You don’t need to stress over how to prepare for your newborn session! There are five easy ways to set yourself up for smooth sailing, and I am here to help.

5 Ways to Prepare for Your Newborn Session

1. Plan Outfits Ahead of Time

It’s hard enough to get any semblance of sleep as a new parent – you sure don’t want to be up until midnight the day before your session, frantically digging through your closet for something to wear! Lay out clothing for you and any other family members in the shoot (partners, children, etc.). And then pack some backups, because we all know how unpredictable babies and their bodily fluids can be.

*If there is a floofy dress for an older sibling, consider packing it separately and changing after arrival. You don’t want to be wrestling car seat straps over a floofy dress when you’re trying to get on the road!

Not sure what to wear? I love when clients send me photos of possible wardrobe choices! I am happy to offer feedback and suggestions, so feel free to text me from the store or your closet. See my post on what to wear for family photos for some basic guidelines.

And remember – you don’t need to pack a single thing for your newborn to wear! I have everything we will need.

2. Pack the Diaper Bag the Night Before

Your newborn photos may be the first time you have left the house with your precious new baby, so you may not have even needed a diaper bag yet. Don’t wait until that morning to decide what to pack! Get everything ready before bed so you have a smooth takeoff in the morning.

What is most important to pack? Diapers, wipes, and feeding supplies (formula, bottle, nipple shield, etc.). I also strongly recommend packing a pacifier, even if your baby hasn’t seemed to like it so far. It’s often very helpful to settle them into a pose, even if it keeps falling out and I have to hold the pacifier myself!

Here are some ideas if you want a more extensive list. But don’t worry, I have many extra supplies in case you forget something! I also provide a breastfeeding pillow and a nursing stool if needed.

3. Remember Self-Care Can Help You Look Your Best

I know, “self-care” as the parent of a newborn seems antithetical, right?! But there are small things you can do to look and feel your best during the shoot, and one way to prepare for your newborn session is to prepare yourself.

Drink plenty of water the day before and that morning, for glowing skin. I like to create portraits that feature parent hands on the baby, so trim your nails and consider a little manicure if you have time (yes, even for men!). If nothing else, remove old polish! See if you can fit in a haircut right before baby is born, to make it easier to style that morning. Or splurge on professional hair & makeup! I am happy to suggest local HMU artists.

And lastly, most hilariously, try to get some sleep. I know, I know, I have been there, it’s a comical suggestion. But if there is anyone you can rely on to take a feeding during that night before, or any household task you can put off (like laundry), take every moment you can for a bit of shut-eye.

4. Feed Your Baby as Much as Possible

Try to squeeze in as many feedings as you can in the 12 hours before your shoot. The fuller your baby’s tummy is, the longer they are likely to sleep, giving us more time to create adorable magic.

There are some photographers who instruct clients to keep the baby awake and/or unfed for two hours before the shoot so they arrive hungry and sleepy, but honestly? I want you to follow your baby’s rhythms. The last thing I want is for parents to be stressed out about trying to keep an exhausted baby awake. I’d much rather a happy awake baby than a cranky overtired one!

5. Breathe

Stop right now and take three deep breaths. Take your shoulders down from around your ears and relax your muscles. Everything is going to be just fine. The absolute best way you can prepare for your newborn photos is to relax and trust in the process. These tips can help smooth the way, but you could skip every one of them and still have a fantastic session.

So close your eyes, take a moment, and remember the miracle you have before you. No matter what, we are going to create some beautiful portraits to help you remember this time for the rest of your life.