What if my baby doesn't sleep during our newborn session with you?

October 23, 2019  •  16 Comments

What if my baby doesn't sleep during our newborn session with you?


Having looked at the photographs of all of the newborn babies on my website, you’ll have probably
noticed that many of them show babies sleeping during their newborn photography sessions.

But if your own baby only sleeps for about half an hour at a time, you may well be wondering ‘What
if my baby doesn’t sleep during our newborn photography session?’

It’s completely understandable that this very question might be playing on your mind right now if
you are considering booking or have already booked your newborn session with me.

And if it is, DON’T PANIC! I am here to reassure you!

Please, please don't worry about whether or not your baby sleeps during your newborn session. It’s
really not a problem if your baby doesn’t sleep.

Sleeping newborns are so beautiful and peaceful looking, but in this article, I’ll tell you about how I
approach my newborn sessions when the baby is awake.


Photographing your baby awake


Firstly, if you don’t know much about me yet, I’m Sarah and I specialise in newborn photography. I’m
also a mum to three children myself so I have a vast amount of experience with newborn babies. I’ve


now got more than five years of experience as a newborn photographer, having started my
Somerset-based newborn photography business in 2012.

In that time I have photographed literally hundreds of newborn babies and 99% of them spent some
time awake during the session.....This is how I like it!



Sleeping baby and awake baby photos

If your baby doesn’t sleep during your newborn session it gives us the perfect opportunity to capture your baby with their eyes open! 


Many of my past newborn photography clients have chosen an "awake" photograph as their favourite image from their session, so I always aim to capture your baby awake as well as asleep!


I very often keep your baby wrapped during the awake stage as it keeps them nice and warm. Wrapping also makes them comfortable and prevents them from startling or scratching themselves and also covers the nappy (as I keep this on during this stage as well to catch any toilet accidents)!


I also have many props, poses and setups which are suitable to use when your baby is both awake and asleep.  So, sometimes, if sleep doesn't happen at all during the session it's not a problem as I already have enough images and variety for your gallery by capturing your baby awake.


So, please don't worry if baby decides to stay awake! You really don’t need to panic if your baby doesn’t sleep during your newborn session.


Sessions are baby-led


My approach to newborn photography is always to be led by the baby. 


I create an environment in the studio that is relaxing for both baby and parents. I do this by controlling the room temperature to suit your baby, using white noise to help create the same secure feeling your baby had when in the womb, and by chatting with you to help you feel more at ease. Plus, I use a lot of cuddling and rocking movements to settle your baby.


My experience as a mother and a photographer has taught me that babies do pick up on any stress in the room. So, I always remain calm and creating a relaxing environment for the benefit of baby and mum and dad too.


If your baby is still unsettled, we will work together to find out what it is they need. 


Maybe they have wind. Or they may be hungry, or they didn't like being unwrapped. Whatever it is, for me it will all be par for the course! I’m very used to settling babies and helping them get to sleep enough so that I can put them in those cute, sleepy newborn poses


If baby doesn’t sleep…relax, we have plenty of time


Most newborn sessions last around two hours but I always allow 4+ hours for the session and I only do one newborn session in a day.  This gives me plenty of time to settle your baby enough for both the awake and asleep poses but allows extra time for feeding, cuddling, winding and settling. 


This means that you don't need to watch the clock or feel rushed during your session with me.  You can sit back and relax while I take care of the hard part.



What if baby doesn’t sleep at all?


It's important to remember that all babies will fall asleep eventually but that doesn't need to be at the session. 


If I have enough shots of your baby awake and you're happy with that then there is no pressure for you to stay to get more. 


At the same time, there is no pressure for you to leave as soon as I have enough for a gallery. I will continue to use all of my tactics and settling techniques to get your baby to sleep so you have a mix of awake and asleep poses for your gallery.


In very rare circumstances, if your baby is very unsettled or perhaps they are having a colic flare-up or a growth spurt on the day of the session, then I will discuss other options with you. 


This could mean rescheduling for another day or adopting a more ‘lifestyle’ approach to the session rather than focussing on creating posed newborn photos.  This means that I could still take the photographs but include images of you holding your baby, feeding your baby, changing their nappy, soothing and that kind of thing. 


Whatever we decide, capturing your precious newborn while they are still so little is the main priority. Babies change so much so quickly, and I know you want to capture them before they outgrow the newborn stage.




An example of a newborn session with a baby who didn’t want to sleep


Take a look at this video of Aila's gallery.  Aila wasn't very sleepy for her session but we still got some beautiful images for her family to treasure.


So you see…if your baby doesn’t sleep during your newborn session there really is no need to worry!


Book your newborn photography session

If you have any questions about my newborn photography sessions or would like to make a booking, please get in touch here


Newborn photographer somersetA video of Aila's newborn photography session gallery




My friend Lisa has written a great blog highlighting the top 5 places to visit Santa in the south east if you’re in her area then I highly recommend giving it a read here Top five places to visit Santa in the South East  









love those awake photos! beautiful!
Sharon Nicholson(non-registered)
I love awake images of newborns
Clare Perry(non-registered)
Such a reassuring post!
Great blog, I was so worried about my baby not sleeping when we went for newborn photos, she slept all the way through in the end lol
Great blog, now I know what to expect if baby does not sleep
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