Royal baby Prince George appeared in his first official photos yesterday. News commentators were quick to point out that the casual family shots were taken not by a professional photographer but rather by Kate’s father, Mr. Michael Middleton, at the family’s home in Bucklebury, Berkshire. As ABC News explained, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are currently residing there until they take up permanent residence in London’s Kensington Palace.
In the snapshots, the couple looks happy and relaxed. Royal baby Prince George is asleep, always a huge relief when you’re a new parent. He’s also snuggled into a tight arms-in swaddle, my absolute favorite!
Yet those details are not what stuck me as special about these first official photos. Rather, what captured my interest as I stepped back and thought about them was when and where they were taken: nearly one month after Prince George was born, in the Middleton family’s garden.
Contrast this with what happens to most moms. For official new baby photos, most moms get a day or two after giving birth to muster up the wherewithal to pose with their newborn! The photo shoot usually takes place in the hospital room with mama and baby in the hospital bed! Mom is either wearing pajamas, a nightgown, or her hospital robe. I have this classic photo of myself as a baby in my Mother’s arms in her hospital bed shortly after my birth, and such was my dream for me and my babies.
Expectant parents plan for the hospital photo shoot. Google “hospital newborn photo tips” and you’re flooded with advice on how to take gorgeous photos in your hospital room when your baby is just a day or two old: from opening the blinds in your hospital room, to positioning the baby where there is not a lot of clutter, to getting a shot of the entire hospital room for context. Many guides give tips on how to hold and cradle your baby when you’ve just given birth.
Seeing these photos of Kate, Will and royal baby George, I’m thinking how weird it is that we parents impose this pressure on ourselves to take our official baby photos in the hospital! I remember packing up my blow dryer and makeup weeks beforehand, and asking my Mother to buy me a snazzy pair of pajamas for the hospital baby photo. On CloudMom, I recommend that moms pack these beauty items in their hospital diaper bag. The expectation that a baby will be shot in this style can cause undue stress, especially when things don’t go as planned. With my third baby Beckett who went straight to the NICU, I remember thinking “Oh no, how will I get a shot of me cradling him in the hospital bed?” Beckett’s newborn photo was taken in the NICU, the pink faux-leather hospital chair peeping out from behind my back.
Kate first posed with royal baby George outside the hospital, bearing her post-baby belly in a courageous move that signaled to moms everywhere “I’m like you.” It was a historic image.
What if this second set of images of royal baby George — the so-called official images — became historic too, sending a message to moms everywhere that our first official baby photos don’t need to be taken in the hospital? That we don’t need to have a terrific first family photo with the new baby within a day or two of giving birth, when mama can barely walk and is operating on little or no sleep, trying not to dissolve into tears, and papa doesn’t know what’s hit him, and older sibs (if they’re in the metaphorical picture) don’t know what to make of the whole thing.
Hmmm…maybe we all should take on airs and follow the royals in the regard? We swap newborn hospital photos for photos taken much more easily in our family homes or backyards a few weeks later! Just picture us there beaming and relaxed, with dogs and cats beside us.
You with me, moms?
Do you think the traditional hospital photo put undue pressure when you had just given birth? Describe your experience in the comments below!
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