Preparing for Baby… Baby Personalities

OK. I realize my entries are mostly baby/pregnancy related as of late, and this gives me a small complex because I fear my dear readers now believe all I ever think about and do is related to pregnancy… which terrifies me (perhaps a bit more on that later). That being said, here is the Ultimate baby post. Eat your heart out Mother Goose…

JD is reading a book called Babyproofing Your Marriage which he picked up from the library for one dollar. He tells me things like, “We will need to make more deliberate time for each other when the baby comes” and “this book says it is natural for husbands to feel jealous of the bond between moms and babies.” We chat about it for a few minutes and then laugh at the way the writers write – because amidst the nuggets of good, common sense advice, the book is peppered with colorful language – which just seems odd to us in a baby book.

I , on the other hand, am currently reading a book called, “The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer.” Yes, you read correctly – baby whisperer. Normally I am skeptical with any title having the word “whisperer” in it, but my good friend Jill, who is also pregnant, gave me a copy and told me she enjoys what she reads so far. Turns out, I love this book! JD and I often discuss different techniques of raising an infant, and frankly, there are lots of ideas out there. This particular book gives a very balanced approach, landing somewhere in between ‘baby’s in control’ and ‘rigid clock watching schedule.’ The goal being to learn your baby’s cues and meet its needs without it controlling your life, while still keeping a consistent routine for baby. Yes please.

The author provides a generalized description of the five most distinct baby personality types (understanding that personality types can overlap and one baby might not fit perfectly into the description she’s given) to help you understand your baby better. I’ve paraphrased them below. Read the descriptions for fun and tell me this: If you are already a parent, what type of personality did your baby(ies) have? If you are not a parent, please don’t stop reading, what type of baby were you? And for both groups, what type of baby do you think we will have? Just for fun of course… though I bet you can tell what I’m wishing for!

Here they are: Angel, Textbook, Touchy, Spirited, Grumpy

Angel: The kind of baby every pregnant woman dreams of: good as gold. Mellow, eternally smiling, and consistently undemanding. Cues are easy to read. Not bothered by new surroundings and is extremely portable. Feeds, plays, and sleeps easily, and usually doesn’t cry when wakes up. You’ll find Angel babies babbling in their crib most mornings, talking to a stuffed animal or being amused by a stripe on the wall. Will often calm itself down and is easily snuggled if overtired. Will put self to sleep.

Textbook: Predictable baby, and fairly easy to handle. Does everything on cue, so there are few surprises. Baby reaches all the milestones right on schedule – sleeps through the night by three months, rolls over by five, sits up by six. Has growth spurts like clockwork – periods where appetite suddenly increases due to extra weight or developmental leap. Can play on its own for short periods at just a week old, coos and looks around a lot. Smiles when smiled at. Has normal cranky periods, but is easy to calm and not hard to put to sleep.

Touchy: The ultrasensitive baby (a ‘sensie’ as Dr. Dorian might say on Scrubs) whose world is full of sensory challenges. Flinches at the sound of a motorcycle outside, the TV, dog barking, etc. Blinks and turns head away from bright light. Sometimes cries for no apparent reason, even at mom. Gets fussy after a number of people have held him/her, or after an outing. Will play on own for a few minutes, but needs reassurance someone like mom or dad is close by. Nurses erratically. Has difficulty falling asleep. Easily gets off schedule because their systems are so fragile. Swaddling is important.

Spirited: This baby emerges from womb knowing what he/she likes and doesn’t like, and won’t hesitate to let you know it. Very vocal and even aggressive sometimes. Screams for mom and dad when gets up in the morning, hates laying in own pee or poop and announces this by boisterously vocalizing his/her discomfort. Babbles a lot, and loudly. Body language tends to be a bit jerky. Often needs swaddling to get to sleep because flailing arms and legs keep baby up and overstimulated. If he/she starts crying and the cycle is not interrupted, baby will reach a fever pitch of rage.

Grumpy: “I have a theory that grumpy babies have been here before – they’re old souls… and they’re not all that happy to be back.” This baby is mad at the world and lets you know it. Grumpy babies whimper every morning, don’t smile much during the day, and fuss their way to sleep every night. Hates baths at first, as well as changing time. Feeding is difficult because of fidgity, cranky disposition. To calm a grumpy baby, it usually takes a patient mom or dad, because these babies get very angry and their cries are particularly loud and long.

Fun fact from the Burdette household: I was an angel baby and Patrick (my younger brother) was a grumpy baby!

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7 thoughts on “Preparing for Baby… Baby Personalities

  1. Pop says:

    Whatever happened to that “angel baby”? Whisper that in my ear would ya! 😉 Actaully, the both of you were a pain in the arse…Oh wait that must be the jealousy coming out because of the bond you two have with my WIFE!
    Love,
    Spirited Pop

  2. Barbie says:

    Good for you! I started that book, but never finished it. Although at about 2 1/2 months I went back to it for some much needed advice. Aubrey was spirited, still is! It really does have such great, realistic advice. I was like you, I didn’t want a schedule, but wanted to still live my life. I also think it’s important to recognize that each baby is different. I know some women who think it’s all about parenting and has nothing to do with personality. Believe me, personality plays a huge part!

  3. lou says:

    We have a 9 month old “spirited” gorgeous little boy who is a handful, screaming one minute and charming the pants off you with his loud chatter and smiles the next and even getting ratty before and just after he has a poo!Bags of personality and I have a feeling he will be able to stand up for himself when he’s older!

  4. Deb says:

    I have a 10 week old angel/ textbook baby. She smiles at everything, laughs at people, even strangers, and gets excited and wide eyed at new toys, trees, and animals. Some days she coos and talks non-stop, and others she sits quietly and soaks everything in. I think I have only heard her really cry twice. Usually she tells us what she wants with other noises. She has done everything early and was in the hundreth percentile of weight and height one week ago.

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