Okay, so your baby is sleeping more and eating less..what’s the deal?
Appetite is *generally* one of the best indicators of well-being in a child. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely ebbs and flows to your baby’s appetite but eating a significant amount less is definitely cause for concern.
There is no need to panic though! There are definitely good reasons why your baby may be sleeping more and eating less.
How long should my baby be sleeping?
At different ages and stages babies sleep various amounts of time. These are by no means an exact amount of time, just around what you should be expecting, total.
- 0-2 months: 14-17 hours
- 3-4 months: 13-16 hours
- 5-9 months: 12-16 hours
- 10-12 months: 12-14 hours
Remember, all babies are different, this list is for guidance only.
How much should my baby be eating?
It is important to know how much or often your baby should be eating so when you suspect they are eating less, you can be a good judge. It is important to note that unless you are formula feeding or exclusively pumping that it is hard to know exactly how much milk your baby is getting.
If you are exclusively breastfeeding (or EBF), you can gauge your baby’s milk intake on frequency of feeds and if they are emptying one or both breasts. Below is a chart that gives good information about frequency of feedings broken down by age.
Related Post: A Realistic 3-Month-Old Feeding Schedule and Sleeping Schedule
Is it normal for your baby to sleep more and eat less?
It isn’t unusual for your baby to sleep more and eat less, especially if they are teething, going through a growth spurt, and several different scenarios that could definitely play into your baby sleeping more and eating less.
10 Reasons Why Your Baby May be Sleeping More and Eating Less
Here are the top reasons why your baby may be sleeping more and eating less. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and you should always consult your doctor if you feel like something is off with your baby!
1. Your baby is going through a growth spurt.
If you suspect that a growth spurt is the reason that your baby is sleeping more and eating less, you could definitely be onto something! Here are some signs that your baby is going through a growth spurt:
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Change in feeding routine
- Sizing up in clothes
You can expect big growth spurts around 7 days old, 3 weeks old, 6 weeks old, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year. Growth spurts usually last just a few days, but don’t be shocked if it lasts around 1 week.
Growth spurts: Babies typically experience rapid growth during their first year, which can cause them to need more sleep than usual as their bodies adjust. – Dr.Bidisha Sarkar at ClinicSpots
2. Your baby is going through a cognitive “leap.”
When I first heard of my baby going through a leap, I was certainly confused. So, what exactly is a leap?
Cognitive leaps are often referred to as just “leaps”. This is a time when your baby’s brain is rapidly expanding in knowledge and skill or leaping in development. During this time, you will notice a mood change in your baby. Leaps are often noticed by parents when their baby starts going through certain phases.
- Fussy Phase: as babies brains are making new connections, they begin to notice new things and essentially go into sensory overload. They become fussy, clingy and tired because of this.
- Skills Phase: Okay, now that your baby is adjusting to their new found world, they can begin to gain confidence to venture out and see what they can do!
My favorite app for tracking leaps is the Wonder Weeks app.
3. Your baby is teething.
Ugh, teething. Probably my least favorite part of babyhood. Teething is rough on parents, but also on your sweet babies!
Some signs of teething can include:
- Refusing to eat
- Rash around the mough
- Diaper rash
- Low grade fever
- Constant chewing
- Night time waking
Below is a chart of when you can expect your baby to start teething. Some babies start earlier than others, so just keep that in mind!
Related Post: Symptoms and Relief for your Teething Baby
Teething: The arrival of new teeth can be uncomfortable and may cause your baby to sleep more than usual – Dr.Bidisha Sarkar at ClinicSpots
4. Your baby’s sleeping patterns are changing.
As your baby adapts to the outside world and continues to grow, their sleep patterns may change. Changing sleep patterns is a normal part of development for babies.
When babies get older, part of their development is dropping nap times and sleeping for longer stretches at night. During these shifts, you may notice a change in appetite as they are regulating their circadian rhythm.
Related Post: What Causes The Six-Month Sleep Regression? (And How To Survive It)
5. Your baby has started solid foods.
Believe it or not, when your baby starts solid foods their sleep patterns may change. This is due to the food they are consuming being more filling, meaning they can sleep for longer stretches of time without getting hungry.
6. Your baby is getting distracted.
When your baby goes through leaps as we talked about above, they begin to notice more things around them and well.. get distracted. These distractions can cause them to lose interest in eating.
Then, from their distraction and taking in all of the “new” scenes they get very sleepy and sleep for longer!
Related Post: 13 Tips to Keep Baby Awake During Breastfeeding
7. Your baby is too warm.
If your baby is too warm, it may be more difficult for them to wake up for feedings, especially for younger babies. Making sure that the room temperature is just right, is important for good quality sleep.
It is recommended that babies sleep in a room that is between 68 and 70 degrees.
8. Your baby just had vaccinations.
If your baby just had vaccinations, they might be more sleepy than normal. Don’t worry though, this should just last a day or two. If their sleepiness and lack of appetite lasts more than a few days, reach out to your pediatrician.
9. Your baby has a cold or virus.
Sickness is notorious for curbing appetite (even in adults) and making your baby sleep more. A lot of times, when sick with a cold or virus the body needs to rest and regenerate. Your baby isn’t burning a lot of calories by playing, so they may not have much of an appetite.
Related Post: Will Your Sick Baby Not Sleep? 11 Tricks from a Real Mom
10. Your baby has underlying health issues.
Underlying health issues (outside of a cold or virus) could be the cause of your baby sleeping more and eating less. Illnesses like jaundice and blood sugar issues can definitely make your baby sleep more and eat less.
Be sure to make an appointment with your pediatrician if you feel like your baby might be experiencing an illness.
What do the experts have to say about your baby sleeping more and eating less?
It’s important to remember that all babies are different and their individual sleeping needs vary depending on age, growth spurts, illness, etc. While there isn’t one specific amount of hours a baby should sleep each day, if you notice that your baby is sleeping more than usual and their eating habits have significantly changed, it may be time to speak with a pediatrician.
If your baby is not waking up on their own for meals and still appears to be very sleepy during the day, it could be an indication of a medical issue. Your pediatrician can examine your baby and provide advice on how to help them get back into a healthier sleeping routine.
In conclusion, it’s normal for babies to experience fluctuations in their sleep and eating habits as they grow and develop. However, if you are concerned about changes in your baby’s sleep and eating patterns, it is important to consult with your doctor so that they can evaluate your child and provide you with advice and guidance. Dr.Bidisha Sarkar at ClinicSpots
Frequently Asked Questions About Your Baby Sleeping More and Eating Less
Here are a few frequently asked questions about your baby sleeping more and eating less.
Should I wake my baby up to feed them?
This is a great question. Generally, the rule is that when your baby has surpassed their birth weight you can stop waking them up to feed.
When should I be concerned about my baby sleeping more and eating less?
You should be concerned about your baby sleeping more and eating less if they:
- are difficult to wake and keep awake
- losing weight
- extremely lethargic
- soft spot is sunken in (sign of dehydration)
- bulging soft spot
- have a high fever
- have blue lips or skin
When should I take my baby to the pediatrician because they are sleeping more and eating less?
If your baby is experiencing any of the symptoms above, you should probably be concerned. I would definitely recommend taking your baby to the pediatrician at that point.
If your precious babe is sleeping more and eating less, there is no need to panic. I hope this blog eased your anxiety. Remember though, you know best about your baby!
If you are concerned about their appetite and sleep patterns, reach out to your pediatrician.