Once you've said goodbye to pregnancy, you've probably been ready to say goodbye to all things sweaty, too. So when your baby seems to be warm and sticky all the time, it stands to reason that you'll automatically ask yourself, "Why does my baby sweat so much?" Well, there's some good news and there's some not-so-good news: tiny bodies can do absolutely incredible things, but at least 90 percent of those incredible things are pretty gross. In other words, if you have a sweaty summer newborn in you arms at the moment, crank up the air conditioning. You're going to need it.
According to Kid's Health, it's perfectly normal and natural to sweat. The site goes on to explain, saying, "Sweating plays an important role because it helps maintain body temperature by cooling us down. When we're hot and we sweat, that moisture evaporates and cools us off a bit." Baby Center takes it one step further, however, and explains that babies' regulatory systems are still developing, and as a result of that underdevelopment they can't control their temperature as well as adults, or even older children. Still, and for the most part, Baby Center reminds parents that a baby sweating is completely normal, and babies tend to sweat more than adults because they experience deep sleep more frequently and throughout the day than us adults do, which is when everyone gets their sweatiest.
However, if your baby is sweating more than just when they're in a deep sleep, or sweating more frequently than you feel comfortable with, you'll want to check a few things just to make sure your baby isn't overheated. Furthermore, the Baby Sleep Site reminds parents that it's important not to overheat their baby when they put them down to sleep. The site goes on to say that overheating your newborn increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and using a fan during nighttime sleep and daytime naps can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 72 percent.
So, how can you tell if your baby's sweat is a result of overheating? Obviously it's important to check your baby's temperature to make sure they don't have a fever. If they have a temperature, there are a few things you can do to get it down, like giving them a tepid bath or placing a cool wash cloth on their forehead. Kid's Health reminds parents to call a pediatrician immediately if "an infant younger than 3 months old has a rectal temperature of of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher."
Second, it's important to keep in mind that the recommended temperature for your baby's nursery is between 68 and 72 degrees, as cited by the Baby Sleep Site. If you live in a place without air conditioning, try to make sure the room is dark during the day, and pull the blinds shut during the sunniest times of the day, to try to keep the cool air in.
You'll also want to make sure you aren't overheating your baby with too many blankets or swaddles, and especially in the summertime. During the summer months, swap out thicker swaddle blankets or sleep sacks for lighter muslin options. If you think your baby is still too hot, just go for a onesie or light pajamas without the sleep sack to keep him or her cooler on hot nights.
For the most part, you shouldn't be too concerned about your baby's sweating, especially if they are only sweating while they are sleeping. However, Parenting warns parents that if their baby is sweating while they are eating or in a cool room, that could be a sign of congenital heart disease or another condition, such as sleep apnea. So, as with nearly anything baby-related, don't be afraid to call your baby's pediatrician if you have any lingering cause for concern. Honestly, it never hurts to ask.