We can all agree that a sound sleep is important for our baby as it is for any human being. A night's rest contributes a lot to your child's mental development and growth.
As much as we want them to have a comfortable sleep, that won't always be the case. Chances are, there were times when your baby is impossible to get to sleep. In my case, head sweating is one of the more common reasons why my baby had a hard time sleeping. I was quite alarmed since it could be a medical condition.
I’m sure you will agree that we don’t want to take any risks when it comes to our baby. This led me to conduct a research on why my baby’s head sweats. Here’s what I found out
1. Baby's Sweat Glands
Sweat glands are the main reason we perspire. According to science, they are further categorized into two types, namely Apocrine and Eccrine sweat glands.
Apocrine sweat glands are responsible for the smelly odor in our body. This type of sweat gland is mostly found in the armpits, ear canals, perianal region and even on the eyelids, to name a few. However, these are not yet active for your newborn, at least not yet. Apocrine glands usually spring into action once your baby hits puberty.
Eccrine sweat glands are the ones covering our body. From the moment your baby is born, it already has active Eccrine glands. However, it is believed that only the head sweats as the baby's nervous system isn't fully developed yet. This is most likely why your baby is sweating on his head.
Do not panic, though. Consider this as a part of the growth process. Usually, after 3-4 weeks, your baby should start sweating normally. If you want to read more about the types of sweat glands, I suggest you try this article.
2. Temperature and Sleeping Position
The sleeping position plays a huge factor in a peaceful sleep. Not surprisingly, it is one of the most common reasons why you might notice that your baby's head sweats. Even adults experience this when we go to bed and sleep in an awkward position. The difference is that babies don't necessarily move the way an adult does. That's why it’s easier for your baby to feel hot and uncomfortable.
Babies should be put on their backs during sleep. It is not recommended for babies to sleep on their side or tummy since it may cause suffocation known as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
The second part is maintaining the proper overall room temperature. Not only does it feel good for the baby but it also avoids the risks of overheating. According to research, the recommended room temperature for your newborn is at 16 - 20 degrees Celsius. Make sure to use a thermostat so you will get an accurate reading of the temperature.
Moreover, your baby should have a breathable clothing, especially during sleeping time. For parents who swaddles their baby, it is important to use the proper swaddling techniques as this can also affect the body temperature. Swaddling your baby too tight can stifle your baby and may lead to a higher temperature.
Aside from sweat, it also has a more serious effect which is hip dysplasia. To prevent this, ensure a snug fit but at the same time provide enough wiggle room. You may also refer to a good number of how-to videos available online. Please see the video below.
Maintaining the proper temperature and sleeping position not only reduces the risk of suffocation but it also ensures a better quality of sleep.
As a mom, it is absolutely stressful when your son gets sick. No matter how careful you are, your baby will get eventually sick. This leads to a baby having more sweat than usual. Once you notice that your baby is sweating, it's a tell-tale sign that the body is cooling down. It's best if the baby wears something light to help the heat escape.
On the upside, it also means that your child's body is fighting off the viruses. It works by having the body heat up to prevent microbes to prosper. Nothing beats a thermometer when it comes to measuring your baby's temperature. For my own baby, I use the typical rectal thermometer. It's nothing fancy but it does what it's supposed to do and reads in about 10 seconds.
A quick look online will show you different types. Most common types rectal, temporal and armpit thermometers. Prices vary per type and the most affordable usually costs around $10. There's a number of ways to measure your baby's temperature. For newborns, using a rectal thermometer is the most accurate based on medical tests.
4. Sleep Apnea
Apnea is a serious disorder in which your baby has one or more pauses in breathing during sleep. Apnea has two types
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This is caused by throat muscles block the airway of your infant breathes. It can be the tonsil blocking the airway, etc.
Central Sleep Apnea
This is a less known type of Apnea among the two. CSA usually happens when the brain is unable to control the muscles. Usually, this occurs if you have other existing medical conditions.
Usual signs of Apnea include, but not limited to
- Gasping for air multiple times during sleep
- Pauses in breathing
Either way, difficulties in breathing will give your baby a hard time sleeping. Shortness of breath, in turn, might cause excessive sweating. If you believe your child has Sleep Apnea, it is recommended to talk to your family pediatrician. Your doctor will be able to provide proper diagnosis and treatment.
5. The Silent Handicap
Hyperhidrosis is a condition characterized by excessive sweating. This condition occurs when your baby sweat even after reaching the body temperature.
This condition usually occurs after adolescence but it can happen at any age. This includes newborns and toddlers. Hyperhidrosis should be treated immediately. This is not only physically uncomfortable but can also affect your baby when it grows up.
It is known as the "Silent Handicap" because those affected are not vocal about it due to the stigma of sweating. Emotions usually trigger Hyperhidrosis which will cause heavy sweating. Those affected tend to avoid social situations to avoid embarrassment and awkwardness.
Studies even show that it has a psychological impact on your child. As parents, we want our little ones to be confident with themselves.
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To be honest, I was quite surprised to know that sweating can mean a lot of things. From something as simple as sleeping positions to serious medical conditions. As for my baby, turns out it was nothing serious. He was sweating due to the active Eccrine gland on his head which should normalize in a few weeks.
The bottom line is that everyone sweats. However, it's important to check if you notice something unusual, especially for newborns. It wouldn't hurt to do some research and getting an opinion from your peadiatrician.
Does your baby show any signs of excessive sweating during sleep? If so, don't hesitate to share that experience with us in the comment section. You may also leave you suggestions and comments down below.