How to answer the question: What have you been up to all day?

If you are a stay at home mum and have a working husband, then when your husband walks through the door at 6pm (or later), the first question you probably hear is “How was your day?” And because us mums are in a perpetual state of exhaustion, we can’t even remember what we did five minutes ago, let alone eight hours ago. Which is why I really liked the approach I learnt to tracking your bub that Masada uses…

When Frankie was born, I was obsessed with tracking every bowel movement, wee, breast feed, mood and so on. I was addicted to Sprout – my favourite baby tracking app (after trialling about six hundred and fifty-nine of them) – and would be on it recording information, like every hour. Obviously, everything I tracked was pretty much useless and I never looked back on it, but as a first time mum, of course I was going to track every little fart, burp, and pooh!

By the time I took Frankie to Masada, I had grown out of my tracking obsession, only to be fuelled by a new one – and a much more useful one – that the nurses at Masada taught me. You may remember me describing the Masada set-up in an earlier post, where your baby sleeps in its own little room (which looks like a mini jail cell) across the corridor from mum’s room. Outside bub’s room is a clipboard where nurses (and later, me) would track the following:

– what time Frankie woke
– what time Frankie fed
– what time Frankie was put to bed
– whether Frankie cried or grizzled upon being put into bed
– what time Frankie grizzled during her “sleep time”, and for how long
– what time Frankie cried during her “sleep time”, and for how long
– whether Frankie needed to be resettled during sleep time

And being a total data nerd, I LOVED the tracking. All this info on Frankie! Patterns to look for, conclusions to draw! Nerd nirvana!

Our little stool of Nerd Nirvana outside Frankie's room.

Our little stool of Nerd Nirvana outside Frankie’s room.

And now, one month after leaving Masada, we still use this method of tracking. It’s bloody awesome. It reminds me how long we need to keep Frankie up for, it lets me know how settled or unsettled Frankie has been during a day or during the whole week. It lets me see progress we have made since “graduating” from Masada.

Let me explain how it works:

1. When I get Frankie out of bed after her nighttime sleep or a nap, I write the time, and “up”. Or just “U” if I am feeling particularly lazy.
2. When I feed Frankie, I write BF (breast feed) and the time.
3. When I put Frankie down to sleep, I write the time and “down” or “D”. If she grizzles or cries when I leave the room, I write “grizzle/cry on exit” – or GOE/COE for short.
4. When I hear a grizzle or cry during sleep time, I time how long it goes for and write this down – for example, 2.30pm, grizzle for 4 minutes. Self-settled (if, indeed, she does self-settle).
5. If I need to go into resettle – that is, if she cries for 2 minutes or grizzles for 10 minutes, I write the time I did this and “Pat Pat”.

What this then leads to is a really comprehensive and useful record of how Frankie is tracking.

Sleepy Frankie at bath time.

Sleepy Frankie at bath time.

It also means that if my husband has been at work all day and asks “What have you been up to all day”, I can pull out the tracking sheet and show him everything that’s been going on in the world of Frankie and I.
I’d love to hear if you are tracking your bub, and for those who do try this method – what do you think of it?

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6 thoughts on “How to answer the question: What have you been up to all day?

  1. As a Masada graduate – I must agree with you. By tracking the feeding, play and sleep you can analyse trends, and identify patterns. I noticed for instance that my LO would sleep longer till 5am if the bedtime feed was shorter/less ml and the DF more ml (my husband does the DF). So instead of me feeding the LO at 4am, I feed him at 5am and he sleeps till 8am – Hurrah! More sleep for everyone. Let me know if you find a brilliant ap that can convert all this data into graphs and charts!

  2. This is a terrific update! I am supposed to be at Masada tonight but my health fund decided to decline covering our stay because Flynns problem existed before I put him on our membership! So in my disappointment, i I have decided to tackle it head on at home this week based on all the info you have provided on your blog. Funny this is…I was literally sitting here asking myself if it would be a good idea to write down what happens each nap/sleep etc & the I open your blog to this new update!
    Thanks for all your sharing! 🙂

    • Hey Jasmine – that is so frustrating about the health insurance! I’m glad the blog is helping 🙂 Let me know if there are any other specific topics you’d like me to post about – I am always looking for suggestions and ideas!

  3. Hi Amantha

    I’ve just had a battle for 55 minutes of pretty intense crying with my daughter. But she did go to sleep after what felt like 100 pat-pats. Can u pls tell me how often you have times like these (or whether it gets easier). I keep thinking “maybe our daughter is just more stubborn” or “maybe she’s got more energy than other babes!” When will it get easier? How long did they say it takes them to change their patterns? And has she just cried herself/ exhausted herself to sleep?

    Thanks Karen

    • Oh Karen – it will definitely get easier! We have definitely been in that situation, as has almost every single mother I “graduated” from Masada with. The key is to be consistent, as hard as that is sometimes 🙂

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