Three months on from sleep school…

Frankie - harness free!

Frankie – harness free!

Why hello there! I can’t believe it’s been two months since I last posted here. Well, I can believe it, because I have been back in the land of work and things have been pretty hectic. But it’s definitely time for another update. Things are going really well on the Frankie-front (and the boob front – for those who read about my bad left boob). It’s now been a bit over three months since we “graduated” from Masada and Frankie is a completely different baby. Here are the highlights:

1. Frankie loves sleeping. I would even go so far to say that her cot is quite possibly her favourite place in the house. I can’t remember the last time she cried or even grizzled when I put her down to sleep and she will happily mutter away to herself (about god knows what) until she drifts off to sleep. And the same thing happens when she wakes up. If we weren’t paranoid parents who have a video monitor set up in Frankie’s room, we would actually have no idea when she wakes up because she LOVES BEING IN BED. She will easily spend half an hour just playing with her hands and having a little one-way chat to herself before we realise she is awake and it’s time to get her up. How crazy is that?

2. Frankie’s hips are almost normal. As you might remember, a week after coming home from Masada, Frankie was diagnosed with hip dysplasia so she was immediately put into a Pavlik harness. Not much fun, and definitely no Pat Pat for us. Well, I should say not much fun for me and Shannon, as Frankie didn’t seem to mind at all. But as of about three weeks ago, Frankie is out of the harness! This means we are free to use the Pat Pat technique again, although we ironically now have no use for it (see Point 1).

3. I haven’t had mastitis or blocked ducts in over three weeks. This is an all time new record for me. This is mentally exciting news (for me, anyway).

Highlights aside, I thought I’d also share Frankie’s current routine (as she is now 6.5 months old). I will preface this by saying that Frankie’s awake time is a bit shorter than what Masada recommend, but to be honest, we now take the Masada “rules” with a grain of salt and go with what seems to work best for Frankie.

7am – We wake up Frankie. Although by this time, Frankie is often awake and having little morning chats with herself. Breast feed, a bit of play, breakfast, a bit more play, then back to bed when she shows tired signs which inevitably happens around the 1.5 hour mark.

8.30am – Nap 1.

10.30am/11am – Frankie wakes from nap 1. Yes, it is quite the mega nap. Like I said, this girl loves her sleep. I started to wean about two weeks ago, so this feed is now a formula feed, followed by lunch. Incidentally, it took a week of frustration, tears (from both me and Frankie), and several different formulas before we could even get Frankie to have a drop of the stuff (she such a boob snob). How we got there in the end was dipping the tip of the bottle into some Rafferty’s fruit puree and “tricking” Frankie into sucking on the bottle. And after a couple of days of this, Frankie now loves formula almost as much as she loves sleep. After lunch, we have more play time and then it’s back to bed when the tired signs creep in – normally after 2 hours or a bit less.

12.30pm (ish) – Nap 2.

2.30pm (ish) – Nap 2 is normally another mega nap for Frankie – often lasting two hours. We do another breast feed at this time although I am now trying to drop this feed too, because I truly hate expressing milk at work. This week, some moron walked in on me expressing. Probably more awkward for him rather than me, but not great for me either. Apparently my putting a big “DO NOT ENTER” sign on the meeting room door didn’t compute in his head as meaning “Don’t enter this room you stupid idiot”.

4/4.30pm – Nap 3. This is usually just a cat nap, so we always end up waking Frankie after 1-1.5 hours.

5/5.30pm – Dinner, then a bit of play, then bath time. Then a final breast feed and off to bed. Frankie often gets grumpy after about an hour at this point in the day, although we do try to stretch her for 90 minutes.

6.30/7pm – Bedtime. 10pm – I am still doing a dream feed, although Frankie is drinking less and less from it, and Masada recommend dropping it at the seven month mark. Personally, I’d love to crawl into bed at 9pm so staying up until 10pm can be exhausting, which I realise makes me sound like an 80 year old woman.

So that’s it for now. I’ll try to post a bit more regularly – and keep your comments and questions coming as I love hearing what you are all up to!

Advertisements

The Masada Routine

I remember a couple of months before Frankie was born, I was invited to speak at a “women in business” conference put on by CommBank. Over lunch, I got talking to this amazingly successful mum who had barely taken any maternity leave, and simply worked from home in the early weeks with her bub strapped to her chest. She somehow managed to keep her sanity and get enough sleep to run her business and look after bub. Crazy! I asked her what her secret was (because clearly she had one). She said to me: you must read “Save Our Sleep”. So upon my return home from the conference, I bought Save Our Sleep and read it from cover to cover in about a day. I remember raving to my husband, “Don’t worry, we won’t be one of those sleep deprived couples – we will simply put Frankie on this amazing routine and she will be no trouble at all!” Little did I know that EVERY SINGLE medical professional that we met in the first week of Frankie’s birth said do NOT put her on a routine. She is too young.

So out went my dream of sleeping through the night.

As a consequence, when Frankie entered the world, we resisted any kind of routine. We fed on demand, Frankie slept when she felt like it (at very random times during the day and night), and Frankie decided that she would never sleep for more than 3 hours at a time overnight – and even that was rare.

One of the things I loved most about my Masada experience was getting a routine. Super helpful when I was planning on starting to work from home in the fortnight following. There have been a lot of comments and questions on this blog about routines, so I thought I’d take you through what Masada recommends, and what a 24 hour period in Frankie’s life now looks like.

Here are some of the fundamentals:

1. Feed, play, sleep (FPS) underpins Masada’s theory about routines. I wrote about the FPS routine here and here if you’d like to know more.

2. For Frankie, being three months, her recommended wake time (which includes a feed, then a play) is 1.25-1.5 hours. When she hits four months, this can increase to two hours. She is also supposed to have three naps – the first two should ideally be at least two hours, but not more than three hours.

3. Being in the 3-6 month category, Frankie should feed between 5-6 times per day. For Frankie, because she has not yet doubled her birth weight, six feeds is recommended, with the sixth one being the “overnight” feed (between 3-5am).

So with those general rules in mind, here is A Day in the Life of Frankie Rose Dolan.

7am: Frankie wakes up. And if she doesn’t – we are able to wake her. Frankie does like a bit of a sleep in like her father, so there have been occasions where I have had to waltz into her room at 8am to get her day started.

As soon as she wakes, I’ll do a nappy change and start feeding. Masada recommends starting the feed within 15 minutes of waking, so we adhere to that. I mentioned that Frankie is a bit of a runt and we are desperately trying to fatten her up so I will normally spend about 40 minutes breast feeding her. (FYI – Masada says that the milk bar should only remain open for up to 45 minutes after wake time begins to teach bub that milk does not flow on tap). After feeding, we play.

8.15/8.30am: Frankie goes back to sleep. Interestingly, the nurses at Masada said that if she starts showing tired signs before her minimum wake time of 1.25 hours, then it is okay to put her down 5-10 minutes earlier – but only for this first wake time of the day. Apparently, she will be most tired during this wake time because of the big long chunk of sleep she has just had. That old “sleep begets sleep” nugget…

8.30am-10.30/11am. Frankie sleeps. This nap is meant to be the most important one of the day. If Frankie wakes before the two hour mark, we simply resettle her (using the Pat Pat, as explained here), until she goes back to sleep, or has spent a full two hours in bed.

11am: Feed, play.

Playtime!

Playtime!

12.30pm: Second nap of the day.

2.30pm: Feed, play.

Playtime with Dad: The "who can open their mouth wider" competition.

Playtime with Dad: The “who can open their mouth wider” competition.

4pm: Third nap of the day – and the shortest one. We try to get her to do a couple of sleep cycles – so about 90 minutes.

5.30/5.45pm: Wind down. If you have been following this blog, you may remember that this is the only “wake” time where the Feed and Play order is reversed. So upon waking, Frankie has a bath, then some low key playtime, and then we finish up with a feed so she goes to bed on a full stomach.

7pm: Bed.

Frankie being smothered in a goodnight kiss.

Frankie being smothered in a goodnight kiss.

10.30pm-midnight: We do the dream feed within this window – somewhat dependent on when my husband goes to sleep as he is the one that gets her out of bed for this. We keep the room light to a minimum, and only change her nappy if it is busting out with pooh.

3-5am: Overnight feed. We do this on demand – in that whenever Frankie starts grizzling in this time frame, we do another low key feed (same rules at the dream feed about lights and nappy changing).

And then, rinse and repeat!

I’d love to hear what kind of routines your bubs are on, and if you decide to make any changes after reading this post 🙂

Sleep School – Day 3

It’s the morning of Day 3 today which means: time to settle our babies on our own (well, not quite on our own as we have guidance “on tap” from the amazing nurses). Frankie was a little champion last night – I put her down to bed at 7.30pm and while she grizzled like a very grumpy cat when I put her in her Love to Dream suit and then left the room, she self settled within five minutes. This is unheard of in our household. The only times this has happened at home is when we have used “bad” sleeping aids (our electric swing or feeding her until she fell asleep in my arms). I was then woken by the nurse to do a dream feed at 11pm (incidentally, Masada call them rollover feeds) and then a nurse gave Frankie expressed BM at 3am – no grizzling at all: she had to be woken up to feed!. And this morning, she started grizzling a tiny bit at 7.25am so I got her up to start the day. Which means, with the help of a sleeping tablet, I slept for 7 hours straight. OMG. I think the last time this has happened was in my second trimester.

We also had a great session yesterday afternoon where all the mums (there are 20 of us) came together in a room and one of the nurses ran a bit of a group therapy session (I don’t think Masada calls it that – but it’s basically when it was). Some of the mums shared their stories which was incredibly moving. The mums here are truly amazing in what they have been going through and managing to cope with. (Incidentally, when we are in the group sessions and it is feeding time, our babies get brought up to us if they need to be BF, and Frankie always decides it is feeding time during these sessions. So I was feeding Frankie during this particular session while some of the mums were sharing some really heart-wrenching experiences and in the middle of all this, Frankie does the world’s loudest pooh. And then a minute later, does a second one – just for comic effect. She clearly wanted to lighten things up and I am sure she is destined to be the class clown when she goes to school).

Frankie, the loud pooh-er.

Frankie, the loud pooh-er.

So, loud poohs aside, I thought I’d write about a few other things I learned yesterday (it really was information-packed and way too much for one post), so here are some other tidbits:

I know I had a lot of trouble distinguishing the difference between a grizzle and a cry (other than a grizzle sounding like a grumpy cat). A couple of weeks ago I had my amazing friend Monique over (a super duper brilliant mother of four children under 6!) trying to help me decipher whether Frankie was crying or grizzling. And I think that I have now finally got the hang of it: a cry is constant, and a grizzle is not. Grizzles are more like a wave – they stop and start. Also, volume is not an indication of whether it is a grizzle or a cry. Some babies grizzle loudly, while others cry softly.

Up until now, we have been swaddling Frankie in a wrap with her arms by her side. We had a brief break from this when a lactation consultant taught as what my husband and I called “the mummy wrap” (because she looked like a mummy). Masada recommends swaddling until 6-8 weeks, then angel wrapping until 4 months (this is the same as a mummy wrap), and then a sleeping bag from 4 months (when babies start to roll). If you haven’t come across angel wrapping before, this is where the bub gets to sleep with their hands up near their face (exactly like the Love to Dream swaddle for 0-3 months) – the reason for this is so they can self settle by sucking on their hands.

Feed, Play, Sleep is the routine they preach at Masada – which I knew theoretically, but didn’t really practice that well. Frankie and I would start at feed, but so often she would be so tired that we wouldn’t make it to play. And then when I put her down to sleep, she would grizzle and cry because she was overtired. Argh.

BUT – there is one exception to the Feed, Play, Sleep routine, and that is at bedtime where upon waking (at around 6.30pm ideally), we give Frankie a bath, then some low key playing and cuddling, and then finish with a feed (and then a nappy change). The idea behind finishing with a feed is to help her stretch longer until her next feed.

Masada recommend dream feeding (between 10.30pm-midnight) up until the age of around 7-8 months when the bub is well and truly on solids. And until Frankie has doubled her birth weight, we need to feed on demand after the dream feed (typically between 3-5am). I am secretly a bit bummed about this as I was hoping that Masada would magically help Frankie sleep from the dream feed through to 7am. No such luck. Frankie has always been a bit of a runt (in the 15th percentile). She was 3kg at birth and is now 5kg at 3 months – so we still have 1 kg to go until we’ll be getting a bigger chunk of sleep.

Feet out! Frankie pretty much lives in a Bonds Wondersuit and out of habit, we leave her feet covered up. The nurses said for day sleeps, pull her feet out (which we had never done before). The reason for this is because it firstly is a sign that it is daytime (not nighttime) and secondly, they are more likely to overheat in the day from being grizzly and overtired and having their feet out helps them be a bit cooler.

I’ll report back on how I go self-settling Frankie today, and as always, I love hearing your comments and questions!