Visiting Jemma Slater Photography is usually one of the very first trips new parents make with their little one and it can feel really nerve wracking at first but being third kid deep, I completely understand how you’ll be feeling which is why I’ve worked hard to make my studio in Herefordshire a really homely, relaxing place to visit. With that in mind I’ve put together my top 10 tips that will help you leave the house that little bit easier…
1 - Prepare and pack your nappy bag the night before - Fill your bag with plenty of nappies, wipes, bottles, a couple of outfits incase of a poonado (inevitable!!), nappy sacks, breast pads and muslin clothes (life savers!). Refill anything you’ve used during the day so your bag is always fully stocked and you don’t get caught out. My studio is equip with a fully stocked changing table with nappies, wipes etc so if you do happen to forget these then don’t panic, I’ve got you covered.
2 - Pack yourself a snack - there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a chair feeding a baby and suddenly realising you haven’t eaten yet. Lets be honest, a hangry Mummy is bad on so many levels so pack some high energy protein snacks to curb any hunger pangs. Looking after yourself is important as low blood sugar levels can increase you anxiety levels. Pre Covid I was able to offer snacks to my lovely clients that visited my studio but unfortunately at the moment that isn’t possible, however, I can still provide tea, coffee and water albeit in a disposable cup.
3 - Allow extra time - Babies have this incredible knack of needing something just as you’re leaving the house so it’s good practice to preempt this by giving yourself an extra 15-30 minutes so you can make it on time. My sessions start at 10am and I know you would’ve had a crazy morning getting ready so I’ll make sure I have the kettle on!
4 - Wear a dressing gown over your outfit until you’re ready to leave the house - My Dad actually gave me this tip and its genius! It saves so much time having to change your outfit due to spit ups or poo explosions. I promise, you’ll thank me one day for this one.
5 - Feed your baby - Might sound silly but you'll need to make sure you have plenty of time to feed your baby before you leave the house. Be sure to wind your little one properly before popping them in the car seat to avoid them having trapped wind. Driving with a baby screaming for food or because they have trapped wind but not being able to do much to help them is one of the most stressful experiences ever but one that is easily avoided.
6 - Babies cry - Please don’t feel embarrassed if your newborn cries. It’s completely normal and it’s likely that people won't take much notice as they're parents too. So no need to get flustered. Your instincts will kick in, trust them. Be confident, this is YOUR Baby, you know him/her best.
7 - Start small - no doubt you’re tired and sleep deprived so don’t go planning a full grocery trip or a long drive anytime soon. Keep it simple and ease yourself in gently and plan trips closer to home for a while. Grab the essentials only, long queues and lots of people are stressful for both you and your baby.
8 - Set realistic expectations - everything with a baby takes twice as long. Like us, babies have good days and bad days. If you’re out and about thanks to the movement of the pram, sometimes feed timings go out of the window and babies will sleep longer between feeds but sometimes they need more food and more cuddles for reassurance and you can barely get anything done. During your newborn session it’s similar and where my experience comes in. I don’t put a time limit on newborn photography as all babies are different, I do what’s best for YOUR baby and work at their pace so be prepared for your session to last around 4 hours - a great excuse to literally put your feet up and rest.
9 - Choose where you visit wisely - after having a baby you can feel a tad vulnerable so be careful where you decide to go and who you spend your time with. At my studio I have a large comfy sofa where you can comfortably feed your baby and even catch 40 winks if you need it. I can be as chatty or quiet as you need me to be.
10 - Ask for help - never be ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help from your partner or your friends. Your life has completely changed in the blink of an eye. No one expects you to know it all and no one expects you to do it all by yourself. If you need a lift to a coffee shop so you can get out of the house or if you need someone to hold your baby whilst you go for a bath then ask, they will only be happy support you. You’ll feel so much better for it and you never know, you could be doing the one you’re asking for help, a favour too.
You've got this!
In a few weeks time you’ll find your groove and everything will soon become second nature but in the meantime go easy on yourself. I can’t wait to welcome you and capture the tiny bundle you’ve waited so long for. Book your newborn session here
Jemma Slater is an award winning professional photographer who specialises in maternity, newborn and baby photography. Her studio is based in Brockhampton, Hereford