WHAT IF MY BABY HATES THEIR CAKE SMASH?
“I’d love to have a cake smash, but what if my baby hates the cake?”
OK. Truth time.
Not every baby will love their cake smash!
Oh, that hurt. Because more than anything, I want your babies to have a lovely time in my studio.
But in the name of honesty, I will admit that almost every baby will have a cry at some point during their session.
It’s a SUPER weird experience for them. They are brought into a room full of lights and a new person, dressed in a new outfit popped onto a set full of funny looking things. Then suddenly, mummy and daddy start dancing around behind this new person (who has a strange black thing she keeps putting in front of her face) and baby doesn’t know where to look.
Why is daddy making funny noises? Why is mummy playing peekaboo? What’s this weird squishy thing they have put in front of me, and why are they telling me to eat it and play with it? It’s so sweet and sticky! What’s going on??!
For most of their first year, your baby has had a very healthy diet of savoury first foods. They’re not used to the sweetness and textures of a cake and frosting. It’s why I always ask mums to let their babies taste some before the session, so they don’t get overwhelmed. But even so, that whole cake put in front of them can be a bit of a shock!
The Lockdown Factor
On top of all that, right now your little one has been locked away from the world for most of their little life. They haven’t seen people, gone out and about, experienced the world. Everything now has the potential to overwhelm them. Lots of babies take longer to warm up than they ever have done before. But this isn’t a surprise, and I build into the session the expectation that I’ll need to spend longer getting your baby to trust me.
BUT. Here’s the good news.
I have never, in my 7 or so years of cake smashes, had a baby who didn’t eventually settle down, realise that actually the studio was an ok place to be, and find their smiles. 7 years of experience gives me all the flexibility and understanding that I need to ensure that every baby leaves with smiles and sees me as a friend. So how do I do it?
I take LOTS of time just talking, playing, and getting your baby used to me (and I mean lots of time. As much time as they need, and I’ll never rush you or them). There’s only ever one smash booked a day, so you’ll have all the time you need.
Finding their fun
Every baby finds fun in at least one part of the session; it might be the “before” pictures, it might be the cake, it might be the bath (and they ALL love the bath). If I can see that they are hating sitting still for portraits. I’ll bring out a whole bunch of toys that match with the set but keep them occupied long enough for photos.
If they don’t like the cake, we hide snacks in the back to encourage them to play with it. I give them a spoon – sometimes two spoons! So even if they don’t like the taste, they can play with it and smash it enough that it looks like they enjoyed it.
And I’ve even been known to switch a whole session around, have the cake and the bath first, and then do their portraits at the end when they’ve settled down. I can count on one hand, the number of babies who don’t enjoy their bath. It’s familiar, it’s fun, it’s something they’ve done every day since they were born so it’s safe and enjoyable for them. Most babies only cry when we take them out at the end! Bathtime almost always guarantees the biggest smiles. So if they aren’t feeling the first parts of the session, I’ll spend longer on the bath..
I couldn’t do this job without bucketloads of patience. It doesn’t matter how long your baby takes to settle down, or how much they cling to you. You won’t find me getting stressed out. And I don’t want you to stress, either. You might panic and think that your baby is the worst behaved I’ve ever had, or that I’m judging you and your parenting, and you might start worrying that you’ve spent money and you won’t get any photos at the end of it.
NONE of this is true.
I genuinely love one year olds, even at their most temperamental. They can’t tell us what’s wrong – they might be hot, tired, teething, anxious, or fighting off a cold. None of it is their fault, or yours. But I have never had a baby I couldn’t get a good gallery from, and I’ve never had to redo a cake smash shoot. Almost every parent with an unsettled baby has been amazed at the amount of happy and beautiful images I’ve managed to get.
So yes, the honest truth is that your baby might cry a bit at their cake smash. They might hate their cake. They might be a bit clingy. They might even (although I doubt it) not like their splash in the tub.
But overall? The proof will be in the pictures you get. The smiles will show you how much they’ve enjoyed the experience, and it’s a wonderful way to mark baby’s first birthday. So put your doubts to one side, and book that smash. I promise you that your baby will have a lovely time!