When my baby was born, we were surprised to see personality quirks straight away. If she was awake, she wanted to see the world. Squirming, straining away from our arms, fighting to get her head around the baby carrier to see more.
We didn’t know then if these were things every baby did, or if it was indicative of the personality our child would have as she developed. We soon learned that babies are hardwired with certain personality traits. Some become obvious from birth, while others slowly emerge over time.
The Very Beginning.
Even when my little one wasn’t able to climb out of her stroller or swaddled blanket, she was alert and active. As I spent more time around other moms of new babies and saw how their children behaved, it became clear that lots of the babies had strong personality traits already. Some were calm and laid back, happily hanging out on a blanket on the floor, or napping in a swing. Others, like the son of a close friend of mine, were only happy with being held close to their mothers. My friend’s son adored snuggling, content only when in his mother’s warm embrace. As our babies grew into toddlers, those personality traits -- evident from birth -- only became more obvious.
My Little Miss Independent.
My little girl learned to walk and then quickly to run. She’s happiest when exploring the world around her, wanting to be independent. She’s never liked being held, rarely gives hugs -- making them even more precious -- and only snuggles when she’s sick. Our friend’s son has similarly developed in line with his early personality traits. He is happiest when with people he knows and loves, and nothing pleases him more than being held or cuddled by his mother.
Every little one is so different! Nothing makes this more obvious than seeing little babies in a group together, and noticing the differences between them, even as newborns. Through observing our own daughter and talking with friends, my husband and I learned that helping our child explore the world and discover what suits her is the best way to embrace her emerging personality and encourage her ongoing development.
Christine Knight is an Australian expat and mother of one enthusiastic toddler. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, she is co-founder of brunchwithmybaby.com, a site dedicated to helping parents navigate the NYC and Sydney food scenes with their offspring.