Learn about the textbook baby personality type as described by Tracy Hogg in the Baby Whisperer books. Learn what to expect from your baby.
In the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, author Tracy Hogg discusses the different common personality types of babies.
A while ago, we discussed the Angel baby as described by Tracy Hogg in The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems.
Of my children, Kaitlyn is undeniably Angel. Some of you wondered about McKenna with the last post and I have friends question that isn’t she an angel, too?
She is such a good sleeper and eater…yes–but I think she is textbook rather than an angel. We will discuss that in this post. She has some very angelic qualities to her, but I would attribute that to her being a textbook baby who swayed angel with Babywise principles.
Brayden is also a swayer. At his core, he is mostly a spirited baby, but displays mostly as a textbook when Babywise principles are applied. We will discuss him here often as well as McKenna.
Textbook Baby Traits
So let’s talk textbook. A textbook baby is a baby who pretty much does everything “by the book”–their fine motor and gross motor skills are reached when “they” say they will be.
They have their typical stormy times of life as “they” say they will and the easy times of life promised in books.
Every skill, every naptime, every thing your baby does is basically like clockwork. It is all predictable.
Textbook babies are found on pages 58-59 in Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems.
Similar to Angel babies (Generally good eaters as babies and open to trying something new. ), though Hogg says solids might need to be introduced more slowly.
If your baby eats well and will try new foods, you probably have a textbook baby or an angel baby.
McKenna definitely fits the Angel baby description of eaters. She has always been a good eater and is always eager to try new foods.
Brayden has been more of the textbook description of eaters. He is a good eater. He is usually willing to try new foods, though sometimes hesitant. As a baby, he had no reservations about new foods. So as a baby, he was very angel or textbook baby.
As a 6 year old, he would always try a new food, but he was often nervous about it. He noticed, however, that he often really likes the new food, so he was willing to try new things. A good way to describe it is cautiously optimistic.
One interesting thing to note is that Kaitlyn was my angel baby and was always hesitant to try new foods. She also had reflux. Food often leads to pain for those with reflux.
A personality type isn’t the only factor that will influence your baby. An angel baby or textbook baby with reflux will be harder to feed than one without reflux.
But an angel baby or textbook baby with reflux will be easier to feed than a spirited baby or touchy baby with reflux.
Moderately Active. Since they do everything on time, it is easy to choose appropriate-level toys. Some are real doers; others hang back a bit.
A textbook baby can typically handle stimulation around them without melting down. This will mean holiday parties, parades, and big gatherings can be pleasant with your baby.
This doesn’t mean your baby can never be pushed too far, but he can handle some level of activity and still sleep well at nap time or bedtime.
These babies have a high tolerance for new situations.
As a baby and pre-toddler, this definitely fit McKenna exactly. She was a baby my friends envied because she would sit on my lap when we were out and about and was content just to sit with me.
As a toddler, however, she was quite active–but she is also a toddler. Toddlers are usually active. Brayden has always fit the spirited description of activities more.
Need the full 20 minutes (the typical length of time to fall asleep) to fall asleep. If overstimulated, they might need more calming from a parent to settle.
Your typical textbook baby will take 20 minutes to fall asleep when you put her down for sleep.
McKenna did sometimes take 20 minutes to fall asleep (which I only know thanks to a video monitor), but her typical was about 5 minutes. If I got the timing right, it was fast.
Brayden fell asleep easily unless overstimulated (that is, once we started following Babywise. Before Babywise, he was very hard to get to fall asleep).
If you want to time sleep correctly, watch for sleep cues from your baby. They can vary from baby to baby, but a textbook baby will be quite predictable, so that is a big perk and makes finding cues easier.
You will have a lot of predictability with naps. Take note that your baby will have growth spurts and can still be disrupted from sleep and normal schedules.
Similar to angel babies. They are low-reactors. They go with the flow so long as their signs of hunger, tiredness, etc. are met.
Your textbook baby will be very easy going. Transitions will not be hard for your textbook baby. There can be normal cranky periods, especially evenings and during fussy wonder weeks. But by and large, your baby will be easy to take care of so long as you meet needs.
Yes, McKenna was very chill. Hard to rattle. Brayden was this way so long as there was no hunger and no overstimulation, but if there was either of those things, he was more spirited.
>>>Read: The Wonder Weeks and Sleep
Right on time with everything. She is mellow unless she needs something. Low-maintenance.
Milestones will be met on time. Cognitive development, emotional development, social development, and physical development should be normal.
You can see that textbook and angel really are very similar. Many of the descriptions say “similar to angel babies.” So what is the difference?
With an angel baby, you basically can’t go wrong. Your baby isn’t going to be good and easy pretty much no matter what you do. Even with reflux, Kaitlyn was without question an angel.
A textbook baby will often act like an angel if you meet all of her needs, which is so easy to do on the Babywise or Baby Whisperer routine. So they are easy.
They are also very predictable–they are stereotypical in their milestones. With McKenna, she met her wonder week milestones. For example, when it was the 19 week wonder week (the worst typically), she had a random two week bad period (bad for her).
Kaitlyn never really had that.
So an angel baby really rarely gets fussy while the textbook will be fussy for those normal times you expect a baby to be fussy. Textbook.
Brayden was textbook so long as I kept him on track. If we deviated from our normal, he really had a hard time. So with all things right, he was a textbook baby in his demeanor but was easy to shift off of that track with disruptions. The girls were both easy when disruptions came along.
When you understand what your baby’s personality is like, you can better know how to help your baby. You will know how far you can push your baby and how far you cannot push your baby. This will help you make good decisions in your day to day.
- Baby Whisperer: Know Your Baby
- Baby Whisperer Personality Types: Angel Baby
- Baby Whisperer Personality Types: Spirited Baby
- Baby Whisperer Personality Types: Touchy Baby
- Baby Whisperer Personality Types: Angel Baby
- How to Identify Your Baby’s Personality
This post originally appeared on this blog September 2011.