8 Reasons Your Baby is Sleeping More and Eating Less
Throughout the course of your baby’s growth and development, there will be many changes in their sleeping and eating patterns. Any time there is a shift in the routine, it can cause parents to immediately question the cause of change. Most often times there is no need to worry because when it comes to patterns of sleeping and eating, your little one will experience many cycles. In this article, we will explore the six reasons why your baby is sleeping more and eating less than usual.
Your Baby is Experiencing a Growth Spurt.
Growth spurts can occur at different ages, but the most common are 3 weeks to 4 weeks, 7 weeks, 10 weeks, 3 months to 4 months, 6 months, and 18 months. During a growth spurt, it is very likely that your baby will be sleeping more than usual. In fact, most babies will sleep right through their typical feeding schedules.
Don’t be alarmed if your baby is eating less during a growth spurt, and don’t wake her up for feedings as there are important physiological developments taking place during sleep. Your baby will more than make up for those missed meals when she is ready.
Your Baby is Teething.
Beginning at 4 months to 6 months of age, eating less can be a sign of teething. If you think your baby’s teeth are coming in, give him a cold washcloth to chew on and ask his doctor about pain relievers.
Oftentimes, teething babies may develop a low-grade fever, accompanied with extra sleep. If your baby has started solid foods, you may also notice a big slowdown in his eating. At this time, solid foods may be too harsh for your little one’s sensitive gums. Try offsetting the lack of solids with additional breastmilk or formula throughout the day.
You will also want to monitor for dehydration. Signs of dehydration include a dry diaper for more than 6 hours, dark urine, and a dry mouth. Call your pediatrician as soon as you notice these symptoms.
Your Baby is Overheated.
The temperature of the room, the hot season you may be in, and how you dress your baby are all factors that could be associated with your baby becoming overheated. If overheating is the issue, then the lethargic symptoms will not allow the baby to stay awake long enough to eat more.
It is recommended that a baby’s room be cooler, usually between 65 and 70F degrees. If you don’t have a thermostat you can control, you can leave the windows slightly open or use a fan. Keeping the nursery dark in the summer months can also help cool it down.
When dressing your child for either cold or hot months, make sure your baby is wearing breathable fabrics. Babies cannot regulate their own temperature and can easily become overheated. Woolino baby sleep bags made of 100% natural merino wool and organic cotton are able to keep your baby comfortable in a wide range or room temperatures. Merino wool creates a micro-climate around your baby, which maintains a consistent temperature for them.
As always, try to avoid bumpers, extra blankets, stuffed animals, etc. in the crib. Not only are they unsafe, but they can be stifling when it’s warm.
Your Baby is Distracted.
Around 3 months of age, your baby will notice more and more of her surroundings. From your shiny earrings to the background noise of a television, everything is new and interesting to your baby. With so much brain development taking place, even the smallest object or slightest sound can cause your baby to lose focus and stop feeding.
If your baby seems to be easily distracted, look for a quiet place to feed her. You can use a fan or a white noise machine to blur out other sounds. You may also want to try feeding your baby in a sling, with the fabric pulled up and around her, so that she is not exposed to additional sights and noises.
Your Baby Wants Solid Food.
You can expect your baby to show an interest in solid foods around 4 months to 6 months of age. This interest can be shown in a number of ways, like refusing a bottle. It may seem as though your little one is all of a sudden uninterested in feeding. In reality, it could just be that he is uninterested in the bottle but VERY interested in your food.
Before introducing solids, your baby should be able to sit up on his own and have control over his neck. Try to start with iron-rich food such as eggs, lentils, pureed meats, or iron-fortified cereals.
Certain foods will cause changes in your child’s sleep habits. As you introduce solids, you may notice that your baby is sleeping more. For more information on how sleep and food are related, refer to “How Certain Food Can Affect Your Child’s Sleep.”
Your Baby Has a Virus.
When your baby has a virus, her overall amount of sleep will increase. Fighting a virus is exhausting, which is why viruses and sleep go hand-in-hand. Let your baby sleep as long as needed. While she is sleeping, her little body will work hard to fight the virus.
A loss of appetite is common with viruses. It’s also typical that with a virus comes a stuffy nose, making breast and bottle feeding more difficult than usual. Let your little one take her time with feedings. It may appear as though she is not hungry, but in actuality, she may be taking “breaks” to accommodate for her extra stuffy nose.
Most viruses will last only a few days, however, if your baby’s sleepiness and lack of appetite seem to last longer than 5-7 days, you should contact your pediatrician as there could be another issue.
Your Baby Has Just Been Vaccinated.
It is completely normal if your baby is sleeping more after vaccination. Typically, vaccines will affect your baby similar to the way an illness would. After all, vaccines are effective because they contain weak traces of the viruses they protect against. Your little one will build an immunity to these viruses or infections, but the process can be somewhat draining on their tiny bodies.
For about 24 to 48 hours after a vaccine, your baby will likely be extra sleepy and take longer, more uninterrupted naps. She also may not have much of an appetite. This, too, is perfectly normal.
As your baby begins to enter cycles of sleeping longer and deeper, you will want to be sure she is as comfortable as possible. Dress your baby in lightweight garments, preferably made from all-natural fibers like cotton, linen, or merino wool, which are breathable and absorb perspiration. We suggest Woolino products as they are made with supremely breathable merino wool that has unmatched body temperature regulation properties. This means better, healthier, and safer sleep for your baby.
Your Baby Has Low Blood Sugar.
If your baby hardly eats and the excessive sleeping continues, he could have low blood sugar. Signs of low blood sugar may include your baby acting jittery or appearing to be shivering. You can try gently pulling on his arms. If your baby does not pull back, it could be a sign of low blood sugar. If you suspect low blood sugar, contact your pediatrician.
When to seek medical attention.
Remember that children will experience many changes in their sleeping and eating habits, and most of the time these changes are perfectly normal. However, if something doesn’t seem quite right, and you are still struggling to find answers, we recommend consulting with your pediatrician or a Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant.