What’s Your Baby’s Personality?
It’s fascinating to see just how quickly a little one’s personality becomes apparent. These innate characteristics help determine how your baby eats, sleeps and responds to new things. Read on to identify your infant’s dominant traits and find the easiest ways to keep her comfortable and content.
1. The active baby.
Active babies like to explore—and that’s a trait you should try to develop. Choose toys that encourage active play, take him along when you run errands and hit your local playground or baby gym class for lots of stimulation.
These kids are always on the prowl, so you need to be especially vigilant about childproofing. Even if you’ve covered electrical outlets and tied back window treatments, scour the house for less-obvious hazards: secure that harmless-looking dresser to the wall because your little explorer will try to scale it!
It’s also important to give an active child plenty of downtime at the end of the day. “These kids need a calming, predictable bedtime routine to help them settle down,” explains Debra Thompson, a pediatric nurse practitioner in Dallas. “Play soothing music, read his favorite story or give him a gentle massage to help him relax.”
2. The mellow baby.
Even if you’ve got a child who’s so chill she could tolerate the most chaotic schedule, it’s still important to maintain a routine: all babies need structure to feel secure. No need to be rigid about scheduling, though. Breakfast doesn’t always have to be at 7 a.m. on the dot, but it should be in the same time frame, and bedtime should be predictable, too. You can be looser about nap time, bath time and outings.
You should also make sure your mellow baby gets plenty of time for physical activity. “It’s easy to think, ‘OK, she’s happy lying there quietly all day and doesn’t need too much from me.’ But the fact is, she still thrives on interaction, affection and stimulation,” says Thompson.
3. The sensitive baby.
This type of child is vulnerable to stimulation in his environment: He gets upset when he hears loud noises, and squirms because the tag on his shirt is brushing against his neck. When he’s exposed to strong scents, unusual sounds or lots of activity, he quickly feels overloaded.
Soothing tactics like rocking, cuddling and swaddling can be helpful. Learn to read his signals. At first it can be frustrating when your infant melts down over tiny things. But your baby is just super-aware, and he needs you to tune in. Soon you’ll know what he can’t handle. Avoid those situations if you can, and always respect his limits. If he gets overwhelmed in a noisy food court, for example, take him outside for a few minutes. If his socks are irritating, let him go barefoot.
However, make sure you don’t remove all the stimulation from your baby’s life. To encourage their development, sensitive children need exposure to new sounds, textures and tastes—they just need less than other kids.
4. The fussy baby.
Some babies never seem totally happy. They melt down if they miss nap time by a half-hour, they refuse to eat new foods and they cry at the sight of unfamiliar faces. For fussy kids, the unexpected is simply too much.
To help, it’s important to stick to a schedule, because fussy babies have a tightly wound internal clock and thrive on structure. Skip that errand if it interferes with your normal nap-time routine—it’s just not worth hours with a crying kid.
Don’t avoid new experiences, but introduce them gradually, at your little one’s pace. Let your baby greet a new person from the comfort of your arms, or have one family over instead of joining a playgroup. Accept the fact that your baby’s just going to fuss. She needs a little extra attention from you to help her feel safe and happy in her world.
The bottom line? Whatever your baby’s personality, give her the love and attention she needs and you’ll be able to sit back and watch her shine.
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