Pretty much everything you do during pregnancy and after birth is focused on keeping your baby safe and healthy. It can be months before your little one’s immune system has a fighting chance against some illnesses. Even before COVID arrived, I was extra careful not just with newborn safety, but also to avoid exposing vulnerable babies to any sickness.
It has always been important to me to communicate with my newborn clients to make sure we aren’t putting those itty bitties at increased risk. Now, post-pandemic those precautions still include not just frequent hand washing, but I wear a mask to all newborn sessions year round. I also tend to bring equipment that allows me to be further away from your baby and still get amazing photos.
Did you see those infrared videos during the pandemic that revealed just how much people spit when they are talking? Not just singing, shouting, coughing, or sneezing, but normal talking. Here’s a short video demonstrating the difference with and without a mask.
Not long after seeing one of those videos for the first time, I was watching a newborn wrapping masterclass. The photographer had the client’s baby on her lap. She was talking rather loudly so the live class could hear her. Her face was less than a foot away from the baby at times, and all I could see in my mind was an infrared version of that. She was basically spitting all over someone’s newborn!
I stopped wrapping and posing babies years before the pandemic. I prefer lifestyle newborn sessions, which focuses on baby-led posing. If a baby is fussy, I might have Mommy or Daddy swaddle them (Daddy usually takes pride in being able to tackle this newborn technique!). But, I have plenty of tricks for soothing a fussy baby.
If they are asleep, the swaddle isn’t necessary. A loose wrap looks more natural and allows those adorable fingers and toes to be easily revealed. An awake baby will usually wiggle their way out of a swaddle, anyhow. I do have a special posing swaddler if we want that look or it’s needed for calming your infant. If your baby is awake and content, I’m excited to get pictures with those beautiful eyes open!
Typically, I only touch a newborn if needed for their safety. I’m also happy to help out if the parents would like an extra set of hands. I have endless poses that do not require me to make contact with your baby. Don’t get me wrong, I love when Mommy offers me baby snuggles. But, that is in no way expected. I get my baby fix every time I get to photograph a wee one.
In addition to all of the normal newborn safety measures I take, here are some of the things I do to protect your new baby’s vulnerable immune system:
Even when being super cautious, everyone eventually gets sick. If anyone in my household is showing signs of sickness or if I have been around someone who I suspected was ill or tested positive for COVID, my in home clients will know. I will clearly communicate any potential risks to their baby as soon as possible. I will give them the opportunity to reschedule until I know I am not putting their family at any risk. Fortunately, in home lifestyle newborn sessions can be done up to 4-6 weeks of age. Let’s play it safe!
My family tends to be very health-conscious and we rarely get sick. We are big on hand washing and we were probably one of the very first families in the area to mask in March 2020. We kept to ourselves that year and all three of my kids did full-time remote learning until Fall of 2021. My kids and I are fully-vaccinated per all doctor recommendations, including Flu shots every fall and Covid as permitted. If I have a maternity, birth, or newborn session coming up, I’m not the best mama to my own kiddos. I mask and keep my distance. Kids are always the most cuddly when they aren’t feeling well. But, I will skip the snuggles and practice caution to protect my clients.
At this point, I do not plan to ever show up to a newborn session without a mask. I will wear an N95 mask if there is any suspicion that I’ve been exposed to a sick person or if I have a stuffy nose or even the slightest tickle in my throat. Clients will be informed of that in advance! Otherwise, I will probably wear a cloth mask unless my client prefers the higher level of protection. I would be absolutely devastated if I got your baby sick.
A mild, stuffy nose for a baby can be miserable and you are likely already plenty sleep-deprived. Even if I am feeling 100% and everyone in my household is healthy, there is always that chance that I develop a cold a day or two later. The thought of having to call my client up and let them know I may have exposed them is more than enough motivation to mask up every time. It’s really not a big deal to me. I’m also happy to provide you with a negative COVID test prior to your session if that helps put your mind at ease.
My smile is one of my best tools for photo shoots, but your baby’s health is more important. And I think I’ve mastered smiling with my eyes! Sometimes when there are toddlers present, the mask can make it difficult for me to connect and get those genuine smiles. When the weather cooperates, I like to start outside so your older kiddos can get to know me and my personality without a mask on. Over the past couple of years, most toddlers are totally used to the masks. My face is often hiding behind my camera, anyhow. Plus, I’ve got some pretty silly masks I can wear!
As I’ve already mentioned, I have a hands off approach to newborn sessions. I think baby-led posing results in more sweet and natural pictures, anyway. I’ll assist when needed, but that usually amounts to me setting up props, making a bed, moving distractions out of your backdrops, running downstairs to grab Mama’s water, etc. During the pandemic, I didn’t take many newborn sessions. But, when I did, I was totally hands off. I discovered during that time that I really didn’t need to touch your babies. I could do an amazing three hour newborn session without any contact. That also forced me to better communicate any posing instructions verbally or by demonstration. That’s worked just fine!
Even during the height of the pandemic, it wasn’t necessary for me to mask when outdoors. I am able to keep a safe distance. And again, I got better at verbally instructing my clients what to do. That said, I DID mask for outdoor sessions in 2020 to be on the safe side and because kids would often run up to me and try to see the back of my camera. Since my clients obviously never masked for their pictures, that was important for my protection, too. I needed to stay healthy for my immuno-compromised clients! I don’t want my clients to ever shy away from asking me to mask. That is a very small ask!
Is there anything else you’d like me to do to protect your baby? Just let me know. I’m happy to do whatever it takes to put your mind at ease and keep your sweetie safe!