The newborn months can be a difficult, stressful time as parents try not to break these little beings they're now responsible for. Visitor limits are put in place, sick children are told to stay away, and for the few who are allowed to visit, handwashing and vaccinations are mandated—all to make sure illnesses don't spread to a baby who's too young to get vaccinated.
But as a recent article on Glamour highlighted, there's another person new parents should put on their radar but often overlook: photographers.
In the post, Julia Pelly recounted how she was so excited to find a photographer who got her style. The mom wanted loud, messy photos that captured the real essence of motherhood. Everything seemed great when they were talking on the phone.
But when Mary (not the photographer's real name) came by for the in-home newborn photography session, she had brought her toddler in tow. Though Pelly understood working moms sometimes have to bring their kids along to get the job done, she was surprised Mary didn't give her client a heads up, especially when random toddlers (who, let's be real, are germy, super-spreaders) aren't the best mates for newborns who don't have fully developed immune systems.
"It wasn’t until several months later that I realized her photos came with an invisible risk that I hadn’t understood at the time," Pelly wrote.
In a small local Facebook group, Pelly saw the photographer's comments detailing her opposition to vaccines and boasting that she and her son were vaccine-free. Yup, that meant Mary had brought her unvaccinated toddler into Perry's home with no disclosure whatsoever about this little fact.
The CDC says anyone who is around newborns should be up-to-date on all routine vaccines, including the whooping cough vaccine and the flu vaccine during flu season. The people who take care of and interact with the babies help form a vital cocoon of disease protection.
Pelly's baby was no longer in any danger, but still, the mom was furious. Whatever Mary's stance on vaccination, not telling Perry wasn't just a professional faux pas; to Perry, it could have had dangerous consequences.
"As I read her comments, and remembered her child being mere inches from my newborn son, I was angry that this woman had endangered my brand new baby (at the height of flu season, no less) and was frustrated that I had seen her as a professional and had made assumptions about the precautions she would take. But I also felt guilty. I had literally placed my newborn in someone's hands without even considering the questions I should have asked first," Pelly wrote.
While her post has sparked anger and sympathy with some parents, others are calling Pelly overprotective, saying she would never take her newborn out in public because she'll never know who's unvaccinated, or that there are more risky situations out there to be concerned of.
Still, Pelly's story is a reminder to always do your research and to speak up if you're concerned. When looking for newborn photographers, on top of asking about pricing, their process and how they'll position your baby, also inquiring about their staff's vaccinations might be worth the peace of mind.