Is Your Newborn Sleeping Too Much?

February 12, 2021 4 min read

Is Your Newborn Sleeping Too Much?

How to Tell If Your Newborn Is Sleeping Too Much

The most common thing you hear from new parents is the seemingly neverending lack of sleep. There are constant interruptions throughout the night, and they long for the day when their little one will finally sleep through the night.

But have you ever encountered a parent who wonders if their newborn is sleeping too much? While it may seem a crazy concept, some newborns love to sleep and can't get enough of it, and to a new parent, it can be concerning.

While most of the time, the concern is not warranted, there are some parameters and guidelines you should be aware of as a parent, as well as warning signs that your newborn is a little too sleepy. If you're still pregnant, check out some Ways to Tell Other's You're Pregnant

How Much Sleep Does a Newborn Baby Need?

Of course, every baby is different, but newborns typically need 14 to 17 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Granted, some babies will sleep as little as thirteen, and some will sleep up to eighteen. At 4 to 12 months, a baby will sleep anywhere from 12 to 16 hours every 24 hours.

Up to eighteen hours may seem like an incredible amount of time for a baby to be asleep, but the reality is a newborn's wake times are terse. They are focused on eating, pooping, and sleeping. If they accomplish those three things, they are having a great day.

Something else to keep in mind is that newborns don't understand night from day, so the awake to asleep ratio can look similar at night as during the day. Don't worry, though; they will eventually transition to regular sleep and wake times and begin to sleep longer stretches at night and remain awake longer during the day.

The length of naps is often dependent on how well your baby is gaining weight. As he gains more weight, the longer he will be able to sleep at night as his little tummy begins to grow in capacity.

Should I Ever Wake My Newborn Up?

This question probably seems crazy to some parents, but it is a genuine question if you have a sleepy baby. It is also a great question if you're a first-time parent. Believe it or not, but a baby can sleep too much at one time; most concerning when they are a newborn.

We don't focus on the total amount of sleep for newborns so much as the duration of naps. 

Knowledge Check: Separation Anxiety in Babies

Newborns have tiny tummies, which means they need to eat frequently. If your baby is sleeping too long, it could mean they are not getting enough nutrients. In this case, you will need to wake your baby and feed him. 

Typically, letting a breastfed baby sleep more than four hours as a newborn is not advised. It could mean the baby isn't getting enough nutrients, and it could also be detrimental to your milk supply. Again, always check with your pediatrician because once your baby is consistently gaining weight, you can allow them to sleep longer and longer!

Waking a baby is a difficult thing to do, especially if you lack sleep as well. The most gentle way to wake your newborn is while they are not in a deep sleep. You can tell when a baby is not in deep slumber because they will begin to move their arms and legs and potentially make sounds.

If your child is past the newborn stage and your doctor is happy with their weight gain, a sleepy baby becomes far less concerning and more of a blessing. In fact, at that point, your infant should start sleeping longer and longer stretches at night, which is excellent news for both of you.

Learn More: Developmental Milestones in a Baby's First Year

The only other time you may need to wake your baby is if their nap is interfering with their quality of nighttime sleep. You know your child best, and if taking a longer nap than average means they won't go down at bedtime, wake them up. This will remain true as your baby matures into a toddler.

When Should I See a Doctor About Sleeping Too Much?

Having a baby that seems overly sleepy on occasion is no need for concern. Whether it’s a growth spurt, exciting day, they are just fighting a cold, or absolutely no reason at all, a baby sleeps longer than usual all the time. 

When a baby is consistently showing signs of sleepiness, then you should check in with your pediatrician. If your baby is sleeping through feedings, they may lack needed nutrients and potentially could not be gaining appropriate weight.

You will also want to contact your doctor or pediatrician when the sleepiness is accompanied by sluggishness, crying, and irritability when he or she is woken from sleep, if your child seems dehydrated or isn't responsive after you wake them.

Learn More: How Early is it Safe to Give Birth

A doctor visit isn't needed most of the time, but if your newborn exhibits any of the signs above along with general sleepiness, it's always best to check in with your pediatrician.

Enjoy the Long Nap

While there are times to be concerned when a baby seems overly sleepy, most of the time, there is no need for worry. As long as it does not interfere with the baby’s feedings and does not affect their nighttime sleep, welcome the break. Babies and especially newborns require an incredible amount of sleep. Shop our selection of the Best Baby Tech Gear.

If there are no signs of other issues, the next time your child takes a longer than expected nap, soak it in. You have a child who loves sleep, and there is nothing wrong with that! It's an excellent chance for you to get in a well-deserved nap as well.

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