while posed at their Newborn Session, I have always started gently patting their bottom until they settle again. I hadn't thought about it too much but recently I assumed it must remind them of their mummy's heartbeat while in the womb - after all, most third trimester babies spend a great deal of time with those little bottoms jammed into their mother's rib cage!
So there we have it, just a few ideas for when your sweet baby just won't seem to settle. I hope they work and maybe even bring you a little more sleep.