Most parents are happy to have a baby or toddler sleeping a lot. What a luxury to be able to sleep through the night and not get woken for feeds every few hours? But, at what stage do you start to worry about your toddler sleeping a lot and not eating? Is your 1 year old sleeping more than usual?
5 Reasons for your toddler sleeping a lot and not eating:
Throughout your baby’s development there will be many stages and changes to their sleeping and eating patterns. A newborn tends to sleep 14-18 hours a day on average. They will wake for feeding times and generally go straight back to sleep again. If you are a new mum, you may think your newborn baby is sleeping too much and not eating.
As for toddlers, you probably think that they need more food than a new baby, right? However, it is very common for toddlers to eat only very small portions, be fussy eaters, or to refuse food at all!
Most of the time there is nothing to worry about, but if your baby or toddler is not eating and sleeping a lot here are 5 reasons why:
1. Your baby may be experiencing a growth spurt:
Your baby will go through a series of growth spurts during their first 12 months. There is no exact timetable as to when a growth spurt will occur and the development of each baby is unique. A growth spurt will cause your baby to sleep more and to miss regular mealtimes. They may eat fewer times a day, but will probably make up for it in quantity. But don’t worry, this is normal; a growth spurt is one of the main reasons for your toddler sleeping a lot and not eating!
In addition, you might think your 18 month old is not eating and sleeping a lot, or more than when they were younger. This can be attributed to the fact that younger babies grow faster than a toddler, so toddlers’ actually need less food.
2. Your baby may be teething:
Most people associate teething with crying babies and sleepless nights. But the opposite can also be true. Often a teething baby can develop a low grade fever which will mean extra sleep to fight the fever. If your baby has started solids their irritated gums will mean eating less. So you may have to substitute breast milk or formula instead of solids during this sensitive time. While teething it is quite normal for a baby or toddler to be sleeping a lot and not eating.
However, when your baby is teething it’s important to provide enough liquids and to monitor your baby for dehydration. Signs of dehydration include a dry diaper for more than 6 hours, dark urine, and a dry mouth. Call your doctor or health worker if you notice any of these symptoms.
3. Your baby may be ill:
Don’t panic! All babies will develop an illness or contract a virus at some stage, and possibly more than one. Colds and flue effect babies the same way as they effect adults. Vaccinations can be another cause. Fighting a virus is exhausting, which is why viruses and sleep go hand-in-hand. Remember how lousy you feel when you’re fighting a bout of flue? Your baby feels no different, and sleep is the best medicine. But if you feel that your toddler sleeping a lot and not eating goes on too long (longer than 5-7 days), or if the fever gets too high please seek immediate advice from your doctor or health care provider.
4. Your toddler is getting distracted at meal times
At such a young age, everything to your baby is shiny and new. So your toddler could be more interested in their surroundings than the food on their plate. And growing up with all these new distractions can be very tiring! Try to schedule quiet family mealtimes with no background television or loud music. If your toddler is still distracted, then schedule their mealtime where the two of you can have some quiet time, which will also help with bonding.
5. Your toddler is overheating
If you are asking “why is my 11 month old so tired all the time” it could be simply that your baby is dressed too warmly and is overheating. If the temperature is too hot this will cause your baby to
become lazy or lethargic so they won’t stay awake long enough to feed.
When adjusting a rooms’ temperature, make sure it is on the cool side. You can even open a window. When dressing your toddler, for either the hot or colder months, make sure your baby is wearing breathable, natural fabrics. Babies cannot regulate their own body temperature and so can easily become overheated if dressed too warmly.
Is my toddler sleeping too much?
So we’ve given you 5 reasons for a toddler sleeping a lot and not eating, but when does a toddler or baby sleeping a lot become a problem?
It is normal for babies, even up to 1 year olds, to sleep 11-12 hours at night and 2-3 hours during the day. So don’t worry too much about a 1 year old sleeping too much. Monitor your baby’s development and if they are showing the normal signs of curiosity, crawling, walking or even trying to talk then there’s no need to worry. If you feel your baby is sleeping too much, is lethargic and missing feed times regularly then it’s time to consult a medical practitioner to rule out any medical reason for your baby to be so sleepy.