When should your lifestyle newborn session be scheduled?

I was asked this very recently for the first time actually (so surprised I'd never been asked before!) but you know what, I had to think on it. At first, I wanted to take a step back from the question to be sure my own bias from my personal postpartum experience wasn't influencing my answer. But then I realized that, what the heck, looking back at my own experience IS absolutely valid and relevant to reflect on. Every woman's pp experience is different but there is no "easy" about it for anyone.

So my answer to this question? It should ideally be when you will start feeling a smidge "more normal" (but what even is this normal anymore after giving birth? LOL) and when your body/mental state has had enough time to start processing/healing (and stop feeling bloated). I truly believe that, yes you can schedule it for immediately following birth but for lifestyle newborn sessions, I would recommend doing it a month or so in, around 4-6ish weeks. Most folks correlate newborn shoots with the posed, sleeping, swaddled baby photos and that's because those shoots work best 1. before baby's skin breaks out/peels (this is natural) and 2. while baby is super easy to keep asleep, but it's different for lifestyle newborn sessions. For these lifestyle sessions, you, your partner and your babe(s) are all featured prominently because it's literally all about you guys and your new relationship.

I have so many reasons for this timing of your lifestyle session. I'm really long-winded (can you tell?) so I'm going to bullet these points to help my train of thought lol

  • You are all tired and sleep-deprived and newly learning how to live as a family of three (or more). You'll have a little better grasp of yourselves as a unit and as relationships grow/change over a month or more. Sometimes, it takes a little longer to build bonds. I've been there, it's normal. Maybe you'll have even settled into a semblance of a small routine by then.
  • Your body just went through something really hard, whether vaginal or caesarean. You're still healing. For a lifestyle session, you might be moving around a bit more around your home than if you were having a posed newborn session. Your recovery from any stitches or surgery will impact how you feel and how much you're able to move around for your session. And if you were anything like me (or other mamas out there), you might also still be carrying your baby/bloat/induction extra weight. None of it sheds immediately. It took around 5-6 weeks before I started feeling (and looking) less bloated and having less pain/discomfort down there. It all matters to feel even just a bit more comfortable in my (new) skin in front of the camera.
  • You might have a better idea of what to wear by then :) No explanation really needed there but if you need one, my own shoot was 2.5 weeks after W was born and I scrambled and worried about what in the actual eff I could wear that would fit while wearing mesh undies and pads. Imagine trying to do that while also trying to prioritize feeding baby, getting sleep, taking care of yourself down there and/or your stitches...and figuring out what to wear, hm? It overwhelmed me.
  • And in the case of this little family here, if the nursery isn't finished, maybe you'll have finished it by the time your session comes around hahaha

Looking back, if you had a baby and did a lifestyle newborn session, when would you have wished you booked it for?

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