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Alanna Levine, MD,

Can A Baby Be Too Sleepy?

It seems like my baby sleeps all the time. Could there be something wrong?

Your sleep-starved, new-mom friends may think you’re crazy, but it’s common for new parents to be surprised by how much their newborn babies sleep. Typically, it’s around 16 hours a day, but it could be 18 to 20 or more hours a day. It’s normal in the early months to have to wake your baby up for a feeding, and some babies happen to be more difficult to awaken than others. As long as he’s having good feedings and pooping and peeing enough (newborns should wet at least eight diapers a day; older babies who are sleeping through the night should wet at least four), it’s not a cause for concern. (Keep track of baby’s feedings and his wet diapers using this Input/Output Tracker.)

If you find your baby won’t wake for feedings, or if he also has a fever, call your pediatrician. In baby’s first two months of life, a fever of 100.4 or higher could be a sign of a very serious infection and should be checked out immediately. If baby’s older than two months, it’s less of a concern but still worth a doctor’s visit.

If baby’s perfectly healthy but just a tad sleepy, it’s time to break into the “My baby sleeps!” dance. Just make sure he’s getting the right amount of feedings for his age — that’s 8 to 12 feedings per day in the first month. You might have to use a few tricky tactics to wake him up for his meals. Try these:

Unswaddle. Sometimes it just takes a little less coziness to get baby to wake up. Take off his swaddle blanket and maybe even undress him, and he just might feel cool enough to open his eyes.

Diaper change. A little freshening up (and a wet wipe on his bum!) might wake baby.

Sponge bath. A gentle sponge bath with a warm, wet washcloth is likely to get baby up too.

Babies tend to sleep less and less over the first few months and increase the amount of time they’re awake during the day. In the meantime, take advantage of the extra time to catch up on _your _sleep. And you might want to keep your sleeping superstar a secret...your friends who’ve been up for 22 and a half hours straight with their babies won’t appreciate it!

Plus, more from The Bump:

Biggest Baby Sleep Myths

Crazy Things Tired Moms Did

Best and Worst Things About Having a Newborn

PHOTO: Erin Wallis