So what does the Masada Pat Pat technique actually look like?

Since writing about the Pat Pat technique, I had promised to create a video. So yesterday evening, I invited my dad over to film it “live” during Frankie’s witching hour (which typically starts at 5pm). Dads arrives at 5, punctual as always, and we sit and wait for Frankie to grizzle. And we wait. And we wait some more. And then we wait a bit more. And the clock ticks onto 5.45pm (time for Frankie’s bedtime routine to start) and I end up having to wake her! Thank you Masada 🙂

Frankie - after being rudely woken up by her mother.

Frankie – after being rudely woken up by her mother.

So instead of being able to film a live version of the technique in action, we created a demonstration video with Frankie wide awake. I hope that this helps you understand super clearly how this magical resettling technique actually works.

Before you watch the video, here is a little recap on the technique:

What is it? The Masada “Pat Pat” (as I refer to it as) is a technique you can use to resettle your baby if they wake before they are supposed to (e.g. after a cat nap to help them link sleep cycles, at 5am, when they can’t even get to sleep to start with, etc).

When should you use it? For bubs under 6 months, wait 10 minutes for grizzling, and 2 minutes for crying before you go into the room to Pat Pat. For overnight use, wait 20 minutes for grizzling, and 2 minutes for crying. For bubs over 6 months, you can gradually increase the “cry wait time” by 2 minutes after every time you go in to up to 10 minutes total. Grizzling wait time remains the same.

Who should watch this video? Well, obviously mums and dads should watch it. But also, it could be useful to show to people who look after your baby and need to learn how to resettle it (grandparents, nannies, babysitters, the family dog, and so on).

What if I am too busy to watch your little video? Fair enough: here is a summary of the technique:

Enter the room (and don’t turn any lights on), and do a gentle shhhhh. Don’t say their name (you are not here to play and interact). Then start the Masada Pat Pat. To do this:

1. Place the baby on its side, facing away from you.
2. Say “shhhh” in a calming way (ideally until she/he 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. Even if you can hearing grizzling or crying.

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

And without further ado, here is the video:

Feel free to share it with those who are looking after your little guy/girl using the buttons below. Or you could be all old-fashioned about it and cut and paste the URL into an email and share it that way…

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57 thoughts on “So what does the Masada Pat Pat technique actually look like?

  1. Thank you so much for your blog and this post. I am feeling terrible that my daughter needs the dummy to settle and then I get frustrated having to replace it. I’m registered for the Ellen Barron school here in Brisbane but still feel a bit of stigma about it and your blog helps.

    • Hey Niti – glad to hear you have enrolled in sleep school. And don’t beat yourself up about the dummy – we all do what we have to do to get by! I am sure sleep school will be fantastic for you and your bub.

      • Amantha did they encourage removal of the dummy at Masada? You are 100% correct in one of your posts re feeling the stigma as Im placing stigma on myself even though my friends are quite supportive. I guess Im worried about how long they will let my baby cry and whether I will be able to deal with it – she is what I would call a spirited baby!

      • Yes, they do encourage removal of the dummy if it is being used as a sleep aid. They would only let your baby cry for 2 minutes (not long in the scheme of things, but can obviously feel like an eternity when you are outside the bedroom door listening to it). But it is so worth it in the end – helping your bub learn to settle him or herself.

  2. Hi Amantha, Thank you so much for taking the time to share all this info. It’s been really helpful. We are thinking of enrolling in Masada, but it will be at least a month before we can get it. Wondered if they talked about the teething dilemma. i.e. how to know if our babies are crying at night from teething and need more comforting than the pat pat will provide, or if they are fine and are putting it on a bit (our baby is 6 months). Did they have any tips on how to manage this if they are teething? (our little chap has no sign of a tooth but is now crying every hour at night).

  3. Thanks for writing this blog Amantha!! I’ve really enjoyed reading it and have started using the ‘pat pat’ technique today! Fingers crossed. Just wondering about your routine and waking bubs from a nap. I am hesitant to do so because I feel sleep is so valuable. When it’s difficult to get them to sleep the idea of waking them seems crazy, but what do Masada recommend or have you found works for you? Thanks!

    • Masada recommend (for bubs under 6 months), getting the first two naps of the day to be at least 2 hours and a max of 3 hours. The final/third nap of the day is a little more flexible, but ideally 2 or more sleep cycles (FYI – a sleep cycle is 40 minutes).

  4. Hi Amantha

    I just used the pat pat technique twice today to get my daughter to get to sleep. Because she is so used to the dummy I basically started the pat pat as soon as she grizzled. Didn’t work this morning on a resettle but I will try again this afternoon after waiting 10min for a grizzle before going. I’ll work up to waiting 10min for the first time I put her down to bed for now…. Just confirming that at Masada grizzle is where there are pauses in the cry whereas a proper cry has no pauses? So you leave a proper cry for 2 min all the time?

    • Yep – all correct. And sometimes you will find when bub is really unsettled, you could be in patting every 10 minutes – and that is ok as they are just learning!

      • Hi Amantha, the one thing Im confused about is wouldnt the patting then become the sleep aid such as using a dummy or rocking etc? Also when you are patting on resettling (i.e. after a catnap etc) do they suggest you pat even if the entire sleep time of 2 hours is used to try and get bub back to sleep or do they suggest stopping after a certain amount of time and trying to get them to sleep in whatever way possible?

      • Hi Niti – Masada’s view is that there are positive sleeping aids and negative ones. And I guess they would term the patting a positive one because anyone can do it, and you can do it anywhere. Also, I think the view is also it is about teaching them how to self-settle so eventually, you will no longer need to use the patting technique. And in answer to your second question, the answer is “yes” – keep repeating the patting for the entire time they should be sleeping.

  5. Unfortunately couldn’t get her to resettle using the pat pat technique and she really started to scream 😦

  6. Hi Amantha,
    Thank you so much for demonstrating the Pat Pat technique! I have been applying the Masada system with Issy for several months, based upon the notes that a friend passed on to me, following her Masada stay. I never realised that it was such a quick, initial Pat Pat, and that you alternated hands! See the power of film. 🙂
    I am so pleased that all is going well with Frankie and yourself since returning home. Keep up the great team work and fabulous blog!

  7. Hi Amantha,
    I look forward to your post on routines! I also didn’t realise to try for more than 2 sleep cycles but will in future. 2 hours sleep sounds great. He is so much happier after I good sleep and I tell him this! Thank you 🙂

  8. Is there anything that can be done to avoid a second meltdown once rolling the baby back on their back? Even if I do calm her, as soon as I put her on her back she cries again.
    To remedy this I start the pat on her side until I notice her calm slightly and then roll her to her back and continue the pat there.

  9. Hi Amantha, thanks for your above post. Just a clarification, so when you finish the number of pats you move away and wait for bub to grizzle again before starting to pat again? Do you think there is anything wrong in me not waiting the designated 10 min grizzle time in terms of using this technique successfully?

    • Yes – when you finish the patting, leave the room. When/if grizzling starts again, start the timer again. And if you don’t wait the designated 10 minutes, you may not be giving your bub enough of a chance to resettle on their own – which is really important for their learning.

  10. I just wanted to check if you were using snuggle suits for your bub? I find it difficult to place our daughter on her side comfortably when her arms are secured in a snuggle suit?

  11. Thank-you SO much for making this video – I tried out the patting today, and it WORKED!! I am in shock – I’ve been wearing my baby in a carrier for ALL her naps so far, as she just wouldn’t go down…until now. I am sooo so grateful 🙂

  12. Thanks for your great blog Amantha!! Couple of questions…

    1. If you bub changes from cry to grizzle or grizzle to cry while you are waiting to go in, do you change the timer then??

    2. If you’re doing the pat pat tech cause they’ve woken before feed time, what do you do if they’re still not settled and their feed time comes, do you just then get them up and feed? (how does that work in with their wake time amount too since they’d been awake technically while you were trying to settle) If they do settle before their feed time, do you need to then wake them to feed or just let them sleep till they wake naturally?? Eg just got our bub to sleep with your technique at 12.40, and she’s due up at 1 for feed.

    Hope that makes sense…
    Thanks heaps again,
    Annie

    • Hi Annie

      1. If it becomes a continuous cry, then yes, change the timer to 2 minutes for a cry. I find that Frankie will sometimes oscillate between the two – but it will mostly be a grizzle, in which case I just leave the timer for 10 mins.

      2. When feed time comes, get them up and feed them (if you are in the middle of resettling them). But if they have fallen asleep, so long as you are not going more than 5 hours between feeds (for bubs bw 3-6 months) then let them sleep.

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

  14. Hi – thanks for so much information! It’s great you’ve had such wonderful success! I just wondered whether you could tell me more about the cry vs grizzle conundrum! My baby (14 weeks) gets hysterical to my eyes- kicking her legs and crying so hard that she sweats! This has to be a cry not a grizzle surely! But maybe I’m wrong!? She gets so upset I can’t keep her on her side- she wriggles and kicks until she’s on her back again. Can you perhaps give some advice on what to do here? Thanks again- and well done to you and little Frankie

    • That definitely sounds like a cry! Cries are more continuous, whereas grizzles come in waves and sound like a grump cat (best way to describe it). And make sure you tuck her in tight when Pat Patting – this should hopefully hold her in place – or use the hand on her shoulder to keep her in place.

    • Hi Karen, my daughter was also doing the same thing screaming to the point of sweating, and the pat pat technique never worked. I just took her to our chiropractor yesterday after 2 weeks of having her really unsettled and waking early for nap (was trying everything and got so caught up in it that I totally forgot to see them!!) – she had a massive adjustment and she’s completely different now, almost back to her old self, the same day!! I am in awe… We’ve always had our kids adjusted at the chiro, can’t recommend it enough. We go to Lotus chiropractors in Mt Eliza Vic (www.lotuschiro.com) they are amazing and I would recommend anyone having issues with sleep or feeding to try this out. It. Isn’t not work as fast as it has for us, since our 12 wk old has been having adjustments since birth. Anyways just thought I’d put it out there for another option for people…

  15. Hi Amantha,
    We have tried the pat, pat technique a few times today with our son but on both occasions he has remained very upset and hasn’t calmed down. Do we still walk out of the room straight after this or wait with him until he is calm. On both occasions we have taken him out of the cot and given him a cuddle until he is calm and clearly sleepy and then placed him back in. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks

  16. Hi Amantha
    Thanks for the detailed info and the video. I’ve just started trying this technique and am getting confused as to how I should use it when my bub is wide awake. She is 15 weeks old and in the past 2 weeks has decided that she wants to catnap for 30-40 minutes per nap and only up to 4 times a day – which I think is affecting her night sleep, but that’s a different story!
    After 40 minutes in the day, she starts chatting, giggling and shouting which is all very cute but it wakes her up completely. I just went in after 10 minutes of her chatting (which was beginning to escalate into a cry) and did pat pat. When I rolled her back from her side she was still wide awake. I put her dummy in at this point.

    I’m just not sure how to help her get back to sleep if I walk out while she is still wide awake – any thoughts?

    • The aim of the Pat Pat is not to actually get them to sleep (although it’s a bonus if they do fall asleep while you are doing this), but to get them to relax. I know that at Masada, bubs were weaned off the dummy if it was used as a sleeping aid, so you may be delaying the inevitable if your bub needs the dummy to get to sleep – but totally up to you 🙂

      • Thanks Amantha
        I started to understand pat pat a lot better after practising it a few times. So yes, while it doesn’t put her to sleep at the time (although it does make her drowsy and calm) it definitely has taught her the beginnings of self settling. I’m finding it so much easier to put her down for her naps without having to worry about rocking her in my arms. And it’s definitely working to get her to go for another 40 minutes or so after she wakes from the first sleep cycle. This is a huge improvement.
        And for the first time last night I didn’t have to get up for her at all! She woke at 4am as normal, muttered to herself and put herself back to sleep while I stayed cosy in bed! I think this technique really is teaching her in a positive and loving way so thank you again for sharing

      • Hey Steph – that is awesome news! I remember the first time Frankie slept through the overnight feed – it was bliss! (Despite the fact that I woke up anyway and had trouble getting back to sleep 🙂

  17. Hi Amantha,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been searching high and low on the net to find someone who has blogged their experience at Masada! The step by step guidance and techniques are invaluable! I posted my registration forms yesterday so fingers crossed it’s not too much of a wait!

    I do have a couple of questions though…

    My LO is 5 months old and I have been doing the dream feed since he was 6 weeks old…it used to work brilliantly but lately he wakes up just before it. So if he wakes at say 10.00 or 10.15, should I offer the dream feed then or try to re-settle and wait a little longer?

    Also, the same for the 3am-5am feed…he woke at 2.50am this morning so I just gave him a feed then…literally 2 hours later to the dot he woke!!!!

    Thanks!

    Kate

    • Hi Kate – I’m not sure what Masada would say, but I know from our daughter Frankie (who is 5 and a 1/2 months) – just feed when they wake, rather than resettle. Frankie is always wide awake when we dream feed her and has no problem going back to sleep. Also, you know that you can drop the 3-5am feed once your bub has doubled his birth weight? And glad the blog has been helpful!

      • Thank you so much for you’re prompt response! He woke up at 10.15 last night so did what you said and gave him the dream feed then…he went straight back down but did then wake again at 1.30am, which brings me to my next question.

        I went in after the 10mins and attempted the pat pat technique which settled him down straight away although that moment was short lived as it got to 3am and he was still crying so I thought I should offer a feed. In this case, what would Masada have done?

        Also, now that you’re darling little frankie is now 5 1/2 months, how long are you keeping her up for in between naps?

        This blog is amazing….keep up the good work!!!

        Kate

  18. For overnight resettling, you can actually wait 20 minutes. And Masada would offer a feed at 3am if bub had not doubled his birth weight…As for wake time, we are meant to be 1 hour 45 mins to 2 hours – although sometimes Frankie gets a bit tired so we only keep her up for 1.5 hours 🙂

    • Awesome, thanks Amantha:)

      My little boy was born 2.54kg and was last weighed in at 6.52kg so has more than doubled his weight, but I thought as he was on the lighter side at birth and is still only in the 50th percentile for his weight, I should offer the a feed if he wakes between 3 and 5am to beef him up…what do you think? Also, have you started Frankie on solids and if yes, how do you factor this into her routine?

      Many thanks:)

      Kate

  19. Hi! Thanks so much for your post & all of your blog. Great stuff & I’ve shared with many friends!
    Questions about the pat pat technique. I’ve tried this a number of times now & it seems to just aggravate my bub into a full-on scream. After about 4-5 rounds of patting her screams continue to escalate & I’ve given up. She’s only 4.5 months so I’m really concerned about letting her cry for too long. Did Masada give any advice on how long to let them cry for (or how many attempts to make) before we pick them up to calm them down? I just can’t see how the patting will settle her when she’s so worked up. But equally, I don’t want to teach her that if she screams long enough we’ll give in and just cuddle her to sleep. Ideas?

    • Hi Michelle – thanks for sharing the blog around! So, Masada would say wait for 2 minutes for a cry and 10 for a grizzle before going into pat. A grizzle sounds like an angry cat and comes and goes in waves whereas a cry is constant. Some nurses at Masada said after three rounds of patting (and then waiting 2 or 10 minutes) you could give them a cot cuddle (don’t take them out of the cot, but sit them up for a cuddle). It is so hard hearing them cry and not going on, but if you stick with it, you should see results and she will learn to calm down and settle. I hope that helps.

  20. Hi
    Thank you so much for your blog – I’ve been searching the internet for something along these lines so it’s great to finally find you :).
    I’ve had a read through and have a couple of questions that if really appreciate your comments on.

    You speak about demand feeding through the night until your baby has doubled her birth weight. After this point do Masada recommend not to feed during the night? If they wake do they suggest resettling?
    You talk about a feed between 3am and 5am . What is the recommendation post 5am if this is the first time your baby wakes? Again resettle or feed?
    At any point during the grizzling 10 minutes if baby stops and goes quiet should you reset the clock?
    Thanks

    • Hi Jenny – after the baby has doubled its birth weight, there is no need to feed overnight – so yes, just resettle. And if they wake post 5am, then resettle until 6.30am, by which time it is considered OK to start the day. And if the baby is quiet for a minute or so, then yes, restart the grizzle clock 🙂

  21. Hi
    Thanks for the blog and the video!
    Can I just clarify, are both the dreamfeed and night feed dropped once they’ve doubled their birth weight?
    I’ve heard mixed things about dreamfeeds so am reluctant to start it but also not sure if my 6mo can sleep through without a feed yet so I’m wondering if I could just push the 3 – 5am feed to later over time… assuming that’s possible of course 🙂
    Many thanks
    Julie

  22. Hi!
    Thanks so much for your post, I am starting the pat pat today! When you settle bub you pat pat on their side then roll onto back when calm, when they grizzle/cry and you need to start pat patting do I roll bub back onto side? I feel like this may wake bubs as I have to loosen blanket etc. look forward to your response!

  23. I also forgot to ask… When/how would you fit in a walk with bubs? It doesn’t seem possible on this schedule but would love to leave to house even for a 20min walk. Thanks!!

    • Not sure how old your bub is, but when Frankie was younger (3-4 months old), we were able to fit in a walk quite easily. We would do this after feeding her, and on some walks, she would nap (which meant we could do a longer walk).

  24. Hello! I found this blog at exactly the right time. I spoke with Masada only this morning expressing my concern as to whether I needed to be there. You see, I have a four month old that goes down for 3 day naps at exactly the same time each day, problem is; he will only sleep for 40 mimutes each time, and will only drift off to sleep in my arms.
    At night he sleeps for 6-8 hour blocks and wakes for one feed, at bedtime he will only drift off while feeding.
    When attempting the pat pat technique my baby cries/screams from the minute that I put him on his side. He doesnt seem to want to calm down during the first 100 pats. What are you meant to do in this situation?

    • Hi there! Sorry for the long delay in replying! I hope things have improved…I would definitely recommend going to Masada because it sounds like your bub is having trouble linking sleep cycles for naps. And re not calming down after 100 pats, that is pretty common – just keep going for up to 10 minutes, and then leave and see if bub re-settles, and if not, wait a few mins and go back in and repeat.

  25. Hi, my sister is currently there atm…we went to sleep school at 3.5 months and my lo is a wonderful sleeper now. But my sister had to sign a confidential agreement not to post sny thing on social media or post any thing about the program. Did they agree for you to post all of this?

    • Hi Kloie – interesting! Masada are definitely aware of the blog. And I never had to sign a confidentiality agreement. For me, I created this blog to help spread the brilliant things I learned, given not everyone can afford to go there and it’s such a long waiting list to get in.

  26. Wonderful blog I’ve just found, thanks so much. Not sure if you remember now but i’d love to know how you went about reducing the snacking feeds to better feeds that meant you Frankie could go longer between feeds (my Frankie is 12 weeks now). Any tips?

    • You are testing my memory….I think it was about gradually trying to stretch Frankie longer and longer each day…for example, if your bub is snacking every two hours, try to stretch it to 2 hours 15 minutes for a day or two, then to 2.5 hours, and so on. Hope that helps 🙂

  27. Hi there! 2 years on and you are still getting kudos! Here’s another one from me! I was inspired by your blog. The detailed information gave me hope and know how to try the Masada technique. It worked just after 24 – 48 hours. 4 days later, my 4.5 mth old is still settling himself to sleep every nap and at night. Pat pats are only infrequently required. I only wish I had gone through sleep school with my older child who is now 5yo and still coming to sleep with us in the middle if the night! Thank you thank you thank you!

  28. This blog has been an absolute lifesaver! THANK YOU! My little Eleanor is the same weight percentile and age that Frankie was when you did sleep school so it has been perfect. A few quick questions…
    – what suggestions did they have for Frankie’s sleep routine as she gets older?
    – if they are still crying after patting when you walk out how long do you leave it and what happens next?

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