What is Your Baby’s Sensory Personality and
How Does it Impact Your Sleep Approach?
Welcome to week 4 of our Sleep and Babies series! So far we have touched on some key information to truly get down to the crux of helping your baby sleep. If you are joining us at this point, make sure you catch up on the topics of our past few weeks.
- Common strategies for helping baby sleep
- What is a normal amount of sleep for a baby and how do sleep states influence sleep?
- Parent interviews about their experiences with common approaches to sleep
Together, what we have learned is that sleep strategies are not a ‘one-plan-fits-all’ approach! Some organized detective work can make all the difference in understanding your baby and landing on specific strategies that are successful!
In an effort to make it easier for parents to fine tune their understanding of baby’s behaviors, we developed The Infant and Toddler Sensory Personality Checklist. TM Consisting of over 30 relevant behavior patterns, this checklist helps to organize your observations and group them according to Sensory Personality. Learning whether your baby’s behavior indicates that he is a Sleepy Baby, an Organized Baby or a Sensitive Baby will then help you pick a sleep approach that is likely to work for your little one. Our detailed Infant and Toddler Sensory Personality Checklist TM can be found in our book Baby S.O.S: Sleep Solutions Based on Your Baby’s Sensory Personality, but we wanted to share some bits with you here too!
A few characteristics that help identify sensory personalities
Sleepy babies tend to under register the people and the world around them. They need help ‘waking up’ to interact with their families and environment. This helps them learn how to sustain a calm, alert level of arousal to build developmental skills. Sleepy babies do well with the “Shush and Pat” and the “Co-sleeping” approaches.
Organized babies tend to be predictable and can calm themselves down with a little help. They do well with the “Shush and Pat” or the “Co-Sleeping” methods.
Sensitive babies need parent help and sensory strategies to settle into sleep. Attempting to use the “Shush and Pat” sleep approach with a Sensitive baby will probably result in extended crying. “Co-sleeping” or the “Swaddle and Swing” approaches will result in a good night’s sleep.
Last week, we shared some intimate video conversations with 4 moms who dove into their personal experiences with the different sleep patterns. If you missed them, click here for a short cut to tune in.
Identifying your baby’s sensory personality has another bonus! Once parents have identified which type of sensory personality their baby has, play activities can be focused to support developmental skills acquisition! For example, a Sleepy baby needs help waking up to experience the world. Using sensory experiences that are known to be alerting can quickly support this baby’s personality. Fast movement, light touch, up tempo music, bright colors all help this baby wake up. Our Sensitive baby needs help staying organized and calm. Calming sensory inputs like slow movement and rocking, firm touch and swaddling, quiet sounds and calm colors all support this baby.
We encourage you to use The Infant and Toddler Sensory Personality ChecklistTM (you can find it here!) to refine your awareness of your baby’s sensory personality. Parents who understand what their baby’s behavior is telling them can provide the just right support that helps him feel comfortable in the world.