Photographing Premature Babies
Expecting parents often plan everything in accordance with their due date. The nursery, their time off from work, arranging childcare for their older children (if any), and booking a newborn photographer! However, not everything goes according to plan. Sometimes, babies decide to make their exciting debut before the expected due date and this can be stressful for parents. Babies born before completing 37 weeks gestation are considered Premature.
IS NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY SAFE FOR A PREEMIE?
As parents of a preemie, you're probably wondering if it's a good idea to do a newborn photoshoot at this point. The short answer is, YES. However, each premature baby is different and the baby's health should be the number one priority when making the decision of when to bring in the baby for a photoshoot.
Newborn photography is ideally done 7-14 days after birth. However, that's not always the case with Preemies. While some preemies are born at 36 weeks and are perfectly healthy, others are born at 32-34 weeks and require an extended stay in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Some premature babies are born with respiratory problems due to their underdeveloped lungs and more commonly than not, this is a reason for their extended stay in the NICU. Other problems include heart problems, digestion problems, and temperature control problems. All of these are issues addressed after birth by the physician at the hospital.
Having a premature baby is a stressful experience for parents. If you've already booked a newborn photographer in advance, or if you're just looking into newborn photography after the baby's birth, it's important to maintain communication with the photographer of your choice and update them once the baby is home from the NICU.
Questions I ask parents of premature babies:
- When was the baby's original due date
- How many pounds is the baby
- Is the baby able to get full feeds
- Is the baby breathing normally
- Is the baby having regular bowel movements
I go over all of these questions with the parents, and together we determine when is the best time to bring in the baby for a photoshoot.
ARE PREMATURE NEWBORN PHOTOSHOOT ANY DIFFERENT?
No, as long as all of the above concerns are addressed and the photographer knows all of the details. Preemie newborn sessions are pretty much the same as regular newborn sessions. They include props, whether that's wrapped poses with an outfit or table poses. They also include parent shots and sibling shots. Sessions normally take anywhere from 3-4 hours depending on the baby and how many times we have to stop for feedings. Sessions are never rushed, and that's to ensure the baby's safety first, and good quality images align with our high standards and attention to detail. Parents usually sit back, relax, and enjoy some snacks and beverages while the photographer works with the baby.
If you are a parent of a Preemie or a full-term baby, don't worry! We have the training and the experience required to take good care of your precious little one and provide you with a stress-free, fun, memorable experience!
A huge shoutout to Ariana & Anastasia in the picture above, who were born very premature yet rocked their newborn session!