Many parents will tell you that their babies have had their own unique personalities from the moment they were born. And it's true! Each and every baby is unique and that's what makes them so wonderful! But did you know that your baby's personality affects the way that they sleep? More so, it's the temperament of your baby that has the main affect on how your baby sleeps- and that's what we're focusing on today. Here's a really quick guide, with a few pointers on how to address sleep issues with your little one.
There are three temperament types
Your baby's temperament is a part of their personality that is innate. This means that it cannot be changed, or influenced. Your baby's temperament is here to stay, and plays a huge part in many aspects of their development- how they respond to changes, how they adapt to new situations and how likely they are to learn independent sleep habits. The three temperament types are Easy, Difficult and Slow to Warm Up.
The Easy baby
As you might expect, the easy baby is relatively easy going and relaxed. This baby will respond well to any changes you introduce, and generally feeds and sleeps well. If you introduce sleep training to the easy baby they will adapt quickly and are more likely to handle new social situations with ease too.
The Difficult baby
Again, as you might expect, the difficult baby is a whole different story! Difficult babies often find changes very hard to handle and respond negatively to new situations on a whole. They often display irregular feeding and sleep patterns and seem very reluctant to take on changes. These babies may be more difficult to sleep train, should you want to, and often respond to new social situations with negativity and/ or aggression.
The Slow to Warm Up baby
These babies are a little different to the rest. They often respond well to changes, but they need to a lot of time to be able to do this. They can adopt regular feeding and sleeping patterns but they need a lot of encouragement, patience and time. Similarly, new social situations and changes of any kind need to be introduced slowly and carefully, and over time will be accepted. Slow to warm up babies can be sleep trained, but will take a little longer and require commitment to see it through.
Your baby's temperament
You probably know straight away which of the temperament types your baby has. And while it certainly plays a huge role in how they sleep, you should remember that every baby is still unique and different. Your baby may display certain aspects of more than one temperament, for example. So it's a good idea to take this as a guide, and use it to inform how you approach sleep issues in general with your baby.
If your baby shows most signs of being a difficult baby, it's important to remember that they are not doing this on purpose! This is their temperament, and it's up to us as parents to adapt our approaches accordingly. That said though, don't be afraid to ask for help and support as it can be hard work! As with anything, only you know your baby best so don't be afraid to challenge the books, manuals and forums if you feel you need to!