What does life look like 6 weeks post Masada Sleep School?

Today marks our six week anniversary since “graduating” from the Masada Mother Baby Unit sleep school. Overall, it’s been awesome – although there have definitely been a few challenges. Let’s start with the awesome:

The stuff that has got better

Frankie is well and truly into a routine (which I often manage to stuff up when I try to have a life, but that’s a story for another post). I wrote about her routine here and it has helped infinitely in organising my life around Frankie’s. For example, 9-10am is what I call “the hour of productivity”. Frankie is always asleep at this time which means I can do things like have a phone conference for work, write a proposal for a client, or even have a shower (crazy stuff like that). Then, depending on when she wakes from her first nap, I am given a bit of structure for the rest of the day too through knowing roughly when she will feed/play/sleep.

Me during my "hour of productivity"

Me during my “hour of productivity”

Despite having a bad left boob, I am still, somehow, exclusively breastfeeding. Prior to Masada, this meant being chained to Frankie who was a champion little snacker – feeding every 2-2.5 hours. She now only needs feeding every 3.5-4 hours, which means I can actually leave Frankie for a couple of hours and not worry about her dying of hunger. Amazing.

I have read that there are all sorts of definitions of what “sleeping through the night means” – ranging from sleeping from 7-7, through to sleeping for five hours in a row (which makes no sense to me as a definition as five hours does not maketh a night). Frankie has become an awesome little sleeper at night. She now always goes down without too much of a fuss between 6.30-7pm. We wake her up for a dream feed at 11/11.30pm, and then she is now almost always sleeping through ’til around 6.30 or 7am. This is a VERY different Frankie to the pre-Masada one. Granted, she is six weeks older, but what I love most is the predictability. My husband and I can now do mental stuff like have people over for dinner at 7pm and have uninterrupted conversation.

Nap time

Nap time

I am no longer a completely sleep deprived wreck. I am just a slightly sleep deprived one. Because Frankie sleeps in such big chunks at night, that means I can too. I can also nap during the day when Frankie naps (and boy do I love napping). Having said that, I am often plagued by insomnia (again, a story for another day) so while in theory I am getting massive chunks in bed with my eyes shut, it doesn’t always equate to sleep. But still, when I can kick the insomnia, I look forward to feeling more normal again…

The stuff that has NOT got better

Recurrent Mastitis. Although I did see the amazing lactation consultant Sue Shaw a couple of days ago and I think I may have solved that problem. Fingers crossed. I am one week free of blocked boobs – a record for me for the past month.

We can’t do the side pat anymore! Now – this is a BIG BUMMER. A week after Masada, Frankie was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Great that it was picked up early, but not great for using the Masada Pat Pat. Because Frankie is wearing a Pavlik Harness 23.5 hours a day, we are not allowed to turn her on her side! I called up Masada for some advice, and they said to just pat her on her chest and at the front of the nappy. However, this makes her MORE unsettled. She screams like we have never heard her scream before. I called up Masada again to get more advice, but no one has returned my call…very frustrating. So what this means in practice is if Frankie is unsettled, we don’t really have many tricks up our sleeve. Luckily she has been really great at self settling since Masada, but we still have grizzle hour at about 5pm every night, and we normally just give in and get her up early.

Frankie in her Pavlik harness. No more side patting for us :(

Frankie in her Pavlik harness. No more side patting for us 😦

For those who have been playing along at home, I’d love to hear how you are tracking. And if you are a fellow Masada graduate, I’d love to hear how things are going for you!

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Our first day at home

Frankie and I arrived home from Masada Sleep School this morning. After an early morning check out at 8am, we said good bye to all the other mums. No one had chained themselves to their rooms (a good sign) and most mums were excited, although a tad nervous, about going home and implementing the tools.

For me, it’s been really lovely being home. The last five days have really felt like living in a safe bubble full of amazing mums and super helpful nurses, but despite this, I didn’t actually feel too nervous about breaking out of the bubble. I ended up getting a bit of practice doing the Pat Pat on Frankie around the 5pm witching hour (as did my husband who came to visit us last night).

For me, one of the biggest changes that has come from Masada is around my mindset when I hear Frankie grizzle or cry. Prior to Masada, anxiety would set in and I would oscillate between thinking “don’t go in to the room – she needs to learn to resettle”, to “pick her up and cuddle her” to “put her in the magical electric swing that makes everything better”. This may sound kind of weird, but now, when Frankie grizzles when I put her down, I feel a bit less emotional and just think “I’ll start the timer for ten minutes and see how we go…”. I feel like I am much more in control (which appeals strongly to my control freak nature).

So today’s report card (in case you are interested!): we have put Frankie down for her three daytime naps. Upon putting her into her Love to Dream swaddle, she grizzled every single time. Just like she did in sleep school. We then started the timer after leaving the room and for all three naps, she self-settled within 5-7 minutes. How cool is that? Very, very cool. In the past, my husband and I would have exchanged looks, and by the second or third minute of her grizzling, one of us would be saying “Should we just put her in the electric swing?” And the other would say “no, let’s wait.” And then a minute later, we would look at each other again and say “Should we just put her in the electric swing?” and then one of us would put her in the electric swing. And then we would feel like naughty parents who were creating bad sleep habits.

We did have a little “nap in the pram” incident today, where during Frankie’s wake time, my husband and I took her for a walk in the pram to get some takeaway coffees from one of our local cafes, and on the way home Frankie started to fall asleep (well wouldn’t you, if you had learnt to associate the pram with sleep? Another bad sleep association…). So the walk home was spent cruelly poking Frankie to try to get her to wake back up (unsuccessfully). Nonetheless, she still was able to nap for a good two hours after her cheeky little pram sleep.

Frankie taking a cheeky pram nap.

Frankie taking a cheeky pram nap.

Over the next three weeks, our aim is to be home a lot to give Frankie as many naps in the cot as possible. Yes, this means we will not be lunching in local cafes or going out on exciting excursions in the real world, but this seems like a small price to pay to well and truly build great sleep habits for our little girl.