Friday, July 8, 2011

The Pick-up/Put-down Method

Our six month old son does not like sleeping.

Nolan does like eating, however. He falls asleep eating all the time. Many parents just put their child into bed after feeding them to sleep. The problem with that is often Nolan stirs in his sleep, barely waking himself up, and then he doesn't know how to put himself back to sleep since he depends on eating to do it.

Many other parents try the "cry it out" method. This supposedly tires the baby out from crying by themselves, so they just fall asleep on their own. I tried this with Nolan when he was younger, and I got to the point where him crying for 45 minutes straight didn't seem worth it.

We decided to try a more balanced approach to putting our son to sleep: the "pick-up/put-down" method. It is relatively simple. Pick up Nolan when he cries, and then put him back down into the crib when he calms down. Repeat. That's it. Eventually he rolls to his side and falls into a nice deep sleep. Sometimes it may be repeated many times, over and over again, but it is worth it. He learns to depend on sleeping in his crib rather than during feeding, and he doesn't cry for long periods of uninterrupted contact.

This method is also a great way to get to know my son better. During this time, I develop a better understanding of his mood, feelings, and attitude. My patience is also being transformed during this time, giving me a desire to love him through an exhausting up/down routine. If I am putting him down to nap, it takes approximately an average of 10 minutes before he falls asleep, and then he naps for about 1.5 hours, depending on the day.

Overall, I love this method, and it works very well for Nolan. It may not work for every baby in the world, but it is a nicely balanced method that gives my son the rest he needs and time for me to relax by myself.