Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Basic types of infant temperament Part-I

It is nearly impossible to define what constitutes “normal behavior” for a baby. Every parent to be has visions of a cuddly, devoted infant who, though fussy at times, is generally wide eyed and smiling. But infact, the spectrum of normal behavior can be quite broad and the reality quite surprising for parents.  I have had the opportunity to talk with many parents and observe many babies. During these encounters, I discovered over and over that when they were faced with a child whose temperament was completely different from their own, or from what they had expected it to be, they needed reassurance that their baby’s behavior fell within the acceptable range.

Described here are behavioral profiles of three infants at the age of two months- the time at which many babies settle into a routine. While their personalities differ in many ways, all three are healthy and very normal. The first, I call the average baby: this child is generally alert, comfortable and content. The second, the quiet baby, tends to be watchful and subdued. And the third, the active baby, is a tiny dynamo, usually inconstant motion. When judged by their responses to routine care and handling most babies seem to fall into one of these three basic temperamental types.