Car Seat Safety – A Few Reminders

Newborn portrait with hearts and red rosesAs a Houston area newborn photographer I have a pleasant amount of brand new babies coming into my studio. Usually they are still in their car seat when they arrive, sound asleep and dreaming peacefully! Unfortunately becoming a parent doesn’t come with a manual, and I have seen one too many precious babies that are actually not strapped in properly. I know exactly what you’re going through… I was once a new mother myself who had to learn proper car seat safety for my little ones. I was one of those moms who despite thinking I was bucking her car seat properly I wasn’t and I took someone speaking up to let me know this. I was a little embarrassed, but thankful that I now knew she was as safe as possible when we were in the car. As a parent, there’s no doubt that keeping your child safe is your most important job. One of the easiest ways to do so is to ensure baby is properly secured for every car ride, whether 5 or 50 miles long. So, just in case let’s go over how to do this properly 😉

It all starts with selecting the right car seat. Narrowing the market’s many options down to one seems daunting to most soon-to-be parents. Know that every new car seat has passed government safety regulations – the difference between one that’s $99 and one that’s $399 will be cosmetic upgrades, added conveniences, and extra safety features that go above the minimum requirements. Weigh the differences between an infant car seat and a convertible one. Consider a car seat’s compatibility with the stroller you intend to use as well as the vehicle it will be installed in! Try it out for size if possible and get extra practice securing it in your vehicle. When you secure the base into the car it should be very tight and not have any wiggle room. If you’re having trouble with this ask for help don’t hesitate to ask for help. Also, be sure to fill out the car seat registration form so that you can be notified of any possible recalls in the future.

Installing the car seat the correct way is paramount to the safety of your little one. Those extra safety features you may have paid for can only be effective when the entire seat is installed correctly! You can find certified child passenger safety technicians – usually at local hospitals and fire stations – that can offer additional support in making sure the seat is installed as it should be. The middle seat in the back is typically the safest spot in the vehicle, however, any rear seat where it can be fastened properly is the best. Whether using the LATCH or the seat belt method, be sure it is strapped in as tightly as possible and that the seat is angled correctly for your child.

Once your baby is snuggled into the seat, make sure the straps come out at or just below their shoulders and that the chest clip is level with their armpits. The harness should be good and snug, with only one of your fingers being able to slide underneath. Don’t attempt to buckle over bulky outerwear or thick layers – these could compress in the event of a crash, leaving the straps too loose to keep your tiny one safe. While going in and out during cold weather, buckle your baby in light layers and keep them warm with a thick car seat blanket.

Car Seat Safety DemonstrationRemember that how you use your baby’s car seat is far more important than which one you use. Be sure to inform anyone that might be driving your baby at any time about these safety guidelines. These small but important reminders will help keep that precious cargo safe while on each and every adventure!

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What to expect from your Newborn Session

 

Custom newborn portraits houston newborn studioWaiting on your baby to arrive is one of the most joyous and exciting times in anyone’s life. You have nurtured this little one with all you’ve got, celebrated this momentous journey with friends and family, decorated the perfect nursery, and dreamed of what your baby will look like. Once your baby arrives you will quickly realize that while we’d like it to, time does not slow down, and this is such a fleeting time. You’ll want to remember all the precious little details of your baby from how fuzzy their head is to how tiny and curly their little toes are. Good news…I’m here to help preserve your legacy!

My fine art newborn portrait sessions capture the delicate features of your baby and are styled to perfection customized to your style preferences resulting in beautiful artwork that you and your family will treasure for generations to come. Imagine having perfectly styled artwork displayed throughout your home that you can enjoy seeing every day as your baby rapidly grows. And further than that, imagine sitting down with your child throughout their life as well as with your grandbabies someday, to flip through beautiful heirloom albums from their beginning. Children feel so loved when they see portraits of themselves proudly displayed and really enjoy seeing what they looked like when they were little.

If you’re still reading this you’ve probably already decided… “Yes! I need to schedule my baby for a session!” So, I want to share with you how that works at our studio and what you can expect from your newborn session.

I always recommend reaching out to book your newborn session while you’re in your second trimester. Don’t worry, we won’t be scheduling an actual session date until after your little bundle of joy arrives. However, booking while you’re still pregnant reserves your due date on my calendar and guarantees you a session within those first important couple of weeks after baby arrives. Newborns are best photographed during the first 14 days to capture their newness while they’re still very sleepy and flexible. Unfortunately, I’m not always able to accommodate newborn clients who contact me after baby is born, so reserving your session ahead of time is the way to go.

I start working with each client in the same way… We’ll chat quick via phone to see if we’re a good fit, then meet in person for a design consultation prior to booking. This appointment doesn’t take long but is very important. It gives you a chance to meet me and make sure you’re feel comfortable putting your brand new baby in my care. I will also explain my entire process for you, answer any questions you have, go over my full product menu and artwork samples, and of course (the fun part) discuss how to style your session. 

Whether you have specific ideas of how you’d like your session to look, or no clue at all, I’m here to help bring your vision of a perfect portrait session to life. We’ll discuss color choices, nursery décor, home décor, and anything specific you’d like to incorporate such as family heirlooms. I’ll then take all this information and curate your session from our extensive prop and wardrobe collection, and often go shopping for or craft items to bring your vision to life. The customization doesn’t stop there either… During your ordering appointment following your session we’ll create the perfect artwork to display seamlessly throughout your home. You’re going to have your hands full with your little one… I want to create the most beautiful and stress-free experience for you as possible!

Black and white newborn in daddy's hands portrait

 The day of your session is an opportunity for you to sit back and take a breather. Afterall… you’ve had almost no sleep for quite some time at this point. Not to worry mama, your baby’s safety and comfort is my highest priority during a newborn session. I’ve been specializing in photographing newborns for almost 9 years now since my oldest daughter was born. I’m always continuing to educate myself on safe handling procedures from experts in my field. I also have a methods in place to help ensure your baby stays comfortable throughout the approximately 3 hour session. During a newborn session I keep my studio at roughly 80 degrees. At this age your baby is unable to regulate its own body temperature. Since we’re undressing baby etc, we help regulate that temperature for them. I’m also very vigilant about not overheating them as well. I use a specific workflow for each of my sessions that disturbs baby as little as possible from one pose to the next. And last but not least, I have an enormous amount of patience with your little one. Each session is planned ahead of time, but flexible, so I can accommodate what baby is comfortable with. Not every baby is comfortable in every pose and I’ll never force a baby to do something it doesn’t like.

So, as you can tell, a great amount of care goes into each and every one of my sessions. I love snuggling each and every baby I see as if it were one of my own and can’t wait to plan your baby’s session with you!

P.S. Most of my clients start working with me during their pregnancy for a maternity session. This is another type of session I am deeply passionate about. Want to learn more about what maternity sessions are like?

Ethereal mom and baby newborn portrait

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How to Choose the Best Childcare

Houston Newborn Photography with ParentsMaternity and newborn photography sessions are quite busy. But I love the conversations that my clients and I are still able to have in between sets, wardrobe changes, and baby feedings. Most new parents coming into my photography studio always seem to have lots of questions and ask for advice. A common topic of conversation is child care. While I’m no expert, I am a mother 🙂 and I am always happy to share my personal opinions and advice.

If you’re heading back to work, entrusting your little one’s well being to someone else is a huge investment – financially and emotionally! There are thousands of child care options to choose from in the Houston area. No wonder selecting one can be overwhelming and time consuming. Whether you’re looking into day care facilities, in-home centers or a personal nanny, here are a few tips to help you choose the best one for your family:

Observe them interacting with your baby. Look for low adult to child ratios and ensure each child is able to get a healthy dose of one on one attention. If considering a nanny, set up a play date where you can sit by and watch. They should be warm, gentle and comforting! Ask for referrals and references from close friends and family members.

Consider your personal parenting techniques – do you limit screen time? What are your baby’s sleep routines like? How do you soothe your baby? Look for someone who can mirror your own care giving style. Make sure you agree with their standards and policies when it comes to nutrition, discipline and being sick, especially for older kids.

Keeping your little one safe is always the priority. Ask if they are CPR certified. Make sure the environment is baby proofed, clean and sanitary. Germs can spread quickly where there are multiple children! When considering either a home daycare or a center, ask about how the staff is screened and what safety procedures are in place.

Take note of the turnover rates for daycare staff. Ask a potential nanny about their work history. Those with longer tenures may be more dedicated and reliable. Make sure your nanny can agree to a long term commitment- stability is important for little ones. That being said…

Babies are resilient! The most important tip is to always follow your intuition. If at any point you are not 100% comfortable or satisfied, do not hesitate to switch simply because your baby has grown accustomed to a certain person or place. Always keep an open line of communication for any concerns or questions involving your little one.

Who ever you choose to care for your precious bundle of joy should have your same goal in mind – a healthy and happy baby! 🙂

Newborn girl photographed on pink

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What to Expect from Your Maternity Session with La Vie Photogrpahy

Pregnancy is one of the most momentous and joyous occasions in a woman’s life. For most of us it’s something we go through only a couple of times and each pregnancy is entirely different from the last. This is a time of joy and hope as we give over everything we’ve got to nurture this new life inside who we love fiercely even though we haven’t met them yet. But y’all, pregnancy is tough! Along with the anticipation and many celebrations comes a lot of discomfort, weight gain, and uncertainty. This is why I hold maternity session so near and dear to my heart. I love helping a mama take a day for herself to be pampered and remember that despite all of the unpleasant things associated with pregnancy, she is so incredibly strong and beautiful!!!

Each and every one of my maternity sessions is a bit different from the others because I focus on merging your personal style along with my photographic style. My style is timeless and focuses on celebrating your beautiful curves with creative lighting and a dramatic yet feminine feel. I utilize our studio wardrobe that includes couture maternity gowns as well as luxurious draping fabrics to compliment you, and create a wide variety of portraits for you to choose from. I want this process to be as enjoyable and stress free as possible so I am here to help you every step of the way from our initial phone consultation to the final delivery of your finished artwork.

So what can you expect your experience with me to be like?

Each session starts with a design consultation. This is a short meeting before booking your session to make sure I am the perfect fit for you as your photographer. I discuss styling at this time as well as my entire process, answer all of your questions, and show you samples of our gorgeous hand crafted heirloom portrait products. I am a firm believer that there is the perfect photographer for each client and I want to be sure that I’m that for you before you make a decision to book with me. If you do wish to book your session, we’ll do that at the end of your consultation by going over my contract and paying the booking fee. 

On the day of your session you will arrive at the studio with hair and makeup ready (need recommendations on hair and makeup artists? I can help with that too) We’ll then spend about an hour and half creating a lot of beautiful looks for you. I do a lot in that time frame and it’s always a ton of fun!! Most of my clients choose to preserve their portraits in an heirloom album so I’m always striving to give you as much variety in your session as possible. Oh and I hear all the time “I’m not very photogenic” or “I don’t know how to pose”. Not to worry, I direct and demonstrate each and everything I ask you to do in front of the camera. Every mama I’ve photographed is an every day woman with no modeling experience. It’s my job to make you feel comfortable and look your very best!  When we’re done shooting be sure to have your hubby take you out somewhere nice for dinner since you look so fabulous 😉

Within 2 weeks after shooting your session you’ll come back to the studio for your viewing appointment. I’m going to present approximately 30 images to you at this time then you’ll choose your favorite images. You’ll choose from collections combining print and digital products and our lovely selection of finished fine art wall pieces to preserve your memories for generations.

Once your finished artwork is finished and picked up you’ll have it enjoy every day and remember those little tummy flutters while you watch your little one grow! And it doesn’t stop there… don’t forget to document all of the tiny details of your newborn baby. They grow and change so very fast!

 

 

 

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Quick Beauty Tips for New Moms

Luxurious studio maternity sessionI have the privilege of capturing the stunning beauty and beautiful glow of pregnant women. A luxurious maternity session or the highly anticipated baby shower are some of the last times a mom-to-be will get glammed up before baby’s arrival. Balancing the lack of sleep and energy that come along with having a newborn can make it incredibly easy for beauty routines and even self-care to take a back seat. Here are some easy (and realistic!) tips that can save new moms time and effort in feeling like they still have it all (somewhat) together:

High quality lash extensions – the same ones that looked amazing in the maternity and baby shower photos can make your face look automatically put together, even on the days when you’re running on 4 hours of sleep. Get them refilled right before baby’s grand entrance and they will make a huge difference in those first pictures taken together in the hospital. Not to mention they will last long enough for some mom-and-baby photos during the newborn photo session! Luckily there are tons of luxury lash professionals in the Houston area.

 

Pamper yourself at one of Houston’s many high end salons before baby arrives. Consider a low maintenance cut and style – one that will work in a wash and go situation, because very few new moms will have time blow dry and style.

Even with a style that is easy to maintain, there will be days when you just cannot find the time (or energy) to wash and condition your hair. Having a dry shampoo you can count on will help you make it that extra day or two in between washes.

Keep some go-to hair accessories that’ll make your hair style look well put together. Embellished clips and headbands can add glam to even the messiest of mom buns.

Use a tinted moisturizer that will not only hydrate your face but also hide the tiredness underneath your eyes. Any product that can do double duty is every mom’s favorite!

Have a pack of facial cleansing wipes on your bedside table. On the nights you are so worn out and are struggling to put baby to sleep, you will feel less guilty about not wanting to get up to wash your face. Facial wipes are a quick and easy way to cleanse, exfoliate, or even sooth your skin.

Instead of a drying hand sanitizer opt for an antibacterial cream that is also hydrating for your skin. Those sweet baby cheeks will thank you.

Drink your water! It can improve your complexion, prevent and treat headaches, and increase energy levels. It is also essential to moms who are breastfeeding to keep their supply up!

Most importantly, remind yourself of this: you have carried and created an incredible tiny being. That alone makes you an amazingly beautiful mama! 🙂

 

 

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