Sleep School – The morning of Day 2

Miracle of miracles – I am writing this blog post having just put Frankie down for her second nap of the day (at 11.40am) and after grizzling her head off for a few minutes, she had self settled by 11.45am. Has someone swapped Frankie for another baby?

We had a great session with all the mums with babies under 6 months this morning with one of the nurses, who was a whirlwind of brilliant information. She said at the start – “don’t worry, you won’t need to take many notes” – but of course, I found myself writing non-stop. Note to self: bring iPad to next session.

Here are some tips from this morning (keeping in mind these are tips for 6 months and under):

Feed 3-5 hourly during the day, and within 15 minutes of getting the baby out of the cot. Allow a 45 minutes window for feeding – after this time, the Milk Bar is officially closed. The reason for this is to teach the baby that milk does not flow on tap around here. Prior to sleep school, Frankie was a major snacker. In my pre-admission interview with Masada, the nurse said to try to stretch Frankie out to 3 hourly feeds (just extending each window by 5 minutes until we could reach 3 hours). The snacking cycle is hard to break – but important to break as it helps babies feed better.

A little trick to help wind the baby is to sit them in a bouncer or swing (or something where they are a bit upright) straight after a burp – this mixes burp time with play time. Who knew that babies could multitask at such a young age 🙂

As tempting as it is to multitask while I am feeding (I feel so “inefficient” if I don’t have my mobile phone or ipad in hand or on lap when I am feeding), one of the nurses suggested just focus on the feeding when they are feeding – especially during our time here at Masada where we don’t have the duties and distractions of the outside world. This will allow me to actually focus on whether Frankie is feeding properly. She shared a story about a mum who was constantly on the laptop while feeding, and she never noticed that her baby never wanted to feed from one side – which was the side by the laptop.

There were a few comments on Facebook about babies becoming dependent on pitch black rooms. This was brought up this morning and it was recommended that after Masada, we try to stick to the “Masada rules” for 2 weeks (as strictly as we can), and as the bub learns to become a better sleeper, you can slowly let more light into the room, and they will also naturally become better at sleeping in the pram, car, grandma’s, etc too.

Frankie's "bedroom" at Masada, which becomes pitch black when the door is closed.

Frankie’s “bedroom” at Masada, which becomes pitch black when the door is closed.


Apparently hiccups are a tired sign. Who knew?

For morning naps, try to do three sleep cycles (one sleep cycle is around 45 minutes). This is the most important nap of the day – seems to get them off to a good start for the rest of the day.

Remove all mobiles from above the bed. It is critical that there are no distractions for the baby. This is especially important between sleep cycles to help them move effortlessly from one sleep cycle to the next.

When putting the baby down to sleep, give them a rub on the chest and say “time for sleep”. Another thing to help them recognise that it is NOT time to play.

For the overnight sleep, always wrap the baby in the cot and if they need changing in the middle of the night – change them in the cot. This is something we had never done – but am excited to do this. If you move them out of the cot for these activities, the baby might mistakenly think that it is play time.

If they don’t settle, come in, and do a gentle shhhhh. Don’t say their name (you are not here to play and interact). Then start the Masada Pat Pat (my name for it, not theirs…). To do this:

1. Place the baby on its side, facing away from you.
2. Say “shhhh” in a calming way (ideally until she stops crying).
3. Cup your hands like you are holding an egg and with one hand on the baby’s shoulder and the other on the hip, do a fast pat. Place slightly less pressure on the shoulder pat because it doesn’t have a nappy as a cushion. Count to 100.
4. Change to a slower paced pat. Count to 100. The idea is to bore them back to sleep (and hopefully you don’t get bored to back to sleep while you are doing it).
5. If they are still crying or grizzling, do another round of the slower pats.
6. Keep your hand still on your bub’s shoulder, and then do a single pat on the hip for 50 counts. Start slowing right down for the final few pats.
7. Move the baby back onto it’s back.
8. Walk out.

Finally, never go backwards in the steps. I asked “why not”? The nurse replied “because you don’t want to be in there all night”. Fair enough.

And here are some tips for play time:

– Do tummy time midway through a play. You don’t want to do it right after a feed (too much pressure on the tummy) and too close to bed time (hello grizzle city).

– If you have a playmate (like Frankie does), swap the mobiles that hang above it from time-to-time to give the baby a bit of variety. This may sound really obvious to some people, but a good thing to be reminded off nonetheless.

– Spend the last five minutes of every play time doing “wind down”. This involves changing the nappy, then reading a story (rhymes are good) or singing a low key song (like Twinkle Twinkle little star). By doing this before every nap time, they will start to associate this with “time to sleep”.

Keep your comments and questions coming! It’s lovely to know that this blog is helping some sleep deprived mummas 🙂

Frankie doing tummy time - and trying to lick the air while she does it.

Frankie doing tummy time – and trying to lick the air while she does it.

26 thoughts on “Sleep School – The morning of Day 2

  1. Thanks for sharing. Can I ask do you ‘ssssh’ whilst patting? Also is the resettle technique for during the day also?

  2. I just finished last week at Masada and you seem to be covering the topics I forgot to ask about … So a really big thank you from Colleen and little Miss Matilda.

  3. Thanks for sharing and taking questions, Amantha. I was in Masada 1.5wks ago. Can’t thx them enough to bring my life back together.

    Have you heard about:

    1) Baby wakes up too early.
    *B/w 4-6am, is it 20mins grizzle or 10mins grizzle?
    *Can we get them up around 6am ish w/out go in and resettling?
    *By what time should we give in and get them up? by 7am?

    2) Best time to exist the room.
    *As soon as I stop patting, most of the time my little man would start crying again. I think it indicates that I should pat him longer time, but it’s so dark inside, I’m afraid to pat him to sleep.
    *We can only reposition them 3 times at beginning, what if when you doing 50 last slow pats, then they turned back and try to grab your arms?

    thQ, Cath

    • I have heard that you can extend the grizzle period to 20 minutes at night before going in. And they say to start the day anytime from 6.30am onwards if the bub wakes a bit early.

      In terms of best time to exit the room – do it AS SOON as you have finished the Pat Pat routine. And then go back to the 10 minutes grizzle or 2 minutes crying before going back in (note – this is for under 6 months – so as per my post, the crying rules are slightly different for over 6 months).

  4. Thank you so much for sharing! I am a first time Mummy to a 10 week old baby girl and this has been really so helpful. I do however have one question:

    I suspect my baby girl is cat napping during the day and after reading your post, confirms this. Her morning naps are exactly 40 minutes on the dot whereby she starts grizzling in her Moses basket. I normally go in after a minute to try and re-settle her into another 40 minute sleep cycle with patting and sshing and if that fails, cradling and patting her in my arms.
    My question is : how many naps in a day should babies under 6 months be having? And how long should each nap be?

    The reason for my question is that my daughter feeds 3-4 hourly and I am guessing that for her age she should be awake for 1 to 1.15 hours so is it right to assume she is to sleep straight till her next feed? (which never happens to her!)

    Thank you so much again!

    • The guidelines here say that for between 8-12 weeks, they should sleep between every feed. For 3-6 months (where Frankie is), she needs three decent sleeps of at least two sleep cycles, plus she can have a cat nap at around 5/5.30 which would only last for one sleep cycle. And yes – at her age, Masada recommends that she be awake for between 1-1.5 hours (including feeding time).

  5. Thanks Amantha for the blog! It’s exciting to read this as I’m going through the same thing at home right now with a help of a sleep consultant.

    What does Masada recommend to do if they wake up 40 minutes in their nap? How long do they recommend re-settling? I’m already in week 2 and so far no luck resettling my LO. He has done the odd 2 hour sleep in the mornings but 90% of his naps are still 40 minutes. Just wondering if Masada has something better to recommend than what I’m doing (currently resettling till it’s 3 hours past his last feed, then allowed to get him up. It’s been very very overwhelmind doing that every day several times more than a week now).

    • Hi Lisa – that sounds exhausting! If he is taking up 40 minutes into his nap, it sounds like he is having trouble linking his sleep cycles together. So Masada would recommend doing the Pat Pat to resettle, then leaving the room, and then waiting the appropriate amount of time (for a grizzle or cry) and then going back in for the Pat Pat, and than basically repeating this process until he resettles, or until it is feeding time. Exhausting, but apparently they do learn (eventually) to resettle themselves!

  6. My bubs is 6 weeks old and can not sleep longer than 40 minutes for his first two naps and then for his last nap sleeps over 2 hours and then because he’s so overtired it is hard to get him to settle for bedtime at 7. I am going to try the pat pat settling technique but how do I pat on the shoulder and hip at the same time when I need to hold him to get him to stay on his side?

    I am loving this information. Thanks for blogging about your experiences and what you’re learning!


    • Hi Tenaya – hmmm, good question. I have watched the nurses do the Pat Pat on Frankie and they seem to be able to balance her OK. I haven’t done it yet so not sure I can provide a helpful answer to you…

  7. With the pat pat, if bubs falls asleep before you finish the settling technique, can you stop and walk out, or do you still finish the process?

      • Hi Amantha,
        Thanks to your blog and video, Im seeing improvements in my but to settle.
        Can you please elaborate on the answer above?
        So if bubs closes his eyes, say at 62 on the first 100 pats, how do you proceed
        A) Finish the first 100 and cut the 2nd 100 and 50 short. In this case, how short?
        B) stop at 62 and then continue with the second 100 and 50?
        C) other?

  8. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I just tried the pat pat routine on my 3 month old boy and it worked! One thing though, have you found that your baby’s head is now always in the same position for sleep, given you roll her from her side to her back every time?

    • Yay! I know what you mean, but Frankie turns her head quite a bit from side to side when she is in a light sleep or self-settling so it hasn’t been too much of a problem. If you are worried about it, maybe reposition their head (either once they have settled – or once they have gone into a deep sleep).

  9. Would you mind making a youtube video of your masada pat pat technique. This would help to get a better grasp on what we should do. Thanks!

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  12. Thank you for such a detailed description of the Masada technique for under 6 mth old bubs. My son and I went to Masada three and a half years ago, when he was 16 mths old, and it changed our lives! My ten week old daughter is now having trouble with her day sleeps and I’ve been wondering what the timing and technique would be for her, given that she’s so much younger than my son was.
    Can I clarify something mentioned in the comments: is it meant to be a feed/sleep routine for bubs under 3 mths, then a feed/play/sleep routine for bubs over 3 months?

    • Hi there, I took Frankie to Masada when she was three months old. There were a couple of younger bubs, but I think that three months is generally when they recommend starting a routine from. Hopefully what I have detailed about the routine for Frankie when she was three months old is helpful and relevant 🙂

  13. Hi amantha thanks for the post. I’m trying to follow the Masada routine and will enrol him if he doesn’t catch on. We are trying the 12 hour day with 3 sleeps the 8-8 routine and the dreamfeed at 10.30-11pm.
    Can I ask a some questions
    1. If My boy goes down between 7.30- 8pm and I go to sleep at 9.30pm. Should i be setting the alarm to wake up around 10.30-11.30. Or should I let him wake naturally – as he would normally wake after around 4 hours (eg before 12). Do Masada have a preference?
    2. He’s next wake up is between 2.30 and 3. If he wakes at 2.15-2.30am should I resettle him till the window of 3-5am that Masada suggests to feed in? Or is half an hour earlier to feed acceptable?
    3. If he wakes before 6.30am (he usually wakes at 6-6.15am) should I try and resettle till 7-8am or should I just feed him and count it as a night feed and then try to resettle again. Zac is a little on the small side too. Hasn’t double birth weight yet at 3 months. 1 more kilo!!
    4. I use the angel suit and I know Masada uses blankets to tuck them in. My boy is so strong and even if I use them (tuck them right under) he manages to escape. Do Masada say it’s ok not too use them? He’s not cold – I dress him appropriately.
    5. Re day sleeps – I assume it’s 6 hours broken into 3 stints of 2 hours. If say he woke up after 1 or 2 cycles and I couldn’t get him down after 3-4 tries would I just keep trying to resettle or do I get him up and put him down for his next sleep a little earlier? If they miss a sleep eg the 4pm one, would I just put him down earlier next time round?
    6. What do Masada recommend if you go out for dinner at a restaurant at 7pm-8pm say? would I bath before and then try get him to sleep in the pram & then dreamfeed when I go home?
    7. If My boy is in his cot and talks to himself for a while eg 15 minutes is that counted as part of the sleep time?

    Thanks so much!!
    Sorry for the overload of questions. My friends have given me some tips, rough ideas. But I had so many questions

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