Welcome to Coen's
4 May 2021 -- NAPS
At first we will work on making the naps a little later than what they are now. We want to shift Coen’s day by at least an hour later. There are 2 ways of doing this. Choose the route you want to take and stick with it for about a week.
Later we will work on bedtime and the early awake specifically.
Quick way -
Soon we will see if Coen would benefit from having a cat nap (15 min) later in the afternoon and a later bedtime or if the early bedtime is good for him. We will be looking at the effects on the early wake ups as well as how easily he goes to sleep at bedtime.
Pros -- in less then a week we should be able to shift the naps and find out what needs adjusting next
Cons -- It will be intense! You will likely have a tired, cranky baby for a few days.
The gamble -- Nights may become easier after 3 or 4 days as Coen is tired enough and is recovering at night OR you may have more disrupted nights as he is too tired or finds the rhythm of change too fast.
Gentle way -
As the days go by and the naps are happening later, the cat nap will disappear and the bedtime will come earlier.
Pros -- No or very little cry and crankiness. Your nights are likely to be similar.
Cons -- You will need to be more patient to see the results as the changes are gentle and may take more than a week (But I’m here tracking and keeping an eye so will highlight the little wins!)
The focus on this next week are having a predictable rhythm to the day (mainly led by dramatic wake up and meals) and working on adjusting the naps.
Carry on being consistent with meal times:
Remember to have a little ritual to punctuate meal times: bib on, sit down, a little phrase for example. This will be particularly helpful as you are an active family and not always at home for meals.
Please let me know which route you choose to take so I can best support you and do get in touch if you need anything or want to share a little (or big) win.
I will send you a short questionnaire and sleep diary on the 10th May to assess what we need to address next and I will check up how it's going on Friday 7th.
>>You chose to go 'the quick way' <<
Here is how your day might go, as per or email ( please note that the timings are only suggestions)
Bellow, I will make 2 suggestions to tackle the night awakes and one suggestion to shorten the 5am feed. These are suggestions only, feel free to adapt to best suit you, Coen and the whole family.
As we discussed, doing all together may be too challenging for Coen.
We also discussed leaving Coen sleeping for as long as he wants in the morning nap and then changing the day accordingly for a few days to see how it impacts the nights. - let me know how that goes! And remember to leave enough time between the naps (around 4 hours or perhaps even a bit more if you see he is not tired)
Floor bed Technique Overview
Adapted from Sleeping Like a Baby by Avi Sadeh
Ideally you stay with your child the whole time to start with, however, you may be able to get away with sneaking out and returning either before your child wakes up or right away on wake up. Ideally, from your child’s perspective, you are there the whole time. The success of this will depend on how deep and long a sleeper your child is and their age. If it doesn’t work and your child ends up waking before you return, it can back-fire, you could inadvertently teach them to be vigilant through the night to make sure you don’t leave.
Children may respond very well to a floor bed and by the end of the week no longer need a parent. Or you may need to continue with phase 2
Phase 2: Weaning off the floor bed
Small steps to reduce the support needed at night
Tackling the 5am feed
You could use this same technique to encourage less wake ups in the night, but do note that for some time it will bring you less sleep. Therefore you could choose to tackle just the first couple of wake ups instead of the whole night.
Also remember that Coen is likely to still need some milk at night.
Connecting play ideas
It can also be helpful to have organised pauses to lower the energy levels from time to time.
The idea is to do this in addition to working on nights, so to reassure Coen that you are emotionally available for him.
We have reassessed what is happening in the day and night and it is time to revisit the naps. Coen's naps have vastly improved since the start of the program but there are a few more adjustments we can do. These are related to the duration and distribution of naps and adjusting the naps depending on how active his day is.
There are also some other important points to address that will help with the early awake.
Here are a few suggestions for you to work on this week:
It was great working with you in the last 6 weeks. You have made some incredible progress with Coen's sleep situation through some hard work and consistency. I hope you can find some time to celebrate your achievements!
What were your goals?
We discussed realistic goal setting, keeping your goals specific, realistic and achievable. You have worked hard and tried to keep to the sleep plan I suggested as much as possible.
Your main goals were:
Long term goal- Perhaps stop feeding to sleep; flexible where Coen naps; waking up later.
Short term goals - More predictable schedule; longer stretches of sleep in the night
Coen very quickly stopped waking for long period of times in the night. You have made adjustments to the naps and the time he goes to sleep and this has made a positive difference. Adding a rhythm to the day through the meal times has bought you some well desired predictability to your days and you are now able to plan your activities with a better level of certainty.
Coen still is waking several times per night, even if for only for a few minutes and for a quick feed (which is an improvement). You have decided that co-sleeping is the best option for now as it gives the whole family more sleep. For the nights to be further improved you will need to look at the distribution of naps in the day as well as how Coen falls asleep.
Here are some average guidance on sleep duration for 10 to 12 month old babies. As we discussed, Coen seems to be to the lower side of this, specially for the night time.
I'd suggest you carry on encouraging his days to have a predictable rhythm by waking up at roughly at the same time and having set 3 meals.
If Coen resists his naps think:
After 16 months, babies drop from 2 to 1 long lunch time nap. Note that the amount of day time sleep stays the same.
As you can imagine this process is not straightforward. Most babies go through a period of having a few days with 1 nap, and then one or two days with 2 naps. This is a transition period until your child is fully ready for dropping that nap. This process usually takes up to a month.
How do you know it's time? If Coen often fights the first nap AND the bedtime does not become earlier if he only has one nap.
One tip for checking if Coen is ready for dropping that nap is: go out for a stroll or a car ride at his usual morning nap time. If he falls asleep, he still needs that nap.
Lastly, you asked further advice on encouraging Coen to stay in his cot. This is also a great and gentle way to change how babies are falling asleep, which can greatly help with frequent night time awakes.
As you are bed-sharing for part of the night I would recommend you do the floor bed (you can see the steps earlier in this page).
If the cot is in Coen's room, you could place a mattress next to his cot (with his mattress lower to the ground and the side of the cot removed), and start from there.
First staying with him the whole night, then gradually increasing the space between the two of you and eventually going back to your room and coming to Coen only when and if he needs support or a feed. You could choose to do this for part of the night and from the 4am wake up/feed, stay with his so you all get more sleep until 6am.
If you are either doing the floor bed or if you are going to carry on as you are for a while longer, I would suggest you feed him at your bedtime (a dream feed perhaps) and at 4am as soon as he wakes up. The 10pm feed will keep him from being hungry and the 4am feed will hopefully resettle him to sleep until 6am.
It has been a pleasure going through these weeks with you. I hope you found the program has helped you all to sleep a little better and to develop some tools you can use for the times ahead.
As Coen grows and his sleep changes, if you need further support I offer a one-off video call. Here is the link for more information https://www.calm-sleep.com/services.html
Lastly, I would be very grateful if you could email any feedback that will make the service better for future parents or a review to share in my social media.