What do I do if I think my baby is sleeping too much?
Babies sleep a lot! You can expect your newborn (0-2 months) to sleep an average of about 15 hours a day, but some babies could sleep as little as 9 hours or as many as 18 hours and still be in the normal range. Young infants (newborns, between 0 and 2 months) will typically wake every 2 to 3 hours for a feeding, with maybe one stretch of 4 hours of sleep – hopefully at night. If your newborn is not waking for a feeding after 3 hours (during the day), it may be that she still has her days and nights reversed. This is normal, and you can help by waking her and exposing her to the daylight. Bright light is a potent trigger to help the brain be awake, while darkness promotes sleep. It is also important to look at your newborn’s feeding schedule. If your infant is not getting good feedings at least 6 times a day, she may be sleepy due to lack of energy.
Newborns with jaundice, something only your healthcare provider can diagnose, might also be sleepy. Talk to your baby’s doctor to determine what the issue might be. If your baby is not gaining weight or has significant jaundice, she may need medical intervention.
Also know that babies, in general, can be very hard to awaken if they are in deep sleep. This is normal. You can wipe her face with a cool washcloth or squeeze her hands and feet to stimulate her. If still not successful, try again in about 20 minutes. By 3 months of age, most infants have settled into a pattern of predominant nighttime sleep, typically 4 to 6 hours at a stretch, and 4 or 6 naps during the day. The total sleep time for older babies is about 12 to 16 hours over the 24-hour day. It is rare for infants and babies to have a true sleep disorder that is not behaviorally based. If you are concerned that your baby is sleeping too much, talk to your baby’s doctor or healthcare provider.
About Dr. Debra Babcock