Pick up put down sleep training method

Pick up put down method

Sleep routines are not for everyone and here at Channel Mum there’s no judging. We’ll simply give you the information to help you decide what is right for you and your family. Our Health Visitor and Sleep Expert Maggie features in our helpful video series The Baby Sleep Guide and she is also available along with our trained parent helpers to give you support and personalised help whatever stage of the sleep journey you’re on. Why not ask a sleep question? If you’re struggling Channel Mum is here for you and know you are not alone.

What is pick up, put down?

Pick up, put down is pretty much what it says on the tin. If your child is upset or crying you pick them up and comfort them until they have stopped crying and are drowsy again, at which point you then place them back into their bed. You then repeat this cycle until they fall asleep.
This method is good for younger babies and children who cannot stand yet, once they are able to stand this method becomes a lot more difficult, although it is still possible.

What age can you use pick up, put down from?

You can use pick up, put down from 3 months old.

How do I do pick up put down?

In order to implement this sleep training method follow the steps below:
1. Ensure you have a consistent bedtime and positive bedtime routine, so that your child is given warning and knows that bedtime is next;
2. Put your baby into bed when they are drowsy but still awake;
3. If your baby starts to cry pick them up, do not rock them but do use a consistent settling phrase such as “shhh” “I am here it’s ok” or “it is time to sleep” and soothe them until they have settled down again and are calm and drowsy;
4. Put your baby back into their bed and leave the room;
5. If they start to cry before you have got them back into bed, still put them down;
6. If they continue to cry, pick them back up again and repeat steps 3-4 and 5 as necessary, until your baby is asleep;
7. If you see signs that your baby is starting to settle, such as the cries are weaker do not pick them up instead, put your hand on their tummy and use your settling phrase.

How long will it take for this method to work?

This method can take a long time each evening, you may have to pick up and put down your baby many many times before it is successful. You will need to ensure you are consistent, but you should expect to see an improvement over the first few days.

Is there anything else I need to know?

You will need strong resolve and a strong back and remain calm to soothe your baby each time. Your baby may resist sleep more than previously to begin with, and you are likely to feel frustrated and cross, so make sure you have support from your partner or friends and family. It is also important that you don’t stop responding to your baby’s requests for night feeds until they are at least 6 months old. You may decide it’s not for you but don’t worry there are lots of other things to try, just watch the Channel Mum Sleep Guide series of videos for other ideas.

Baby ClinicPlus you can come and chat to Maggie, our team of trained parent supporters and other mums in the Channel Mum support group too.

Health Visitor approved advice

This guide has been checked and approved by our in-house Health Visitor, Maggie Fisher in October 2018.

Other factsheets in this series

Safe sleeping for babies

Your baby’s average sleep needs

Sleep and awake states of your baby

What are your baby’s signs of tiredness?

Your baby’s sleep cycles

The effect food can have on your baby’s sleep

Comforting and soothing your baby to sleep

Sleep aids that might help settle your baby

Swaddling your baby

Bedtime routines

Using the ‘Gradual Retreat’ sleep training method

Using the ‘Controlled Checking’ sleep training method

Using the ‘Kissing Game’ sleep training method

Using the ‘Wake to Sleep’ sleep training method

You might be interested in

The Channel Mum sleep guide

How to sooth a crying baby

Controlled Crying