Q. My baby seems to sweat a lot. When he wakes up in the morning, his hair is wet and his back is often sweaty when I am breastfeeding him. He seems fine otherwise and doesn't seem hot. Is it normal to sweat so much?
Excessive sweating can be normal, but it can also be a sign of some serious medical conditions, so an evaluation by your pediatrician would be a good idea.
When caused by a medical problem, you would typically expect other symptoms though, such as trouble feeding, fast breathing, or poor weight gain. For example, sweating while feeding can be a symptom of congestive heart failure. These infants may get tired while feeding, and have a fast respiratory rate, a frequent cough, and poor weight gain. So if your baby had a heart problem, you would expect other symptoms besides sweating.
Having an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, can also cause excessive sweating, but again, you would expect some of those other symptoms.
Keep in mind that overbundling or overdressing your child and keeping your home too warm, could also cause excessive sweating. Since getting overheated is a risk factor for SIDS, you should make sure that your baby is not getting overheated by:
- keeping your home at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult that is lightly clothed
- not over-bundling your baby, but instead dressing him with one extra layer than you are wearing yourself
AAP Policy Statement. The Changing Concept of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Diagnostic Coding Shifts, Controversies Regarding the Sleeping Environment, and New Variables to Consider in Reducing Risk. PEDIATRICS Vol. 116 No. 5 November 2005, pp. 1245-1255.