Welcome to Alfie's
We are going to start by revisiting the quick wins.
You have already adjusted many of these points and you have started seen many improvements. It is a good idea to come back to this information from time to time and see if something should be optimised. I have added one or two new ideas!
Naps and total sleep
After analysing Alfie's sleep diary, I strongly believe he needs around 11 to 12 hours total sleep per day. This means he is likely to need up to 9 hours of sleep in the night and the remainder during the day.
As he grows and drops all his naps (at around 2 years old) he will then consolidate all his sleep needs at night and will sleep for the full 11 hours at night.
This will have an impact on the 7 to 7 expectation of sleep, as you can guess!
So I am working from the assumption that he needs around 11 hours total sleep, 2 or 3 naps in the day and perhaps in the process of dropping to 2 naps.
Whenever children are dropping a nap, sleep becomes a little messy during the day until they are ready to completely transition. Therefore we will be testing different timings and it is normal for Alfie to need an extra full nap, or a cat nap (very short nap) every few days. And perhaps an earlier or later bedtime as well.
There will be quite a bit of back and forth while he is dropping the nap and while we adjust the distribution of his naps so to optimise night sleep.
Here is a first suggestion for naps:
2nd August 2021
5th August 2021
“survival mode”! You have been quite unwell since Sunday night so haven’t started any of the new sleep things yet but will start as soon as you feel better.
7th August 2021
You reported that Alfie had a difficult time from bedtime until midnight made particularly challenging as Dan was working that evening. Alfie then woke up at 3am and self settled until 6am (brilliant!).
We agreed that what is happening is that his sleep pressure and his circadian rhythm is not aligned. So he needs a slightly earlier bedtime, but the third nap is getting on the way for that to happen.
11th August 2021
Sleep plan assessment form and diary sent
Alfie is really unwell this week, he need extra sleep and extra support.
We have decided to pause the program until Alfie is feeling better. Once we resume work, there will be 4 weeks left of the program.
In the mean time, keep with as much of the bedtime routine as you can.
31st August 2021
I would suggest the next steps to be:
Alfie is on the lower spectrum of sleep need - 11 hours in total. So if he is sleeping 2 hours in the day, expect him to sleep only around 9 hours in the night (he does need his naps though!). As he grows and drops all naps, all the sleep will happen at night and you will have a longer night.
What we want to do is to make the times you are awake in the night as short as possible - A quick feed and short soothing. For this you will need to separate the feeding from the falling asleep, if not for all feeds at least for most.
A snapshot of what is happening:
Alfie has the third nap if he wakes up early and only has short naps throughout the day.
Bedtime is at about 6-6:30pm, occasionally needing a later bedtime.
He is sometimes sleeping right through to 6am!
Over the last week he’s responded well on the odd occasion to you laying down beside him. On other occasions he just dances in the cot. He’s not upset but he doesn’t settle either.
You noticed that Alfie needs more sleep, very likely because he is now walking and running and burning off loads of energy.
You are continuing with all the quick wins and taking Alfie outdoors 2-3 times a day.
3rd September 2021
Separating feeding and rocking from sleep
You are going to start with what is working now for falling asleep - the base technique. Your goal is to move from this base technique to your goal - not rocking or feeding to sleep.
The next step is to go from your base technique to a different soothing technique that moves you a little closer to your goal. You will take a few small steps towards your goal.
So you will move from rocking to sleep, to cuddling to sleep, to sleeping in the cot.
I will give you some suggestions to help guide you onto the next steps, but it is completely fine to go with your instincts when planning which steps to take. Feel free to adapt this plan by adding or skipping steps as you go along.
The steps you take can be very small or not, depending on your child accepting the new soothing technique and on what makes sense for your family.
There is likely going to be some back and forth between the last step and the new step. So if your child fusses in the new step, you can move back to the last soothing technique (the last step) for support and then go back to the new step. But try and make sure your child falls asleep with the new step to get them into the habit of drifting off to sleep in the new way.
>>>>For example: if your baby will only fall asleep while rocking and your new step is to sway to sleep, you can first attempt to only sway. If your baby fusses, you can rock until they are calm. Once they are calm, start swaying again. You may need to go back and forth a few times but try to have your baby fall asleep while swaying. <<<<<
Eventually this new step (swaying to sleep) will become your new starting point, the new base technique, and you can encourage your child onto the next step.
Here is an example on how to move from rocking to sleep. You can follow the same thinking for feeding to sleep - once Alfie has finished the feed and is “butterflying” you can go back and forth between feeding and rocking and so on.
Step 1: Rock to sleep ---- to --- Sway to sleep
Step 2: Sway to sleep --- to ---- Standing still and patting to sleep in arms
Step 3: Standing still and patting to sleep in arms --- to --- Pat to drowsy in arms and sleep in cot (this can take longer than 5 days as it is the biggest step, but Alfie is sometimes doing this already )
13th September 2021
16th September 2021
24th September 2021
2nd October 2021
6th October 2021 - end of program
Dear Alexandra and Dan
It was great working with you in the last months. You have made some incredible progress with Alfie's sleep situation through hard work and some consistency. I hope you can find some time to celebrate your achievements!
What were your goals?
You had many goals. You have worked hard and tried to keep to the sleep plan I suggested as much as possible through the incredible leaps in Alfie's development (can you believe he is walking so well?!)
Your main goals were:
Alfie had many ups and downs, teething, holiday, learning to walk, dropping a nap... but even with all these factors that unsettle sleep, you have achieved 2 out of the three goals and when you were working on the third goal, (moving away from rocking to sleep) Alfie had many great nights.
I believe one of your main achievements was to manage to stop using the sleep app. From doing this, you can now adjust the awake windows, length of naps and bedtime in a way that responds to Alfie's needs with less stress.
For you to achieve all your goals, It is important that you work as consistently as possible on moving forward from rocking to sleep. You can find the step by step earlier in this plan, on 3rd of September. Remember that you will be taking several small steps towards falling asleep in the cot, therefore at first Alfie is likely to fall asleep while rocking, then while swaying, then while standing still until finally you will encourage him to go down awake and he will fall asleep with you next to him outside the cot. Patience and consistence is key!
I also believe Alfie really does need some extra support from time to time when he is experiencing something new. Alfie seems to be the best of both: very physical and happy, and also sensitive to the environment. This is a great trait mix but it also means he needs extra support from time to time to be able to better manage and process all the changes. As you know, this is really hard work as sleep is the first thing that suffers during these phases.
You are doing a fantastic job in supporting Alfie's development in a responsive way!
It has been a pleasure going through these weeks with you and seeing all the improvements emerge. I hope you found the program has helped you all to understand Alfie's sleep needs better and to develop some tools you can use for the times ahead.
As Alfie grows and his sleep changes, if you need further support I offer a one-off video call and soon will be adding a more affordable top up call to the services page. Here is the link for more information https://www.calm-sleep.com/services.html
Lastly, I would be very grateful if you could share a review here and/or email any feedback that will make the service better for future parents.
All the best