Is My Baby Sleeping Too Much?
Is there ever a time when your baby is sleeping too much? I know that might sound crazy especially if you've had months or even years of broken sleep!
Believe it or not, a baby can actually sleep too much. The truth of the matter is that 9 times out of 10, there is no such thing as too much daytime sleep. Some babies have different needs than other babies. Some will have a nice two-hour nap, some will do three, some will do fine on an hour. So, I want to relax a little around a magic amount of time that each baby needs.
The Last Nap Of The Day
In some cases, too much daytime sleep can start to affect the night. One little area where I ask people to keep a close eye on is the last nap of the day. If the last nap of the day is getting too long and pushing into your bedtime, that would be the place where I would say go ahead and wake your baby gently.
Open the door, make a little noise out in the hallway, and turn on the light. Try to get him to wake up on his own with a gentle push from you. That is the only time. What I do find that happens if you wake a baby is that he may be fairly grouchy for the next 10 to 30 minutes. I remember my first son in particular, if you were to wake him from a nap, you had a bear on your hands for the next hour.
I really caution people around waking a sleeping baby. Rule of thumb: Don't do it.
Signs to Look For
I have had a couple of clients, though, where the baby seemed to be sleeping too much. I'll give you an example: This was a child who was sleeping a nice 12-hour night and taking two to three-hour naps a day. The sleep is not the problem. The problem was that the mom expressed concerns around the baby's fatigue level.
In her opinion, this baby seemed tired all the time. That might be one instance where you might want to run that idea by your pediatrician. Discuss how much sleep your child is getting and, more to the point, the behavior and the mood throughout the day.
Perhaps, she's not getting enough iron in her diet. There could be lots of simple fixes to a problem like that but it's worth discussing with your doctor if that's the case. As a rule of thumb, for the majority of babies out there, there is no such thing. The truth of the matter is, the better your baby sleeps through the day, the better he or she will sleep at night.
Anyone who tells you, "Pull daytime naps or keep him up longer throughout the day" is telling you a falsehood. That is not true.
The more sleep a baby misses through the day will only lead to overtiredness. Overtiredness is a baby's worst enemy. You want to make sure that the baby is fatigued enough for sleep to come but not overtired. Overtired makes it very difficult for a baby to calm down enough to get himself to sleep. If you've ever had a night where you feel overtired, you know what I'm talking about. You want to avoid that with your baby.