Updated: Apr 28
There are five temperaments commonly observed in babies. A baby's temperament affects the way they behave in social situations and can also have an impact on how they sleep and eat.
By being mindful of your little one's temperament you can choose settling techniques and adjust routines to best suit them.
Which temperament best describes your baby? Most babies will fit into more than just one category.
Often described as “easy”, Angel babies quite easily adapt to their environment and changes in routine. They are generally good eaters and play well on their own and with others. Their moods are pretty steady and predictable, and parents find it easy to read their cues.
Sleep isn’t such a battle with Angel babies. They fall asleep easily and independently and will sleep long stretches from an early age. It’s still important to follow their cues and put them down before they become overtired, because even an Angel baby will protest if they are not well rested.
As the name suggests, textbook babies tend to hit milestones and growth spurts right on time as described in baby books. For the most part, they are quite mellow but can be cranky at times. However, due to their predictability, parents can follow their cues and respond and calm them fairly easily.
Textbook babies are generally easy to settle to sleep, however, if they are overtired or overstimulated, they may need a little more reassurance.
Touchy babies are easily upset. They are more affected by their environment e.g. bright lights, too much noise etc. This can impact on their eating and sleeping. They are cautious in new situations and with new people and require more support from their parents. They’re usually less sensitive in the mornings and become more cranky by the afternoon.
For Touchy babies it’s important to swaddle (in younger babies), turn on white noise and have a dark room to block out any external stimulation when settling to sleep. They become overtired very easily so it’s important to look out for their tired signs and act quickly. If they do become overtired, it can take twice as long to get them to sleep. They tend to sleep better in the mornings but will cat nap in the afternoons.
Spirited babies are very active and have little patience. They don’t shy away from new people or situations and can be very vocal and stubborn. They are generally quite good eaters but can become impatient if not fed fast enough e.g. mum has a slow let-down or bottle teat flow is too slow.
Spirited babies tend to resist naps and bedtime routine as they don’t want to “miss out”. Their morning naps are more of a challenge but generally have a better, longer afternoon nap which then sets them up for a good night-time sleep. Younger babies may resist being swaddled but it’s important to block out any external stimulation to help them calm down before sleep, so a dark room and white noise is ideal.
Grumpy babies are very impatient and don’t adapt easily to change. They can be slow eaters and as they get older may become fussy eaters. They don’t tend to be very active. They will mostly prefer to play by themselves and don’t like being interrupted.
Grumpy babies generally don’t sleep well. They easily become overtired because they are resistant. They also tend to be cat nappers, which leads to a vicious cycle. Sticking to a good routine will help a grumpy baby with their eating and sleeping.
If you would like to learn more about how I can help create a plan to suit your baby's temperament contact me today.
Try my online sleep guides for information on newborns sleep, age appropriate routines and how to solve early morning wakes.