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Your Baby's Personality and You

2) Regularity

What to look for: Does your baby seem to sleep, eat, and even poop like clockwork? Or does he defy your every attempt to impose a routine?

How to deal: For a baby who thrives on a schedule, structure your day around his habits as much as possible for now -- his sense of security depends on it -- and he'll make your life easy. When he gets a little bigger, he'll be able to tolerate the occasional missed nap.

If he's unpredictable, try not to be too rigid or you'll make yourself crazy. Don't obsess about routine, but do try to keep elements of it the same day to day. For instance, nurse him in the same chair and stick to his favorite soothing methods. And definitely be persistent about bedtime -- these babies still need their rest and will become super cranky without it.


3) Sociability

What to look for: Does your baby smile and coo at just about anyone who scoops her up, no matter how abruptly? Or does she seem to have been born with stranger anxiety, resisting even her doting grandma's advances?

How to deal: If you have a social butterfly, give her lots of opportunities to interact with others -- join a playgroup, go to the park, and bring her along when you run errands.

Don't force a shier baby into unfamiliar situations. Keep her close until she signals that she's ready to interact -- by making cooing noises at company or, if she's older, by trying to wriggle off your lap and crawl around. And don't worry: Though she'll probably always be a little bit reserved, she'll make friends -- just at her own pace.

Even the friendliest baby will go through a clingy stage -- known as stranger anxiety -- somewhere around 9 months, which will gradually taper off around 18 months.


4) Adaptability

What to look for: Does your baby typically go with the flow? Or does he refuse to sleep anywhere but in his own crib and spit new foods back at you?

How to deal: Easygoing babies are adaptable enough to tolerate changes and new people in their lives. Traveling is usually no sweat with this personality type -- he can go to sleep in a hotel room or at Grandma's as easily as in his nursery. Enjoy his flexibility, but don't take advantage of it. Even though he warms up to a new babysitter, for instance, make sure they're playing together before you take off.

If your baby is less flexible, go slow when introducing new things in his life. Even seemingly little changes like your getting new glasses or Dad's shaving off his beard can be downright scary for him. If you're on the go, pack familiar objects, such as favorite blankets, books, and toys, so he has some reminders of home.

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