“Infants and babies can sweat profusely, causing them to be soaking wet, especially during the deepest stages of the sleep cycle,” says Jacqueline Winkelmann, MD, who’s been a hospital-based pediatrician at CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange County, CA, and most recently Chief of Staff at CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital.
Can all the sweating in a baby ever be normal?
“Because newborns spend an average of 15-18 hours a day sleeping, they can often be found in bed very sweaty, even if the temperature in the room is comfortable,” explains Dr. Winkelmann.
“Babies sweat mostly during sleep through the head, and this is common for the first few years of life.” Most of a newborn’s active sweat glands are in the head.
“Babies sweat mostly because they have an immature nervous system. Therefore, they are not able to regulate their temperatures as efficiently as adults can. As in adults, some babies sweat more than others.”
One reason excessive sweating in a baby might frighten the parents is that they think it’s a sign of cancer. After all, it’s no secret that lymphoma causes night sweats. normal
But rest assured, it is VERY unlikely to be from cancer, especially if it occurs only during sleep.
If your baby sweats a lot (through the head) while you breast feed, that’s because your milk—which is warmed up by your body heat—is making your baby warm.
When to See Doctor About a Sweating Baby: Some Causes Are Serious
Dr. Winkelmann explains, “If the baby sweats while awake, in particular when feeding, notify your baby’s doctor. normal
“Another warning sign of something more serious can be if your baby is not gaining weight adequately and sweating while at rest or feeding.”
Possible causes are a urinary tract infection, respiratory tract infection and wound infection.
Asthma. This can cause a lot of sweating. But the baby will also be wheezing and breathing heavily.
Congenital heart disease. This can cause excessive sweating while the baby eats or plays.
Hyperhidrosis. This means excessive sweating; patients as young as an infant will sweat profusely even in a normal room temperature and light clothing.
It does not affect health, but it’s a nuisance and causes body odor (depending on where the sweating occurs) as the patient gets older if not well-managed.
Sleep apnea. Yes, babies can have this – due to large throat structures blocking the airway during sleep when the structures are very relaxed. Snoring and fitful sleep are symptoms.
SIDS. “It is important to avoid overheating infants, as it can be a risk for SIDS [sudden infant death syndrome],” says Dr. Winkelmann.
Thyroid disease. This will probably cause additional symptoms such as pale skin.
“Keep the temperature of the room comfortable. Avoid overdressing your baby.” This includes excessive wrapping or bundling.
Babies are more prone to overheating than toddlers and older, because babies cannot readily toss and turn during sleep – which is the body’s way of cooling itself, though tossing and turning can have other causes.
Dr. Winkelmann, known as Dr. Jacq, has a special interest in sports nutrition for young athletes, teen issues and the opioid epidemic, and baby and infant product consulting. She’s an award-winning pediatrician, national and international speaker and published author. doctorjacq.com.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
by sweats a lot; is this normal