Midwives, OBs and pediatricians agree, limiting your baby’s exposure to public indoor spaces for the first 4-6 weeks is a wise choice to keep your newborn healthy – especially during flu season. Recovering from birth is a pivotal time for both parent and child. There are a few reasons you might need to leave the house in those early days and weeks – for many having newborn portraits is one of them. We offer options to accommodate families who choose to stay in their own space but still wish to have newborn portraits before baby is 2 weeks old – including both posed and lifestyle sessions in your home. If you’re considering your options, here’s some information about Heartlove Photography’s studio that will help you make a decision about having your session in-home or in-studio.
1. We have an Appointment-Only Space
Heartlove Photography’s commercial studio space is located in a quaint shopping center on Fort Spallwood Rd. in Pasadena, MD. Our studio is open by appointment-only so we don’t see heavy foot traffic. Custom sessions are generally scheduled one per day so the studio is clean and ready specifically for you. The exception to this are mini session events where we have between 10-20 session per day and the set is kept tidy but not sanitized between each session. This is one of the reasons mini sessions are recommended for babies at least 6 months and older. 2. We keep it clean.
When preparing for a session with a newborn, the first way we make the studio a safe place is by cleaning the door knobs, changing table and other surfaces where hands touch. The method for cleaning depends on the surface – door knobs see a different cleaner than the surfaces baby will touch for instance. Even essential oils cleaners may not be safe for baby’s delicate respiratory system so we do our research before using any product in the studio.
3. We strive to limit exposure to illness.
Relative to our studio, you face a much greater risk of illness in the crowded waiting room of your pediatrician’s office for a well-check. Babies are susceptible to a range of illnesses – many are vaccine-preventable but others, like RSV, are not. Vaccines are not 100% effective for every person and don’t cover all illnesses, so we consider that just one part of infection-control. While these illnesses in older children might present more like a bad cold, in infants they can be deadly. That’s why good hand-washing and carefully looking for early symptoms of illness are part of our routine. Knowing what an illness looks like while it’s contagious (often before the worst symptoms show up) helps me know if I’ve been exposed or my own children have been and I use that information to make a reasonable judgment about whether it’s safe for me to be around a newborn baby. If I believe my children may be sick, it’s not unusual for me to postpone a session. If a client let’s me know their child fell ill within a day of their session, I take extra care moving forward knowing I was potentially exposed. We can’t live in a bubble, but using reasonable judgement helps protect my most vulnerable clients. If I ever have a question about a symptom or duration of an illness, I check directly with my own doctor and my pediatrician.
4. We take time to prepare.
Before a session, everything you see ready to use – props, backdrops, wraps, hats – have been washed. The cover to the changing table and heating pad – things you might not wash after each use at home, get washed or replaced often in our studio. Working with naked newborn babies means every surface comes close to a range of fluids – I’ll spare you the details. I’m confident that the measures we take to clean each surface makes them safe for baby’s sensitive skin to touch. Beyond being clean, we consider the delicate adjustment baby is making to their life outside the womb – some of these include adjusting the temperature for a body not able to regulate itself, using soothing methods like sound and vibration, being up to date on best practices to support breastfeeding, and more.
5. We have training and experience.
After a few years of working as a photographer, I began specializing in newborn photography in 2012. At that time I committed to constantly learning about the physiology of birth and babies – knowing more about their physical development helps me pose them in the safest way possible. My training includes hands-on mentoring from other photographers as well as consulting with a cranio-sacral therapist, chiropractor and IBCLC. In addition to typical newborn expectations, I understand some of the challenges of babies who has a complicated or premature birth. Beyond the baby, I also consider the birthing person’s recovery and their limitations as another step to keeping the studio a safe place.
If parents and photographers are working together, communicating opening, we can safely capture incredible images of the new little human who joined your family. I’d be honored for you to trust me with your precious baby’s first photos and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
Photographer Jillian Mills
Heartlove Photography, LLC 8971 Fort Smallwood Rd., Unit C, Pasadena, MD 21122