Can a baby sleep too much? If you have typed this question in the Google search bar, then you are probably worried about the quantity of time your newborn/baby/toddler is spending in bed.
Even though most parents complain about their babies not getting enough sleep, it turns out too much sleep is another common concern among parents! Let’s see what “normal sleep” and “too much sleep” means (baby-wise) and how to go about it:
Newborn sleep – what’s normal?
First, let’s face it – newborns sleep A LOT. And by A LOT, I mean literally waking up only to eat and then drifting off again. Some newborns even have to be awakened to be fed! In other words, you should expect your little one to spend about 14 to 18 hours a day in sleep. And that’s perfectly normal! My advice – enjoy these quiet times while they last…
When to be worried: unless your newborn is NEVER waking up during his first few months, there’s nothing to worry about.
Baby sleep – what’s normal?
After the newborn phase is over, your little one still needs a good portion of sleep. This usually means 13-16 hours per day (distributed between a long night’s sleep and 2-3 shorter naps during the day). This may seem like a lot of sleep to you but your growing baby is developing very rapidly, reaching one milestone after another to everyone’s dismay. Learning new skills takes up a lot of energy, plus your baby needs time to process all the new information in his developing brain and this happens in her sleep.
When to be worried: If your older baby (at 6 months or older) sleeps like a newborn, spending less than an hour awake at a time, we advise you to see her doctor to eliminate any doubt about a medical condition that needs treatment.
Toddler sleep – what’s normal?
Toddler sleep is a very vast notion. On average, a toddler gets between 12 and 15 hours of sleep a day. It’s very common for toddlers to have longer naps in the afternoon (sometimes for more than 3 hours at a time). Toddlerhood is a period in which your little one has numerous growth spurts and they require some extra sleep as well!
When to be worried: The only thing you should be worried about if your toddler is sleeping too much is whether he has enough time to practice his social skills and gross motor skills. If he is generally content and willing to learn everything about the world around him, there’s nothing to worry about!
Medical conditions causing too much sleep
The most frequent medical conditions causing your baby/toddler to sleep too much are sleep apnea and celiac disease:
Sleep apnea is a health disorder that causes breathing pauses that interrupt sleep. They take up from a few seconds to minutes and should be discussed with your child’s doctor.
Celiac disease is a disease of the digestive system. Widely known as gluten intolerance, it leads to the inability to digest and absorb gluten. If you have doubts that your child has a gluten intolerance, talk to his doctor about it.