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To ask if you think some babies are more difficult than others, or is their behaviour caused by how you parent them?

(97 Posts)
Aracha Sat 26-Mar-16 08:21:10

My 6-month-old wakes every 2-3hours all night. During the day he is clingy. He will entertain himself for 5-10mins with a toy or play in jumparoo for 20mins if I'm nearby. It's not stranger anxiety as he's happy to be held by other people and is very interactive.

He seems to cry and grizzle more than friends' babies. Their babies also sleep for 5-6hour stretches. He is always wriggling and kicking and rarely keeps still when awake.

Have I caused this behaviour?
I used to carry him in sling all the time, even indoors. I don't like leaving him to cry so I pick him up when he grizzles and feed to sleep when he wakes in night. He used to have colic and reflux but this cleared up by 4months.

SquinkiesRule Sat 26-Mar-16 08:23:24

No my two boys were nothing alike as babies, I didn't parent any differently, I even fed them the same way. It's personality. Now they are grown they are still very different personalities.

SaucyJack Sat 26-Mar-16 08:25:53

No, all babies have different personalities- same as grown-ups.

It's something you can see very clearly when you have more than one DC (I have 3).

Hairyfecker Sat 26-Mar-16 08:26:29

You are responding to his behaviour, not causing it.
Your friends babies will have their moments - they may be much more difficult as toddlers, for example! You're doing fine.

gemdrop84 Sat 26-Mar-16 08:27:40

My two are nothing alike in terms of how they were as babies, personalities, likes/dislikes, temperament and so on. Its got nothing to do with how we parent, we've stuck to the same method for both!! My Ds sounds very similar to yours op, he was a very unhappy crying baby with reflux/colic, it stopped at 13 months when he learned to walk and he is now the happiest little toddler. Everyone comments on how smiley/happy he is. Compare that to our dd who slept through from a young age and was (still is) very laid back!

SprogletsMum Sat 26-Mar-16 08:27:50

Some babies are definitely more grumpy than others.
Dd2 is a seriously grumpy baby. She cried more or less all the time until she was 12 months and even now at 17 months she's still blooming hard work.
She's my third so I know what I'm doing, she was breastfed and held whenever she wants to be, she has a dummy. My bigger 2 dc are at school so she has undivided attention mon-fri in term time. We cosleep. I've only just been able to start leaving her for short amounts of time, she'll scream so hard she has nosebleeds if I try to leave sometimes.
Its just her and her personality. I know it's nothing I've done and I know that eventually she'll either outgrow it or move out, either way I won't have to live with it anymore. grin

nutbrownhare15 Sat 26-Mar-16 08:29:52

My baby was similar at that age. Now 8 months she is pretty happy on the floor as long as she has interesting toys to play with for 20-30 mins as she is so busy crawling around. She was waking every 2-3 hours for a feed until I bought a sleepyhead 3 days ago. Now it's more like every 3-4.5. All babies are different. I watched a video recently from Swansea uni which looked at 100s of babies aged 6-12 months. 20 % slept through, the rest were waking at night. It's east to be smug when you've got a sleeping baby (not that I do!) but I honestly think it is temperament of each individual child. It sounds like you are doinga great job now meeting his needs. This will pay dividends when he is older as he will be much more secure and able to be happy in life.

bushtailadventures Sat 26-Mar-16 08:30:45

I have had 4 babies, every one of them different, although I'm pretty sure my parenting stayed the same smile

You aren't causing his behaviour, just responding to it, as all parents should. IMO it's much better to pick him up or play with him instead of leaving him whinge anyway.

cosmickitten Sat 26-Mar-16 08:32:04

My son has always woken a lot and slept less than the 'norm' he is very active and generally sunny natured. As a baby he hated being put down.

At nearly 2 he still wakes once a night but settles in a few minutes. He plays happily alone for 15-20 min. However if he is ill upset etc his sleep just goes haywire.

I found managing so hard and felt I done something wrong. I found the information from the Durham infant sleep institue helpful.

TimeToMuskUp Sat 26-Mar-16 08:33:56

My two are 5 years apart and are as different as children can be. I don't think it's parenting at all; they just have their little quirks and their individual natures, and there's not a great deal you can do to change those.

DS1 was a textbook baby; slept when I hoped he would, fed when I hoped he would, everything was grand. He was an utter bellend toddler though. Swings and roundabouts. DS2 was a crazy newborn believing that sleep was for the meek. It took us 4 years to teach him to sleep like a human. He's still prone to marching in at 3am dressed as Thor and shouting "Charlotte, lets have no more of the sleep". It's nature. You learn to just shrug and not compare them after a while. Your friends babies will probably drive them mad at times too.

SimonLeBonOnAndOn Sat 26-Mar-16 08:34:37

Luck of the draw, I'm afraid!

If yours is a more demanding baby, try not to stress over it.
I read that active, non sleepers are more intelligent / inquisitive babies.
Or that's what I used to tell myself at my 5.30am starts to the day.

MaisieDotes Sat 26-Mar-16 08:35:17

No, you haven't caused it. Babies are not blank slates, they come with their own personalities and tendencies.

Are you ok with the night wakings etc for the time being or do you want to change things?

BarbarianMum Sat 26-Mar-16 08:35:33

I'd say it's about 90-95% personality. I did only discover that whimpering babies with sometimes self-settle with ds2 because I picked up ds1 at the first possible sign of distress. So part of ds2 being easier was down to me.

OwlinaTree Sat 26-Mar-16 08:37:31

Babies definitely have different personalities, as we all do. I'm sure how we parent also makes a difference to their behaviour.

You sound like you are doing a great job op. I found my ds slept much better once I stopped feeding to sleep, but it still took till about 7 months for him to sleep through. Other friend's babies were sleeping through at like 12 weeks! I fed on demand, my mum would be saying aren't you waiting for 3 hours? I'd be saying no he's screaming now! I wonder if she left me to scream, I don't know!

Some babies want to be held more, my ds had clingy days and I hold him, that's what he needs.

OvariesForgotHerPassword Sat 26-Mar-16 08:38:09

All babies are different. I didn't know the first thing about babies, parenting etc when I gave birth - I was barely even an adult. DD has always been very well behaved, even the terrible twos aren't kicking my arsenal like I expected them to (threenager stage could be a different story!). People say she's a credit to us but honestly it's pure luck.

I have no doubt that DC2 will be a demon child.

Muskateersmummy Sat 26-Mar-16 08:38:27

I think it's mostly each baby is different but parenting will have some part to play. Because even if your parenting style stays the same you can't parent second/third/fourth child exactly the same as first because you have another or other children to look after too, so your focus isn't solely on one child, you have other considerations. Fitting baby in whilst entertaining toddler or doing the school run or worrying baby will wake it's siblings. Small things which may not change the style may change the approach.

OvariesForgotHerPassword Sat 26-Mar-16 08:38:47

Kicking my arse I mean. Phone doesn't like me swearing.

SpringerS Sat 26-Mar-16 08:39:14

Realistically it's a bit of both. Babies are all born with their own personality traits and have different preferences. But how they are parented will also have an effect and will influence which of their natural personality traits become dominant and which wane. A child's personality isn't set in stone a child with a naturally easy going outlook can lose that trait if subjected to neglect and abuse while a naturally anxious baby can become an internally confident child when the are given a strong foundation of love and acceptance.

manicinsomniac Sat 26-Mar-16 08:40:38

Personality and luck

My 3 were all exceptionally easy babies in terms is sleeping and adapting to lack of routine but all hard to feed. At the time I thought it was to do with how they were raised because I'm a single mum with a very busy, chaotic lifestyle and was a 19 year old uni student when oldest was born. But 13 years on I can see that I was just lucky and could easily have ended up with children who would have necessitated a change in lifestyle.

Mousefinkle Sat 26-Mar-16 08:55:47

It's personality. DC1 and 2 are like chalk and cheese and were as babies too.

DC1 has always been extremely laid back, independent, quiet, gentle natured, kind, thoughtful etc. As a baby he just slept a lot, barely ever cried or whinged, played quite happily by himself etc. You barely knew he was there at times!

Boy oh boy was DD a shock to the system 😳 Loud, brash, stompy, strong, go getting, dare I say <whispers> bossy. As a baby cried A LOT, clingy as hell, major stranger anxiety until she was two so couldn't even go out anywhere and leave her with my mum.

Parented the same albeit slightly different with DC2 because had DC1 to consider too which I think may be a slight factor in some things because most people I've spoken to say their second child was, shall we say, testing. But nah, it's personality and you can't really do anything to alter it.

cornishglos Sat 26-Mar-16 08:58:01

They are different. A poorly/ colicky baby may be 'harder work' than a comfortable baby.
I don't think it's the parenting but I do think different people have different perceptions of difficult or easy.
I think my baby was so easy, as he he fed well, gained weight and was very content. But people keep asking if my second baby is easier. They remember that the first was very sicky and woke a lot for feeds. Some people would have said he had reflux and was a poor sleeper. I just thought he created a lot of washing and went back down beautifully.

Notso Sat 26-Mar-16 09:00:25

I think it's both.

With my fourth it took a short while of him being tired and miserable for me to realise he didn't like being cuddled, rocked or held to go to sleep. I would think I was soothing him when he grizzled and seemed sleepy then squirmed the screamed, then the whole process would start again. He like to be put down to have a little grizzle before he dropped off. He slept brilliantly from then on.

silverduck Sat 26-Mar-16 09:01:38

I think it's both. Sometimes I think babies just moan and there's nothing you can do about it.

In your case I'd wonder if the moaning has anything to do with lack of sleep. (I'm assuming he isn't in pain when waking and at 6 months is big enough not to need food). Does he make up for all that night waking with daytime sleeping? You know how waking every 2-3 hours in the night feels, it's not good. I just know the last thing I would want if I woke in the night was food shoved into me and being picked up. I might want a soothing voice so I wasn't scared or a pat on the back. I would prioritise sorting sleeping before the habit of regular waking becomes even more ingrained.

timelytess Sat 26-Mar-16 09:01:51

Babies are people. People have their own ways.

80schild Sat 26-Mar-16 09:10:29

I think it is mostly their personality. However, their personality has influenced the way I treat them. DS1 has the practical skills of a fly so I have had to help him much more in developing his skills and because of this he is less confident in this area of life. DS2 is so practical we have let him get on with things - he is very confident because of this. confidence breeds confidence ime.

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