Sleep School – Day 3

It’s the morning of Day 3 today which means: time to settle our babies on our own (well, not quite on our own as we have guidance “on tap” from the amazing nurses). Frankie was a little champion last night – I put her down to bed at 7.30pm and while she grizzled like a very grumpy cat when I put her in her Love to Dream suit and then left the room, she self settled within five minutes. This is unheard of in our household. The only times this has happened at home is when we have used “bad” sleeping aids (our electric swing or feeding her until she fell asleep in my arms). I was then woken by the nurse to do a dream feed at 11pm (incidentally, Masada call them rollover feeds) and then a nurse gave Frankie expressed BM at 3am – no grizzling at all: she had to be woken up to feed!. And this morning, she started grizzling a tiny bit at 7.25am so I got her up to start the day. Which means, with the help of a sleeping tablet, I slept for 7 hours straight. OMG. I think the last time this has happened was in my second trimester.

We also had a great session yesterday afternoon where all the mums (there are 20 of us) came together in a room and one of the nurses ran a bit of a group therapy session (I don’t think Masada calls it that – but it’s basically when it was). Some of the mums shared their stories which was incredibly moving. The mums here are truly amazing in what they have been going through and managing to cope with. (Incidentally, when we are in the group sessions and it is feeding time, our babies get brought up to us if they need to be BF, and Frankie always decides it is feeding time during these sessions. So I was feeding Frankie during this particular session while some of the mums were sharing some really heart-wrenching experiences and in the middle of all this, Frankie does the world’s loudest pooh. And then a minute later, does a second one – just for comic effect. She clearly wanted to lighten things up and I am sure she is destined to be the class clown when she goes to school).

Frankie, the loud pooh-er.

Frankie, the loud pooh-er.

So, loud poohs aside, I thought I’d write about a few other things I learned yesterday (it really was information-packed and way too much for one post), so here are some other tidbits:

I know I had a lot of trouble distinguishing the difference between a grizzle and a cry (other than a grizzle sounding like a grumpy cat). A couple of weeks ago I had my amazing friend Monique over (a super duper brilliant mother of four children under 6!) trying to help me decipher whether Frankie was crying or grizzling. And I think that I have now finally got the hang of it: a cry is constant, and a grizzle is not. Grizzles are more like a wave – they stop and start. Also, volume is not an indication of whether it is a grizzle or a cry. Some babies grizzle loudly, while others cry softly.

Up until now, we have been swaddling Frankie in a wrap with her arms by her side. We had a brief break from this when a lactation consultant taught as what my husband and I called “the mummy wrap” (because she looked like a mummy). Masada recommends swaddling until 6-8 weeks, then angel wrapping until 4 months (this is the same as a mummy wrap), and then a sleeping bag from 4 months (when babies start to roll). If you haven’t come across angel wrapping before, this is where the bub gets to sleep with their hands up near their face (exactly like the Love to Dream swaddle for 0-3 months) – the reason for this is so they can self settle by sucking on their hands.

Feed, Play, Sleep is the routine they preach at Masada – which I knew theoretically, but didn’t really practice that well. Frankie and I would start at feed, but so often she would be so tired that we wouldn’t make it to play. And then when I put her down to sleep, she would grizzle and cry because she was overtired. Argh.

BUT – there is one exception to the Feed, Play, Sleep routine, and that is at bedtime where upon waking (at around 6.30pm ideally), we give Frankie a bath, then some low key playing and cuddling, and then finish with a feed (and then a nappy change). The idea behind finishing with a feed is to help her stretch longer until her next feed.

Masada recommend dream feeding (between 10.30pm-midnight) up until the age of around 7-8 months when the bub is well and truly on solids. And until Frankie has doubled her birth weight, we need to feed on demand after the dream feed (typically between 3-5am). I am secretly a bit bummed about this as I was hoping that Masada would magically help Frankie sleep from the dream feed through to 7am. No such luck. Frankie has always been a bit of a runt (in the 15th percentile). She was 3kg at birth and is now 5kg at 3 months – so we still have 1 kg to go until we’ll be getting a bigger chunk of sleep.

Feet out! Frankie pretty much lives in a Bonds Wondersuit and out of habit, we leave her feet covered up. The nurses said for day sleeps, pull her feet out (which we had never done before). The reason for this is because it firstly is a sign that it is daytime (not nighttime) and secondly, they are more likely to overheat in the day from being grizzly and overtired and having their feet out helps them be a bit cooler.

I’ll report back on how I go self-settling Frankie today, and as always, I love hearing your comments and questions!

24 thoughts on “Sleep School – Day 3

  1. Great blog Amantha! I was wandering what Masada suggests for daytime catnapping. I self settle and bubs grizzles and falls asleep on his own. But after 40-60mins he’ll wake up again. Ive tried keeping him up longer (2hours – nearly 5months), putting to bed earlier (1.5hours). Give lots of play time – not much seems to hv an affect. Usually after 40mins when he wakes, I’ll pat/shh another 40mins to get another sleep cycle in – but if I stop earlier than 1 sleep cycle bubs will wake!!

  2. Thanks for your insights, I am really enjoying reading this. Do they have any tips on how to plan to be at an appointment at a particular time if it falls within one of the recommended sleep times? I am finding that a real struggle at the moment – needing to be somewhere exactly when my 10 week old would normally be asleep. And, do they suggest that you wake the baby if he sleeps longer than a recommended window? My baby tends to have his longest sleep in the afternoon, when it looks like he should be sleeping the shortest amount then and sleeping longer in the morning and at night.

    I hope that you are keeping well in there. Thanks again for the blog. :0)

    • Hi Michelle – in the age group Frankie is in (under 6 months), they recommend waking the bub after 3 hours. As for the other question about sticking to a routine AND having a life, there is a session tomorrow that covers that so I will be sure to report back.

  3. Sounds like everything is going well and Frankie looks really happy.
    My five week boy gets mummy swaddled at night and has the love to dream angel swaddle for the day. Should we also use this angel suit for the night?
    Im trying to follow the Feed, play, sleep and Im also finding the shortly after a feed he is showing signs of tiredness- yawning, staring etc. I read from you yesterday the hiccups is a sign if tiredness. What are the signs of over tiredness? Im finding I can settle him very easily for the first 45 minutes but I can’t get him to settle for a second cycle and by the time I keep trying, he is showing signs of hunger (moving mouth). This is after about 2 hours from his previous feed. Having said this, when I caved in and feed him this morning after his 45min (and attempts to resettle) he really didn’t take the boob like he was exceptionally hungry. He fooled me. Maybe I should try a dummy at this point?

    Thanks for all your help!


    • Hi Kasia – because your bub is still quite young, I am not 100% sure what to do as all the nurses at Cabrini (where Frankie was born) recommended demand feeding while they are still so young – so I would probably go with this? As for other tired signs: red eyebrows, rubbing eyes, jerky movements, grizzling, staring off into space, yawning, are a few!

  4. I’m really enjoying your daily updates so keep it up! I have a 9 week old boy who sounds very similar to your baby, before sleep school. I’m not sure how much discipline we have to implement our own sleep training so are considering sleep school as an option. The control crying does scare me slightly. Is it horrible? My little one often screams in the car until we get him our and that’s terrible!

    • Hi Sarah – I wholeheartedly recommend sleep school! And if you chose Masada, I wouldn’t really call it controlled crying. They only let them cry for 2 minutes before going in to resettle. I think that classic controlled crying is when you let them cry and cry and cry (heartbreaking). While like any mum, it is just awful hearing your baby cry and not being able to do anything, but for me, I just keep remembering that it is for the best because Frankie is learning how to be a brilliant little sleeper.

  5. Hi Amantha, my daughter is 6 weeks old and I am beside myself trying to get her to settle and sleep at night. A week ago I would have said her unsettled time is around 10pm – 1am but now we can barely get her down for her first night sleep before the crying starts..I am logging everything at the moment and it just seems just each day gets worse. In the last 24 hour period I logged she got about 11.5 hours sleep which I’m sure is not nearly enough. Last night I was up with her from 8pm til 2.30am before she went to sleep.
    I know we have got some bad habits going on.. Like snack feeding but when she’s so distressed and it’s the only thing that calms her down (shuts her up) it’s a hard habit to break. I’m also guilty of rocking her to sleep in my arms (again it seems to be the only solution at this point) but that is only a short fix anyway as she inevitably wakes and screams when I put her in her cradle. I’ve tried the save our sleep self settling approach but that doesn’t seem to work.. In fact she gets especially distressed if we are in the room trying to calm her or pat her without picking her up.
    Anyway I was really happy to stumble across your blog and will try and soak up and put into practice the tools you share…

  6. Hi Amantha! Thank you so much for sharing these stories. I have a question, you said that at 6-8 weeks move to Angel swaddle, but can bub still startle themselves to wake up? My little girl is 9 weeks but if I leave her arms out of swaddle she doesn’t sleep any where near as well.

    • Hi Kathryn, because the arms are still enclosed in the Angle swaddle (like the Love to Dream swaddle design), they (in theory) shouldn’t startle themselves awake.

  7. brilliant information thanks for sharing your story of frankies stay in sleep school. My daughter (now 3yrs) went to sleep school in brisbane. I refered to it as the Centre for naughty babies, it was a life saver for both of us as im not sure how much more i could of taken without their support. One of the biggest things i got from the centre for naughty babies was my confidence to parent. I felt like such a failure that i couldnt get her to sleep by herself before this. I hope the last few days are as helpful as the first and you can start enjoying your adorable little girl.

  8. Hi Amantha, thanks for sharing your experience at Masada. My friend referred your blog to me. Great information and I’m looking forward to more!
    I currently have a 5 month old who is waking up every 2-3 hours during the night and sometimes stays awake for more than an hour needing attention. It’s doing my head in! I considered going to Masada but unfortunately my private health care level does not cover it. Didn’t think I would need more than a “lite” hospital cover! So I booked in with a sleep consultant – fingers and toes crossed!
    Best of luck with everything..

    P/s:have you spoken at a tedx conference before??i think I may have seen you. Apologies if I’m mistaken!

    • Good luck with the sleep consultant! There are a few ex-Masada ones out there and I have heard great things about so many of them. And yes, I spoke at TEDxMelbourne a couple of years back (when I am not being a mum, I run a company called Inventium ( and help companies innovate more successfully).

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! One question, you mention the morning nap is the most important, my bubs will nap from 830am but without fail always wakes after one sleep cycle.
    Tried resettling for a few minutes but she is wide awake so I end up getting her up.
    Any tips from Masada on how to get her to resettle?
    Thanks 😀

  10. Thank you I am enjoying yours and Frankie’s journey … I was just so tired I did not fully absorb what the nurses where saying to me … So learning with you.

  11. Hi Amantha, thank you so much for this it is so so interesting and helpful. Is there any way you can describe the angel swaddle? I still have my 9wo in the mummy swaddle. He does not sleep in the love to dream one because his arms seem to annoy him.

    Thsnk you 🙂

  12. Hi Amantha,
    Your blog is fantastic. So helpful to all of the mums out there who are struggling to get their babies to sleep! My daughter is almost 16 weeks and is a serial catnapper during the day. I usually can only get her to sleep for 30-45 mins each sleep. She usually self settles though, but doesn’t resettle after waking from the first cycle. Very frustrating!
    Definitely going to try the Pat Pat method tomorrow.
    Not sure if you’ve been asked this already, but what do Masada think of using white noise? I would assume it’s a no-no as would be considered a sleep aid?
    Thanks again for the information. Good luck with Frankie!


    • Hi Sarah – white noise is a “no-no” – apparently they become desensitised to it after three weeks of listening to it. Where it is helpful is to drown out other noises such as a dog barking. But that’s about it.

  13. Pingback: The Masada Routine | Not another mum blog

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