Clammy Baby: Should I Be Concerned if My Baby Feels Sweaty or Clammy?
Once you give birth, your greatest wish is for your baby to be healthy and happy. It’s normal to be nervous when your baby has signs or symptoms you don’t understand. What if you touch your baby and notice that their skin feels clammy? Should you be concerned?
First, understand that a baby can sweat a lot during the first few weeks of life and sweating makes them feel clammy. While in the womb, babies aren’t able to sweat and it takes a few days after birth for all of those sweat glands to kick in. Once they do, you may notice that the new addition to the family sweats rather often. Sweating in the first few weeks comes almost exclusively from sweat glands in the forehead since other glands don’t become active right away. Babies also have more sweat glands per square inch than adults.
What’s causing your baby to sweat? It could be that they’re simply too warm. The clamminess comes from heat being released through the skin in the form of sweat. Of course, you want your baby to be warm and snug – but not TOO warm. Most babies are most comfortable in a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only is it uncomfortable for a baby to be bundled too tightly or in an overly warm room, it also increases their risk of sudden infant death syndrome. (SIDS)
Could It Be a Fever?
What if you baby is not in a hot room or bundled too tight and they still feel clammy or sweaty? If they feel warmer than usual or look flushed, check their temperature to make sure they’re not running a fever. The best way to do this is with a digital thermometer placed under their arm. Strip thermometers you place on the skin and thermometers you place in the ear aren’t as accurate.
When should you call the doctor? Contact the doc if your baby has a temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or greater and they’re under three months of age. If your baby is three to six months of age, call if their temperature is 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. You should also contact their doctor immediately if they’re having other signs of symptoms, especially if your baby is crying excessively, having problems breathing, or aren’t eating properly. If their temperature is slightly elevated, watch them carefully and be sure they’re getting enough fluids.
Less commonly, clamminess or excessive sweating could be a sign of a thyroid, heart, or lung problem, especially if your baby is excessively restless, cries a lot, has problems breathing, or difficulty feeding. If you notice other symptoms or your baby is clammy often, talk to a healthcare professional to make sure there’s nothing else going on.
The Bottom Line
Babies can be clammy even when their temperature is completely normal, especially if they’re in a warm room or bundled up too tightly. Yet, be aware that clamminess and excessive sweating can also be a sign of fever. Always have a thermometer handy for checking temperatures and be alert for other signs of discomfort or illness.
NHS Choices. “How to Take Your Baby’s Temperature”
Baby Science. “Babies’ Sweaty Forehead Sign of Health”
SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping. “Room Temperature”