Cake smashes are a big part of my business – obviously. I just came off of a weekend of three cake smashes and *every* cake smash is different. That’s what I love about them. Sometimes photographing the same thing could get a little boring (ie headshots, for example – yep, dabbled in that for a time and realized they are NOT for me) but not first year milestones! Every baby is different, every household is different, every family has their own way of doing things which trickles down to their baby – and so, yes, every cake smash is different.
Take today’s cake smash. Mia’s parents, like most, assumed she would be super interested in the cake. She’s had cake before, she knows what sugar tastes like, every indication pointed to Mia being really invested in the cake when it came to that portion of the session. But Mia? She had different ideas. She poked around at the fruit on the top and tasted the frosting a little bit but really, overall, seemed to be put off by the idea that she should wreck that cake and get it all over herself. That tells me that Mia’s personality might be one that approves of order. She’s seen her parents eat off of plates with utensils, catalogued that as the appropriate method, and decided doing it any other way was completely barbaric and uncouth. See what I mean? Every cake smash is different.
Most babies are tentative when approaching the cake for the first time. They’ll eye it and then eye their parents and then eye the cake again. They’ll reach out an inquisitive hand and touch the cake while again peeking up at mom and dad, silently asking, “Is this ok?”. Once greeted with smiles and encouragement, many babies will plow right in. One baby, Oliver, was extremely methodical. He removed and ate each piece of fruit, individually, in order of the fruit (ie all the strawberries together; next the blueberries) and then was done. No cake was eaten there 🤣 And then there was Zeke. He wanted nothing to do with the cake. Each time he was set down in front of it, his dear little face melted mournfully until we finally stopped trying. Other babies, like Ava, enjoy every second of their cake and smile all through it. EVERY CAKE SMASH IS DIFFERENT. And that’s what makes it so fun.
Sometimes I think parents get a little bummed when their baby doesn’t go all in on the cake. They maybe feel like their little one didn’t “do what they were supposed to” but I’m quick to reassure these parents. Every cake smash is different. What your baby does is different than what someone else’s baby does and that’s exactly how it should be! We’re not producing cookie cutter babies! We’re producing babies who think independently, have preferences about how messy they want to be, and have taste buds that either approve or disapprove of this new culinary event – and don’t you want your baby to react authentically to themselves? The memory will be all the more precious knowing that they didn’t align with the standard but instead did what felt right to them! Babies are amazing because they’re not trying to fit the norm and you never have to guess where they stand on an issue – they will tell you.
So moms and dads: if your baby doesn’t plow into the cake like you thought they would, it’s okay!! Enjoy seeing their genuine reaction and applaud your baby for being an interesting individual. The photos are going to be *great* ❤️
Liz Viernes Photography is based near Rockville, Maryland, and specializes in maternity, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.