Pick up, put down method of getting your baby to sleep

One method of getting your baby to sleep is the pick up, and put down technique. Here’s how to start using it, and the pros and cons.

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You can try the pick up, put down method of settling your baby to sleep from birth. It’s about maintaining regular contact with your baby until she’s reassured enough to fall asleep. Each time your baby cries, pick her up, and soothe her with a “sshhh”. Once she feels reassured enough, she’ll learn to fall asleep by herself. In time, she’ll associate “sshhh” with sleep, so this alone should soothe her. It can be time-consuming, and may take weeks to work, but is emotionally easy on you and gentle on your baby, too.

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How to start the pick up, put down technique

STEP 1: Watch for your baby’s sleepy signs: yawning, eye-rubbing and general crankiness.

STEP 2: Put her in her cot while she’s drowsy but awake.

STEP 3: If she cries, pick her up and comfort her with a ‘sshhh’ until she stops crying, then put her down.

STEP 4: Continue with picking her up if she gets upset. Eventually she’ll realise that you’ll put her down once she’s calm, and she’ll learn to fall asleep by herself. She’ll begin to associate the ‘sshhh’ sound with sleep so that if she wakes the sound alone should work.

This is much easier and more effective if you wait until your baby’s sleepy.

Positives of the pick up, put down method

  • Gentle on the baby
  • Emotionally easy on you

Downsides of the pick up, put down method

  • Can take a lot of your time each night
  • Can take weeks, not days, to work
  • All the bending over can be hard on your back

What if this sleep method doesn’t work for you and your baby?

Don’t worry. If it’s not happening and you can’t persist, have a break before you try again.

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Other sleep methods to consider

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