A newborn session by its nature happens at a super chaotic point in your life. Whether you gave birth, adopted a newborn, or made the choice to foster a new human, it's chaotic. And if you want to memorialize this special time with photos, there are a few things you can do to make sure the photo session goes as smoothly as possible to reduce stress on you and your family. So here are those tips:
Make sure little one is fed about 30 minutes before the session starts
Keep all other participants (parents, siblings, etc.) fed and happy as well
Put a new diaper and first outfit on about 10 minutes before the session starts
Have all outfits and sentimental items you want to use laid out and in one place for the photographer to see as soon as they arrive
Have extra bottles/be ready to nurse, have snacks on hand (for toddlers and nursing mamas), and use bribes if older siblings are involved
Be comfortable - wear what you want, let the other family members wear what they're comfortable in, and care more about everyone being happy than about having a cohesive look
If there are areas you want to use (nursery, master bedroom, living room, etc.) consider decluttering. To be clear, I do NOT mean cleaning. Decluttering in this case means moving the pile of laundry or collection of empty bottles that would be in the background of a photo in the glider to an area of the room that would not be in the background. This is NOT something you have to do when you already have a million things on your plate, but if you have a second, it can streamline the process.
This one is the most important tip: Don't stress. Don't get anxious when your newborn starts to cry or your toddler isn't cooperating. Don't snap at your partner. Don't get worked up. If you are working with a professional photographer, they have seen it all, worked with it all, heard it all. And you getting stressed out makes the whole family stressed. Let the photographer do their job and take on any stress while you sit back, relax, and interact with your family. If you do that, your photos will be perfect.
And just for fun, here are a few newborn photos from sessions I've done where the photo turned out perfectly, but there was plenty of chaos outside of the frame.