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 (they’re usually very alert, interested and interesting, and quick to accomplish). 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 following tips should help:
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 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.
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. Ease rather than force your baby into more of a structured day. And don’t expect true regularity, just a little less chaos.
Nights with an irregular baby can be torture, mostly because the baby doesn’t usually differentiate them from days. To survive, mummy and daddy may have to alternate night duty or share split shifts until things get 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, trv setting up a daily schedule with few surprises. Feedings, baths and naps should take place at the same times and in the same places, with as few departures from routine as possible. Introduce new toys and people very gradually. For example, hang a new mobile over the cot for just a minute or two. Remove it and bring it out again in a short while, leaving it up for a few minutes longer. Continue increasing the time of exposure until baby seems ready to accept and enjoy the mobile. Introduce other new toys and objects in the same way. Have new people spend a lot of time just being in the same room with your baby then talking at a distance, then communicating close up, before they make an attempt at physical contact. Later, when you introduce solids, add new foods very gradually, starting with tiny amounts, and increasing portion size over the span of a week or two. Don’t add another food until the last is well accepted. Try- to avoid unnecessary changes when making purchases – a new feeding bottle with a different shape or colour, a new gadget on the pushchair, a new dummy. If an item wears out or breaks, try to replace it with an identical or similar model.
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. If possible, soundproof your baby’s room by insulating the walls with insulating board or padding, adding carpeting, curtains, and anything else that will absorb the sound. You can try earplugs, a white-noise machine, a fan or air conditioner to reduce the wear and tear on your ears and nerves without totally blocking out your baby’s cries. As crying lessens in the months ahead, so will this problem- but your child will probably always be louder and more intense than most.
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 even reject them. If nothing seems to satisfy your baby (and no medical explanation is uncovered ), then do your best to be loving and caring anyway, secure in the knowledge that one of these days, when your baby learns other ways of expression, the crying and general unhappiness will diminish, though he or she may always be the ‘serious’ type.