Our little ones are growing rapidly, and a cognitive leap in physical and mental development can be exhausting. These frequent growth spurts in babies require additional sleep. If your little one is in the teething milestone, their gums will be irritable, and food may or may not sound appealing to them lately.
Below, we’ll cover some of the top reasons why your baby might be sleeping more and eating less, as well as when it is time to talk to your baby’s pediatrician.
5 common reasons your baby is eating less and sleeping more
When it comes to eating and sleeping patterns, your little one will experience many cycles, and most often, there’s no need to worry. However, there will be times that your baby will appear to be needing more sleep and taking in less breastmilk or formula.
The following are the most common reasons, besides your baby being sick, why they may be sleeping more and eating less. That’s all part of normal baby growth.
1. Your baby is experiencing a growth spurt
Growing is hard work after all. During growth spurts, which usually occur between 3-4 weeks, 7-10 weeks, 3-6 months, and 18 months, it is very likely that your baby will be sleeping more than usual, with most of them sleeping right through their typical feeding program.
The truth is, growth spurts don’t last long, so don’t be alarmed if your baby is eating less during this time and don’t wake her up for feedings as there are important psychological developments taking place during sleep, and she will more than compensate for those missed meals when she is ready.
2. Your baby is teething
Teething is the biggest culprit for an extra sleepy baby who doesn’t want to eat as much and is acting fussy and irritable.
According to Seattle Children’s Hospital, the most telltale signs of teething include:
- Refusing to eat
- Cheek rubbing and ear pulling
- Rash around the mouth
- Excessive drooling
- Sleeping more or more frequent wake-ups
Often, teething babies may develop a low-grade fever accompanied by extra sleep. Still, the introduction of solid foods may also contribute to a significant slowdown in their eating as they may be too harsh for your little kiddo’s sensitive gums.
Your baby is likely having teething discomfort that’s affecting their normal sleep and eating habits.
If you think their teeth are coming in, a cold washcloth to chew on will give her some relief. It’s essential, however, not to confuse an illness with your baby’s teething.
3. Your baby just had a vaccination
If your baby has been vaccinated within the last few days, more sleep and reduced appetite are common.
Typically, vaccines will affect your baby similar to the way an illness would as they contain weak traces of the viruses they protect against.
According to the CDC, any vaccine can cause tiredness and low-grade fever, and your little one will build an immunity to the viruses and infections, but the process can be draining for their little bodies.
Your baby will probably be extra sleepy, and she may not have much of an appetite hours after the vaccinations and is perfectly normal.
4. Your baby is overheated
How you dress your baby and the temperature of her room, plus the hot season you might be in, causes your baby to overheat, triggering lethargic symptoms that will stop your baby from staying awake long enough to eat more.
It is recommended that a baby’s room temperature be cooler, between 65-70F degrees, and make sure she is wearing breathable fabric because babies can not regulate their body temperature.
Also, try to avoid bumpers, stuffed animals, and extra blankets in the baby’s crib.
5. The baby is getting enough nutrients from solid food
By 9 months or so, your baby is finally getting this hang of eating real food, and with certain foods causing changes in their habits, and as you introduce solids that supply the bulk of their calorie intake, you may notice that she is sleeping more.
Couple this with the fact that your little munchkin is finally sleep trained and sleeping through the night, it will undoubtedly feel like your baby is sleeping more and eating less.
When to be concerned
Because it is challenging for many parents to know the difference between normal baby behavior and abnormal cause for alarm, we’ll explain a few instances where seeking medical professional services might be necessary.
1. When it’s difficult to rouse the baby
Babies need to eat often, usually every few hours.
If you wake your little person in the middle of the night for a feed and they take a bit of time to wake up, it isn’t unusual as their circadian rhythms are still developing, and they may not have a regular schedule yet.
However, sometimes babies can be harder to arouse when paired with respiratory troubles like loud breathing, wheezing, or sinking ribs when they breathe. It’s always smart to consult with the pediatrician when they seem unreasonably slow to wake up.
2. When the baby isn’t eating well
Babies need frequent feedings as they grow continuously. If your little ninja misses a feeding or two due to sleep, which is not uncommon, they’ll likely make up for it later in the day.
If your baby is eating considerably less than normal, they could be ill. One way to check if your baby is eating enough is to do a diaper check.
If they are going through 8-10 diapers a day, that’s a positive indicator that they are feeding well. If not, then it’s time to seek medical advice.
3. When your baby has a fever or other related symptoms
It is advisable to talk to your baby’s pediatrician about anything fever-related if the youngster is sleeping longer and eating less.
If they reach a temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit and it lasts longer than a day, it would be wise to seek professional medical help.
Why do newborns sleep so much?
When babies are born, they need a considerable amount of rest and nutrients to grow. They need a lot of sleep to evolve into strong, healthy children, and to achieve this, they need to properly fuel their bodies to enable their development.
Why do babies eat less when they sleep more?
When a child eats less when they sleep more could mean that their bodies are fundamentally transforming from the inside out, so their growing bones are exerting extra energy and need more rest.
It is normal for your baby’s sleep and eating patterns to fluctuate throughout their first year. There will be times that they’ll need more sleep and less food and vice versa.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but paying attention to the signs your baby is giving you will help determine if this is a normal period they are going through or if you’ll have to reach out to a medical professional for guidance.