“You’ll see: they eat, dirty diapers and sleep.”
“You’ll have to work harder on keeping them awake than on getting them to sleep.”
“You just have to feed them and they fall right to sleep.”
Among other things, these are some of the nuggets of knowledge that were bestowed upon me by family, friends and strangers alike when they found out I was pregnant.
You know what? I think my son didn’t get the memo.
But seriously, all babies are different. They are individuals just as us adults are and their personality generally shines through early on.
Take my son for instance. He. Is. So. Curious! He wasn’t even 24h old and the nurses kept commenting on the fact that he was always awake when they came in (which, for the record, was often *sigh* so much for trying to get some rest while at the hospital)! He’s still like that: fighting sleep to the death! (In fact, that is what he is doing at the moment…excuse me while I try for an umpteenth time to get my son down for bedtime).
Back to personalities!
Several authors have come up with a typology of baby personalities. Among them, was the late Tracy Hogg. In her book The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems she and co-author Melinda Blau list five.
So, in a nutshell… (paraphrased from the book)
– Eating: Efficient eater (whether nursed or bottle fed) and open to new foods once solids are introduced.
–Activities: Can play alone or in groups easily in moderately active settings. Very social and adapt well to new situations.
–Sleep: Easy to put down for independent sleep pretty much from birth. Will generally start sleeping through the night (6 consecutive hours) by the time they are 6 weeks old and will be going down without a fuss for two good naps and a catnap by the time they hit the 4 month mark.
– Mood: Generally easygoing and hardly reactive. Their cues are easy to read.
– Eating: Efficient eater, but may be more resistant to solids at first.
– Activities: Developmentally, they are “by the book” meaning that they will be able to play with a 3month tagged toy at 3 months and a 6 month tagged toy at 6 months.
– Sleep: On average, they require about 20 minutes to drift off to sleep on their own. They may need assistance if they are overstimulated.
– Mood: Generally easygoing and hardly reactive as long as their cues are read adequately.
– Eating: Easily frustrated and distracted while they eat and will likely refuse solids when introduced.
– Activities: Are generally weary of anything new (toys, people, situations) and need support and encouragement in those instances. They prefer to play alone or in a one-on-one setting and are more easygoing in the morning than in the afternoon (note that ‘more’ easygoing’ does not mean ‘very’ easygoing…).
– Sleep: Need to be swaddled and in a low stimulation environment. They get overtired very easily and tend to nap for longer periods of time in the morning than in the afternoon.
– Mood: Very reactive and can get overstimulated in a heartbeat.
– Eating: Efficient eater (though they can become impatient if the milk doesn’t come quickly enough). Breastfed babies seem to resent the colostrum phase. Their natural curiosity means that they will readily accept solids.
– Activities: Very active and seem to have endless amounts of energy. They are highly reactive and can become overwhelming to peers in a group. They are typically calmer in the mornings.
– Sleep: They begin to protest as soon as they realize that they are going down (naptime and bedtime rituals) and fight sleep because they do not want to miss anything. They generally resent being swaddled and need to be in a low stimulation environment to sleep.
– Mood: Very vocal and impatient. Their mood can change in a heart beat and are generally described as being stubborn. Because of their high-energy and curiosity, they can become overstimulated or overtired quickly.
– Eating: Very impatient and feeding (whether nursed or bottle fed) can take forever. Will typically be very resistant to solids when introduced.
– Activities: Prefer playing by themselves and hate being interrupted in the middle of an activity.
– Sleep: They fight sleep which generally leads to them becoming overtired. They are also notorious catnappers.
– Mood: They do not react well to a change in routine and it is very important to learn to read their cues to avoid a meltdown. They need a routine to function.
Now, to hear my parents and in-laws tell it, both my partner and I were Angel babies. Stands to reason that our son would be the same, right?
He falls into the Spirited category (though, if I had to choose a sub-category, I would say that he is Grumpy as well). As such, I need to time my outings properly, spend a lot of time stimulating him to quench his never ending curiosity and spend even more time getting him to sleep.
But it’s all worth it. Or so they say…
(Just kidding, I know it’s worth it)
Tell me, what type of personality do your children have?