Any deviation in a baby's sleep schedule can cause worry in a parent. However, there is often a good reason why your baby is sleeping more than usual. Sleeping or napping more can be strong indicators of a perfectly healthy baby. They may be growing at a typical rate experiencing due growth spurts, recovering from illness, or merely teething.
Infants grow at a rapid pace, and rest is an imperative component to getting what children need to fuel their changes. Please continue reading for an overview of common reasons why small children occasionally need a few more zzz's at specific points in their youth.
Why Is Your Baby Suddenly Sleeping So Much?
Teething Babies May Sleep More
There are a lot of misconceptions about teething out there, and many people attribute fevers, runny noses, excessive crying, and sickness to it. Although it does cause some mild discomfort in the gums, you can give them a chilled washcloth to gnaw on to reduce any swelling. Some doctors will recommend pain relievers or anti-inflammatories, but discuss that at length with your pediatrician before giving them to your child.
Any growth can cause a need for extra rest, so it’s no surprise that teething sometimes causes your little one to be more tired than average. Talk to your doctor if it seems particularly bad or if your child is inconsolable; because many people falsely associate symptoms to teething, illnesses can go unnoticed and untreated, which is especially uncomfortable for your little guy or gal (and can make your nights much longer).
They Could Be Experiencing A Growth Spurt
Growing pains are real. As adults, we've naturally forgotten what that feels like since it was likely over 20 years ago that we endured that experience ourselves. As our children go through these short bursts in growth, they need extra consideration to supplement these changes.
If your baby is eating more, sleeping longer, or taking more naps over a few days, this is entirely common. In fact, you'll likely see it again from time to time. With a little growing bean, growth spurts can be expected.
It's quite all right to let them sleep more, nurse more, or eat more solid foods if they're at that stage. However, if you think your little one is sleeping or eating more than is healthy, it never hurts to seek advice from a health professional.
Fighting off An Illness
With children being much smaller than adults, the effort their bodies exert to fight off a virus can be extraordinary. Fighting off a cold or flu is exhausting, and understandably, they'll need more sleep to combat illness. Let your little munchkin sleep as long as necessary so their body is strong and healthy to tackle foreign germs.
You may notice a loss in appetite as well. This is normal when getting over a cold, especially if your wee one has a considerable amount of mucus or a running nose. Your kiddo may be hungry but seems less so due to slower eating to accommodate nasal congestion.
If this persists longer than a week, it's wise to consult a pediatrician.
Immediately following vaccination, it's common for a child to exhibit symptoms similar to that of illness. Some vaccines are effective due to small traces of the germs they're protecting against, so mild effects can sometimes be seen.
However, the process to accommodate this injection can be exhausting for little ones. While your tiny trooper's body is developing immunity, they'll probably feel sleepy and act as if they were sick while they exert this energy to adapt.
While they're recovering, make sure they're extra well cared for, just as you would for a sick adult. Take extra care that they're comfortable and not too warm, dressed in lightweight, breathable clothes.
It's a good idea to nurse often to stock up on essential nutrients. They may need some extra snuggles and affection to feel safe and secure amid their run-down bodily sensations.
Blood Sugar Could Be Fluctuating
If you develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, this could affect your baby in a few ways if not adequately controlled. Unfortunately, doctors still don't understand why some women get gestational diabetes, but obesity can play a role. Your doctor should counsel you on simple methods to combat this, like diet and exercise. However, if it goes ignored, it can lead to babies being over nine pounds, increased injuries during birth, or needing a c-section.
Sometimes babies who are born to women with gestational diabetes will develop low blood sugar shortly after birth. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is often resolved within a few months but in some cases can persist longer.
Children born with hypoglycemia can struggle with respiratory distress syndrome, which makes breathing difficult. Hypoglycemia can also cause seizures, obesity, and type 2 diabetes later in life.
When to Be Concerned
It's challenging to know the difference between normal baby behavior and abnormal cause for alarm. We’ll explain a few instances where a medical professional might be necessary.
It's Difficult to Rouse Baby
Small babies need to eat frequently, usually every few hours. However, if you go to wake your tiny angel in the middle of the night for a feeding and they take a bit of time to wake up, this isn't unusual. As their circadian rhythms are still developing, they may not have a regular schedule yet. Additionally, they go through many growth spurts when they're infants, leading them to need a considerable amount of rest.
However, sometimes babies can be harder to rouse when paired with respiratory issues, like wheezing, loud breathing, fever, or sinking ribs when they breathe. If your baby seems unreasonably slow to wake up, it's always smart to consult a doctor.
Baby Isn't Eating Well
Newborns need frequent feedings as they grow continuously. If your little munchkin misses a feeding or two, this could be due to a few reasons. However, if they're not interested at mealtime, which is not uncommon, they'll likely make up for it later in the day.
If your infant is eating considerably less than normal, they could be ill, have been recently vaccinated, or teething, which can make eating a little more uncomfortable. One way to check if your little one is eating enough is to do a diaper check. If they're going through 8 to 10 diapers a day, that's a positive indicator they're receiving the proper amount of nutrients.
Fever or Other Symptoms Present
While it's always wise to get your information from a medical professional, it's not exactly convenient to make the trip. If we can decipher which issues need special attention and which don't, it can make our lives less stressful.
If your youngster is less than three months old, it's wise to consult a doctor about anything fever-related. A three- to six-month-old child who has a temperature also warrants a doctor visit. Once they're six months old, you can relax a bit; however, if they reach a fever of 102 and it lasts longer than a day, it would be wise to consult a medical professional.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do Newborns Sleep So Much?
When babies emerge from the womb, they are tiny and need a considerable amount of rest and nutrients to grow. To do this, they need to properly fuel their bodies to enable their development.
When you were a child, your caregivers likely told you to eat fruits and vegetables, drink your milk, and go to bed at a reasonable hour so that you grow tall and strong. Newborns need a lot of sleep in order to evolve into strong, healthy children.
Our little sleeping warriors won't develop into healthy children or adults without the right resources to help them do so. It's our job to ensure they have a proper place to sleep that is peaceful and quiet so they can get some quality shut-eye.
Find Out More: Is Your Newborn Sleeping Too Much?
Why Do Babies Eat Less When They Sleep More?
A child who is sleeping more and eating less could mean a few things. Frequent growth spurts require additional sleep. This is because their bodies are fundamentally transforming from the inside out, so their little bones are exerting extra energy and need more rest.
Another reason could be teething. Although a fever, excessive crying, and sleepless nights aren’t related to teething, if their gums are irritable, food may not sound like a great idea either.
If their diaper counts are still on track, there is probably no cause for concern.
As a parent or caregiver, anytime our babes exhibit unusual behavior, it can become worrisome. We naturally want to provide the best care for our children. We'll be up all night pouring over the internet looking for clues to our baby's mystery illness.
That’s why Sleep Advisor aims to provide comprehensive resources to alleviate new parent pains. A youngster's behavior changes all the time, and it can be hard to keep up. In the end, all we can do is take a deep breath and know that we're doing our best.