You might have heard of the pick up put down method and whilst it has some great principles, I want to share with you my modernised idea for this approach.
The current pick up put down ‘method’ can be quite confusing and, in my opinion it’s a little outdated.
Pick up put down is an idea that suggests your little one will gradually adjust to being laid down in their sleep space for sleep if you give them intervals of time in there with intermittent pick ups to sooth them and then place them back down again.
In theory, this is great and I support the idea however, parents are often confused as to;
How often can I pick up?
For how long? And also;
Could it inadvertently teach your baby to cry to be picked up?
To clean this up and bring it into the 21st century, I devised the ‘Nano Night Night’ method.
This involves micro steps that you can use prior to commencing my fade out approach to sleep training and you can also use this method as practice with younger babies right from the early weeks!
Who is it for?
The Nano Night Night method is for parents and caregivers of babies who are really struggling to be put down for sleeps. If you find yourself having to hold your baby to sleep all the time, not because you want to but because you feel it’s the only way, then this is not safe or sensible and the Nano Night Night method will help your baby to develop some early self regulatory skills in a very subtle way.
How it works-
Take the current most favoured position in which you hold your baby to sleep and notice any swaying, rocking and all the detail about how you’re doing this.
Your first Nano step is to change this position very slightly. So if your baby is typically against your chest with their head on your shoulder, switch to more of a side hold. If you currently do this standing up, try your new position while sitting down. Just one nano step, a small and subtle change to the way you usually hold your baby to sleep.
It should be noticeable to your baby so expect a little fussing and dissatisfaction with the change. This tells us that your baby has noticed and then you can help stretch his or her comfort zone by showing them that this new position is fine too and they will soon adjust if the change is subtle.
If they don’t even care or notice anything is different then it isn’t different enough. We need to help them feel at ease in a slightly different position that is just outside of their comfort zone.
Okay, so night one you just keep going with the new hold until baby is asleep and put him or her down as usual. Repeat if need be if he or she wakes up. Depending on how sensitive your baby is will depend whether you use that nano change in position for another night or move right along to your next nano step but certainly don’t stay with any new position for more than two nights, we need to keep the momentum with this method.
Then, Make your next nano step which might mean sitting with your baby in arms but further away from your chest or eliminating any rocking.
Each nano step should be a position that more closely resembles the cot or crib space so less bodily contact with you, no motion and laying horizontally are all good moves.
Once you have ‘nano stepped’ your way to being able to hold your baby on your lap, away from your torso, horizontally and without rocking or swaying, your baby is definitely ready for the move to being placed down in the crib.
This milestone comes with some extra contact to help ease the transition which I recommend looks like this;
After a short period of holding in your final nano step, place your baby down before they fall asleep but allow one arm to go along with them into the crib.
It might feel a little awkward so try to position yourself in a way that is reasonable comfortable but by allowing the transfer of that physical contact with you to go from the hold position, to laying in the cot, brings along a little continuity for your baby so things aren’t immediately too different.
You can then nano step this by giving your arm or hand intermittently rather than constantly while he or she falls asleep and slowly wean the need for the physical contact or at least get to a stage where you can pat or stroke your baby while sitting beside the cot… but hurrah…you can now lay your baby down for sleeps!!
The nano night night method is so incredibly subtle and gradual and it will give your baby the opportunity to practice feeling the sensation of dropping off to sleep and feeling secure with you close by as you help him or her to adjust to sleeping in their safe sleep space.
Why is this important?
Some people might wonder why this matters or think it perfectly fine to hold or rock your baby to sleep because it’s natural and that’s true, it is. There is nothing wrong with holding or rocking a young baby to sleep if done safely and if this suits you and your family and you’re all sleeping well. Do what makes you happy.
The reason this is important though is because there are so many exhausted parents out there who feel totally helpless when it comes to putting their babies down. They feel stuck holding the baby ALL of the time and this can be dangerous. If you fall asleep with your baby on you, it could be fatal. Also, for mental well-being and basic human needs, there are times you need to be able to put your baby down. You need to eat, use the bathroom and just take a breath now and again. And for some, the wonderful act of cuddling, rocking and holding their baby can become a problem when it feels like there is no other way.
So I ask people kindly, not to judge the choices of others. You never know what they are going through and what is right for you may not be right for someone else. The safest, most loving and healthiest way to help your baby to sleep will be unique to you.
My Nano Night Night method is here to help those who need it. To help babies to develop healthy attachments with their caregivers and healthy sleep which is vital for them.
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