Newborn Safety Week 2013 with Stephanie Robin
We are so excited to kick off Newborn Safety Week 2013 with our own safety & posing instructor… Stephanie Robin! Stephanie has an extensive background in newborns, both as registered physiotherapist and from an experienced newborn photographer standpoint (was recently awarded Photographer of the Year). We also encourage all of you, in honor of Newborn Safety Week to share before and after images of composites or other safety information on your blogs, Facebook, and anywhere you think appropriate. Feel free to share this post or link to it on your blogs as you please.
Newborn Safety Week 2013: Day 1 with Stephanie Robin
I’m so happy to be helping to kick off Newborn Safety Week again this year with another annual posting! The industry’s come so very far in only a few years time and with the boom of the newborn niche, safety is and should always remain at the forefront of the photographer’s mind.
Luckily, there are now a plethora of resources available for the newcomer and experienced alike detailing such important information as creating composite imagery, proper use of spotters and even a baby’s physiological needs. The links should provide you with a base amount of information but I would also encourage you all to seek out mentors and workshops that detail safety in relation to working with newborns and invest in formal study of these methods with an experienced professional.
What I noticed is lacking from this information are the needs and physiological considerations of working with postpartum parents. Parents are typically keen to stand close and want to participate in their new baby’s session and as such, I think it important to consider their needs and ways in which you can meet them during your time together.
New parents are often exhausted. They likely haven’t slept all that well and may seem a little disoriented, tired or draggy at points throughout their baby’s session. Add to this mom’s hormonal shifts, milk production and recovery from birth and you have some pretty serious considerations to make in order to keep your clients safe.
Here are some precautions I recommend during your sessions:
Check in often with the baby’s mother during the session.
Does she seem tired? Dizzy? Faint? Has she been standing a long time? Is mom thirsty? Is she feeling any pain, heat or swelling in her chest? These are all signs that something may be wrong. Checking in often may feel annoying but your client will know you have their best interest at heart and you may avoid a more serious situation by ensuring mom is comfortable and relaxed.
Provide adequate seating.
Sometimes it’s helpful to know which type of delivery the mom experienced as there are limits to how much a new post-caesarian mom can lift as well as limits to how long a mom with a pelvic floor tear can stand. As a precaution, I never ask moms to lift anything heavier than their baby or to stand for exceedingly long periods and always have spare chairs, couches and ottomans available for a quick seat. This is especially true during posing with babes. It’s a good idea to have a quick seat available for mom as she may tire easily while holding babe or even become dizzy or faint due to hormones, heat or dehydration.
Always have refreshments on hand.
Keep in mind that a new mother’s body is always in the process of replenishing the milk supply. Keeping your environment warm for baby’s comfort may also mean dehydrating the new mom to a degree. It’s wise to keep water on hand with “help yourself” signage. Whether you provide a cooler and paper cups, bottled water or access to a fountain, kitchen sink or Brita, it’s a good idea to have water out and available where it can be seen and consumed. I often encourage my moms to have a seat and take a drink at intervals throughout the sessions.
Keep cold compresses handy.
Hormonal shifts can cause mom to overheat more quickly, especially in environments with a raised temperature. Keep cold compresses handy for moms as an easy way to cool down if they begin to feel overheated or exhibit early signs of heat exhaustion.
Have snacks on hand.
While keeping in mind that your clients may have potentially life-threatening allergies, it can be a good idea to keep a few snacks on hand throughout your session. Parents’ may forget to bring along snacks in the busy hustle of leaving their home, leaving them prone to blood sugar crashes. Especially in the case of diabetic clients, providing orange juice or shortbread cookies can be an easy way to quickly elevate blood sugar levels and avoid dangerous crashes.
Keep the floor free of tripping hazards.
Postpartum moms may still not have full visibility of their feet when standing. Add to this exhaustion and hormonal shifts, and you may have some pretty clumsy clients on your hands. Keep everyone safe by keeping your props stored away in baskets or bowls rather than strewn over the floor. Knitted items can be slippery when left on wood or tile floors and you may be asking for an accident by leaving them lying about during your sessions.
These are just a few ways in which you can keep your clients best interest in mind. I encourage you to think of even more ways in which you can provide a safe environment for parents and babies.
Please note that during the week of November 4th, 2013 we are publishing a couple different Newborn Safety posts. Alexis Media Co (Learn Shoot Inspire) and each photographer will NOT be held responsible for any accidents that may be caused from following techniques being displayed. The photographers are being kind enough to voluntarily show their own personal techniques which may not be the only method available. Just by reading an article online and following it step-by-step does not make you a professional or even trained in their or other methods. Attempt any of the poses or techniques at your own risk.