The active baby
Babies often send the first clue that they’re going to be more active than most right from the uterus; suspicions are confirmed soon after birth when swaddling blankets are kicked off, nappy changing and dressing sessions become wrestling matches, and baby always ends up at the opposite end of the cot after a nap. Active babies are a constant challenge (they sleep less than most, become restless when feeding, can be extremely frustrated until they’re able to be independently mobile, and are always at risk of hurting themselves), but they can also be a joy. While you don’t want to squelch such a baby’s enthusiasm and adventurous nature, you will want to take special protective precautions as well as learn ways to quiet him or her for eating and sleeping. The followings tips should help:
- Use a blanket sleeper in cold weather and lightweight sleepers in cold weather; limit or avoid swaddling.
- Be especially careful never to leave an active baby on a bed, changing table or any other elevated spot even for a second – they often figure out how many to turn over very early, and sometimes just when you least expect it. A restraining strap on the changing table is useful but should not be relied upon if you’re more than a step away.
- Adjust the cot mattress to its lowest level as soon as the active baby starts to sit alone for even for few seconds – the next step may be pulling up and over the sides of the cot. Keep all objects a baby might climb on out of cot and playpen.
- Don’t leave an active baby in an infant seat except on the floor – they are often capable of overturning the seat. And of course, baby should always be strapped in.
The Irregular baby
At about six to twelve weeks, just when other babies seem to be settling into a schedule and becoming more predictable, these babies seem to be settling into a schedule and becoming more predictable, these babies seem to become more erratic. Not only don’t they fall into schedules on their own, they aren’t interested in any you may have to offer.
Instead of following such a baby’s lead and letting chaos take over your home life, or taking the reins yourself and imposing a very rigid schedule that is contrary to the infant’s nature, try to find a middle ground. For both your sakes, it’s necessary to put at least a modicum of order in your lives, but try as much as possible to build a schedule around any natural tendencies your baby seems to exhibit. You may have to keep a diary to uncover any hints of a recurring time frame in your child’s days, such as hunger around 11 AM every morning or fussiness after 7 PM every evening.
Try to counter any unpredictability with predictability
That means trying, as much as possible, to do things at the same times and in the same ways every day. Nurse in the same chair when possible, give baths at the same time each day always soothe by the same method (rocking or singing or whatever works best). Try scheduling feedings at roughly the same times each day, even if your baby doesn’t seem hungry, and try to stick to the schedule even if he or she is hungry between meals, offering a small snack if necessary. Ease rather than force your baby into more of a structured day. And don’t expect true regularity, just as little less chaos.
Nights with an irregular baby can be torture, mostly because the baby doesn’t usually differentiate them from days. You can try the tips for dealing with night-day differentiation problems, but it’s very possible they won’t work for your baby, who may not want to stay up throughout the night, at least initially. To survive, mummy and daddy may have to alternate night duty or share split shifts until things are better, which they eventually will if you are persistent and stay cool.
The poor-adaptability or initial -withdrawal baby
These babies consistently reject the unfamiliar – new objects, people, foods. Some are upset by change of any kind, even familiar change such as going from the house to the car. If this sounds like your baby, try setting up a daily schedule with few surprises. Feedings, baths and naps should take places at the same times and in the same places, with as few departures from routine as possible. Introduce new toys and people very gradually.
The high-intensity baby
You probably noticed it right at the beginning – your baby cried louder than any other child in the hospital nursery. The loud crying and screaming, the kind that can frazzle even the steadiest of nerves, continued when you got home. You can’t flip a switch and turn down the volume on your baby, of course – but turning down the volume of noise and activity in the environment may help tone your child down a bit. Also, you will want to take some purely practical measures to keep the noise from bothering family and neighbours.
The negative or ‘unhappy’ baby
Instead of smiling and cooing, some babies just seem grumpy all the time. This is no reflection on the parents (unless, of course, they’ve been neglectful), but it can have a profound impact on them. They often find it difficult to love their unhappy babies, and sometimes they can even reject them. If nothing seems to satisfy your baby, then do your best to be loving and caring anyway, secure in the knowledge that one of these days, when your baby learns others ways of expression, the crying and general unhappiness will diminish, though he or she may always be the ‘serious’ type.