Many parents worry about their babies, as they rightly should. A common cause of worry is the little one’s temperature. When babies start to sweat to regulate their temperature, many worry their parents, but it is completely normal.
If your baby is sweating excessively, you can simply lower the room temperature, use loose bedding, or remove layers from their clothing. Many babies born after 36 weeks of gestation start to sweat from the first day, while in the same way, most babies born before 36 weeks start sweating a little later. When they are newborns, the most active eccrine sweat glands are on their forehead, which is why parents often say their newborn’s forehead feels sweaty.
Is It Normal for Newborns to Sweat?
It is natural for babies to sweat. Sweating is a natural physiological response to control body temperature, and newborns, like adults, can sweat in response to temperature changes or degree of activity changes. In comparison to older children and adults, babies have a less developed thermoregulatory system, which means they may sweat more frequently, especially in hot situations or when overdressed.
Possible Causes of Sweating in Newborns
Newborns can start sweating for various reasons. Here are some possible explanations for sweating in newborns, along with in-depth explanations:
Sweating is a natural process for controlling body temperature. In comparison to older children and adults, newborns have a less developed thermoregulatory system. As a result, individuals may sweat more easily in order to dispel the heat and cool down. This is especially frequent in hot situations or when they are overdressed.
If newborns are clothed in too many layers of clothing or wrapped too tightly, they can easily become overheated. Overbundling can reduce ventilation and restrict heat dissipation, resulting in sweating. Babies should be dressed in lightweight, breathable clothes that may be adjusted to the temperature of the environment.
Infection or disease
Sweating in babies might be an indication of an underlying infection or illness. Fever can be caused by diseases such as sepsis or urinary tract infections, as well as some viral or bacterial ailments. It is extremely important to get medical assistance if your baby exhibits further symptoms such as a high temperature, lethargy, poor feeding, or irritability.
Congested sweat glands (miliaria)
Because newborns’ sweat glands are young, their sweat ducts can readily get clogged. This can lead to miliaria, often known as prickly heat. Miliaria shows little red bumps or blisters on the skin and is most frequent in regions where sweating is excessive, such as the head, neck, and chest. Miliaria is usually considered to be harmless.
Hormonal shifts might lead to newborn sweating. Hormones transmitted from the mother to the baby during pregnancy and nursing might influence the sweat glands of the baby and cause a lot of sweating. As the newborn’s body adapts and stabilizes, these hormonal alterations usually normalize over time.
Crying or agitation
When a newborn becomes distressed or agitated, he or she may turn into a sweaty baby. Crying and agitation can cause their heart rate and metabolic activity to rise, resulting in increased body heat production and sweat. Sweat crying reaction that normally goes away as the baby settles down.
Medical reasons for babies’ sweat
While sweating in newborns is often a normal occurrence, there are some medical conditions that can cause excessive sweating in babies. If you suspect a medical issue, it’s best to go for a proper diagnosis. Here are some potential medical reasons for excessive sweating in babies:
Hyperhidrosis causes excessive sweating outside of what is necessary to regulate body temperature. While it is uncommon among babies, it can happen. Hyperhidrosis can be either primary (no underlying reason) or secondary (caused by another disorder). If your kid routinely sweats excessively, even in cold conditions or when at rest, you should see a physician.
Certain infections can cause sweating in babies. Bacterial or viral illnesses, for example, sepsis, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, or infections linked with high fevers, can cause excessive perspiration. Fever, lethargy, poor eating, and irritability are all possible signs.
Some endocrine abnormalities might cause newborns to sweat excessively. Hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and hormonal abnormalities can all cause excessive perspiration. Other symptoms connected with these diseases include low weight gain, eating issues, and irregular development. Diagnosis and adequate management need a consultation with a healthcare practitioner.
Heart or lung problems
Certain heart or lung issues might cause babies to sweat excessively. Increased sweating can be caused by congenital heart defects such as ventricular septal defects or patent ductus arteriosus, as well as respiratory disorders such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis. If you detect any further signs, such as fast breathing, poor feeding, or bluish staining of the skin, you should seek medical attention promptly.
Are You Overheating Your Baby?
It’s crucial to ensure that your baby does not overheat, as overheating can be dangerous and lead to various health issues. Here are the symptoms that may indicate your baby is overheating:
While sweating is a normal process for regulating body temperature, excessive perspiration, especially in cool or pleasant conditions, may indicate overheating.
Skin flushed or red
If your baby’s skin seems flushed or red, this might be an indication that they are overheating.
Overheating might cause your baby’s breathing rate to rise. If you observe the child panting or breathing quickly, this might be a symptom of overheating.
Irritability or fussiness
Overheated babies may become irritated or fussy. They may cry out more than usual and have trouble falling asleep.
Lethargy or weakness
Excessive heat might cause the baby to look sluggish or feeble. They may appear particularly drowsy or have a reduction in activity.
Hot to the touch
Feeling your baby’s skin may give clues about their body temperature. If their skin seems unusually warm to the touch, they may be overheating.
Overheating might cause your baby’s heart rate to rise. A fast or irregular pulse might be an indication of hyperthermia or congenital heart disease. This happens because the heart will have to work harder to pump blood.
Heat rash, also known as miliaria or prickly heat, may develop when babies sweat in excess, and their sweat ducts become blocked. It manifests as little red bumps or blisters on the skin, especially in regions where sweating production is excessive.
Can Overheating a Baby Lead to SIDS?
Yes, baby overheating has been established as a risk factor for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the unexpected, mysterious death of an otherwise healthy infant usually while in a deep sleep. While the precise causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome are unknown, there are several conditions that might raise the risk, and overheating is one of them.
Excessive heat can interfere with a baby’s regular control of body temperature. This can cause physiological abnormalities and may contribute to SIDS. Overheating can also increase the probability of a newborn having difficulties breathing or having episodes of infant sleep apnea (short delays in breathing) while sleeping, both of which cause risk of SIDS.
What Can You Do to Cool Down Your Baby?
If you need to cool down your baby, there are several steps to help regulate their body temperature:
Change the baby’s environment
If your present location is too hot or stuffy, relocate your baby to a cooler region of the house. This might be a room with greater ventilation, air conditioning, or just a covered area out of direct sunshine. Cooler environs aid in the dissipation of heat from your baby’s body and the prevention of future overheating.
Put on fewer layers
If your kid is overdressed or bundled up, slowly remove part of their clothing to allow them to cool themselves down. Lightweight, breathable clothing is good for allowing air circulation and increasing heat dissipation through evaporation.
If your baby has started solid foods, you can give them small amounts of cool, clean water to keep them hydrated. Breastfed newborns normally get enough water just from nursing. You can continue to administer breast milk to babies under six months old who are exclusively breastfed or formula-fed more often to make sure they stay well-hydrated.
Use a fan
To assist in cooling down the baby, turn on a ceiling fan or produce mild air circulation in the room using a portable one. Make sure the fan is at a low setting and is not directly blowing on the baby’s head. The air movement aids in the evaporation of perspiration and the dissipation of heat from the body.
Check the room temperature
Make sure the temperature in your baby’s room or baby’s sleep environment is between 68°F and 72°F. Monitoring the outside temperature helps to prevent overheating and provides a proper atmosphere for your baby to naturally cool down their own temperature.
Remember, prevention is key to avoiding overheating in the first place. Dress your baby appropriately for the ambient temperature, adjust room temperature, and regularly monitor their comfort and body temperature to keep the baby cool.
Warning Signs to Look Out For When Your Baby Sweats
While sweating is a normal physiological response in babies, there are certain warning signs to watch out for when your baby sweats excessively. These signs may indicate a potential issue or underlying condition that requires medical attention. Here are some warning signs:
Baby sweating constantly
If your baby consistently covers themselves in sweating, even in cool or cozy settings, it may be cause for concern. Sweating that is excessive and persistent, independent of temperature or activity level, should be investigated further.
Poor feeding or weight growth
Excessive sweating in your kid may be coupled with poor feeding or inadequacy in gaining weight, indicating an underlying issue. Difficulty eating or decreased weight growth can be symptoms of a variety of medical issues.
Lethargy or irritability
Excessive perspiration in conjunction with lethargy (unusual tiredness or lack of energy) or a rise in irritability may signal that your kid is ill or in pain. These symptoms should not be disregarded and should be addressed.
If your child is sweating abundantly and breathing quickly or painfully, or if they stop breathing suddenly, this might indicate a problem with their respiratory system. Breathing problems, such as fast breathing, wheezing, or grunting, may indicate an underlying respiratory illness that needs medical care.
High body temperature or other indicators of illness
Excessive sweating in conjunction with a fever (a rectal temperature of 100.4°F or above in infants under three months old) or other signs of infection, such as lethargy, poor feeding, or behavioral abnormalities, may suggest an underlying infection.
Excessive perspiration in newborns can contribute to dehydration. If your kid is excessively sweating and exhibiting indications of dehydration, such as dry mouth and decreased urine production, contact a doctor.
When to Go to the Hospital?
Excessive sweating in babies can sometimes be a normal physiological response, especially during periods of physical activity or in warm environments. However, sometimes it is advisable to seek medical attention or go to the children’s hospital, like:
If your baby’s sweating occurs accompanied by signs of respiratory distress or other concerning signs such as breathing problems, quick or labored breathing, bluish color of the skin, constant crying, lethargy, or irritability, seek immediate medical attention.
Excessive perspiration can lead to dehydration in babies. If your baby is sweating heavily and exhibiting indications of dehydration, such as dry mouth, reduced urine production, sunken fontanelles (soft patches on the baby’s head), or crying hard, seek medical assistance immediately.
Fever and signs of infection: Consult a healthcare professional if your baby’s excessive sweating has been accompanied by a fever (a rectal temperature of 100.4°F or higher in babies under three months old) or other signs of infection, such as lethargy, poor feeding, behavioral changes, or a rash. They can evaluate your baby’s condition and determine whether more testing or treatment is required.
Constantly sweating excessively: If your kid constantly sweats excessively, even in cool or comfortable settings, and there is no apparent cause, or it is accompanied by other unsettling symptoms, it is advised to speak with a healthcare provider.
If you have concerns about your baby’s excessive sweating or overall well-being, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation. They can determine if a visit to the hospital is necessary.
Baby sweat is a normal thing. A baby’s sweating is usually just a thermoregulatory process of the body. It is advisable to get them checked by a child’s doctor if you are a new parent and have any doubts or concerns about them. When it comes to babies, it is definitely better to be safe than sorry.