I was the most elated parent when my baby unexpectedly started to log in a long nap. It meant more rest for me, hooray! But still, the additional siesta time left me wondering, is she sleeping more than usual? Babies, especially the small ones require a lot of sleep but newborn sleep patterns tend to be predictably brief and erratic.
Whether she is a newborn or an older baby, sleep time is the most challenging part of parenting of all times. Your baby is either not sleeping or sleeping way too much. Over the first 12 weeks, newborns will sleep for 16- 20 hours in 24 hours, waking up 2-4 hours to feed. Between 3-6 months, they will average 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Although they are growing quickly, they still need to wake up to feed at this age. By the time they are between 6-12 months old, they will still sleep for around 14 hours with each cycle lasting 1-2 hours. At 12-18 months old, babies will sleep 13-15 hours napping twice a day. Sleep stretches that are significantly longer than your baby’s norm can seem unusual for both age sets. If you are concerned that your little person’s sleep patterns are unusual, then keep it here as there could be several reasons including but not limited to teething as outlined in this article just for you.
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Do babies sleep more when teething?
Yes, teething does have a lot to answer for it. One of the most noticeable changes in your baby from birth to when they clock one year is their teeth. While most babies suffer postponed sleep during teething, some can sleep a little more instead. So, why is it that teething implies more sleep for some babies? It all depends on how badly your baby is teething. Sometimes the symptoms that accompany a tooth coming out are like those experienced when having a cold.
According to experts, babies are born with teeth under their gum, but they will need to sprout their way onto the surface. On the baby sleep site, several parents have reported that their kids do sleep more during exceptionally severe teething episodes.
Simply put that teething can present signs of a bad cold and make your little one feel under the weather, though these claims aren’t supported by any medical studies nor mentioned by leading pediatrics organizations.
Why is my baby sleeping more than usual?
With my baby falling into this category, I replaced my worries with research and as I found out, babies who occasionally sleep more than usual are not a cause of concern unless there are other symptoms.
Amongst the reasons that came up during my quest to learn my healthy baby’s unusual long sleep patterns include:
Certainly, the most overused term in the baby milestone journey is a growth spurt. We put every new behavior, including interrupted and prolonged sleep down to this. But still, it is genuinely a reason why your baby is suddenly sleeping more than usual.
Is your baby going to bed a lot earlier? Sleeping later in the morning? Is she taking longer naps? If your answer is yes, then a growth spurt is the reason. Some experts believe that growth spurts are more likely at certain points in your babies first year of life, mainly as follows
- Between 2 and 3 weeks
- Between 4 and 6 weeks
- Between 6 and 8 weeks
- At 3, 6, and 9 months
One small study suggests that during a growth spurt, babies may sleep up to 5 hours more than usual over 1 or 2 days because she is channeling her energy into growing.
Baby has Jaundice
Some babies sleep more than usual because they have jaundice. A baby who has jaundice will have a yellow cast to the whites of their eyes and their skin will be yellow. Other signs of more intense jaundice include
- Baby being fussy or irritable
- Baby having trouble eating
- Being lethargic
The good news is that most cases of jaundice are normal and will resolve on its own as the baby’s liver continues to mature. However, Contact your doctor if you notice your baby’s yellow coloring deepening and her body temperature is over 100°F(38°C).
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, immunization affects your baby system the same way that illness does. In short, right after getting the shot, your baby will be extra sleepy and she will sleep more than she usually does, though she may also wake up more often than normal. Why is the reaction to the shot similar to the reaction to illness? You may ask.
Think about it this way, when your baby gets immunized, it impacts her system just the same way an infection would. This is because the general viral components of the vaccine are much weaker than the fully-fledged virus. This might be worrisome to us parents, but it is a good sign because you want your baby’s immune system to respond to the vaccine since you ultimately want her immune system to cultivate a resistance against the disease to which she is being immunized.
My biggest tip to you parents for my experience is to only give a fever reducer only if your baby’s fever is dangerously high or if it has been recommended by your doctor. Other drugs like Tylenol have been linked to reduced effectiveness before and immediately after vaccination.
Other reasons your baby might be sleeping more
Your munchkin might be sleeping more than usual for several reasons that aren’t teething related. Sometimes, other illnesses may masquerade teething. Here are some ways I found helpful in identifying if my baby has a cold versus a tooth on the way.
- Ear pulling? This is more related to teething than actual infection. If your baby is extremely fussy and also grabbing on their ear repeatedly, you might want your pediatrician to check on both the teeth and the ears.
- Fever? Usually, with teething, there is no fever. If your tiny person’s temperature is above 101°F, then it might indicate an infection.
- Runny nose? If your baby has a runny nose, she may have a cold. Teething mucus or dribble doesn’t run out of the nose.
When to see the Doctor
Occasionally, having to wake up your sleeping beauty isn’t something to worry about, chronic sleepiness though can sometimes be a cause of concern. If your baby is sleeping more than she should and it is hampering her ability to eat, you should let your pediatrician know. Frequently missing meals could hurt her weight and growth milestones.
You should also call your doctor if the sleepiness coincides with other symptoms, such as
- Extreme fussiness or irritability when she is forced to wake up
- Dehydration, like dark-colored pee-pee, tear-less cry, or cracked lips
- Extreme lethargy or trouble waking up.
- Being unresponsive when you try to get her to wake up.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I let my baby sleep all day?
An occasional long nap isn’t something to worry about as long as tot raises early and seems like her usual self when she is woken. For sick babies, waking during the day after three or four hours allows you to check on them and offer fluids as needed.
Is my baby in pain during a growth spurt?
A growth spurt is a time in which your baby has a more intense period of growth, and NO a growth spurt should not hurt your baby at all. During this time, they may want to sleep more, feed more, and generally be fussier but NO they are not in pain.
Can teething affect my baby’s sleep?
Yes, some babies might be highly irritable and will only sleep when held. Just be careful not to disrupt your baby’s usual sleep patterns. Looking for changes in your baby’s sleep habits can also help you determine if teething is to blame for the sudden erratic snooze attitude.
Babies go through a lot in their first year and teething is just one of those milestone changes in a line of many. Though it is normal to feel anxious that your little one is acting differently including their acquired erratic sleep rituals, rest assured that this stage will pass bearing in mind that most babies settle into a sleep routine sooner or later.
Finding the rhythm of a baby’s sleep patterns is a constant challenge and on very rare occasions, a baby may have a medical condition that causes them to sleep too much. Preterm babies often have unusual sleep habits from full-term babies, and breathing and heart disorders may also affect sleep. While she can snooze the night or day away, do not forget to wake your baby up for her normal feeding routine.
Share with us how you conquered your baby’s more than usual slumber habits and how you came out with your sanity intact in the comments section below.