It takes a little while for babies to settle into a sleep routine that you’re familiar with. After spending 9 months inside the mother’s womb, they do not associate sleep with day and night. Many parents find themselves worrying about whether their baby is sleeping too much or too little. While some newborns sleep for 11 hours in the day, others may sleep for up to 19 hours.
How do Babies Sleep?
Newborn babies may sleep in short bursts of 30-45 minutes of sleep for a few hours at a stretch. For the first few weeks, mothers can wake their babies, feed them and put them back to sleep. Newborn babies are rarely awake for more than 3 hours at a time. They usually develop a regular sleep schedule and sleep through the night around the age of 6 months. It is important to note that premature and full-term babies have different sleep schedules.
Is Your Baby Sleeping Too Much?
It’s normal for babies to sleep longer than usual once in a while. This may be caused by several factors including:
- A growth spurt
- Rapid development
- The flu or any other infection
Some babies may also sleep for longer if the quality of their sleep is compromised by respiratory infections that make breathing difficult.
If your baby isn’t getting enough to eat, he/she may get dehydrated and sleep for longer than usual.
Some of the signs to look out for are:
- Lethargic, unresponsive behavior
- Producing less than 4 wet diapers daily
- Gaining less than 6 ounces of weight per week after the age of 6 weeks
- Cranky, irritable behavior after feeding
In very rare cases, babies may suffer from medical conditions that make them sleep excessively. For example, breathing and heart-related issues may affect a baby’s sleep pattern.
What can You do If Your Baby is Sleeping Too Much?
The best way to understand whether your baby is sleeping more than normal is to maintain a sleep schedule book for a few days. Noting the time your baby is asleep and awake will help you get a clearer picture of the number of hours each day spent sleeping and awake.
If your baby oversleeps regularly, you should consult your pediatrician. Some of the signs that could indicate a problem are:
- Wheezing or gasping for air
- Loud breathing
- Flaring of the nostrils while breathing
- High temperature
- Sinking of the skin around the ribs while breathing
The doctor will need to assess whether the oversleeping is being caused by a medical condition. Infections such as flu or cough and cold that may be considered minor for older babies can have more serious implications for younger babies. Jaundice is a common infection that affects newborn babies and affects their sleep cycle. If your baby needs treatment, the earlier this is started, the more effective it will be. Your doctor will also look for signs that indicate inadequate food intake.