As a new parent, there are so many things for you to learn and remember for the future. How your baby falls asleep is one of the lessons awaiting you, and certainly a very important one. Because if your little one refuses to sleep, well, you may not get a whole lot of quality time with your pillow either. Sleep training and certain methods, like the Pick Up, Put Down method, can play an important role in that lesson. Like with anything, there are things to know about the Pick Up, Put Down method before you get started that will (ideally) help you accomplish your goals.
According to Baby Sleep 101, the Pick Up, Put Down sleep training method involves you completing your normal bedtime routine and then laying your baby down sleepy, but awake. Then, you leave the room. If baby is crying, screaming, or super fussy, you go in and pick up the baby to comfort him, then lay him back down and leave again, repeating until your little one drifts off to sleep. Some families love it, some families don't, and you obviously have to do what's best for your particular situation, but if you go in to it knowing these tips, you'll be set up for sleep training success.
1. A Bedtime Routine Is Necessary
The success of the Pick Up, Put Down sleep training method partially hinges on having a rock-solid bedtime (or naptime) routine already in place. According to Baby Sleep 101, establishing a bedtime routine before sleep training is vital. If you don't have a routine in place yet, start there and wait on sleep training until the routine is, well, routine.
2. Your Baby Has To Be The Right Age
This method uses age-appropriate techniques, so parents need to make sure that the techniques they're using are the right ones. According to Healthline, Tracy Hogg, the former nurse who developed the technique, Pick Up, Put Down should be used for children 4 months and older.
3. There Will Be Crying
As one parent noted on a Baby Center comment board, recognizing your baby's "protest cry" is important for success with the Pick Up, Put Down method. This cry often doesn't mean you need to rush in and soothe a distressed baby, but rather that the baby is upset that it's bedtime in the first place. Your little one will typically only fuss for a short time in protest, then go about falling asleep on their own.
4. It Requires Teamwork
According to the aforementioned article from Healthline, this sleep training method is difficult for just one parent (or other adult) to do on their own. Enlisting the help of someone else can make the process go smoother - and prevent unneeded exhaustion or sleep deprivation.
5. Props Ruin The Process
According to the Baby Sleep Advice website, the Pick Up, Put Down method is anti-prop. So refrain from reaching for bottles, breastfeeding to sleep, "loveys," or anything else that your little one could become reliant upon to fall asleep.
6. It's Going To Be Difficult
The Pick Up, Put Down method can be difficult for parents and babies alike. According to a forum on the Berkeley Parents Network website, the Pick Up, Put Down method is tough. It takes a little patience and persistence, as well as some adjustments from, perhaps, what you'd normally do in order to make it work. The aforementioned articles from the Baby Sleep 101 website and Healthline also mentioned that, because it's a little tricky, parents or other adults trying to implement the Pick Up, Put Down method should make sure they're well-rested (or as well as can be expected) prior to beginning.
7. Consistency Is Key
Above all, as with any sleep training method or other new routine and practice, staying consistent and continuing to try to do the best that you can will make your chances of success all the better.