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Why is My Baby Sleeping More Than Usual?

Having a baby that sleeps all the time seems like a dream, but it can be concerning if they're snoozing more than usual. There's plenty of reasons why babies sleep too much for a short period, from minor illnesses to developmental leaps.

For most new parents, a sleeping baby is the ultimate goal - after all, when else are you supposed to make time for self-care? But some parents find that their baby sleeps more than the average for their age range, and may even be sleeping too much.

So, why is my baby sleeping more than usual? Whether you’re dealing with a 3 month old sleeping a lot or a 4 month old sleeping a lot, we’ve got tips on how to address a baby sleeping more than usual.

Here, we'll take you through the reasons why your baby might be sleeping too much, when you should be speaking to a doctor, and some of the most common causes of a baby getting too much sleep.

4 month old sleeping a lot: rule out medical concerns!

4 month old sleeping a lot

First of all, it's good to rule out any potential medical concerns. Why do newborns sleep so much? Generally speaking, if you notice your 4 month old sleeping a lot - like, over 17 hours a day - and it's starting to get in the way of their feedings, you may want to speak to your pediatrician to figure out the root. 

Otherwise, it can lead to other issues such as weight loss, and have an impact on their growth. You'll also want to see a doctor if your baby is experiencing any of the following as well as an excessive amount of sleep:

  • A lack of interest in eating
  • Extreme crankiness after waking up
  • Difficulty or a lack of response when trying to wake them
  • Indicators of dehydration, including tearless crying, dry lips, and fewer wet diapers

Of course, you're the best judge when it comes to your own baby - if you don't notice these signs but are still concerned about your baby's sleep patterns, talk to a pediatrician.

Should I wake my baby during the day?

Waking up a sleeping baby seems against common sense, right? But if you notice your baby sleeping more than usual, you may need to in order to give them the milk they need.

Generally speaking, if your baby is still asleep by the time you reach a scheduled feed, you should gently wake them, as missing out on much-needed milk is more potentially harmful than losing a little sleep.

Breastfed babies and formula-fed babies at 4 months old typically need to be fed every 4-6 hours, so if your little one is sleeping for a longer stretch than this, you'll likely need to give them a nudge!

Dr. Sonia Rubens from the Pediatric Sleep Council has some great advice when it comes to feeding a sleepy baby: making use of dream feeds.

'After the first month and a half or so, you may also consider using focal feedings (or, “dream feeds”), which means that you feed your baby at a set time each night that is close to your bedtime.

It might mean that you have to wake her for this feeding, which is ok! If you use this strategy, then you can both get a three to four-hour stretch of sleep after that feeding.'

If you want to learn more about how dream feeds can give both you and your baby better sleep, check out our dream feed blog on the topic!

Why is Getting Enough Sleep Important for Babies?

baby sleeping more than usual

You'll likely notice when figuring out your baby's sleep schedule that they're more likely to snooze at some times than others; you can use this to your advantage, scheduling naps when your baby is already going to be feeling sleepy.

While these times are unique for every baby, they're also impacted by factors like feedings, with some babies feeling sleepier after they've eaten, and age, with most babies starting to get more consistent night sleep at around the two or three-month mark.

There are also periods of time where your baby is more likely to oversleep, such as when they're teething or during a growth spurt. Again, this varies for every baby, and usually isn't anything to worry about after you've already ruled out any issues by speaking to a pediatrician.

The most common reasons for babies sleeping too much

baby taking long nap

We all know that baby sleep isn't all that consistent - just ask any sleep deprived new parent! But there are a few specific reasons why your little one could be sleeping more than usual.

Illnesses

Even if you've already ruled out more serious problems, any smaller illness like a cold or a tummy problem can lead to your baby sleeping more than usual. This is to help give their body more time to recover, and mirrors what we often do as adults when we're feeling under the weather!

The oversleeping should likely clear up within a few days once your little one has had time to heal - just make sure they're getting all the milk they need in the meantime to help them mend and grow!

Vaccinations

If your little one has just had one of their recommended vaccinations, such as the hepatitis B or rotavirus vaccinations, they may experience some side effects that lead them to snooze more.

These can include a sore arm and a mild fever - and if you've had a vaccine lately, you can vouch for how lethargic and sluggish they can make you feel! Mom and life coach Mary Vaughn from Mother Together agrees:

'Your baby may be extra sleepy in the 48 hours following their shots and need to rest.

Being sleepy means their body is doing an excellent job of fighting the virus, so you want to allow them the opportunity to rest. This may mean they sleep extra hard at night (yay, if your child is usually up often at night!) or it may mean naps run a bit longer than usual.

So yes, this means that you might ignore their usual schedule and wake windows for a day or two. Trust your instinct!'

This should only last for two to three days at most and isn't anything to be concerned about unless accompanied by other (much less common) symptoms, like a high fever that won't go down even with methods like paracetamol and keeping their fluid intake high.

In this case - and if you're ever worried about your baby's health - you should consult a medical professional.

Growth spurts

You're unlikely to remember many of the growth spurts you had as a child and in your adolescence, and remembering what it was like to grow as a baby is pretty much impossible!

But even though we don't recall this part of our lives, it isn't always the most comfortable and requires a lot of energy - which is why healthy babies during a growth spurt often need a little more time to rest.

Genevieve Howland from Mama Natural explains how hormones have a role to play here:

'Your baby is taking extended and frequent naps, but she’s up for more feedings at night—just when you thought she was finally hitting a routine!

Studies show that hormones responsible for bone growth are created during sleep, so a few days of increased napping might lead to a measurable difference in size, but it could also disrupt nighttime sleep in the following days.'

Developmental Milestones

Just as adults often need a good night's rest after a mentally taxing day, babies too might require extra sleep when they're on the brink of achieving a significant developmental milestone. Whether they're gearing up to roll over, sit up unassisted, or even take those exciting first steps, these physical and cognitive advancements are demanding. A few extra Z's can help them consolidate these new learnings.

Teething

Ah, the teething phase - a challenging time for both parents and babies! The pain and discomfort of those tiny teeth pushing through can be exhausting.

As gums become sore and swollen, your baby might attempt to combat this discomfort by taking longer naps or sleeping deeper at night. Learn more about home remedies for teething baby at night in our blog.

Changes in Routine

Life happens! Whether it's a family vacation, moving to a new home, or simply a change in daily activities, disruptions to the routine can tire out your little one. They might seek solace and recuperation in the form of extended sleep as they adjust to new surroundings or schedules.

Overstimulation

A day filled with playful activity, meeting new faces, or even a particularly active playdate can overwhelm a baby's senses. This sensory overload can lead them to retreat into sleep, recuperating and recharging for a fresh new day.

Dietary Changes

The introduction of solid foods is a big step in your baby's dietary journey. New textures, flavors, and the process of digestion can be a lot for their tiny system to handle. It's not uncommon for babies to sleep a little extra as their bodies adjust to these new dietary experiences.

Sleep Regression Recovery

Sleep regressions can be a tough phase, marked by frequent awakenings and unsettled sleep. But once this phase concludes, your baby might try to make up for lost rest, resulting in longer naps or extended nighttime sleep.

Learn more about sleep regression signs and the common sleep regression ages in our blog. We have resources on handling the 8 week sleep regression4 month sleep regression, 6 month sleep regression, 8 month sleep regression, the 10 month sleep regression, and 4 year old sleep regression.

How to Handle Your Baby Sleeping More Than Usual

baby constantly tired

Though you might be grateful to have some quiet time, looking after a sleepy baby can come with some problems - not only can feeding be trickier to schedule, but you might also feel less connected to your little one if they're snoozing more than usual.

First of all, it's important to remember that it's likely to pass fairly quickly - you'll be lamenting a lack of sleep again soon enough!

If you find yourself with the opposite problem - a baby who fusses all night and just won't fall asleep - you're sure to love our Zen One swaddle with adaptable mesh sleeves! Here's what Zen Mom Sam H. has to say about her baby's experience with this cozy sleep sack:

'My daughter loves this sleep sack! She loves to suck on her hand but still struggles with the startle reflex so the mesh on the arms is perfect.

The first couple nights I didn’t notice a difference but from the 3rd night & on she’s slept 6/7 hours straight from a 3/4 hour stretch. I also love the wrap on the inside to keep it in place & comfort her.'

We encourage you to learn more about what makes our premium weighted sleepwear such an invaluable asset in your parenthood arsenal. We have weighted sleep sack and weighted swaddle styles to choose from:

Learn more about types of swaddles, why swaddle baby, should I swaddle my newborn at night, the best transition swaddle, making the swaddle transition, and more in our blog. Otherwise, it’s time to wrap up this guide on your baby sleeping more than usual.

Wrapping Up Our Conversation on Baby Sleeping More Than Usual

While your baby sleeping more than usual might be cause for concern, we hope this conversation eases your parental stress. It’s typically a result of developmental milestones, teething, growth spurts, illness, vaccination, or changes in routine.

Whether you noticed your 3 month old sleeping a lot, 4 month old sleeping a lot, 5 month old sleeping a lot, 7 month old sleeping a lot, or any other age, there is often a logical reason.

And, we’ve shared some of the best insights on how to help baby sleep through the night - from using infant sleep aids or a sleep sack vs swaddle. You can also learn about sleep training, fine-tuning your newborn nap schedule, co-sleeping, transitioning from sleep sack to blanket, when to stop using sleep sack, what to wear under sleep sack, and more.

Otherwise, take what you’ve learned in this guide on what to do when you notice your baby sleeping more than usual and get your child’s newborn sleep schedule back on track!

Athena S.

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