Can Newborns Sweat? What is Cystic Fibrosis (CF)? What Are The Reasons And Causes of Night Sweats in Babies?

Watching your baby grow and sleep joyfully and peacefully is a blissful experience. However, many parents don’t get to see this pleasant reality because of cystic fibrosis. When sweating happens in excessive amounts in newborn babies, it might signal a medical condition such as allergy and SIDS. The discomfort that your newborn baby faces can be heart-wrenching for many parents. What if your newborn baby is drenched in sweat while asleep? Is not it worrisome, right?

Though it is quite normal for newborns to sweat, if your baby is overheating and sweating and also facing severe health issues, there are chances that the newborn is dealing with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). According to the public health policy program in the US, all newborns must go under Newborn screening and CF newborn screening. If the results are abnormal, the infant and their family, primary care provider, all are advised for follow-up of abnormal results. Under Cystic Fibrosis, newborn sweat has two to five times more than the normal amount of chloride in their sweat. However, other factors lead to overheating and sweating in newborn beyond CF. 

If your baby has been given a negative report for CF, then it is also pretty important for the child care provider and parents should be aware of some other factors that can lead to over sweating in newborns. Let’s toss around the article to gain fruitful information about our newborns!

What is Cystic Fibrosis (CF)?

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a multiorgan autosomal and life-shortening recessive diseases that contribute to progressive respiratory dysfunction and growth failure. This particular medical condition is also characterized by pancreatic insufficiency and recurrent infections. However, if this condition is diagnosed at an early stage, the life expectancy and quality of life can be cured easily.

If left untreated, CF can cause serious lifelong health problems that could lead to an early death. Two tests can help to diagnose CF among newborns. In order to help caregivers and parents to deal with this newborn medical condition, all 50 states in the U.S. have started Cystic fibrosis (CF) newborn screening.

The maximum majority of newborns with CF are detected by newborn screening, which has derived the attention of parents towards the health benefits of improved cognition, and nutrition. 

What’s a Sweat Test?

If your newborn baby is showing symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis or has been diagnosed with a positive newborn screening for CF, a sweat test at CF Foundation-accredited care center can help you! They can help you provide correct and authoritative results of CF diagnosis by measuring the concentration of salt in a person’s sweat.

Generally, this test is painless and the most reliable and secure way to check CF in newborn babies. That’s why the sweat test is considered the “gold standard” for the diagnosis of CF. 

Well, some hospitals perform screening sweat tests with skin conductivity. However, quantitative pilocarpine iontophoresis measures the sweat chloride to give better and optimal results through CF centers throughout 50 states. This method collects the sweat on filter paper in microbore tubing (Macroduct® collection system) or gauze (Gibson-Cooke method). The chloride present in the sweat helps to collect accurate results for the test. A sweat chloride concentration of 60 mmol/L or greater is indicative of cystic fibrosis.

Sweat Test Interpretation

Chloride Concentration  Interpretation
0 – 29 mmol/LCystic fibrosis is unlikely
30 – 59 mmol/LIntermediate
≥ 60 mmol/LIndicative of cystic fibrosis

Remember that an appropriate volume of sweat must be obtained to accurately measure and interpret sweat test results. For the Macroduct® procedure, 15 µL of sweat and an acceptable volume of 75 mg for the Gibson-Cooke procedure is required. After birth, sweat testing can’t be performed accurately in the first two days. If the volume of sweat obtained is inadequate the test should be repeated.

What Are Other Reasons for Sweating in Babies?

What Are Other Reasons for Sweating in Babies?

If your newborn is diagnosed with a negative newborn screening test, congratulations at least he is not dealing with CF. Wondering about other reasons for sweating in babies? Don’t worry, we have listed some of the reasons for sweating in babies especially while sleeping that you should be aware of: 


The first and foremost reason for having sweating during the night is because of movements. When babies are in deep sleep, they tend to sweat. This is because newborn babies don’t move or turn their sides as much as adults do. However, when the baby stays in one position for a long period of time, body temperature may rise. 

And sweating is the body’s way of regulating and increasing the temperature to keep calm and relaxed. My son also used to sweat at night a lot. I also diagnosed him with CF newborn screening. For god sake, he was all okay.

So, I took him to the doctor with the negative reports, where he advised me that your baby is just fine. You have to help him to move or turn his body. When the body doesn’t move, which leads to a rise in body temperature and eventually sweating!

Sweat Glands Position 

Unlike adults, newborn babies’ sweat glands are quite close to their heads. This closeness causes babies to sweat excessively at night especially when they don’t change their head positions.

When babies are awake, they tend to move their head frequently as compared to when they fall asleep. As explained above, sleeping may cause body temperature to rise, and sweating helps ensure that it is regulated.

Room Temperature

The room temperature can also make the newborn baby sweat excessively at night. Make sure that the room temperature is not too warm or cold, it should be normal that makes the baby fall asleep easily.

One more thing that parents should take care of is covering the baby with a blanket especially in the summer season. This act is practically followed in every family. It should not be followed. It can make the baby’s body temperature rise and lead to them sweating excessively.

Some Other Causes of Night Sweating in Babies

If in case your baby sweats abnormally while he falls asleep, you may have something to worry about. I have met several parents who complain about the same, that their baby is not diagnosed with CF, but still, he is over sweating especially at night.

After attending too many parents, I did some research and concluded that some health conditions make them sweat abnormally. Let’s have a look at some of them!

Congenital Heart Disease

Newborn babies suffering from congenital heart disease may sweat abnormally while sleeping. These disorders sometimes develop when they are in the womb and these infants tend to excessively sweat whether they are sleeping or playing. 

Sleep Apnea

Another medical condition that makes newborn babies sweat while sleeping at night is sleep apnea. In this condition, children face problems while breathing especially at night which causes the body to get overworked. Eventually, makes the baby sweat abnormally in sleep. There are also other symptoms that can be seen in children when they are dealing with sleep apnea is bluish skin and wheezing, along with night sweats.

What are the Tips to Deal With Night Sweating in Babies?

Do you want to help your newborn baby to deal with night sweating? Don’t worry, we have got your back covered. I have gathered some tips that you can follow to keep a check on night sweating. 

Keep your Baby Hydrated

Always keep your baby hydrated before putting them fall asleep. This will help to make up for the fluid loss due to sweating. As per the research, mild dehydration can impair many aspects of a child’s brain function. Therefore, it is advisable for parents to give your newborn water in order to boost their productivity and help them to concentrate and feel revitalized throughout the school day.

Dress your Baby Appropriately

Dress your baby appropriately for sleep

Always dress your baby in light and breathable clothes. This will keep the baby’s body temperature under control and restrain them to sweat. Irrespective of whether your baby is dealing with a severe health condition or not, try to dress him in comfortable clothing for a sound sleep.

Consult your Doctor

If your baby continues to sweat at night even after taking proper precautions, then you should take your newborn to a doctor. Sometimes, negligence can result in severe problems.

Therefore, parents should take their baby to diagnose at the right time, for appropriate treatment to avoid any further problems. If you notice snoring, headbanging, snorting, teeth grinding, and rocking, you must consult your pediatrician immediately!


This article is all about the reasons, causes, and medical conditions that make newborn babies sweat at night. If your baby is dealing with the same problem, be sure to take necessary precautionary steps.

These steps or tips help to make your baby comfortable and sound sleep. If you are having any further queries about the same, don’t ever forget to consult a doctor. After all, excessive sweating can result in severe health conditions like Cystic Fibrosis that can actually stop the functioning of your baby and make him ill.

Good luck and keep your baby hydrated and cool!

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We're a group of writers, mostly parents, some medically certified, who publish helpful articles for all stages of your child from newborn, infant, toddler, to a big kiddo.

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