How To Calm a Fussy Baby: 5 Tried and True Tips from a Newborn Photographer

It’s true that some sleepless nights are part of the package for new parents. But not every night has to be that way! As a Colorado Springs/Peyton newborn photographer, I’ve learned some great methods for how to calm a fussy baby. Here are some of the tried-and-true techniques I use to get baby to sleep during their photoshoot. And yes, these tips work just as well at home too!

mother seated on couch holding swaddled infant, demonstrating how to calm a fussy baby

1. Swaddle

Did you know that most newborn photographers get a ton of shots when baby is wrapped in a stretchy, soft swaddle? Newborns love being snug and secure. Being swaddled usually calms them so that, even if they stay awake, I can still get great shots. I have many different colors of wraps that I offer for photoshoots so we can coordinate with your outfit or home décor. But you can invest in a couple of wraps for home use as well, since these are a great way to get a new baby to sleep!

Newborn baby tucked up warm in a prop basket with faux fur throw

2. Temperature

Newborns have just come from the warmth of mom’s womb, which means they’re used to cozy temperatures. When I’m photographing newborns, I often bring along a space heater so I can keep the temperature between 78-82 degrees. Always make sure you are doing this safely! It’s not something I would typically recommend unless for a photoshoot. If at home, just bump up that thermostat! When I use a space heater, I never point it directly at the baby and keep it a safe distance away to prevent overheating.

Sweet baby girl in swaddle and bow during newborn photoshoot in Peyton Colorado

3. White Noise

When newborns are in the womb, they hear a constant ‘swooshing’ sound…and it’s quite loud! After they are born, it can be a shock to suddenly experience a quieter environment. One of the ways I get baby to stay asleep during a photoshoot is to use a white noise machine. I have a special one that mimics the sounds of the womb, and babies love it! I keep it going for the entire session. There are tons of white noise machines on the market, many of which are very affordable. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive to create an environment of soothing sound in baby’s room.

Dad seated on bed rocking newborn daughter to help baby sleep

4. Movement

When babies get extra fussy, I will gently rock or bounce them before moving on to posing. When taking photos with mom and dad, I’ll sometimes ask them to slowly rock side to side so that baby stays relaxed. This is something that’s easy to do at home too!

Infant girl in blue bow fast asleep

5. Pacifier

Some parents choose not to introduce a pacifier in the newborn stage (which is totally fine!) but they can be a saving grace when it comes to calming a fussy baby. Not all babies take to a pacifier, but most newborns will suck on them briefly when offered. This can give me just a little more time to photograph in certain positions. You can use the same technique! When you’re out and about, bring along a pacifier that you can offer when needed. Even if it’s not something you use regularly, having it there gives you one more trick up your sleeve when you’re trying to calm a fussy baby!

Baby asleep on his side on dark beanbag during photoshoot near Colorado Springs

I hope you’ll experiment with these ways to help your newborn sleep until you find the right combinations that work for your little one! And I hope I’ll be seeing you and your baby for a newborn photoshoot too! I’d be happy to demo some of my favorite baby-calming tricks while capturing beautiful images of your new little bundle.

Closeup of baby toes sticking out of the bottom of white wrap


Hello, I’m so happy you’re here! Thank you for considering me to capture your portraits. I’m an award-winning newborn and family photographer based in Colorado Springs. If you are welcoming a new baby, or simply want to document your growing family year after year, I would be honored to work with you!