Every parent imagines what it will look like when they introduce their big kid or kids to their newborn baby. The hope is that it will be aww-inducing (and gentle!) love at first sight.
The reality is that you will be dealing with two (or more) tiny human beings, each with their own emotions and personalities. Your newborn is an adorable little lump, mainly content to sleep or look out at the world with their wise little eyes. Your toddler, on the other hand, is dealing with a significant life transition. And we just can’t predict or control how those early days of sibling bonding will play out.
Unless there is a large age gap of 3–4 years or more, most toddlers fall into the indifferent category. If this is your family, there is no need to stress, and you are not alone. Your kids will fall into their relationship in their own time, which will be so special. They just may not be quite there yet.
If you feel your child will have a tough time, you can always push your newborn session out a few weeks to give them more time to adjust. But if you feel like it may be a while before they regain their steady, that’s okay too. The great thing about lifestyle photography is that it allows us the flexibility to work with both in-love and indifferent toddlers and still get beautiful, authentic images of your family.
As a mom of three, I know how much stress those sibling bonds can cause. I want to help you through it by sharing what I do as a photographer to make newborn sessions with a toddler successful.
It’s important to remember that toddlers can sense a demand a mile away. I try to keep things light and fun and low-pressure throughout the shoot so that they feel more in control.
For many families, the number one shot they are looking for from their newborn shoot is a sibling shot. It’s also often the trickiest to get if you have an indifferent toddler. Thankfully, after years of photographing families, I have a number of tricks up my sleeve for when toddlers are too young to hold the baby or have no desire to participate.
One of my favorite ways to approach this is to get family shots where a different parent holds each child. I then focus my camera on the kids.
The older sibling may be more interested in tickling the baby than kissing, holding, or cuddling them. Sometimes we’ll lay the baby on the parents’ bed and ask the older sibling to hug or tickle them, show where the baby’s tiny toes are, or pat them on the head. Or they may want to be a helper by handing the baby a stuffie or reaching through the crib slats to hold the baby’s hand.
If your toddler is particularly young or small, it is a great strategy to have a parent hold both the toddler and newborn at once. This type of setup allows us to capture that closeness safely.
There are rare times when none of those things work. In those moments, I’ve had one parent hold the baby while the other parent flew the toddler through the room like an airplane. Another time, I hid the toddler’s favorite snack in the wrap that Mom used to hold the baby. Creativity is key!
Above all, I encourage families to accept where their toddler is in this transition. Remember, things change fast, and you can always consider a family session next year once the shock of sharing you has worn off a bit and they are best buds!
Are you expecting a new baby and interested in learning more about newborn sessions with Lyndsay Hannah Photography?
"To say that I love each one would be cliche and a total understatement, but seriously... She nailed it. Being a photographer myself, I am very picky and searched dozens of photographers before coming back to lyndsay and booking her and I am so glad I did. I can't even remember the last time I hired a photographer and was this in love with the images and unable to pick just a few favorites. Thank you, lyndsay, for making the photo session easy (with 3 kids), fun and providing this mama memories for a lifetime.”
"Our images are so special and really captured our joy and the sweet personality of our little girl. Lyndsay did a great job going beyond the typical posed shots and making our photos feel authentic. We will treasure them forever."
- amanda, northborough
"We have done multiple sessions (family and newborn) and we’re so happy with the results. Lyndsay makes you feel comfortable and is able to truly capture the moment. We will have her prints hung in our house for years to come."
- beth - framingham
"We've done it all - newborn, maternity, cake smash, family photos - and every single time we are amazed by the quality of the end product. Lyndsay captures beautiful moments that we will treasure forever!"
- nicole - framingham
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