What is the "newborn window"?
The best time to hold a newborn session is during the first two weeks after the baby is born. Many people think this is because this is the time when the baby is still tiny. This is an understandable myth. Newsflash: Some babies are born at 10lbs! (ahem - my daughter) This is bigger than some babies at 6 weeks! I've had inquiries in the past where people ask to set up a newborn session for their 6 week old, because they're still tiny. Let me clear this up for you - it isn't about size.
So why is there such a small amount of time to schedule these sessions? Ready for the "ah-ha moment"? It's because they are still most comfortable posed in those curled up, sleepy poses when they are that new. Think about it. They've spent the last 10 months tightly held, folded up in such a position that you think "how did you fit in there?!" when you see them. Am I right? So for those first couple of weeks, parents are told to swaddle them up, keep them warm, wear them or hold them close to you. These are ways to keep them feeling secure - just like in the womb.
If you're anything like me, you love being able to stretch out and take as much space allowed on the bed to get comfy. But we've passed our newborn window. ;) I hear it at almost every shoot - parents are shocked at how their baby will stay sound asleep while I move their little bodies and position them all curled up, or put them in baskets and buckets. Let me tell you, when babies are unhappy - they'll let you know. These guys sleep through it because they are warm and safe and comfortable. When done safely and correctly, newborn sessions put babies in positions that their bodies are comfortable and familiar with.
Here's another reason: skin. A newborn’s skin can change a lot within the first few weeks of life. Your baby’s hair can change colors and their complexion may become lighter or darker. You have heard of baby's with jaundice. Even if the baby doesn't have yellow jaundice skin, they still may have a slight yellow "tint". Many are red. I don't mean sunburn red, I mean like a deep red undertone or blotchiness. And of course, we all know about infant acne. This typically starts around 4-6 weeks, but often starts right away. My goal in processing your pictures, is to remove the color and leave your perfect baby. Not to give an airbrushed look, leaving them looking smooth and plastic. For that reason, I usually leave the tiny milk bumps on their noses, and the little flakes on their fingers or toes. (Although, if they're peeling a lot, parents occasionally ask to have that removed.) Once infant acne has set in, leaving them as untouched as possible is much harder to achieve.
And one more important reason - they don't sleep as soundly the longer they've been "out". New parents comment a lot that they're surprised at how much their new babies sleep! They can go about their day and the baby just sleeps, eats and poops. Rarely ever cries! If you go back and ask them if this stayed the case after a month, you might hear otherwise. ;) Here's the thing - when baby's are naked and being posed, we take a lot of steps to keep them comfortable and sleeping. The older they are, these steps are not quite as successful. They're more aware of noises around them. Voices, sounds and even smells can trigger reflexes that can wake them up. Safe posing, especially when using props, should not be done when babies are awake.
So the best time to book your session? While you're still expecting. Then the session can be secured for a date within the newborn window - or, the first two weeks after they're born.