The pick up, put down method is a sleep training method. It was popularized by Tracy Hogg in her book, â€œSecrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby.â€
So, does it work?
It depends. Sleep training advocates usually share many reasons that their techniques are effective, but babies are individuals. What works with one baby may not work with another, including how they learn to go to sleep.
Here are the basics of this sleep training method and how to decide if itâ€™s right for your baby.
How do I use the pick up, put down method?
There are a few steps to the pick up, put down method.
1. Bedtime routine
The process begins with your babyâ€™s bedtime routine, whatever that may be. After youâ€™ve completed the different stages of your babyâ€™s routine and itâ€™s time to put them to sleep, lay them down in their crib or bassinet.
Ideally, they should be drowsy and relaxed from their soothing bedtime routine, but still awake. If your baby doesnâ€™t fuss or cry, leave the room.
The method promoted by Tracy Hogg includes remaining in the room with your baby as long as theyâ€™re awake. Others who recommend this method say itâ€™s OK to leave the room when your baby is calm.
2. Stop, wait, and listen
If your baby begins crying, follow the stop, wait, and listen approach. Donâ€™t immediately rush to pick them up. Instead, stop for a few seconds and listen to your baby to determine if theyâ€™re simply fussing, or if theyâ€™re really worked up enough that they need you to comfort them.
3. Pick up
If your baby isnâ€™t settling down on their own, pick them up. Hold your baby and cuddle them to calm them down. This is the â€œpick upâ€ part of the pick up, put down method.
4. Put down
Once your baby has settled down, but is still awake, lay them down again. This is the â€œput downâ€ part of this sleep training method.
This process continues until your baby eventually goes to sleep, and that may take a long time, which means that this sleep training method requires lots of patience. It can be a frustrating cycle for parents, and itâ€™s very important that you are calm and quiet when you pick up your baby to comfort them.
What age should you start using the pick up, put down method?
This sleep training method is intended for babies no younger than about 4 months of age. It tends to be most effective around 4 to 8 months of age, but it may also be suitable for some babies who are a little older. Babiesâ€™ sleep patterns are often well-established by 6 months, so it may be easier to start this method before that age.
The cycle of picking up and putting down may be too stimulating for some babies. Instead of relaxing them, they find the process disruptive, which can have the adverse effect of working your baby up.
Steps for success with the pick up, put down method
Follow these steps for success with the pick up, put down method.
1. Bedtime routine
If you havenâ€™t developed a soothing bedtime routine for your baby yet, start with that. Your babyâ€™s bedtime routine could involve nursing or a bottle, then snuggle time with singing or a bedtime story.
Choose a relaxing routine, and stay consistent. This will help your baby learn that the bedtime routine means itâ€™s almost time for sleep.
2. Get some rest first
Parents of babies rarely get enough sleep. But try to catch up on your rest before starting the pick up, put down method. It can be time-consuming, and it may take over two hours in the beginning to get your baby down to sleep. Youâ€™ll need energy and patience to stick with this approach.
3. Listen to your baby
If theyâ€™re simply fussy, give them some time and space to settle down. Youâ€™ll be able to tell if theyâ€™re getting worked up or becoming frightened or angry.
4. Get help
This method works best if you can do it with help. Ideally, both parents should be committed to giving the pick up, put down method a fair chance. It may be helpful to enlist the help of grandparents, aunts or uncles, or another person who spends lots of time with your baby.
Does the pick up, put down method work?
Success with this method will depend on your babyâ€™s temperament and your commitment. Itâ€™s important to stay consistent. Sleep training is a challenge, no matter which approach you try. Remember, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to see consistent changes in your babyâ€™s sleep routine.
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