Planning for a newborn session can feel overwhelming and even more so when there is a toddler involved. I’ve put together a list of 10 Tips for a Successful Newborn Session with a Toddler. With two little ones of my own and having photographed countless families with toddlers, I’ve learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to preparing and executing a photoshoot. As a photographer and mama who had the same questions/concerns before our own newborn session, I’m here to help give my best tips to involving your toddler in your session.
Timing of your newborn session can play a big role in your toddler’s mood. There is the newborn and the lighting in your home to consider, but if at all possible, we can try to schedule the session around yout toddler’s nap time so hopefully everyone is in good spirits.
2. Let Your Toddler In On What’s Happening
Before your photo session, talk to your toddler about the exciting event they will get to participate in. Talk it up and build some fun anticipation. Let them know how excited you are about it and try not to let them feel any stress.
3. Create a Comfortable Environment
If you’ve chosen an in-home session, a familiar environment should help your toddler find comfort. Make sure whichever rooms you would like to be photographed in are warm enough for baby and keep some snacks on hand in case your toddler gets hungry. Just make sure they won’t leave stains on fingers or faces (cheerios, puffs are good options).
4. Clean Specific Spaces the Night Before
To reduce stress, try to pick up the spaces you’d like to be photographed in the night before. That way, on the morning of the session it’s already done. You can even turn it into a fun activity for your toddler and have them help.
5. Incorporate Toddler-Friendly Props
If your toddler has a favorite lovey/toy, consider using that to help get their attention during photos. You could even incorporate some neutral colored toys into parts of the session to give them something to interact with.
6. Take Breaks
We all know that toddlers can have a mind of their own. Although my typical in-home newborn session takes about 2-hours when we account for feeding, changing and settling the baby, your toddler does not need to be involved the whole time. Whenever they are feeling up for it we will take the opportunity to get photos of the whole family together and sibling photos. With a cooperative toddler this can take just 20-30 minutes. This means your toddler will have lots of time for play and snack breaks!
7. Ask For Help
If your mom, an in-law or a favorite babysitter live nearby and you think it would be beneficial to have them help out with your toddler don’t hesitate to have them come along. It’s really helpful if there is an extra set of hands that can take the toddler to another part of the house once we are finished getting all the family and sibling photos. If this is not an option, I will have mom and dad switch off between caring for the toddler and taking photos with the newborn.
8. Look for Candid Moments
Make sure to look for moments to connect with your toddler throughout the session. Candid moments are my favorite and it will help images feel that much more genuine. I like to involve games, tickles, hugs anything to get those sweet, snuggly family moments captured!
9. Embrace the Unknown
As much as we’ll try to prepare your toddler for the newborn session, sometimes things will just be out of our control and that’s okay. Embrace the things that don’t go as planned and don’t stress. You never know what kind of moments will be captured from it.
10. Celebrate the Experience
Throughout the session, make sure your toddler feels celebrated and encouraged. When they come give their new brother or sister a kiss or a snuggle, show your excitement and give them lots of praise. Always keep in mind that just as you have undergone a huge life change bringing a new baby into the world, so too has toddler. Their world has been flipped upside down and they are probably feeling a lot of emotions given the big change. I like to always keep this top of mind and make the session as fun as possible for your young child!
I hope these 10 tips for a successful newborn session with a toddler have given you some ideas and gotten you excited for your family newborn session! I’m here to create a stress-free experience for moms and families. I’ll walk with you through the entire planning process, so do not sweat it! I can’t wait to chat with you and start planning your dream newborn session!
If you loved this blog, make sure to check out my other recent blog on 5 reasons to consider an in-home maternity session.