It’s perfectly normal that your baby sweats while breastfeeding or at the beginning of her sleep (mostly on the head). It becomes more serious when it combines with other symptoms mentioned later in this article, particularly when it’s related to night sweats.
When your baby gets a good night’s sleep, so do you. Sleep is important for anyone, but particularly for babies. When a baby comes out of the womb, their brains aren’t fully developed yet. Rapid Eye Movement (R.E.M) sleep helps stimulate neurons and develop the baby’s brain. This is one of the many reasons your little one needs as much shut-eye as possible.
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Think about how small a baby is when they come out into the world. Pretty much everything you can think of in terms of the body isn’t fully developed yet: muscles, organs, bones. When they’re sleeping, a baby’s body is working overtime to make sure everything grows properly. Sleep is almost like a nutritionally-loaded energy drink for them, so it’s essential that they sleep soundly.
Most parents are concerned when their babies don’t sleep through the night. Normally, babies will only do this when they are four to six months older. There is nothing like sleeping like a baby as it is not always as peaceful as you might expect. Babies do a lot of activities while sleeping including moaning, groaning, and whimpering. This can be upsetting to the new parents, even though there is nothing wrong with it. Babies are different, and the length of sleep for your baby cannot be the same as the others.
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So how much sleep does your baby actually need? If your baby is three months old or less, seventeen hours of sleep is the recommended amount. Sounds a lot, doesn’t it? If your baby is between three and six months, sixteen hours a day will suffice. From six months on, fifteen hours is the magic number.
Of course, life doesn’t always come tied up neatly in a little box like that. There are many babies who aren’t great sleepers, are big criers, and seem to wake to the sound of a pin dropping. Add in discomforts like excessive sweating, and parents can often feel like pulling their hair out.
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Don’t worry. These are just the facts of life. Pat yourself on the back for surviving the first few months. New parents especially are very anxious and have one eye permanently open when it comes to their baby. More often than not, you’ll find yourself waking in the middle of the night to check on them, even if they haven’t made a sound. Then there will be times when you wake up to the sound of an alarm clock that sounds remarkably like a baby’s scream!
There are many things that can cause a baby to wake up crying. This discussion focuses on excessive sweating in babies.
So, what happens if your baby breaks out in night sweats? What do you do? Well, before we get into that, let’s find out what excessive sweating in babies is first.
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What is Excessive Sweating in Babies?
Night sweating is quite common in babies. There is no need to hit the panic button yet when you notice your baby is sweating at night. Some babies sweat a lot during the deepest period of their sleeping cycle at night and result in soaking wet. Since babies spend most of their time in the deepest period of sleep, it’s quite common for them to sweat during the night unlike the adults or older children. It is hard to believe considering how often they wake up, but even that, they still spend some time of their day in a deep sleep cycle during the day. So, your child sweating as he is sleeping is just because of this sleeping cycle. Babies don’t move around a lot when they are in deep sleep, and this causes them to sweat a lot.
Night sweating is quite common in babies
Excessive sweating in babies is something of an unexplained phenomenon. Sweating is the body’s way of regulating temperature. When our body sweats more than the temperature regulation requires, this is what’s known as excessive sweating. The medical name for this condition is ‘hyperhidrosis.’ When it occurs for no reason, it’s known as ”primary hyperhidrosis.’ This is the most common type. The areas of the body affected are the palms of the hands, the armpits, and the feet. When hyperhidrosis occurs as the result of another illness, it’s known as ‘secondary hyperhidrosis.’ This kind isn’t very common and is rare in babies, so we won’t worry about it here. When we talk about excessive sweating in babies, we’re usually referring to primary hyperhidrosis.
Night sweats, as baby sweating at night is sometimes called, are relatively common in babies, toddlers, and kids. These two terms are used interchangeably and refer to any excess sweating that occurs during the night. Night sweats can simply be described as a lot of sweating or perspiration that happens in children during the night.
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Causes of Excessive Sweating in Babies
Environmental conditions are the most common cause of night sweats in children
Before assuming that your baby has night sweats (baby sweating at night), check its temperature. It may have a fever. The American Academy of Pediatrics and most doctors agree that the normal temperature for a baby is anywhere between 97 and 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above is determined to be a fever. Therefore, if you find your baby’s temperature to be 100.4 degrees or higher, read our invaluable advice about how to care for a baby with a fever or more details about the fever that has unknown source can be read here.
If you conclude that your baby doesn’t have a fever but is still sweating excessively, the answer may lie in the baby’s environment.
Environmental factors are the number one reason for a baby sweating at night. If your baby’s bedroom is unusually hot or you are using too many bedclothes for your child, he or she may begin to sweat during sleep. This is normal. Try adapting the temperature control for your ventilation system and changing the bedding to something lighter. This should help. Make sure you don’t overdo it, or the baby will be able to see their breath indoors, of course!
Overheating is not good for your baby. The bedroom where your baby sleeps should not be hot. Instead, the temperature should be adjusted to between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. The baby should be comfortable to sleep at night in the clothes that you dress him. Dress your baby in breathable clothes such as pure cotton. This will help especially during warmer weather. It’s not a good idea to cover him up and also put bedding outside his crib. A night sleeping gown and a blanket are appropriate for your baby to have a comfortable sleep.
If you’ve made the environment cooler and still notice your baby sweating at night, there’s no immediate cause for concern. For one thing, children often spend more time in deep sleep than adults do and their body temperature regulation systems are not yet fully developed which means their sweat glands are more active. These two unavoidable factors could explain why your baby is having night sweats.
If any cause cannot be identified that is causing your baby to profusely sweat at night, make some changes in the room. Give your child plenty of water to replace the water that is lost as he is sweating. This can be done now and then so that your child is not dehydrated. Furthermore, avoid making your child do a lot of activities or exerting himself just before he goes to sleep as this would cause his body to overheat resulting in sweating.
Bathing helps to keep the body temperature of your baby in control. It will help keep his body clean and cool as it removes the body temperature away. Bath him at least twice a day as that will help reduce sweating and stop the bacteria from mixing with the sweat. The summertime is ideal for your baby to be bathed twice a day as it’s the period that babies frequently fall sick. Bathing should only occur just before dark to avoid the coldness that comes at night.
Manage the diet of your baby. It is important to keep control of the feeding habits of your baby. Most of the times, he may want to eat more food, but an excess amount of food can cause the diet imbalance which may bring health conditions resulting in your baby becoming discomfort. Taking breaks in feeding cycles will help him feel comfortable and prevent the night sweats.
Use the medicines properly. If your doctor has prescribed some medicine for your baby, make sure that you follow the instructions. Sometimes, some parents purchase their own medicines and give their babies small dosages thinking it would not be harmful to the little one. Unfortunately, these medicines can raise the temperature of your baby and cause profuse sweating at night. Use only the medicines that have been prescribed by your doctor. FDA warns the parents against using some of the medicines.
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If you have considered and addressed these causes and still find your baby sweating at night, don’t worry much. There are other causes of excessive sweating in babies, as outlined below:
- Is your baby taking any medication? Check the side effects. Excessive sweating is a listed side effect in many medications.
- If you keep the windows closed in the baby’s room, there could be a lack of fresh air circulating around it. The recycled air may contribute to your baby sweating at night. If the room where your baby always sleeps is too hot or humid, it can make your baby sweat.
- How much do you feed your baby? Is your baby overweight? Overweight babies sweat more.
- If your baby has a nightmare, it could wake up sweating.
- If you constantly modify the ventilation system, this could wreak havoc with your baby’s regulatory system. Try to keep the temperature (in their bedroom, at least) consistent.
- Your baby’s diet can contribute to how much they sweat. Avoid spicy or overly rich foods if you think your baby is sweating too much.
- General sleep issues including snoring can cause your baby to sweat more than usual.
- Blocked nose or cold and cough: even common ailments like these can cause excessive sweating in babies.
- General stress or anxiety: it’s difficult to diagnose a baby with something psychological, and also difficult to imagine that they have anything to be stress or be anxious about, but bear this in mind anyway.
- Other conditions such as sleep apnea, congenital heart disease, general breathing issues, and S.I.Ds, can affect your baby’s system in various ways. If you suspect something as serious as this, consult your doctor immediately.
- Get more information about S.I.D which the American Academy of Pediatrics announced here in this video.
Points to consider
If your baby is still sweating at night after trying all the measures to stop it, you may want to consult your doctor for his opinion. He will be in a better position to diagnose exactly what is causing the night sweats in your baby and advise what needs to be done.
If your baby is showing other signs and symptoms together with the night sweat such as rocking, teeth-grinding, and snoring, he may have a medical condition. In that case, seek medical help with a pediatrician to rule out any medical problems.
Being informed about the causes of a baby sweating at night will help reassure you as a parent. The more serious causes aren’t very common. Chances are you’ll change the bed-linen from that horrible itchy fabric to a cool cotton, and your baby will love you for it.
Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with a variety of possible causes for excessive sweating in babies, it’s time to find out about the symptoms.back to menu ↑
Symptoms of Excessive Sweating in Babies
Sleeping with the mouth open is a symptom of excessive sweating in babies or night sweats
Excessive sweating in and of itself isn’t something to worry about, as previously stated. However, it’s best to monitor your child’s night routine to make sure that there isn’t some other underlying cause of the night sweats.
The symptoms listed below should always be monitored carefully, particularly if they are coupled with night sweats (baby sweating while sleeping at night). Some are more serious than others, and vigilant parents will have the natural discernment to decide which symptoms are more cause for concern. For example, weight loss and irregular breathing demand more immediate attention than the baby kicking off their blanket. The best advice in these situations? Trust your parental instincts.
- Excessive fatigue through the day
- Sleeping with the mouth open
- Irregular breathing
- Irregular bowel movements
- Abdominal bloating
- Foul-smelling stools (often green in color)
- Hot body and red face while sleeping
- The baby kicks off their blanket
- Gets easily irritated, cries or is anxious
- Increased thirst
- Calcium deficiency
- Dry stool
- Dry skin
- Night sweats regularly occur
You can afford to neglect normal night sweating in children.
However, if the night sweats accompany some other indicators such as the listed below, you should take his to your doctors:
- Night sweats regularly occur
- Shows signs of body pain
- Weight loss
- Excessive tiredness during the day
- Infrequent breathing or breathing with added effort
- Any other symptoms of sickness
If your baby has one or more of the above symptoms combined with night sweats (baby sweating at night), it’s recommended that you schedule an appointment with your baby’s doctor. Observe if your baby is sweating excessively when doing simple activities such as feeding. This is because excessive sweating in babies is sometimes a symptom of a more serious underlying condition.
Keeping your doctor informed of any symptoms that occur simultaneously will help you rule out unnecessary doubts.
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How to Stop Excessive Sweating in Babies
It’s a nightmare for parents to find out that their baby is sweating a lot. As explained above, there is no need to worry. The most important thing is to make sure that your child is as comfortable as possible. You can view this video if your baby sweats a lot and what you can do about it.
Excessive sweating in babies might not be serious on its own, but it’s a nuisance for both you and your baby. Establishing a night-time routine is often a challenge without adding discomfort to the mix. If you’re certain your baby doesn’t have any other symptom and just suffers from night sweats, there’s no need to see a doctor right away. There are surgeries and medical remedies available for baby sweating at night, but why not try to fix it yourself first? There are a number of easy solutions listed here, for babies and older children alike. Have a look before you rush into making a costly doctor’s appointment. You never know, one of these tips might just do the trick!
Make sure your baby’s bedtime attire is light and breathable
- Maintain a comfortable temperature in your child’s room throughout the night. Rule of the thumb is if you are feeling hot, then your baby is feeling the same. Try to manage the temperature of the room by keeping it cool.
- Encourage your child to go regularly for night walks before bedtime and drinking enough water (avoid freezing cold water). This will replenish the water that he lost during the day due to sweating.
- Ensure your child’s bedtime clothes are light and breathable. Dress him in pure cotton clothes.
- Monitor their bowel movements and adjust their diet accordingly. If you are breastfeeding, monitor the foods that you are eating. Drinks that contain caffeine can affect your baby and cause night sweats.
- Avoid giving spicy foods or foods which may increase your child’s body temperature.
- Maintain a gap between dinner and bedtime so that their meal isn’t still churning away in their stomach when you’ve put them down to sleep.
- Avoid eating too much at once, especially later on in the day. The feeding breaks will make your child feel at ease and prevent sweating.
- Avoid using heavy bedtime accessories like blankets and comforters unless the weather requires it.
- Get your child regularly examined by a doctor.
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If you think your baby’s medication make baby sweating at night, consult your doctor. They can monitor your baby and change the type or dosage if necessary.
Sweating is healthy for your baby as it is the only means that he can respond to the warm weather. It’s perfectly natural for you to worry about your baby sweating while sleeping. Follow the tips above to ensure your baby sleeps soundly.Baby Sweating
Very interesting article. This is exactly our concern about Tommy (1ys now). He sweats a lot, mostly at his head while sleeping. Nothing abnormal according to the doctor, however he is all wet at night during 30 first minutes before the deep sleep. My wife and I have to keep him warm and dry during this time to avoid him get fever. After that, all is OK he become a very wise sleeper.