Babies need around 11 to 14 hours of sleep including naps—otherwise, they become irritable or hyperactive during the daytime. According to Dr. Agnes Tirona-Remulla, head of Sleep Lab at Asian Hospital and Medical Center, proper sleep enhances a child's immune system. It is also critical in weight regulation, and it promotes cognitive development by building memory. Adequate sleep enhances his learning and improves his social skills, too.
Here are simple ways to improve your child's sleep:
1. Create a bedtime routine.
Plan a routine together with your spouse and stick to it. The key is consistency. Kids love feeling that they are in control—they like to know what will happen next. When they start to understand the difference between day and night, it will be easier for them to follow the night time routine, which may include changing into his pajamas, brushing his teeth, and reading a bedtime story.
2. Put your little one to bed when he is drowsy, not when he is totally asleep.
Waking up in the middle of the night can be hard for your child and also for you. Try to lessen rocking, nursing, or singing to put him to sleep so he can settle down back on his own in case he wakes up in the middle of the night.
3. Set a relaxing bedroom mood.
Invest in comfortable baby gear such as a baby mattress, crib, blanket, stuffed toy, night light, and even a relaxing bedtime playlist. Try out which ones work best for your child or create a combination of all these things to help him sleep through the night.
4. Make sure to give your baby ample nap time.
Some may think that a baby will sleep earlier if he has already exhausted all his energy during the day. But every child still needs to take daily naps until the age of five.
According to Dr. Jonalyn Ang, a pediatric neurologist and sleep specialist at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan and Medical Center in Taguig, younger kids need more sleep because their brains are still developing.
5. Avoid late-night stimulants.
Your child should be ready to settle down an hour before bedtime. Dr. Ang recommends not offering sweets three to four hours before it's time to go to bed.
6. Get rid of distractions.
Put away distracting items like the television, computer, tablet, and toys, too. You want your baby to be relaxed and calm a few hours before bed so he can sleep through the night.
7. Give your baby a relaxing baby bath.
This will soothe his skin and calm the whole body, preparing your baby for a good night's sleep. And given our tropical weather, a refreshing bath just before bed will help keep your baby cool and comfortable through the night.
Do keep in mind that baby's skin is very delicate and can lose moisture easily—up to five times faster than an adult's skin. Not only is it necessary to avoid using strong products with harsh ingredients, but it's also important to moisturize your baby's skin to avoid rashes and allergies.
You can try Baby Dove, a new line of premium baby-care products that are mild and helps restore essential moisture from hair to toe.
Once your baby is relaxed from a nice warm bath, you are one step closer to helping him get a good night's sleep. If you're still developing a routine with your baby, don't worry too much about it. Your mommy instincts will lead you to the right choices. #RealMoms