Everything you have read about watching your baby for symptoms of an illness urge you to pay attention to your baby’s energy levels. If your baby seems lethargic, something might be wrong and you should see a physician immediately. But what’s lethargic for a baby? Don’t babies spend most of their time being lethargic? To be more perceptive to changes in your baby’s energy levels, you don’t need to read about an abstract amount of energy your baby should be displaying. Instead, you need to watch your baby’s individual habits. Knowing how active your baby is will help you identify when something is wrong, and it will also make it easier to schedule a day around your baby’s natural cycles.

Most babies will sleep approximately 16 hours every day in the first few weeks. Only when they really start developing will they become interested in the world around them. They’ll want to touch everything, watch everything, and simply examine everything within their reach. However, some babies are more energetic than others. This is a personality trait that will be obvious in the first few months. If your baby is interested but slightly ambivalent, that’s okay, but someday he’ll be met by babies that simply don’t stop moving and interacting with the world around them. Once you’re sure of your baby’s personal energy levels on a daily basis, then you might be able to figure out when he or she is really not feeling well. If a usually lethargic baby suddenly won’t even do his usual exploring, then he could be ill.

Being aware of your baby’s energy will also cue you in to any developmental problems earlier, which could result in a more efficient and effective diagnosis and treatment. Babies who aren’t interested in the world around them could have a serious problem that likely came about during fetal development. It’s scary to bring your baby to the doctor for serious tests about birth defects, but knowing as soon as possible is best.

Whether your baby is lazy or making his way around the house at a mile a minute, pay attention to the daily energy levels to keep an eye out for any changes. Just as with a fever, a drop in energy is a telltale sign that your baby could be very ill or might even just need a change in his or her diet or sleep schedule.

Source: Michael D Nevaraz et al: Associations of Early Life Risk Factors with Infant Sleep Duration. The American Academy of Pediatrics Volume 10 Issue 3 pp. 187-193 June 2010

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