When it comes to sleep training your baby, there are as many methods as there are babies. Or at least it can feel like it when you're trying to choose the right one for you and your family. If you're looking for a gentle way to get your baby to sleep through the night that requires minimal tears, the Pick Up, Put Down method might be for you. But what is the Pick Up, Put Down method exactly? It requires a lot of patience, but can be a great alternative for parents who don't want to try crying it out, but don't want to rock their baby to sleep either.
The PUPD method was popularized by author Tracy Hogg in her book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate. In her book, Hogg describes the Pick Up, Put Down method as a "middle ground" sleep training option that helps baby learn to fall asleep on their own without feeling abandoned.
According to the Baby Sleep Site, the PUPD method is essentially what the name implies: you hold or rock your baby until they're drowsy, then lay them down. If they start to cry, you pick them up to comfort them, and lay them back down, repeating the process until your baby eventually falls asleep. The article pointed out that this method won't work for every baby — some babies will get too worked up by being picked up and laid back down that they'll never calm down enough to sleep. But for some babies, all they need is a few times through the "cycle" to feel relaxed and will fall asleep knowing that you are right there to hold them if they wake up.
For parents looking to give the PUPD method a try, Healthline noted the importance of establishing a reliable bedtime routine prior to laying your child down. Like any sleep training method, a predictable routine is essential for its effectiveness. Try reading a few books, taking a bath, or snuggling in whatever order is best for your family before actually beginning the PUPD process.
The Healthline article also recommended that parents using this method don't necessarily need to rush back in every time their baby fusses. Using what is called the stop, wait, and listen approach, parents can take a few moments to assess whether their baby is just fussing or truly needs to be comforted.
The difference between the PUPD method and other methods that allows "controlled tears" is that parents are encouraged to go in and comfort their baby. The hope is that eventually, your baby won't need you to pick them up at all and will fall asleep calmly on their own. The method is far from "graduated extinction" methods and isn't quite as "gentle" as some, making it perfect for parents who are OK with a few tears, but still want to be able to comfort and gently train their baby to sleep through the night.