Congratulations! You are the parent of a spirited baby, one that is perceptive, sensitive, stubborn, and curious. Babies with these traits love to learn and explore. Their determination often means they will grow up to accomplish great things.
However, sometimes a spirited baby’s temperament can be hard to handle. Spirited babies feel everything more deeply and tend to cry more than other babies. They may be averse to strangers and resist scheduled meals and sleep periods. And they can turn a temper tantrum into an art form.
If you can get your baby into a solid sleep pattern, other difficult behaviors may diminish. A tired baby is a challenging baby. Also, all children need to get enough sleep to thrive, even the ones that adamantly resist it!
So what are the signs you have an active, curious baby, and how can you help him establish a good sleep pattern?
For some parents, it’s obvious their baby’s personality is more stubborn and determined. For others, it may be harder to tell if their baby’s temperament is simply a phase. Here are some signs you might have a spirited baby:
Remember that none of these are negative traits, even if they can sometimes make parenting more challenging. Having a baby with these traits is exciting and completely normal!
While spirited babies sometimes resist sleep time, there are several ways to encourage better sleeping habits. Here are some tips to help your baby sleep better:
A spirited baby easily becomes overstimulated. A day full of shopping with mom and playing with friends can be too much for them. Try reducing some of the more stimulating events throughout the day while maintaining exercise and playtime activities. As the end of the day nears, reduce the noise in your home by turning off the television. This will help your baby wind down and get ready for bedtime.
Spirited babies do better with a consistent bedtime routine. You may begin with a bath and then change your baby into their pajamas, or give them a gentle massage, read a story, and sing a song. However you choose to do your bedtime routine, make sure it is completed within about 20 to 30 minutes. A drawn-out bedtime routine can lead to more unwanted stimulation and make it difficult to fall asleep.
Some babies prefer being able to physically see you right before they fall asleep. Staying near their crib as they fall asleep can help. You can do quiet activities while you wait, such as read or pay bills, but you should not play with or talk to the baby. They just need to know you are there.
Don’t worry—you still can and should encourage your baby to develop their own self-soothing tactics. One method that works well for some parents is the chair method, where you sit in a chair by baby’s crib and slowly move the chair closer and closer to the door each night until you have left the room. This will help your baby learn you are always close to comfort them, even if you’re not in sight.
Research has shown that swaddling babies helps them sleep. In fact, they sleep longer and are less likely to wake up suddenly. The slight pressure of a swaddling cloth prevents baby's limbs from flailing and also makes them feel more secure.
However, your baby will be ready to transition out of a swaddle once they reach certain developmental milestones, such as rolling over. If you are transitioning your baby out of a swaddle, a baby sleep suit can help.
Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit gives babies the same comfort a swaddle provides while also incorporating convenient features such as double zippers and open hands and feet (for grasping and temperature moderation). Since spirited babies can struggle more with transitions, the Sleepsuit is a great way for babies to still feel secure while enjoying increased freedom.
As always, you should consult your pediatrician for help with your baby's specific needs. But the right nighttime clothing can be a big help when it comes to helping your baby get better sleep.
If your baby is transitioning from swaddling but still needs the comfort it offers, try a Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit. It is the perfect bedtime aid for helping your spirited baby get the rest they need and deserve.