All parents wonder what their baby will be like. What is your baby like? Is he sensitive to wet diapers or doesn’t he seem to mind? Can she sleep pretty much anywhere, or does she do best in her own crib?
Each baby is born with his/her own unique style of behavior or temperament. Since babies don’t come with manuals, parents and babies must learn to figure each other out. Learning your baby’s temperament will help you figure out what works best for your baby.
Your baby’s temperament shows up in how he reacts to his world – for example, how actively baby moves, how regular he is in his hunger and sleep patterns, or how strongly he reacts to being bathed. Baby’s temperament is a combination of seven different traits:
What is your child's temperament?
Babies’ temperaments are not always clearly visible at birth. However, there are certain temperament traits you may notice right away, such as activity level. By 4 months of age your baby’s temperament will become clearer. As your child grows, you will find that some traits stand out more than others.
Each temperament trait ranges from high to low, and many different combinations of temperament traits are possible. All temperament styles are normal, although some are more challenging for parents to handle.
Parents who get to know and understand their child’s temperament feel better about their child and they have an easier time handling behaviors that are challenging, but normal for their child.
Author: Carol Ostergren, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Extension