Sleep Training Diary: Pick Up Put Down Method

Pick Up Put Down Sleep Training Method

Hello oh-so exhausted mommies & daddies! If you’re looking for a fly-on-the-wall look into exactly what went down with sleep training our baby Zoe using Pick Up Put Down (PUPD) Sleep Training Method, then you’re in the right spot. Let me start off by saying that this method seems to be working for us. There is a LOT I documented along these weeks, lots of bumps in the road to get baby to learn to sleep using this slower, more gentle method of sleep training. If you’re looking for a quick-fix to this method of training – well – there isn’t one. Sit down with a nice cup of tea and read through this diary. I made a huge effort to document all the things we did (literally – I would be up at 4.30am writing in my phone notes for you to have this later), what worked and didn’t work, how we tweaked and helped our baby Zoe get herself to sleep.

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I did a ton of research on this beforehand and honestly, I was down to just do the Ferber Method of controlled crying. But Rod wanted to do a more gentle approach and I didn’t want to be that demanding wifey who’s sure she knows best all the time so I decided to roll with it (and wanted to give up lots of times throughout – you’ll see). But we stuck with it and here we are, on day 25 of sleep training and I’ve been sitting down for the last 3 days writing this post. I’m going to break it down in parts as simply as I can (I know you’re here because YOU WANNA SLEEP, I get it) which, if you read the entirety of, you will see the whole picture clearly and everything will make more sense. This method is a long process that requires boat-loads of patience, understanding, conscious parenting and if you have it, help from your partner/spouse, friend, parent etc – whoever can be there! I will keep updating this post to keep everyone in the loop with the journey for maybe a couple of weeks longer. Be aware that sleeping is a learned skill that develops over time and changes too depending on milestones (teething, for ex). So we might have it down and all of a sudden it just goes out the window. But this is how to get off to a great start! P.S. Keep in mind, I’m not an expert, not a doctor, not an astronaut – I’m just a parent figuring it out as we go along like the rest of ’em! If you’re in any doubt about whether your baby is ready for sleep training then ask your pediatrician. This post is an in-depth diary of our personal experience.

What Is Pick Up Put Down (PUPD)?

PUPD is a sleep training method invented by a British nurse called Tracy Hogg. The idea is simple: lay the baby down when drowsy, calm and awake whilst giving your key phrase (mine is “it’s sleepy time my love”), if the baby fusses when they’re down in the crib then try and soothe them with a hand on their back, shushing etc, and if they cry you pick them up. Once they immediately stop crying, you lower them back down along with the key phrase. Repeat this until baby is calm and fallen completely asleep. If the baby catches on and already cries on the way down then put them down anyway. Try and soothe. If they continue to cry, pick them up, comfort them (don’t rock them if you can help it) and as soon as they stop, immediately put them down whilst saying your key phrase. Repeat and repeat. The idea is that your baby will run out of energy. You’re allowing them to feel the same emotions as cry-it-out for example, but the difference is that you are there supporting them through it all on the difficult journey of learning the skill that we adults take for granted: falling asleep. That’s the jist. Tracy wrote an in-depth book (which I’ve put for you just below here) called “The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems” where there are a ton of in-depth explanations about emotions and a whole chapter dedicated to this method and the necessary adjustments by age range. I strongly recommend it – it made me feel safer and like I had a fall-back to just grab the book and re-read the chapter and advice over and over as we went. Mind you, there are some things in there which I thought were a little bit on the over-dramatic/extreme side (i.e. you’re abandoning your child if you leave them and they’ll be damaged and neglected etc.) and I took those kinds of things with a pinch of salt, but as an educated adult you can pick and choose what makes sense to you. If you want to learn some interesting things about your child and their development then buy the book, it’s got some cool stuff in there explaining why your child reacts like they do and very helpful to refer back to everything from eating, sleeping, ages and stages and of course, PUPD.

Some important notes going in:

  1. This method is simply the method we chose. Whatever sleep training method you choose to do is up to you, there’s no right or wrong. We’re all just parents trying to do the best we can every single day for our families. I am in no way here to judge anyone and neither should anyone else be shaming or whatnot. Any comments like that will be deleted. This is a safe & respectful space to discuss what can be done to get our little ones to sleep and help each other out.
  2. In the first TWO weeks, results were kind of everywhere. This THIRD week seems to have brought a click in Zoe where she understands what’s happening and that it’s bed/sleepy time. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a little fuss-time in bed but she can put herself back to sleep no problem in the night, she’s able to fall asleep alone for the most part (and if not it’s very quick now after we sooth her for a second or two).
  3. Zoe was 6 months old, weighed over 14lb and had begun a little on solids when we started. Starting solids and sleep training together perhaps wasn’t the best idea in hindsight because those are 2 very big changes but we started so we felt we should just stick with it. The introduction of solids definitely messed up some nights where perhaps without them it would have been less fussy. You can indeed begin this training earlier too – Tracy has advice for 4-6 months old in the book but read up on that because perhaps there’s a couple of adjustments you need to make!
  4. We did PUPD for ALL times she was going to sleep. Both Naps and Bedtime. I just thought it would be confusing to Zoe that sometimes we cuddled her to sleep (daytime) and sometimes not (nighttime). So.. we went ALL IN and did PUPD every time it was sleep time. It was grueling many days but we put in the work.
  5. Crying and fussing is totally normal throughout the process of sleep training. Remember that your baby hasn’t learned this skill yet and whenever you try to change/start a completely new habit for her/him, there will always be some degree of resistance.
  6. A little personal context: Rod is a music producer and our studio is here at home. I have a somewhat flexible schedule as a blogger, artist and running my company also so most days we worked it out so one of us could be very present with it. If your child is in any other kind of care then I imagine maybe it might take longer to achieve results since the caregiver might be doing something different than you to get baby to sleep but hopefully it will be a success either way! Start with the night time if you can’t be around in the day, I guess? PERSISTENCE, my loves.


Getting Started Correctly: Steps To Take Before You Begin PUPD Sleep Training

  1. E.A.S.Y Routine: In the book, Tracy says that in order for PUPD to be a success you must switch up the baby’s routine just a little and she follows something she coined as E.A.S.Y. E = Eat (feed baby) then comes A = Activity (baby gets to play), then comes S = Sleep and then Y = You (basically time for Yourself..). When I begun looking into PUPD, Zoe was on A.E.S.Y which I’m guessing is the case for lots of you guys too. I was concerned about making this change and feeding Zoe before play time because in my head I kept asking myself, “won’t she be hungry/thirsty after Activity”? Well, turns out, no. She doesn’t care much. It was so simple to do over 2 or 3 days and now that we have established E.A.S.Y., it makes a LOT of sense. So. That’s really the main thing. It’s helpful so that baby doesn’t have a sleep association like breastfeeding right before sleep etc.
  2. Cut out all the sleep props your child may have – rocking to sleep (that was hard for me), falling asleep on the breast, pacifier (if you think it’s getting in the way) etc. We took a day or two to phase out the amount of bouncing etc. until she could become drowsy without all that help. Zoe still has a pacifier whilst going to bed and soothing. I don’t think it’s much of an issue at this stage because even when it falls out it doesn’t wake her up.
  3. Make the sleeping space conducive to relaxation and calm. So as dark as possible, as quiet as possible or else soothing music/white noise if that helps, good temperature. Make sure baby doesn’t have poopy/wet diaper, ill etc. you know, common sense, ok?


Diary Of Pick Up, Put Down Sleep Training – Day by Day Account

*Some of the times might be approximations because I was sleep deprived but I did my very best! I highlighted bedtime in Bold and the minutes are Total Time from the very first time I lay her down to the time she settled to sleep*

Night 1: Saturday, October 14th 2017 (we started the training at Bedtime on the first night)

Bedtime at 6.40ish pm: 8 pickups and asleep in 16 and a half mins. Tired because she had terrible nap day.
Awake 2.47am in our bed (which we shouldn’t do!) till 3.47am – she didn’t sleep but needed poopy diaper change.
Fed her and back in her bed 4.11am. Tried soothing and then let her fuss a minute but when I picked up for about 10 seconds, she stopped. Then put back down on side and she stayed awake but quiet trying to put herself to sleep. 4:28 now and so far still quiet!

Day/Night 2:

Awake 7am and playing alone in crib till 7.25.
(We didn’t tackle day-time naps with PUPD yet – we only began that a couple days in)
Fed her at 6.45pm
Bedtime 6.55pm: 4 and a half mins, 3 pickups.

Day/Night 3:

Fed her 6.45pm
Bedtime 6.55: 4 pickups and asleep in 8 and half mins.
4.48am – 5.06am: about 8 pick ups
5.08am – 5.11am: gave her a feed because she wouldn’t settle and was crying hard

Day/Night 4:

I think Zoe has caught onto what we’re doing here. Today was completely opposite to the first couple days.
Bedtime around 7pm: 40 mins of crying and 12 pick ups – fussing and intense crying which almost made me think she maybe had gas pains since we have just started solids but I stuck it out and it turned out to just be that she didn’t want to do down without being held (smarty pants).
I will keep the midnight dream feed but will start to shorten the dawn feed by one minute per night. I don’t think she needs it honestly – I know for a fact she can sleep 9 hours straight without a feed because she’s done it once or twice before.
3.11am – 3.16am fed her but didn’t even need to do PUPD
4.45am: Had to wake up and feed her because of plugged duct

Day/Night 5:

6.30am: Woke up and played by herself for a bit
She was tired so at 8am Papa did PUPD for 35mins with 8 pick ups
11.20am to 12.10pm: I did PUPD at nap time. It didn’t go swimmingly, let’s just say. 50 minutes and 8 pick ups but I lost count a little. And then she only slept 20 mins anyway. So frustrated and so exhausted. She had a catnap at 4.30pm and I laid her down and simply soothed her by shushing and patting in a heartbeat beat. It took no time at all doing that – couple minutes. She slept 30 minutes. I bathed her a little earlier because it had been an intense day of crying and it was awful getting her off to sleep.
Bedtime around 6.30: 1 hour and 10 minutes and 10 pick ups. Constant crying. The pick ups mainly happened in the first 20 minutes and then the rest of the way she was so tired but still fussy crying and trying to crawl around. I can’t even count the amount of times I shushed, pat, sang etc. At one point close to 57 minutes along she was completely relaxed and quiet and then started up after about 2 minutes. I gave her some gas drops at that point because she hasn’t pooped in 2 Days and is on solids so maybe that was part of the stop/start of fussing. Starting to think maybe it’s a mistake to introduce solids with sleep training. She’s doing well on solids though so I’ll stick with it. Anyway, at a little over an hour i could feel my blood boiling up at the shrill ongoing crying of my poor daughter and nothing working – I knew I had reached my limit and left to get Rod who was working. I sat in the bathroom and cried out of exasperation for the first time in a long time. We’ve now decided on a rule of if 15 mins goes by then the other parent must come and we switch cuz it’s so intense. Finally at 1h and 10mins, Papa patted her to sleep in her crib which, oh well, hopefully won’t serve as a sleep prop in the grand scheme of things. Rod has some modifications he wants to make, I’ll hear him out and we’ll go from there.

11.50pm: Dream feed. She was wide awake which is so unusual but we came to bed anyway. We watched on the camera as she crawled around and rolled around her bed (probably her stuck poop lol), fearing the worst of having to begin another exhausting round of PUPD, but no.. she just did her thing for 10 minutes tops and self soothed to sleep.

It’s 3.45am and I’ve had to change a big poopy diaper. I don’t usually diaper change during the night unless of course there’s poop since it wakes her up a lot. Her PJs were wet with naughty pee that escaped. When I got the diaper open I saw a lot of poop so I was glad I made the decision to check. I changed her into fresh PJs and then I fed her for her usual 6 minutes and she was arching her back to get off me. Lay her down and in 5 minutes of self soothing and rolling about on her own she’s asleep! I hope this is a step in the right direction for tomorrow. Time for zzzs.

Day/Night 6:

7.10am: Zoe woke up slightly later this morning which gave us a precious half hour more of snooze. I’m so tired from yesterday’s PUPD session, my back and neck hurts and I really want to cancel my plans today. She was playing in our bed with us this morning, I nursed her and then let her play in her activity jumper.
9.30am: I’ve just put her down in her crib (and didn’t feed her between Activity and Sleep! *yay*) and just shushed her and sang a little lullaby and she’s asleep without great fuss in 15 minutes. Phew, I hope it’s a long nap she needs the rest and so do I… Ok, no. She slept 30 minutes and I think she woke up because we had a guest come by.
11.45: After feeding her avocado and a little play time, I put her down for another attempt at napping. Took 15 minutes and 2 pick ups to settle her. Mostly it was about settling her in her crib and finally after a little shush-pat she drifted off at about noon and slept until 1!
3.45 – 5.45. Mammoth nap I wasn’t expecting – took me 15 minutes and 2 pick ups to get her off to sleep.
Bedtime 7.30pm: 20 mins and 1 pickup. Initially, I left the room after putting her to bed awake and calm. She was crawling about and trying to stand up in the crib entertaining herself for about 10 minutes before the fussing began and eventually crying, but not crazy crying this time. I went in and did a single pick up – which honestly I don’t think was all that necessary but I did it anyway – and put her straight back down since she settled fast in my arms. She would surge in energy and fuss for a couple of seconds every so often and I tried to shush-pat for minimal time so that it doesn’t become a sleep aid. She eventually settled and I left the room and watched her roll about with her eyes closed trying to get comfortable. After about 10 minutes, off she went. It was diametrically opposite to our experience last night. More tomorrow.
11.30pm: Dream feed. Uneventful.
4.35am: Fed again for short time and she’s back asleep with no fuss at all.
6am: Stirring around but put herself to sleep again.

Day/Night 7

7.15am: Zoe awake in a very good mood
8.55am – 9.40am: Nap with no PUs or fuss
Noon – 1pm: Nap – Papa tried to settle her but he’s not up to speed on the soothing-in-bed methods haha so it took a while and I took over for a couple of minutes to show him how.
3.45pm – 4.30pm: Papa put her down for the afternoon nap and was uneventful.
Bedtime around 7pm: 45 mins and no PUs but a LOT of soothing. Zoe really overtired tonight. She played in bed for 10mins before she was crying. Soothing worked but had to be very persistent. Switched with Papa half way through but no crazy crying/resistance thankfully.
11pm: Dream feed
1am: Crying in pain. Did first ever more solid poop.
1.45am: Zoe back to bed but awake. Initially wanted soothing but settled to sleep at 2.35 with no PUs.

Day/Night 8 (Saturday, October 21st 2017 – Week 1 is done and Zoe is slowly beginning to get the hang of self-soothing during the night at least.)

7.30am: Zoe awake and was playing in our bed until 9.15am.
9.35am – 10.20am: Nap but we had to soothe on and off for a while
12 noon: Down for another nap. She seems tired either way perhaps from last night and the intense crying?
5.45pm: Cat nap because we were out at another friends house
Bedtime 7.45pm: 28 mins with 1 pick up and minimal soothing by me and Papa
11.20pm: Dream feed for 6 minutes
4am: Awake for feed and was wide awake standing up and hanging onto side of crib. Lay her back down at 4.09 calm and she settled but needed one lay-back-down since she had gotten up on the side again. She soothed herself the rest of the way to sleep by 4.20ish. Nothing bad at all but I’m wondering how I can teach her to just sit/lay back down from standing up using the side of the crib by herself. I need to read up on that in Tracy’s book. I’ve realized that’s her call for attention and she starts to cry while she does it if I don’t come, probably out of frustration and definitely also physical tiredness! It’d be nice to figure out how to make her see she can just let go by herself (the step that seems to be missing), lay down and soothe herself to sleep.

Day/Night 9

7.30am: Zoe woke up and played in our bed in the morning and since it was Sunday I let her cuddle and nap about an hour more in bed with me
11am: Naptime and took about 30 mins to get to sleep – again with minimal soothing.
2.10pm: Lay her down calm for nap and she was up again hanging off the sides of the crib but she didn’t frustrate as much this time. I would’ve let her go and go to see if eventually she’d just lie down but Papa was taking a nap in there and I didn’t want to disturb him. At 2.50pm, I lay her down calm and in a couple of minutes she was asleep with minimal help, a soothe and shush here or there and by 3pm asleep until 4pm
Bedtime around 7pm: 35 mins with no PUs but persistent soothing and putting down from standing. Zoe standing in crib crying somewhat these days. She’s definitely not in need of Pick Ups now. In fact, we just do the Put Down part which Tracy writes is what happens when they just fuss and no longer crazy cry. I read up on the whole standing in crib thing in the book and turns out when they stand just lay them right back down (unless they’re very upset in which case you gotta Pick Up for a moment), facing away from you. Each time wait until she stands up all the way and immediately repeat without allowing them to hang out. Keep reinforcing with the key phrases “sleepy time” or “it’s time to sleep” and gentle hand on back to soothe for a moment. Use your voice too as a soothing tool if this is happening.
10.45pm: Dream feed
4.15: Nursed for 6 mins and Zoe back sleeping soundly
6.30am: Zoe awake but self-soothed back to sleep

Day/Night 10 (6 months vaccines – oh no!)

7.50am: Woke up in great mood
9am: Napped – minimal soothing here and there when she’d try get up and crawl and it took about about 15 minutes to get her to settle and sleep
She had vaccines today and they take forever at the doctor office (why?!?) so she only napped half an hour in her car seat.
4.15pm: Tried to put her down for a nap but she was so hyper and fidgeting everywhere that we left her be a while and she was still happily crawling. Wasn’t even close to asleep by 5pm so I picked her up and gave her dinner
Bedtime at 6.20pm: Asleep in 4 minutes with practically no soothing! Poor thing, so tired!
11.30pm: Dream feed and she self soothed to sleep again
5.30pm: I woke up because Zoe hadn’t woken me up. She sensed me and stirred so I nursed. Running low fever for sure from vaccines. Brought her into our bed for the rest of the night.

Day/Night 11

7am: Zoe woke up with 100.9 fever.
9am: Down to nap, no PUs, minimal soothing but hard to get completely asleep because she’s so overtired from her fever, poops, vaccines etc: really having to insist this morning for nap time.
Didn’t keep a diary today because she’s so under the weather that all sleep rules are off for now and she needs lots of Mama & Papa cuddles and soothing, nursing, breast and holding for comfort. Waking up various times during the night thought etc.

Day/Night 12

7am: Zoe up feeling much better but I expect she’ll be tired in general today. Nursed, playtime, baby food, more playtime.
9.30am: Down for nap where she fussed and cried some in bed while Papa soothed her.
Noon: Tried to get her to nap but she was super hyper. Only managed to get her to nap at 2.30pm and even that was a struggle and only slept half an hour. We had to go out to see a friend so we ran the course of the evening to bathtime at 6ish and nursing.
Bedtime around 6.20pm: 40 minutes with lots of soothing (ugh, I want to give up). Tried to get her calm – she was so overtired – but it was really hard. She’s really resisting PUPD at bedtime during this second week, it’s frustrating me and making me want to give up. I spent 40 minutes bent over the crib just trying to soothe and get Zoe to stop getting up and crawling to the sides of crib to stand up. She’s so strong and wiggly that it’s hard to encourage her to lay down and soothe. I told Rod we should try and follow the book to a tee in the chapter about when they can stand up (so we had to refer to the 9-month old adjustments) and see if it works better. Zoe is completely capable of doing this. She does it no problem at 6am when she wakes up in bed. She babbles and crawls and then puts herself back to sleep, no problem. I can’t fathom why it’s such a fight at bed time. Right now just feeling off track and upset.
11.30pm: Dream feed and have a dull headache. It’s so hot in LA with this Fall heat wave WTH.
3.09am|: Zoe awake crying and I nursed a little and put her back to bed. She wouldn’t go down without fussing so I changed diaper and she was calm and content but still wouldn’t go back down to sleep. It made me think she is simply wanting attention and to stay with me but Papa insists that she’s got this or that pain. I’m just not convinced, I think sometimes she’s playing him just how she wants but who knows. She cried quite a lot after that because she was worked up from being put down. I nursed her more and I’m thinking perhaps she was hungrier than I thought although, again, I doubt it. Rod wants her to get past these days post-vaccination for us to continue stricter sleep training. We relaxed the rules slightly this week and she’s got us around her little finger!

Day/Night 13

7.30am: Zoe awake which I’m happy about, it’s an easier hour.
8.45am: Back to bed for nap after I nursed and then play time. Asleep in 15 minutes by 9am with minimal soothing.
12 noon: Nap time took about 10 mins for her to drift off pretty much alone but a lot of background noise outside in the alley so I think she was woken up. Then Papa soothed her back down but it took a little longer – about 15 or 20 mins. She napped about an hour.
4.30pm: Tried to put her down for catnap but she resisted despite being tired and I was in there putting her down every time she’d crawl up the sidebar the bed to stand up. She’s so persistent it drives me mad so I had to change with Papa after about 45 minutes. At that point it was almost 5.30pm, too close to bed time etc and we decided to just take her for walk.
6.30pm: She had dinner – later than usual – 4oz of pear purée and then bathtime. Then nursed maybe she drank another 4oz or so.
Bedtime around 7pm: 3 minutes and no PUs to get her off to sleep with almost no touching.
On side note – had a discussion with Rod today about the way we feel it’s going. Evenings are OK and we do see a huge improvement in self soothing ability during the night. Naps however are the most challenging for SURE. Morning naps seem to be much less of a struggle and that afternoon one is a battle often to get her settled. I don’t know what it is – perhaps it’s just way more stimulating with a little light in the room despite efforts to make it dark – but 30 minutes minimum are often eaten up just trying to get her to nap (and sometimes it doesn’t even work) and that really messes with my day especially if I happen to have less support from hubby that day if he’s working in studio with a client.
12.30am: Dream nursed and straight back to sleep
4.49am: Nursed and back to sleep with a kiss and pat from me but mainly self soothing for a couple minutes

Day/Night 14

7am-ish: Zoe woke up and playing in our bed a little
8.30am – 9.30am: Napped
Cat napped later around 1pm in the car for 35 mins
3.45 -4.20 Napping but we weren’t home so obviously we didn’t do usual sleep training
Bedtime: 1h and 1 PU (Ugh. How was last night 3 mins and tonight an hour!? My guess is that she was just overtired)

Day/Night 15 (Saturday October 28th 2017, Week 2 is done and I’m wanting to give up – I feel like we’re all over the place!!!)
Woke up 7am
From 8.30 we put her in bed to see if she could settle down through all the standing and clinging on to the edge of the crib. She is now learning to get back down (rather than falling down when she lets go) so that’s positive and laid her head down a couple of times even. We held out hope that she would just soothe and sleep. She ended up crying once she was really exhausted and we had quite a worked up Baby on our hands. Settling her was hard but didn’t take more than 5 minutes to get her to sleep finally at 10am. She slept almost 2.5 hours which was great. Then we went out for the day and despite the efforts to get her to sleep in the stroller she only took a half hour Cat nap in the car at 5.30pm or so.
Fed her at 6.15 and bathed her. We noticed that bathtime actually excites her because she loves to play in the bath so we’re thinking of putting a small activity between bath and sleep, maybe a quick book or watching the projector on the ceiling. Nursed her and cuddles.
Put her down in bed and she was asleep in 22 minutes with minimal soothing.
11.30pm dream feed and straight back to sleep with some self soothing
3.46 dreamfeed for 9 mins, Baby back asleep
6.05 awake and crying because of poop – 6.20 back asleep with a little pat on the back

Day/Night 16

We had a great breakthrough today! Read on.
7.15am: Zoe awake and tired but I nursed her and took her to play in her jumper
8.45am: I brought her to bed and she was quite hyper but eventually fell asleep next to me in bed around 9.20 while I napped too. Both of us woke up at 10.45. I’m so tired today.
12.30pm: She took a 30 minute nap but it was a definite breakthrough. Her energy at playtime was clearly slowing down – she was quieter, staring off into space – so I took her into the room, cuddled and sat on yoga ball and read a little book because she was not as calm as I’d liked. I don’t know if that helped anything but it was nice. Then I made it dark and lay her down and tried to soothe her but she was resisting, wanting to stand up on side of crib. So I said my key phrase and left the room. She must’ve gotten up to standing over 50 times easy but after an hour and half of doing that, finally ran out of steam and fell asleep alone! No crying, no need to soothe. She was quite content. Also I think this breakthrough is due to the fact that she has quickly learned how to get back down from standing so she doesn’t frustrate while she’s up there. Even if this was a one time thing for now, it’s an amazing step in the right direction! Happy parents today!
6pm: Dinner time of beef puree and bathtime.
Bedtime around 6.30pm: 25 mins and no PUs. We’ve made a change. This time, after PJs are on, we’re trying reading a little bed time story to help dissipate the extra excitement from playing in the bath. After story time I nursed and rocked her with cuddles for a minute or two. She was pushing away from me a lot – Tracy says to lay them down if they put up a fight in your arms – so I just lay her in bed and soothed her there. I took off my hands quite fast this time and as expect she got up and stood at the side of the crib. I would be out of sight so she didn’t think it was a game and Mama was the reward! When she’d be up she’d fuss and cry a bit and I’d lay her down immediately and repeat. I think she stood about 5 times before she was over it. That’s an improvement in my eyes!
1.10am: Dream nursed (because I skipped it to test).
5.30am:  I’m starting to realise this is clearly a habit wake so I decided to just offer pacifier and soothed a minute back to sleep which seemed to work. It’ll be great if I can keep this up every night and drop this middle of the night feed. Zoe slept through the usual middle night feed no problem which means it’s totally a habit wake, from now on I’ll try this first before offering a feed.

Day/Night 17

7.30am: Zoe wake up, nursed and played in our bed
9am: Down for nap and played stand up/sit down by herself for 1h and 20mins and finally went to sleep alone with no help at 10.20am. Napped only 30mins until 10.50.
1pm: Super tired so in bed again for nap but playing once again until 1.50pm. Then began to cry because so tired! Did 2 PUs and was able to settle her in bed. Hope this nap is longer! Nap was 1 hour until just before 3pm.
5.30pm: Dinner and then a little activity. Then bathtime at 6 and after PJs we read a story to calm.
Bedtime 6.30pm: 9 mins and no PUs. Initially, I lay her down but Zoe climbed the crib twice. I simply lay her down every time she was completely standing and soothed for a minute. She needed no PUs and was asleep in about 9 minutes!

Day/Night 18

7am: Zoe awake
Naps were a freaking nightmare today.
11.50am: Nap was half an hour and then I held her to sleep 20 mins longer since she was crying inconsolably.
3pm: This second nap was also awful. She was alone in bed and fussing standing up (but she wasn’t crying) and I went to lie her down and she shot into a crisis again. That was a big mistake on my part, leaving her alone would have been better! Half an hour refusing to stop when I’d put her down after going in.
Bedtime at 6.50pm: 35mins and I can’t remember how many PUs but for sure there was a couple since she was crisis crying. Not happy.
11pm: Dream nursed.
6.30am: Woke up fussing and I offered paci and she snoozed till 7.30am. She actually slept all night from her dream feed at 11pm right through to 6am! Yay!

Day/Night 19

Zoe is not settling any longer when we’re in the room with her for naptime or bedtime for that matter. It seems to upset her more now when we touch her. For day time we are simply leaving her on her own to get to sleep.
9.15am: Today she fell asleep in 45 minutes on her own with almost no fussing but some shouting here and there. Never full crying though. She slept for 1.30h!
1pm: We put her in her bed for nap #2 but she was up and about for 40 minutes and then cried. Went in and she had a poop so we needed to change her! We then put her back down and she slept half an hour (3pm to 3.30pm). No more naps but play date with Chance.
Bedtime at 7.15pm: 30mins and 2 PU. Very cranky and not wanting to separate from us so cried in bed.
11.30pm: Dream nursed.
4.10am: Woke up with gas pains for sure. Had to hold her until it passed and she cried a lot. I lay her back down drowsy at 4.45am and she protested a little with fussing but calmed herself to sleep quickly.

Day/Night 20 (Zoe puts herself to sleep at bedtime for the first time)

8am: Zoe awake. Very happy about that, she got extra sleep and so did Mama and Papa!
10am-ish: Put her down for nap but she was up and down in crib and then began to cry which set off a couple of PUs and only was asleep an hour after being put down in first place. Maybe she wasn’t as tired as I thought. She only slept half an hour (woke up at 11.30am).
Afternoon nap: I put her down and since she was already fussing (with two PUs) I noticed that when she’s upset she sleeps less.. she tends to wake up at 30/40 mins cycle so I risked the Wake-To-Sleep technique described by Tracy in the book to prolong nap times. Just 10 mins before the 40 minute mark I went in (scared to try this haha!!) and rustled her to semi awake. She even got on all fours and I was convinced I’d woken her up because she began to cry. I flipped her onto her side and settled her down fast with one shh and firm hand for no longer than 10 seconds and she put herself back to sleep for an hour longer! Glad it worked!
Bedtime at 6.30pm: 20mins, no PUs – we were barely in the room! Put Zoe down this evening after Story time and cuddles and she was in her sleep sack blanket. Despite fussing and trying to stand up I came to realise the sleep sack was actually helping her to stay down since it kind of swaddles around her legs (in a safe way) and doesn’t allow her to stand (she basically trips over it kind of like if you were to try get up whilst in a sleeping bag haha) which is actually very helpful since she gets so riled up when she stands. So it was very peaceful tonight. At 5 mins in I thought she was out since she was so calm. Then she fussed and I calmed her again for a moment at 10mins. Then she lost her paci and I gave it to her in the dark without her realizing and she rolled over and was really quietly babbling for 10 mins by herself. Then one more fuss at around 20 mins but again I just gave her the paci back without her knowing and she was sitting up, but again, has trouble standing so she was quick to lie down and realise it was sleepy time. Good trick to have the sleep sack. Tonight was first time she ever put her own self completely to sleep without us in the room!
5.30am: She woke up and couldn’t find paci but once I gave it to her she fell back asleep.
6.30am: Same deal with losing the paci. I’ll tackle the paci sleep prop during the night if it persists and becomes a big issue.

Day/Night 21

7.10am: Zoe awake because of poopy diaper
8.30am: After nursing and playing, I put her in bed and she hardly fussed – once I lay her down again from crawl and popped her paci in she decided to just go to sleep. Took 5 minutes. Asleep by 8.45am and woke up 9.30am.
2.45pm to 4.15pm: Zoe took a big nap after coming out for brunch with us. No drama getting her to sleep, no PUs.
Bedtime at 6.15pm: 10 minutes and no PUs or soothing. I lay her down and read a story – then lay her in the crib and she was up fussing a teeny bit, I simply straightened her (legs were little stuck in the sleep sack) and put her paci in. She was asleep by herself in 10 minutes! It’s a dream haha!

Day/Night 22 (Saturday 4th November 2017, Week 3 is done and Zoe is able to put her own self to sleep now many times)

7am: I had to wake Zoe up because of engorgement due to the time going back an hour.
9am: Nap time was really good, I lay her down and she was in her sleep sack. She was messing around a bit and fussed for a minute but found her pacifier and put herself to sleep after that. Slept 1 hour.
1.10pm: Back for nap #2. Cuddled her in the dark for a couple of minutes to get her in the zone and lay her down. She was able to be alone 10 minutes before crying. Needed some soothing but when she was calmer we lay her down eyes open still and she put herself to sleep.
Bedtime at 6.30pm: 3 minutes and no PUs. Papa did the due diligence of dinner, bathtime and story. He lay her down with a kiss and she was asleep in 3 minutes.

Day/Night 23

7am: Zoe awake and great mood
9am: Nap time. Lay her in bed calm after cuddles and she put herself to sleep quietly in about 10 minutes. Slept for an hour!
1pm: Papa was a little late getting her to nap #2 but it went smoothly. She was in her sleep sack so again, not much she could do in the way of standing. She fussed a little and crocodile cried but found her pacifier and soothed herself to sleep. Took about 20 mins total.
Bedtime at 6pm: 25 mins, no PUs, no soothing necessary, Zoe asleep by herself. We’ve actually been prolonging the winding-down time to get Zoe in the sleepy zone. We read a story with low light and then we watch the projector on the ceiling a little. Then we cuddle and this makes her really calm. I think that’s better than trying to short cut and expect her to settle in her bed right away when she’s down. Being together just those extra 15 mins longer seems to be making a difference.

Day/Night 24

5.50am: Zoe awake because of time change!
8.15am: Nap time was a little fussy but she was cruising around her crib. She fell asleep at 9am and napped an hour.
1pm: Nap time again was wonderful. I spent a little more time getting her relaxed – I’ve realized that really helps to put in an extra 10 mins of relaxation and quiet to get her to go to sleep without much drama. Looking back I think we were putting her into bed too hyper, poor thing.
4pm: She was so tired (again the clocks went back) and so I tried to put her down for a nap but she was having none of it and threw a tantrum. I figured I didn’t want to upset her so close to bedtime hour so I took her out and we played.
Bedtime at 6.30pm: 2 and a half minutes and no PUs. Again, bathtime routine including reading book, watching the projector and telling her a little story was really key to getting her totally relaxed and she went right to sleep with not a single cry!

Day/Night 25

6am: Zoe woke up, nursed and stayed in bed with us until 6.30am
8.45am: Down for a nap with no problems, no crying. We went through the bedtime motions – diaper change, book and she fell asleep as I told her the story. Slept for 2.5hours until 11.15- unusually long nap. Could be because she’s teething?
1.30pm: Nap time again but is being very resistant so picked her up and will try later.
2pm: Back down for a little nap and had to soothe her some since she hated being put back in her crib and would get up and come to the side asking for picking up. I was consistent about lying her down and eventually she settled but I soothed many times. She slept an hour or so.
Bedtime at 6.30pm: 30 minutes and 3 PU. Definite fussing, I really think it’s her teeth. She seems so tired but overworked and had a tough time being left alone and settling herself down.

Day/Night 26

7.15am: Zoe woke up later today. Maybe it was all the crying from last night but I was happy to get that extra hour!
9.30am: Nap time and Zoe soothed herself to sleep around 10am after playing in crib. Napped for an hour or so.
We went out to run errands and she had a cat nap while out and we got home around her dinner time.
Bedtime at 7pm: 20 minutes and 1 PU. Zoe began to cry out of frustration that she was holding on so tightly to the crib! I lay her down and she fussed upset so I picked her up and she fussed a while more. Then I lay her down and she fussed again but eventually calmed down with some soothing.

Day/Night 27

5.50am: Zoe awake and really tired. Played in our bed with us and nursed and fell asleep a little longer until 6.30am.
8.30am: Nap time uneventful, she fell asleep no big fussing. Slept for 1h and half.
2.30pm: Papa put her down for a nap since I left for a meeting and said it was fine. A little fussy (she always is by that afternoon nap for some reason) but slept just over an hour.
Bedtime at 6.30pm: 20 minutes and no PU but really unsettled. Had to put some teething cream on her gums because she was in pain.

Day/Night 28

6.15am: Zoe awake and in a good mood – I checked her mouth and I an see the tip of her tooth has just slightly broken through the gum which is red and a little swollen
8.30am: Down for nap time but was messing around in her crib. Had to soothe her a lot to calm down from her mood with these teeth. Fell asleep at 9am and slept an hour and half.
She took a nap for an hour after Mommy & Me Yoga while running errands with me.
Bedtime around 7pm: 30 minutes and only had to go do one PD since she was standing up in her crib crying. I lay her down right away and put her pacifier in her mouth as I said goodnight. She calmed down instantly and got herself to sleep within a couple of minutes.

Day/Night 29 (Saturday 11th November 2017, Week 4 is done and Zoe is pretty much there with the training)

5.45am: Zoe awake and Papa and I are so tired. I think we need to move her bedtime to slightly later.
8am: Nap time went pretty well with no PUs just a cuddle and some shushing for about a minute. Morning naps seem to be chill. Slept for an hour and a half.
1pm-ish: The sun is beginning to shine directly into our bedroom where Zoe sleeps so this is the hardest nap to get her to settle for since the room is light. Left her to her own devices for about 30 minutes before she began to cry. She’s always testy at this nap!! Took some insisting on the shushing and soothing part and about 2 PUs to settle her down to nap.
Bedtime 6.30pm: 20 minutes and a couple of PD. Nothing major, she was just up and about but no big drama.

Day/Night 30

6.15am: Awake and playing in her bed a little. Eventually she came into our bed as we woke up and was generally causing chaos trying to climb up the bed headboard, that’s her new thing!
9am: Down for nap time after cuddles and asleep within minutes with no need for soothing or PUPD.
2.30pm: Put up quite a fit at nap time – I think she may have been overtired. I left her to play by herself for over an hour and then she began to cry, at that point I did 3 or 4 PUs and she settled to sleep by herself.
Bedtime at 7pm-ish: 30 minutes and no PUs. She was pretty active in bed to begin with and so I waited 10 minutes before going in and laying her down various times. Her latest thing is hanging onto the side of the crib while standing and beaming at me. It takes all my strength to resist loving on her and kissing her big cheeks but I’m trying not to reward her behaviour or make her think it’s a game. Sometimes, though, I find hugging her and giving her a kiss while she’s in there replaces a PU and settles her into knowing I’m there with her.


For now that is the end of my diary as it seems Zoe has done well with her sleep training, falling asleep and learning the art of self-soothing. I have now cut out the 4am feed and the midnight dream feed and she can go a good 11 or 12 hours straight. I’m certain some other event will crop up and disrupt it all, it’s an ongoing process. I hope this diary helps any of you wanting to try out Pick Up, Put Down Sleep Training. Again, I’m no expert but feel free to leave a question or comment below and we will all do our best to help!


PIck Up Put Down Sleep Training Method - I kept a diary for you throughout the month so you can read on to learn how we did it!




  1. amber
    November 22, 2017 / 12:55 pm

    my son was born 4/18/17 so just passed 7 months old. poor thing’s sleep has gotten worse and worse by the day. we are going to start PU/PD the day after Thanksgiving. Wish us luck!!! I am going to allow him to have a lovey so I hope that works well for him. your diary has been super super helpful.

    • Ana Free
      November 25, 2017 / 8:41 pm

      Hi sweet Amber! Aww congrats! Good luck with it all, be so patient it is really an ongoing process but if you stick with it then hopefully your little nugget will click right into it after a couple of weeks. And you know what, whatever the outcome at least you’re trying your best 🙂 Right now we’re traveling in Argentina to see hubby’s family and Zoe has been ill (plus time change) so we’ve been rocking her to sleep.. haha! I think we’ll have to get back to PU/PD soon when she’s better because we’ve thrown all the rules out the window for now. We’ll see.. Best of luck, let us know how it’s going! xo

  2. judyk34
    November 27, 2017 / 2:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing this and keeping such a detailed diary of your journey. Mine is all grown now but I wish I had all this information at my disposal back when we were going through it. You are an incredible mother to be taking care of Zoe so well. Congratulations on everything and your baby girl.

  3. jillian_by_night
    December 19, 2017 / 8:49 pm

    OMGoodness, the things you do for your children. Good mum you are!!! 😀

  4. YolieTakesFashion
    February 1, 2018 / 9:46 pm

    Woahh! Ok now I have a solid guide for when I have kiddos hihi

  5. Kristy D
    February 5, 2018 / 2:10 pm

    I just found this and it’s so relevant! My girl is nine months and now we are expecting baby #2. It’s time to get sweet Izzy out of our bed! I tried the PUPD method about two months ago, but gave up because my hubby is gone a lot for work and she keeps me company in bed! Well, I think I’m going to start trying this and being consistent. Thank you for taking time to write all this down and posting it. Wish us luck!

    • Ana Free
      February 8, 2018 / 11:53 pm

      Sweet Kristy! BEST OF LUCK!! Sending only good vibes your way and fingers crossed for success. It will seem super hard in many moments and since you’re little one is 9 months it will be slightly different tactic – perhaps she’s standing by now and cruising so the lifting will be a little heavier and maybe just doing the Put Down part would be worth a try. I totally understand that it’s a process, especially if your hubby is gone a lot.. girl! If you can get the extra pair of hands I promise it’ll be worth it. You know, Zoe just puts herself to sleep nowadays but it wasn’t always that way. No sooner had we finished sleep training her successfully, we went down to Argentina to visit hubby’s family. Between the time difference and all of us taking turns to have a head cold we got back to LA and Zoe really didn’t respond to PUPD. In fact, it just seemed to annoy her so we started trying to leave the room for a couple minutes and lo and behold, she quietened herself down. So clearly, she remembered how to sleep even though we hadn’t practised it whilst away. Just do the best you can mama! Strength and love to your family! x

  6. Grace_77
    February 23, 2018 / 9:41 pm

    Oh Lord, lady! I’m FOREVER grateful for this post. We have a little boy, just over 7 months and I couldn’t bear the idea of just leaving him to cry and cry. This was a tough go around (like you warned) but it was possible to do with the help of my hubby and mother. You are a life saver and a GREAT MAMA to share all the information with us mamas around the planet. Thank you.. THANK YOU! x

    • Ana Free
      March 22, 2018 / 2:33 pm

      You’re so welcome!! I’m so glad you got through it because sleep training is never easy.. Much love to your family 🙂 x

  7. Lily
    January 31, 2019 / 6:28 pm

    Hi there. Thank you so much for outlining how this method worked for you. I’m in week 3 of doing it but I’ve modified it. My baby has a nurse to sleep association but when I tried nursing earlier and rocking or cuddling to make her drowsy she got really upset. So I nurse to make her drowsy and do the Pantley Pull Off to help break that association. Then I put her in her crib and do Pick Up/Put Down. I also hold her a little too long during the pick up part cause if I put her down right away she escalates and wakes up. I have no idea if this is working. Any advice? She also wakes up every hour which she never used to do.

    • Ana Free
      January 31, 2019 / 8:54 pm

      Hi Lily mama!! First things first, you’re doing GREAT! It’s all about one day at a time (one nap even lol) and it is honestly a very exhausting method of Sleep Training on the parent, so well done for giving it a shot. From my understanding of how we did it and from the book, it was really really important to get baby on the E.A.S.Y routine and encourage it. Zoe also had a sleep association to the boob and as soon as I began to feed her (Eat) and then put Activity after and then Sleep she began to unassociate Eating with Sleeping. She didn’t like it much at first either, all rooting for that boob and was quite confused and eventually unsettled too. In this method baby really is not fed right before sleepy time and it’s definitely worse if you give in (and we all give in for sure along the way!) but generally consistency is key. If she fusses and knows that in the end she’ll get that nipple then she’s worked you out. It’s completely normal for them to escalate and wake themselves up as we put them down, they want to be with us, that definitely happened to us! As for the waking up, is that for the last 3 weeks? Since you began? Or just over the last days? That’s more of a mystery. It’s natural for them to get upset at not getting food before sleep, it’s been such a strong bond to their bedtime routine and now mamas switching it up. And frankly, if you feel like she’s not responding to it well perhaps she would do well on another type of training method – absolutely OK and 100% fine to do. But, if you switch it just be consistent. I’d say don’t now switch to something else and then change your mind back to PUPD you know, it might draw it out longer.. *sigh* the babes really give us the run around.. you got this!! Hope you get your rest soon whatever the method!! <3 x

  8. Monica
    April 20, 2019 / 3:49 pm

    Thank u for sharing. I’ve been doing de method for almost 2weeks but I don’t see to much progress.
    It’s very difficult to make my baby drowsy without walking him or rocking him (accidental parenting). When he is drowsy it’s easy to put him to sleep in the crib the problem es making him drowsy!! Any advice.
    Thank u

    • Ana Free
      April 23, 2019 / 9:34 pm

      Hi Monica! I feel you mama, the struggle is real. I think it’s a different path for each family. But the idea is to put your baby down awake but sleepy. If baby gets drowsy after milk or a little rocking, that’s OK. Just make sure you’re laying them down when they’re at their drowsy stage (not completely awake and energetic basically). Maybe try rocking him a little less and less each night? That might work slowly? But it’s a great sign that when he is drowsy he’ll go easily in his crib. It sounds like you are making more progress than you think. And go with your instinct – if this method isn’t working eventually and you’ve done all the steps then could be time to explore other things that will be successful!! Good luck, sending love! XO

  9. Courtney
    April 25, 2019 / 3:18 pm

    Oh boy, I’m starting this tomorrow and am feeling so nervous about the time it takes for her to learn to sleep in her own. She is usually sleepy 20 minutes before her feeding time (I nurse her) and falls asleep while feeding. What is your suggestion on properly changing the steps so that I follow the EASY process?

    • Ana Free
      April 29, 2019 / 4:05 pm

      Hi Courtney! Totally fine to feel nervous 🙂 We had a hard time of it too, but really it’s just a small time in the grand scheme of things. So I one day decided to just switch the steps around. I was doing Sleep, Activity and then Eat (which she would fall asleep with). And then all I did was when Zoe woke up one morning, I fed her then, took her to play as usual and then waited for her to show me signs of sleepiness. Then I took her into her room, lights low, music on and told her the key phrase (“sleepy time, i love you, mommy’s close by” etc) and lay her down. If your little one goes to sleep eventually this way that’s a great step! If they fuss, you begin the pick up and put down process. I would say just kind of dive in. We didn’t have a process time really, we just started doing things in the right order of Eat, Activity/Play, Sleep and You-time. They’re so quick to learn! Try it!:) We’re all here for you mama! Don’t be nervous, things will turn out just fine! To this day, I put Zoe in bed awake fully and she turns over, closes her eyes and is so independent about deciding to sleep! I just leave the room and we all do our thing! Of course at age 2 (now) she doesn’t follow such a basic process like EASY because they’re so active and mixed activities etc. But we did EASY for a long time until she grew into the habit of sleeping and soothing herself! xoxo

  10. Karolin
    October 1, 2019 / 4:44 pm

    Thank ou so much for sharing such a detailed diary of your sleep training journey. It’s given me and my husband the confidence to try sleep train sleep our almost 8 months old daughter with the PUPD method. Although it’s turned out we’ve had to skip the PUPD and just stick with ssshing and stroking her head while she stays in her crib. She protests even more when picked up and would not calm. Our poroblem is that our daughter some time ago started to want to be nursed in order to fall back asleep at night. She was still fairly ok falling asleep on her own initially at bedtime. The night wakings got worse and worse and so did bedtime. We just had to break the nursing back to sleep habit. Now I’m worried I’m denying her feeds during the night that she needs! I’ve just had a 20 minute round of ssshing, stroking head and crying before she fell asleep by herself and I feel awful denying her the breast. I should add that she starts the night in her crib in her own room but is moved into our bedroom after her dreamfeed. It’s just been too tiring running up and down every time she’s woken up at night (sometimes every 10-30 minutes). I just don’t know if she wakes up because she’s properly hungry or just need to comfort suck. I know I need to be consistent with any sleep training method so worry that if I give her a feed during the night she’ll get confused that sometimes she wakes up, cries and gets fed and sometimes not. I have a thought to feed her once it’s been more than four hours since last feed but I’m not sure if that’s still too soon during the night. And it would still confuse her. I feel so lost!

    • Ana Free
      October 19, 2019 / 9:32 pm

      Hi sweet Karolin! Ohhh mama.. I feel you!! We’re all here for you, whatever way you get there is going to be just fine and soon it’ll all be a thing of the past. It’s totally normal for babies to resist and they take time in learning.. PUPD was a very difficult method for us too and truthfully, my husband really pushed for it and I went along for the (long) ride. It’s also natural to worry that she’s hungry in the night and all but honestly, with our little girl, she just had the habit. I don’t know what her feeding schedule is during the day but between solids and nursing she likely wouldn’t need a night feed. Every baby is different, you might want to ask at your next doctor visit so that you can get clear on that. One way to tell is if they tend to wake up at the same time every night that signals it’s a habit wake rather than a need-to-eat wake. It’s just a clue, as they get older sometimes it’s a helpful one to look out for! You’ll get there! And it’s HARD. So give yourself patience, grace and a big hug because you’re doing SO WELL!! Sending much love and I’m glad my diary was even a little useful. It’s been a long time since we sleep trained Zoe now, the memories fade for me haha but I’m glad I wrote it down! xo

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A little about me…

Hello there! I’m Ana Free, s’nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by my lifestyle and mommy blog! I’m mama to a gorgeous baby girl called Zoe as well as a four-legged rescue pooch called Indie and wifey to an Argentinian music producer hunk by the name of Rodrigo (but since that’s too long I always call him Rod haha). I love music, writing and singing songs, traveling, doing my makeup, taking photographs and spending time with my family. The craziest thing I’ve ever done is skydive and the most embarrassing was probably when I peed in protest on the floor in ballet as a child because the teacher wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom (seriously, when a 6 year old says they need to go, you gotta let ’em)!

As with most creatives, it seems I have a million and one passions and this space is where I get to write, share, ramble and post whatever comes to mind in my world. It’s really just all things casual, travels, mama+baby, fashion, makeup, style and me.