In this Article
Have you noticed your baby sweating while feeding? This may be quite normal. But if there is excessive sweating it could be because of some underlying medical condition. It is wise to mention it to the baby’s paediatrician in your next planned visit. But there is no need to rush to the doctor unless the baby is sweating too much. So, till the next visit to the doctor happens, sit back and get some clarity on this baby sweating phenomenon in this article.
Reasons Your Baby Sweats while Breastfeeding
Usually, the baby sweats because of the natural process by which it releases excess body heat. The baby needs to naturally cool off because:
- Close Connection: The close, skin-to-skin contact with the feeding mother increases their body temperature.
- Oodles of Energy: Suckling needs a lot of energy. The movement of their jaw while suckling is a kind of exercise for the baby and they sweat while putting in the effort.
- Hot Head: Have you also noticed the baby’s head sweating while breastfeeding? Many mothers tend to hold the baby in the same cradle position while feeding. Often the mother’s hands hold the baby’s head in her palms in this position for a long time. This passes on more warmth from the palm causing the baby’s head to sweat.
- Let Baby Breathe: Sometimes the babies are too warm because of too many clothes on. So, they get hot and messy while feeding.
- Fresh Air, Please!: The feeding room may be cramped, stuffy and not airy. This very warm environment makes the baby sweat more while they are breastfeeding.
But then again, there may be some underlying medical condition that is causing the sweat. We will discuss this in another section below, in this article.
Why Does Baby’s Head Sweat More?
Sweating on the baby’s head has two main natural reasons when it occurs in moderate amounts:
- Only their heads have active sweat glands and the rest of the body does not have any. So, the head sweats more than the rest of the body when they are feeling hot, especially while feeding.
- The temperature of the baby’s head is always higher than the rest of the body.
Is it a Sign of Any Health Issue?
As new parents, one of the most natural concerns is whether this is because of some underlying ailment. While usually, it isn’t much cause for concern, if you notice unnatural and excessive sweating even in the baby’s head, there may be some health problem that is causing it. They could be one of the following:
- Pulmonary Atresia: It is a form of congenital heart disease that blocks the flow of blood from the heart to the lungs and the baby does not get enough oxygen. This happens because the pulmonary valve that regulates the blood flow from the heart to the lungs has a malformation and does not open. Excessive sweating while breastfeeding is a key indicator of this ailment.
- Hyperthyroidism: Excessive sweating can also be caused by an overactive thyroid gland or hyperthyroidism.
- Infection with Fever: The baby can sweat a lot more if there is some sort of infection, accompanied by fever.
4. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: In extreme cases, some babies have a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). They could show signs of excessive sweating. There is no conclusive evidence of this connection. According to one study, a majority of the mothers whose babies suffered from SIDS said that they noticed that their babies would sweat too much.
5. Congestive Heart Failure: This ailment is caused by either a structural problem or a weak muscle in the heart. Hence, the baby’s heart is unable to supply enough blood to the rest of the body. This ailment is marked by excessive sweating too.
Tips to Minimize Baby Sweating during Breastfeeding
Now that you know the reasons behind this, maybe you could do something to make life more comfortable for your bundle of joy?
Here are some tips and tricks to do that:
- Feed the baby in an airy room with moderate temperature. The room should ideally be neither too hot not too cold.
- In summers you and your baby should both wear soft, cotton clothes while breastfeeding. Even in winter, don’t wear too many thick, heavy, woollen clothes or clothes of material that may cause skin irritation and sweat. Try to wear light, soft, warm woollens.
- Keep the baby’s head bare to let it breathe while breastfeeding. Remove any heavy cap or scarf before feeding. If it is winters, a cotton cap may be used at best while feeding.
- If you are breastfeeding the baby in public, you should preferably use a cotton nursing cloak to let air circulate well.
- You and your baby should avoid polyester garments while feeding.
- Feed your baby from both breasts. That will not keep your baby in a fixed position all the time during feeding and this movement will reduce heat trap.
- Do not feel that the baby is feeling cold all the time and overdress him/her. Breastfeeding increases the baby’s body temperature as it is because they put in effort while suckling and they are in close contact with another human body. Too many layers of clothes add to their discomfort.
- You and your baby should not wear tight clothes during feeding. This will make both of your sweaty and uncomfortable.
When to Consult Your Doctor?
You should consult your paediatrician if you notice these symptoms
- Breathing Problems: Baby may breathe either too fast, too slow or in gasps.
- Tiredness: You may notice constant lethargy or sleepiness. This you may notice even during breastfeeding.
- Aversion to Feeding: You baby may not be eager to take a feed at all.
- Bluish Skin: In some rare cases, the baby skin may develop a bluish shade.
Sweating while feeding in a baby can be a normal condition or it may be due to some undetected health issues. It would be best to consult your doctor in such a scenario.
Also Read: Drinking Water During Breastfeeding