”Ah, that second baby will just fit right in, they all do!”. I’ve worked with parents whose second baby just didn’t! They were different, things that worked in the past were no longer working now. This is confusing for all involved and leaving parents feeling unsure of what to do next.
Tracy Hogg (Author of The Baby Whisperer solves all your problems) categories babies into different groups according to their temperament. Now, we know it’s not ok to stereotype, but this may be helpful in understanding your baby, and what may be ok or not in their book!
Angel babies adapt easily to their environment and the daily changes in life. These babies rarely cry and their cues and body language are easy to read. When they do get upset they are quite easy to calm or distract from the issue. They aren’t thrown by bright lights or loud noises and can adapt to changing situations with ease. These babies are good sleepers, often settling to sleep without the need for interventions, they may also wake and play happily in their cot until a parent comes in. Tracy summarises by saying they are ‘good eaters, moderately active, sleep easily and independently, easy-going & upbeat’.
Textbook babies reach every developmental milestone with ease and on time. They are predictable and their cues are easy to read, their temperament are fairly mellow, liking much of what comes their way for play and food. If these babies become restless it is easy for them to respond to shushing and patting. They will fall asleep by themselves within 20 minutes which is the average time needed for babies. They will adapt well to different situations, needing just a short time to re-orientate themselves when home. Tracy summarises by saying they are ‘good eaters, moderately active, need 20 minutes to drop off to sleep, fairly unflappable’.
Touchy babies are ultrasensitive to things from the beginning. They may flinch at noises and blink in bright lights, they may also cry for no apparent reason. At night, slight noises may disturb them and it may take a while to get off to or back to sleep. Hogg states that these babies may account for about 15% of all babies. Studies show that they have more stress hormones and as a consequence probably experience fear and other feelings more intensely than other babies. As they grow up they are shy, fearful and cautious of others and it takes much time to get them to relax. ‘Easily frustrated, cautious about new situations, poor sleepers, highly irritable’.
Spirited babies can be aggressive and vocal and often will be in the middle of the action. They love stimulation and are drawn to anything that makes loud noises. They are unlikely to be good sleepers and need to be coaxed into bed at night. This group also accounts for 15% of babies. They may bite or push and be challenging. There is a lot of energy but it needs to be channelled carefully. ‘Good eaters but impatient, high energy, poor sleepers, hard to please.’
Grumpy babies don’t often smile and dressing and changing them can be a challenge. They need routine and are unhappy when it deviates. They may be impatient or picky with food. They prefer to play alone or to stand back, watch and assess the situation. They can resent others being in their space. ‘Impatient eaters, prefer to play solo, poor sleepers, grumpy moods’.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out which babies I see more of! Remember, whilst some of the traits above seem negative now, those babies who stand back and absorb before jumping in will be learning loads, spirited babies will be fabulous leaders and active souls when their energy is understood and applied in the right situation.
Where does your baby fit in?