Sleep School – Day 5

So after five amazing days at Masada Sleep School, it’s home time tomorrow. From chatting with the other mums, everyone seems excited to be going home. I know I feel like I have a big suitcase full of tools that I can use with Frankie to help her sleep better and be a more predictable little baby.

Frankie had another great night last night. Like a little sleep machine, she self-settled within about five minutes (on her own) after I put her down grizzling loudly at 7pm. I did a dream feed at 11am, and then one of the wonderful night nurses fed Frankie a bottle of EBM at around 3am (and also changed Frankie’s outfit as she had a nappy leak – damn you nappy!). I could see in Frankie’s notes that she was put back down to sleep after all that, wide awake, and apparently was quiet and went straight back to sleep. I then woke Frankie up at 7am to start the day (yes, it is OK to wake your baby), even though she definitely could have kept sleeping soundly.

Frankie wormed her way half up the cot last night.

Frankie wormed her way half up the cot last night.

On the topic of leaky nappies, I got some great advice on that this morning: try putting a cloth nappy over the disposable nappy OR put a second nappy on top of the first nappy. Gold.

I have also now had a few goes of doing the Pat Pat on Frankie. The first couple of times I did it, the biggest problem I ran into is Frankie being a squirmy worm and wanting to roll back onto her back. Frustrating – because both hands are patting and unfortunately I don’t have a third hard to hold her down. I asked what to do and I was given some great advice: first, when positioning the baby on their side, make sure you roll their legs over so they are facing the side (not just their torso/shoulders) and second, use the sheet to cover their shoulders and pull it tight so it keeps them in position while you pat. Using these techniques helped a lot. Also, as a plan B, you can leave the hand on bub’s shoulder secure and just move your fingers to pat on the shoulder (and do the proper pat on the hips). I hope that all makes sense! I’ll try to create a video of what I am talking about over the next few days in case it all sounds like gibberish.

To change the nappy overnight or not? This was a question I had always wondered about. At home, my husband and I would oscillate between obsessively changing Frankie’s nappies through to letting her sit in her wee and pooh overnight to avoid waking her. The answer is: change the nappy if is completely soiled (i.e. it feels really heavy) or if there has been a leak and the bub’s clothes/blanket are wet. Because no one likes to sleep covered in urine.

Time for food.

Time for food.

And here are a bunch of helpful tips I got from yesterday’s big Q&A session (there were plenty of other tips which I will post in the next couple of weeks):

– To blacken out a room (because despite Black Out blinds being called Black Out blinds, they don’t really black out the room at all, do they?), use black garbage bags blu tacked to the window or black art paper. The trick is to have the room completely black until your baby has learnt how to self-settle and sleep well (the length of which differs for every baby).

– Try to book appointments (e.g. doctors appointments) for the afternoon because the morning sleeps are more important, of better quality, and longer. This is also good advice for mother’s groups trying to decide when to meet for coffee – afternoon is better than morning from a bub’s sleep point of view.

– When out and about, bring your bub’s cot toy or comforter that is a sleep cue, and hide it until it is time for them to sleep, and then place it in the pram when it is nap time.

– When I was out walking with Frankie a couple of days ago, she kept falling asleep in the pram even though it was “wake time”. I poked and prodded her (probably looking like a very strange and annoying mother to passers by) to keep her awake. But I was reassured during yesterday’s session and said if they do happen to fall asleep when you are out with them during “wake time” just treat it as a cat nap and get back on schedule when you get home.

– When your baby wakes after every sleep or nap, take them to the window and tell them what time of the day it is (e.g. “It’s morning Frankie, time for breakfast”). Doing these little things will start to get them used to it being day time, and different from night time.

Check out is at 8am, and they have recommended that the baby’s room at home be all ready to go so they can be put down for their first nap as soon as we get home. My husband just called me before to tell me he put up about 30 garbage bags on the windows of Frankie’s room and it is now pitch black. Brilliant.

I’ll keep posting updates on life after Masada. If you are keen to be notified of when a new post is uploaded, just go to the top of the right side tool bar and click on Follow.

I love hearing all your comments and questions. And if you do have any questions before I check out of Masada, please post them below and I’ll try to either answer them myself or ask one of the Masada Nursing gurus.

Time to say bye-bye to this corridor that has become my home over the last five days.

Time to say bye-bye to this corridor that has become my home over the last five days.

30 thoughts on “Sleep School – Day 5

  1. As a recent graduate of the Masada sleep school, reading your blog has been a great refresher and I’ve also picked up some new tips along the way! Thank you Amantha for sharing your experiences and I wish you the best of luck for the next few weeks of settling in back home (although it sounds as though Frankie is sleeping like a trooper!). Looking forward to hearing how it all goes 🙂

  2. Your blog is just fantastic! It has been so helpfull in understanding sleep and what methods work but more importanly – manage my expectation as we are going to Masada next week. It is a bit scary as all routines will need to be changed (for more sustainable ones) but considering my little boy is a serious snacker, and can never nap for longer than 40min during the day and frequently wakes up to play at 4am, Masada feels like the holy grail. Just one quick question: did Masada encourage bath as part of the night time routine and did they practice it? Did they demonstrate typical routines? Thanks a million, and keep on the good work. Helping us moms become more confident 🙂

    • Yes – they will help you get a routine for your bub. And they do suggest a bath (we do this every night), but it is by no means mandatory. I am sure you will love your time here – it is transformative!

  3. Thank you for your blog post. We have come out the other side of our sleep battles and I want to congratulate you for seeking help. Sleep is so important for a baby and also for yourself, and until you have this taken away, you don’t even realise how much. Our six moth old is now sleeping through the night and has (on good days) three naps a day. I’m wondering if Masada had any tips for lengthening naps. Sometimes my little on will get through only 2 sleep cycles (1 hour) at nap times and I try pat patting and in and out of the room for three goes. It seems to just escalate how upset that he is. He mostly self settles for all his naps and also when we put him down at night at 7pm. Was there any suggestions on extending naps.

    • The suggestion was to Pat Pat as many times as it takes until they reach their next awake time. So for Frankie (who is three months), we try to get two hour naps out of her, so if she woke up after 90 minutes, we would try to resettle and keep trying until she reaches the two hour mark.

      • Hi, thanks so much for sharing! I’ve read your blog and I’m trying to fix my 12 week olds cat napping. can I just ask a couple of questions? After DD woke from her 45 min nap this morning I tried the pat pat 8 times for almost an hour until the next sleep time and my little girl just screamed, she got worse and worse then I felt terrible for trying for so long. She has been up and out of bed for half an hour now and due for a feed in half an hour. When I feed her she will fall asleep at the boob. Should I try again now? What happens when it doesn’t work? Do I just keep going at it all day filliwing the 1.5 hour up times for a 12 week old? What happens if she doesn’t link sleeps all day and it keeps on going? Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. This is my second baby no. 1 was a catnapper and I just gave up in the end and used the swing until he grew out of it. That was so horrendous I’m not sure I could do it again???

      • Hi Dianne – that sounds really hard 😦 Masada would say keep doing the patting until it is wake time (i.e time for her next feed). At 12 weeks, the minimum awake time is 1 hour 15 mins, so you might want to try that rather than the full 1.5 hours. Frankie and I had a really bad routine happening and it took work to break it, but once we did, everything has been so much easier. I definitely recommend going to Masada as they are obviously the experts in this, and in “resetting” routines.

      • Thank you for your quick responses! So I kept her up until after her feed. By the time I put her back down she was overtired. I did the pat pat and it worked. She woke up after the t5 min mark and after 2 goes of the patting she went back to sleep and has been asleep for a while! Hopefully she breaks the 45 min mark this time! Thanks for your time.

  4. Can I ask what the wait time was to be admitted? Also, do you think babies of all ages would benefit? EG would young babies cope as well as older babies with all the new concepts? Thanks

    • Wait time is currently eight weeks, but it is shorter if your situation is critical. I think the max age allowed is 24 months. And the youngest bub during my stay was 8 weeks old.

  5. Hi Amantha well done to Frankie for being a great sleeper!

    was there any information about what to do when baby might be going through a growth spurt? I’ve read that when they do they normally want to feed more..How does this work with the routines and overnight?

  6. The video would be amazing! A shame I didn’t hear about this until now, I would have asked you what to do in case one have twins. When one cries teying to resettle, the other wakes up.
    I learned many things anyway and I am really glad you wrote the blog. Right now my babies’ room is pitch black and they are trying to resettle by the first time! I can hear some grizzling as I write. I suspect one resettled and the other is now grizzling, but hard to be sure without looking in. I wish my husband would agree to a video monitor 😦

  7. Thanks so much for posting, its been very helpful. For the insomnia try Dr Rick Collingwood’s hypnosis track you can get on itunes… it gets me to sleep within a few minutes each time i hit the pillow, be it every 2 – 5 hours! I hope this helps 🙂

  8. Hi Amantha,
    I have a 6 week old who will only wake once in the evening (so sleeping brilliantly in the evening) but only falls asleep in the baby carrier for all day naps. So thanks for your tips, I’m going to try putting him to bet and using the pat pat technique.
    My question: can you explain a dream feed? I haven’t heard of this.
    Many thanks

    • Hi Rachel, a dream feed is given bw 10.30-11.30pm, where you try not to wake bub, but give them a BF or bottle feed. The aim is to try to tide them over for a bit longer without actually waking them.

  9. Hi. Thanks for your blog. It is very helpful. Just a quick question. At what age can you introduce a comforter? I thought you weren’t supposed to for quite some time due to sids risk? Eg- no toys/blanked or loose items in cott. Thanks 🙂

    • When Frankie was in at three months, they introduced her to a comforter (and t-shirt tied into a knot) – so I guess they don’t feel that something like that is a SIDS risk.

  10. I know it is pretty obvious now, but it took me a while to realise that pampers nappies have those little flaps around the legs and if you “untuck” them it actually helps stop leaks and spurts

  11. Hello, thanks for the amazing blog.
    I have a 4 month old and I fear she is addicted to the dummy! Am trying to improve her sleep as it is a disaster at present. 😦
    I’m trying the Masada method you talk about, but with the dummy in… If she doesn’t have the dummy she basically screams constantly and no amount of patting works.
    Any advice? Or did the Masada staff talk about dummies at all?
    I’d love to get rid of the dummy and help her self settle but thought maybe I get her into the Masada routine first, then remove dummy??
    Thanks so much, from a desperate mumma.

    • Hi Susie – Masada would definitely get you taking the dummy out. From memory, they make you go cold turkey and it generally takes only a couple of nights of a lot of resettling for the bub to get used to things. Good luck!

  12. Hi there,
    Have come across your blog and have started the Masada technique with my 5 month old twins this week as they have started only sleeping one cycle at a time during the day. Am also trying to persist with it at night for my little girl during witching hour. Have seen enough progress so far to keep persisting so thank you for being so open and detailed about your experience!

    I just have three questions;
    1. The cot cuddle – is this assuming you can reach in and cuddle them while they are sitting ie the base of the cot is not too low? We are currently on holiday away from home and the porta cot base is on the ground so I’m not sure how this works?

    2. As we approach the 6 month mark I was wondering what Masada recommends as the daily sleep routine? I’ve read that Frankie sleeps longer than they recommend, which is great, just wondering what they recommend for a bit of a guideline. I think I’ll be letting bubs show me what they need too but don’t want to let them oversleep and then have it affect their night sleep!

    3. Have you dropped the 10pm dream feed now? How did you go about that? Cold turkey?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Hi there…in answer to your q’s:

      1. Cot cuddle – ideally they stay with their bum in the cot – but if you need to, you can take them out if they are really distressed (although Masada don’t recommend this).

      2. Good question – Frankie is now a bit over 2, so I can’t quite remember – although if you read through the blog posts, i think I detailed it somewhere…

      3. From memory, I think I dropped the dream feed when Frankie was about 6 months…(but this is going back 18 months, so don’t quote me on that 🙂

  13. Hi Amantha,
    Thanks so much for your blog, such great information. We have a 9 week old little girl and have started using the pat pat technique to get her settling in her cot which has already helped her nap settling a lot. However getting her to link her sleep cycles has so far not worked at all which is rather heartbreaking as she gets so upset. How long did it take your Frankie to learn to link sleep cycles during naps? Also any advice on how long we should persist with this for?

    • Hi Katie

      It took about 3-4 weeks of persisting with what we learnt at Masada to see fairly permanent changes. There were definite improvements straight away, but it takes persistence AND consistency to see the best results.

      Good luck 🙂


      • Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I might need to start crossing off days on the calendar. Did you have any nap times that she just cried/grizzled for the whole time?

  14. Hi Amantha
    I’m loving reading this blog as I am currently on the waiting list. What would your advice be for us to do some preparing before we go? Eg transfer my 12 week old into the cot, transfer them out of the swaddle etc etc? My son will only sleep if he’s rocked to sleep in my arms

    • Hi Emily, I didn’t actually do anything to prepare. I think you will learn some great new habits at Masada, so I would say just go in open-minded and make the changes post-Masada.

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