Two steps forward, one step back

It’s been one week since leaving the safe bubble of Masada, so I thought it was a good time to reflect on how things have been going at home with Frankie. In a nutshell, it has been 90% awesome, and 10% un-awesome. The 90% awesomeness comes from the fact that Frankie is now down for 3 naps every day (and two of those naps are 2+ hours) and has self-settled into every single one herself (no patting required). Same goes for her night time sleeps. This is a big change from pre-Masada, whereby Frankie liked to keep us guessing as to whether she would self settle or whether we would have to bring out the big guns (in our case, the electric swing). Awesome. And on average, post-Masada, we have only had to use the Pat Pat to help her resettle between sleep cycles about two or three times in any 24 hour period – so not much at all.

Yesterday was an un-awesome day. I think Frankie sensed something was in the air. Her loving, doting father has been away since Wednesday as he received some bad news about his own dad, and flew to Adelaide to be with him during the week. He gets home tonight (hooray!), but I think yesterday the exhaustion of looking after Frankie without the help of my wonderful husband finally got to me, along with the toll the week has taken on everyone emotionally. And so Frankie was very unsettled. I had to do the Pat Pat a total of 10 times – a record for the last two weeks – and it felt like she was throwing up half of every feed (not cool Frankie – you need all the milk you can get).

Today, so far, has been back to awesome. It’s coming up to 2pm and only one Pat Pat required. But my point for writing this post is that sleep school, and the weeks proceeding it, are hard work. Masada “warn” people about this, but I think that the “one step backwards” can still be really disconcerting and confusing, especially when it’s 2am and your baby is crying and you are pat pat patting and the crying continues. And you feel like curling up in a ball and crying yourself.

Frankie, back in fine form today.

Frankie, back in fine form today.

All of my Masada “group” have been keeping in touch via Facebook. We all write to each other many, many times every day and keep each other updated on what’s happening. And on the whole, it seems we are all having similar experiences – definite improvements, some really great fist-pumping days, and some really tough times too.

So if you are thinking of going to sleep school, or even if you have been reading this blog and “playing along at home”, please don’t expect the ride to be smooth sailing. The seas are choppy, but I just know it will be worth it in the end.

27 thoughts on “Two steps forward, one step back

  1. Hi Amantha, been wanting to write you a message since your day 3 at sleep school. But my hands are always full. Sophie is my second daughter and is 3 months old. It’s been so great having your blog as i’ve struggled a bit with her sleep and there are so many similarities to your beautiful Frankie! It was like you were writing about sophie! Eg. She is the same weight percentile, age, breastfed and could only settle to sleep on breast or in the electric swing. Your blog has meant Sophie can now self settle in her cot! I found the garbage bags on windows trick to make a big difference! My only problem is that she still doesn’t resettle after the first cycle for day naps. Maybe i’m not persistent enough because doubt creeps in – is she still hungry, maybe not tired? Maybe needs to burp etc. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for sharing you lovely lady and I love reading your blogs 🙂 cheers, Claire

    • Thanks so much Claire 🙂 That is awesome news about Sophie! Keep persisting with the day naps – if she is feeding well and you are keeping her up for the appropriate awake time (1.25-1.5 hours), then she shouldn’t be hungry or not tired. They just sometimes need help learning how to link their daytime sleep cycles 🙂

  2. Hello ladies, I’m like Clair and doubt myself when my 7 week old does not link his sleep. Xavier can link some of his sleeps but I never know which one he will link so I can’t get anything done. I also notice that when he does a linked sleep he is happier when he wakes.
    Amantha, do you know how many linked sleeps a 7 week old should have in the day?

    • Hi Kasia, according to Masada, in the first 8 weeks, bubs should feed 6-8 x per day, and have wake time of bw 1-1.5 hours, and basically feed, play, sleep (except overnight). This means that your bub should at least be linking 2-3 sleep cycles together for every nap.

      • Thanks Amantha.
        He is definately not doing that. Most days he links one sleep and the other are just 45min.
        I follow the sleep, feed, play pattern. It is ok to not feed baby as soon as it wakes if it’s not hungry (because it only did one cycle)?

      • Masada recommends feeding within 15 minutes of waking. The problem with leaving feeding to the end of awake time is it may become a sleeping aid – which is not recommended.

  3. Hi Amantha,
    Your blog has been such a wonderful encouragement in creatung the right environment for sleep & settling at home. I have struggled with little boy number 2, despite teaching him to self settle from 8 weeks (now 8 months). But like his big brother who is now 2.5 he is keeping me second guessing everything I’m doing wrong & wondering why I cannot get him to sleep like ‘most’ of my friends babies who snooze 11-12hrs a night.
    My first boy didn’t sleep through until 18mths, so little Flynn & I will are heading to Masada in 3 weeks after a long 8 week wait! So many thanks for giving such insightful & honest details of your personal experience, during & post Masada.
    I now feel very confident in what’s ahead! 🙂

  4. Hi Amantha, this post came at the most amazing timing as I do find that you have one good day and feel so excited and then the next day or even the same afternoon is so different and you have taken steps backwards. I dont know if Im doing the right thing by not waiting the designated grizzling or crying time and starting to pat but I found when using another “self settling” technique by daugther would get too worked up if left too long. Its the re settling that is always the challenge and I wonder how you have the patience to do it in the middle of the night when your tired rather than just try and take the easy route, i.e. rocking, dummy etc?

    • Yep – it sure does take patience, and waiting the time limits that Masada recommends is really important, as it gives the bub the chance to resettle on their own.

  5. Hi Amantha, I’m happy you and Frankie are having a better day today! It really is swings and roundabouts. I find it also greatly depends on how much sleep I have had in the previous 24 hours. I had a quick question. When trying to help baby link sleep cycles during the day, do you do one cycle of ‘pat pat’ and leave the room and wait for cues or if they are not sleeping/quiet do you keep ‘pat patting’? My bub does not link cycles during the day at all. He has about four, 40 minute sleeps…….frustrating!!

    • Yep – do one cycle if they grizzle for 10 mins / cry for 2 (if under 6 months) – you can keep patting for up to 10 minutes if they are just not settling. Then, leave the room. And start the timer again if they start grizzling / crying after that. But if they are not grizzling, then you can leave them and they should eventually self-settle and go back to sleep (hopefully!)

  6. Hi Amantha,

    I have a question in regards to the last sleep of the day where the routine is wake, play and then feed. If baby falls asleep during feeding, do you still wake them up to self settle or let them be?


    • Hmmm, good question. I am not quite sure. I suspect that if they only occasionally fall asleep, then just put them down. But I guess if it is a regular thing, best to wake them slightly so they can practice self-settling.

  7. Hi Amantha
    I just got back from Masada last Friday and sleep was pretty good for the first 5 days until yesterday..
    Have Frankie ever experience any sleep regression upon leaving Masada?
    My bub just turned 4 mos as well 2 days ago, I’m terrified the sleep regression took over our great improvement post-Masada.
    My bub is now able to self-soothe when we put him down which is super great but having difficulty linking the sleep cycle for day & night.
    And since yesterday we have more frequent wakings at night which is rather hard to re-settle…
    Also, how did you find rolling to tummy affecting Frankie’s sleep?

    • I know that a lot of the mums I did Masada with experienced sleep regression. I think the key is to be consistent (which is super hard – but pays off in the long run). Also, call Masada if you are worried about anything – they are really helpful over the phone. And as far as tummy goes, Frankie is a tummy sleeper – won’t sleep any other way!

  8. Hi Amantha
    Like Sabrina I have recently been to Masada (3 weeks ago) and my LO (4.5 months old) can settle himself to sleep easily now which is fantastic!! But have noticed over the last week he is having real trouble linking his sleep cycles. After his first sleep cycle has ended he will lie awake for an hr until its up time or try and get onto his tummy grizzling for a few minutes then sucking his hands until its up time. I wondered do you think I should try and go in and give him a sleep cue or will he eventually figure out to sleep that 2nd cycle? What was your experience like with this? after you didn’t have to ‘pat pat’ anymore did Frankie lie awake like my LO?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Charlie – I think that sounds fine – at least your LO is resting and I am sure he will learn to link sleep cycles in no time! Frankie sometimes just plays for a bit in her cot (sometimes up to an hour!) but we don’t go into resettle, unless she is crying or grizzling.

      • Thanks Amantha! Its interesting how sometimes he can sleep beautifully & link cycles but then on the next sleep he cannot!

      • Hi Amantha. I have been reading all your blog posts which have valuable info for all sleep deprived moms, thank you! Just a quick question regarding this post from Charlie. Would you consider the time the baby spent int he cot awake (just before getting up) as awake time? ie: this time should be included in the baby awake time of 1,5hr for example. My baby is still learning to link the cycles and spend time quiet and awake in her cot. I have been leaving her in there and not patting hoping she would self settle but 50% of times she stays awake. Thank you.

  9. Hi Amartha, thanks so much for sharing all this info about Masada. We have a gorgeous 10month old baby who I feed to sleep.. And this worked reasonably well for a long time (only waking once or twice during night which was manageable) but recently it’s all gone pear shaped and we’re up and down all night. Am looking into Masada but don’t think I can wait 6 weeks and thought I might try the Masada settling techniques at home (thanks to your blog!!). Obviously the daytime routines would be a bit different for an older baby, but you know whether there was much variation in the settling pat pat routine for older bubs?
    Thanks again for sharing your experience

    • Hi there – you can absolutely use all the techniques on a 10 month old! Frankie is now 16 months and we will use the Pat Pat on her when she wakes up unsettled. Good luck with the wait – 6 weeks can seem like an eternity when you have a little one who is not sleeping 😦

  10. Thanks so much for this fantastic info. Just wondering what Masada say about naps outside of the house? If would be nice for my little guy to be able to nap successfully in the pram or at someone else’s house, down the track but at the moment, he can only do one sleep cycle if not in his own bed.

  11. Thank you so much for writing the blog
    My baby Thea catnaps all morning I can resettle her but she is always over tried by bed time. She can’t self settle during the day but at night she can.
    I have just sent all my forms to madasa, but I have a 13 week wait, I hope I can survive. Before every sleep she screams and yells, it is really getting difficult to get her to sleep. My husband is thinking of trying to sleep train her on the Australia Day weekend.
    My question is if she goes to bed at 9.00, and we wait 10 mins and pat pat, and it does not work we continue until 11.00 which is when her next feed would be?
    Then after this feed if she shows tried signs earlier can we put her to bed?
    Thea is 4 months old.. Her wake time is about 1.30-1.40 sometimes it can be 2 hrs
    Thank you in advance

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