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Note: The following post was written by a friend of mine. I asked her to write a post about PU/PD since I myself have never used the method. She has found great success with it and I hope that information and her personal experience she shares in this post will help you if you decide to use this sleep training method.

Pick up/put down is a sleep training method described in the book, “The Baby Whisperer” by Tracey Hogg. It offers your baby the reassurance that you are there but also the independence to help him learn to sleep on his own. It is important to note that this method should not be used before your baby is 4 months old.

There are several case studies described in the book where Hogg was called in as a consultant to help tired families teach their little ones to sleep (These can be found in all three of her books by looking at the index section for PU/PD or sleep training.).

My husband and I were advised by the pediatrician to let our son cry it out at 4 weeks old. He said, “bath at 6, bottle at 7, bed at 8. Put the baby in his bed awake and let him cry if he needs to.” After 5 nights of the crying for over 45 minutes at a time, and it got longer each night, I gave up and went back to feeding him to sleep. At 5 weeks old my mother-in-law brought me the Baby Whisperer book and my life changed forever! We started swaddling and put my son (and us) on E.A.S.Y.

By 4 months old my son was sleeping from 6:30 PM until 8 AM. He got his bath at 6, had a bottle and was swaddled and put in bed no later than 6:30 PM. As he’s gotten older, he goes to sleep a little later because he plays longer in the bath and now we read books. But the most important thing to remember with any sleep training method is consistency. It is the key to getting your little one through the night.

With PU/PD you offer your baby reassurance by being with him but you don’t become his sleep aid or “prop” because you remove the extra reassurance the second your baby does not need you.

So, when your baby cries for help***,

1.You go into his room. You go right to his bed and do NOT make eye contact, do NOT speak, just go to him, pick him up, a pat on the back or a rub of the head is fine, and then as soon as his body is calm you put him back in his bed.
2.You do this until he is completely settled and going back to sleep.
3. If he wakes early from a nap, you do the PU/PD method until he either goes back to sleep or it is time for his next feeding.
4. In the night, you do it until he goes to sleep (this can take 2-5 hours or more depending on what reinforced habits you have, you can read about my detailed experience in a bit).
5.You should keep a journal of every attempt because then you can see the progress you have made.

***(there are different types of cries, a mantra cry is very rhythmic. A mantra cry is your baby trying to put herself back to sleep. You should not go into your baby’s room for a mantra cry. Always stop outside the baby’s door and wait. Listen to the cry and determine if it is a cry for assistance or a mantra cry)

My Experience with PU/PD

Sleep Journal One:

At 5 months old we went on a trip. I went on a 3-hour flight with my son and we stayed at my parent’s house. We made the room he was sleeping in just as dark as his at home room (he is a spirited baby and so all distractions must be eliminated to achieve sleep.

That night my son woke up unfamiliar with the smells and the crib, so I did PU/PD:

Night 1: 6:00 PM – Bath, Bottle, and Bed by 6:30.

10:30 PM – Dream Feed.

1:00 AM – First waking. I picked him up, did one-two gentle (like burping)

pats on his back and put him back in his bed. He cried out once, rolled over and went to sleep. I did this 3 separate times in the night.

3:00 AM – Second waking. Repeat 1st waking method.

5: 30 AM – Third waking. Repeat 1st waking method.

7:30 AM – Up for the day.

Night 2: 6:00 PM – Bath, Bottle, and Bed by 6:30.

10:30 PM – Dream Feed.

7:45 AM – Up for the day.

Now you can see from that sleep journal that there was a LOT of improvement that second night. We left that next day so there was no more nights on that visit and upon returning home, the baby went back to sleeping from 6:30 PM until 8:00 AM.

Sleep Journal Two:

At 8 months old, I got into some “accidental parenting”.

At this point, my son’s routine was well established. He was napping during the day, sleeping at night, crawling all around the house and eating solids. Plus, he was still sleeping from 6:30 PM until 8:00 AM.

Well, one night he woke in the night and was crying.

(This, after 4 months of not having him wake at all in the night besides for 1st the visit to my parents (we went up another time at 7 months and everything went smoothly. He even had other people put him to bed at night)

I went to him, and did PU/PD. After about an hour I thought, he might be hungry, 8 months is a pretty big physical development age and maybe he didn’t get enough to eat or is going through a growth spurt. So I made a bottle and he drank 10 oz down so fast you would’ve thought he hadn’t eaten in days. I then put him in bed and he slept fine.

About a week or two later he woke in the night again. This time, I was tired and wanted to go back to sleep quickly, I just made a bottle and went to him and fed him. Here was my mistake. Considering anything could’ve woken him, the best thing to do would have been PU/PD. And I look back at this moment and think, why did I give him that bottle? And thus my problems began.

At first the night-wakings for bottles was inconsistent, sometimes it would happen and sometimes it wouldn’t. There would be 2-4 days in a row that he would sleep straight through and then there was 2-4 days where he would wake up and I would give him a bottle. I was still trying to convince myself it was hunger and continued the bottles.

By 11 months, he was waking 2-3 times in the night, drinking 2 oz and going back to sleep. Now, I new that he wasn’t hungry and didn’t need the bottles and it was just a “prop.”

We were moving at the end of his 11th month, so I decided to use the move as a time to re-sleep train him, since I would need to be doing that anyway.

By 11 months old, babies are set in their ways. Habits are MUCH, MUCH, HARDER to break, but NOT impossible. And that is the key. It took nearly 3 weeks to get my son back on track with his night-time sleep. However, I am happy to report that after those 3 weeks of PU/PD he has been sleeping from 6:40ish PM until 8:00 AM again, it’s been 2 months!

Here is my sleep journal from then:

Night 1: Dad got him down in about 45 minutes with P.D. by 10:00 PM (late night because the movers were still at the house and son threw up from a grape allergy, only allergy he has…weird though)  Wake time was 6:30 AM

Night 2: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 1:00 AM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 10 minutes.

Night 3: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke up once, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 2 minutes.

Night 4: Got the crib set up, had been sleeping in the pack n play.  Played in the crib and was SUPER excited about it during the day.  Regular night routine, would not go to sleep, kept standing up and crying. Tried to do P.D. but he started falling to the mattress and laughing whenever I went to P.D.  I got annoyed that he was making it a game and left the room.  He cried, I came back, he eventually did the same thing.  This went on for 30 minutes and my husband took over.  Same thing.  We thought maybe he got too excited from our brisk visit with the new neighbors before bed and so we got him up for 20 minutes and then redid the bedtime routine.  Woke at 11:35 PM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 1 minute. Woke again at 1:30, got him to sleep within 1 minute.  Woke at 2:35 AM, got him to sleep within 1 minute.  Cried off and on until 3:20 AM.  Full blown crying and I could not settle him.  At 4:20 I traded with my husband.  At 4:40 he thought maybe son was hungry and said I should give him a bottle (probably a bad idea, I know).  Gave him 4 oz of water first because I didn’t want to reinforce the previous bad habit.  He drank it all and then I gave him 8 oz of milk and he drank it all.  Then he went right to sleep until 8:00 AM.

Night 5: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 11:35 PM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 10 minutes.  Woke around 2:35…did P.D. until 4:20, husband got annoyed and we were so tired from previous night and the move that we caved and gave bottle to save our sanity (truly a bad idea in hindsight).

Night 6: (after the previous night, I spent the day resting and decided that I needed to dig in my heals and stick with P.D. and be CONSISTENT).  Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 11:35 PM, got him to sleep with 43 P.D.’s and light back rub, and WI/WO towards the end and he went to sleep around 1:35 for the night.  Wake time was 7:30 AM.

Night 7: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 12:00 AM, got him to sleep with 27 P.D.’s and light back rub, and WI/WO towards the end and was asleep by 1:30 AM for the night.  Wake time was 6:00 AM.

Night 8: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 11:35 PM, got him to sleep with minimal P.D. and light back rub, and WI/WO in about 40 minutes. Yay! 7:00 Am wake up.

Night 9: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 1:00 AM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 20 minutes.

Night 10: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Slept through! WooHoo! 6:00 AM wake up (uggh)

Night 11: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 2 AM, P.D. and light back rub in about 1.5 hours. 5 AM wake up, did P.D. and light back rub about 20 minutes.  Wake time 8:00 AM.

Night 12:  Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 1:30 AM, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 40 minutes.  EW of 5:30 AM, P.D. until 7:00 then started our day.

Night 13: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke once, got him to sleep with P.D. and light back rub in about 15 minutes.

Night 14: Regular night routine, but he started doing the playing with P.D. again.  Husband and I took turns.  Eventually he Mantra cried himself without us in the room to sleep in about 10 minutes.  Was asleep by 7:15 PM.  Wake time 5:00 AM, did P.D. and light back rub with WI/WO, took about 30 minutes to get him back to sleep until 8:00 AM.

Night 15: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke around 2:00 AM, took 3 P.D.’s then he played with his lovey sheep and chatted, so I left the room and he put himself down.  Repeat at 5:00 AM.  Woke up around 7:30 AM.

Night 16: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke at 5:35 AM, took 7 P.D.’s then he played with his lovey sheep and chatted, I left and he put himself down until 7:30.

Night 17: UGHH!  What the heck!?!?!  Great Nap today! Wonderful day, he was chatty and so much fun.  Bedtime he went to bed like normal and then 5 minutes later just screamed and screamed.  Went in to do P.D. and he kept running across the crib and playing and throwing himself around.  I left.  He started screaming.  I came back, rinse and repeat for 10 minutes.  He started screaming while I was in the room (bratty screams), didn’t want to be touched, didn’t want to be held.  Would NOT calm down.  Gave himself the crying hiccups.  After husband got angry at the ear piercing screams he asked me to leave the room.  Took son about 3 minutes to soothe himself to sleep.  He cried out off and on for 10 minutes and has not been up since (it’s 11:13 now).

Night 18: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke at 5:35 AM, put himself back 7:45 AM.

Night 19: Regular night routine, in bed by 6:45ish PM.  Woke at 6:00 AM, he cried out nce, went back to sleep until 8:00 AM.

Now, not every night is perfectly smooth, but I don’t go in anymore. He will cry out after a sleep cycle (45 minutes) some nights and put himself back to sleep within 5 minutes and that’s that. After 1 year, if you use PU/PD, you should implement the WI/WO method instead. You can find this on, the Baby Whisperer Forums at this link: http://www.babywhispererforums.com/index.php?topic=80750.0

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