Newborn Sleeping Too Much: How Much Is Normal
Little Yawn Collective - Dec 10, 2021
It may be a dream come true. Your newborn is sleeping soundly and hasn’t woken up in quite a while. That means you may be able to watch an entire show or complete household chores that have been neglected.
For many new parents, they may be asking themselves, “Is this normal?” as they expected to have more sleepless nights.
However, as a parent, you have that innate instinct that something may be amiss, and you may be thinking that your infant is sleeping too much.
Look for these signs and solutions that your little one may be sleeping too much.
Typical Sleeping Times
To know if your infant is sleeping too much, you first need to know the general sleeping times for infants. In the beginning, infants are primarily eating, pooping, and sleeping machines. Infants can sleep up to 17 hours a day, but these hours are in small increments.
One of the reasons infants sleep in small increments is that newborns' tummies are tiny, and they will need constant nourishment to keep themselves full.
Babies are growing at an exponential rate, and they need all the nutrition they can get. Pediatricians recommend that babies are fed every two to three hours during the daytime and every four hours at night.
Of course, every baby is different, which can make the first initial diagnosis of sleeping too much a hard one to make. However, your baby should eat about eight to twelve times a day.
You can keep track of how often your baby feeds by writing down the times they wake up and how long they feed for. You can also download apps on your smartphone to help make electronic logs of feeding times.
If you find that your baby is not feeding this many times in a 24-hour period, you may need to start waking your baby up to feed. This may be the complete opposite of what every person has told you, “Never wake a sleeping baby!” but your baby needs to stay healthy and keep putting on weight. If your baby is sleeping for more than four hours at a time, they may need to be woken up.
At this point, it may also be helpful to try to determine why your baby is sleeping too much at one time.
Daytime & Nighttime Mixup
If you find you are having trouble keeping your baby awake once you have woken them up, it may be a case of your baby having the day and night mixed up. When babies are first born, parents may need to teach their baby that more sleeping occurs at night.
Of course, when your baby is brand-new, they are running the show when it comes to sleep times. After a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to better gauge your baby’s schedule and sleeptime cues.
To encourage awake time during the daytime hours, keep your baby near a window or in a room where natural daylight can come in. Of course, you don’t want to place your baby in direct sunlight, but exposing your baby to the natural light will help stay awake longer during the day, and you will not have to wake them up as much to feed.
You can also take your little one on walks outside for fresh air and some new scenery. Play lively music and talk happily to your baby to keep them engaged and awake for longer intervals between naps.
When you want to encourage longer sleeping in the evening hours, dim the lights and keep louder noises to a minimum. Soft music, bath time, and the implementation of a bedtime routine can help your baby make the distinction that this particular time is meant for longer sleeping times, and will hopefully make the switch to sleeping longer at nighttime.
Growth Spurts & Developmental Changes
Besides having daytime and nighttime mixed up, there are other reasons why your baby could be sleeping too much. Your baby is growing at such a fast rate.
Sometimes they need extra sleep to help their bodies recover from all the growing it is doing!
Your baby's tummy is also growing and can hold more milk or formula week by week. This could be a case of your baby becoming a longer sleeper earlier in their life! As long as they are getting enough to eat and are gaining weight weekly, you may be fortunate to have a baby who will sleep through the night at an early age.
If your baby has had a medical procedure or is taking any medication, this also could be a reason for the excessive sleeping.
You may also notice that your child may sleep a little longer after receiving a vaccination at their check-ups. This is completely normal, and they should be back to their sleeping schedule in a couple of days.
When To See the Pediatrician
Sometimes excessive sleeping may be caused by reasons that are not beneficial to your baby. If your baby is overly fussy and still seems sleepy when they are awake, it may be a clue to underlying medical problems.
Another clue to watch out for is the amount of dirty diapers your baby is producing. This is indicative of weight gain, and if your baby is not receiving enough nutrition or is adequately hydrated, they may not be going to the bathroom as often as needed.
A baby who is successfully gaining weight should have about six wet diapers a day. Any less, and your baby may not be fed enough and dehydrated.
If you notice any of these symptoms paired with excessive sleeping, make an appointment with your baby's pediatrician so they can examine your baby for any medical conditions that may be causing excessive sleep.
Of course, if your baby's sleeping has increased in a short span of time, make sure they do not have a fever or are having any breathing problems. These symptoms could point to an illness, and they may need medical attention sooner than later.
If your child’s pediatrician has ruled out any medical conditions and your baby is still sleeping many hours at once, ensure that you have implemented a consistent bedtime routine.
A bedtime routine is essential for both baby and parents, as it gives your child a predictable routine and gives your child positive associations with sleep. It also helps give your child a set “end” of the day, where they know the expectation is to sleep longer.
This is especially helpful if you are trying to teach your baby about daytime and nighttime hours.
Your little one’s sleep time routine should be enjoyable and straightforward for both you and your baby. If you rock or hold your baby as they get drowsy, be sure to put your baby in their sleep space while still partially awake.
Doing so will help your baby fall the rest of the way asleep on their own and will help them learn to self-soothe if they were to wake up in the middle of the night.
Using products from Little Yawn Collective in your bedtime routine is also an effective way to promote a restful night’s sleep for your little one. These products are pediatrician-approved and are rooted in sleep science to help your sweet one have a restful sleep (during the right time!).
During bathtime, use the Soothing Shampoo & Body Wash with Calendula to help gently cleanse your little one and help them relax with the scents of Calendula extract and chamomile. You can then give your baby a comforting infant massage with the Nourishing Body Lotion with Oat & Shea Butter. Not only will it help soothe their skin, but your touch will be a comfort to your baby.
As your baby grows and develops, their sleeping patterns will change. No matter if your child has sleepless nights or nights where you have to ask, “Are they ever going to wake up?!”
Your friends at Little Yawn Collective know that bedtime can be hard. We are here to support you through science and safety to ensure that our products are a solution to your little one’s sleep.
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