How Wake To Sleep and Pick Up/Put Down can help your baby to take long naps or sleep through the night. What they are and how to use them.
Tracy Hogg, author of The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, has two different methods for teaching your baby to sleep through the nap rather than habitually waking at the 45-minute mark. Before we discuss this, however, I want to point a few things out.
- GROWTH SPURTS: I want to point out that if your baby has been sleeping well and is suddenly waking early, there is an excellent chance it is a growth spurt. Growth spurts happen every 3-4 weeks. Yes, I know they are tiring. Be sure to feed your baby during growth spurts as often as needed. If you don’t, the early waking will just continue on.
- WAKING BUT HAPPY: Hogg says that if your baby wakes early every once in a while and is in bed happy, just leave her. I agree with this. For the random early waking and the happy baby, just leave her be and do your best to not stress. The random short nap is sure to happen.
- WAKING BUT UPSET: If your baby wakes early and is upset/crying, then she didn’t get enough sleep. This is when you help her get back to sleep. Your approach to this will depend on you. Some moms do cry it out. Some will rock their baby back to sleep. Some will move to a swing our bouncy chair. Some pat the baby. Some will do a Baby Whisperer method (listed below). Whatever you do, please remember the growth spurt category (number one above). The baby can wake up upset if she is hungry, so keep that in mind.
Read: Tips To Get Baby Waking Up Happy From Naps
WAKE TO SLEEP
The first Baby Whisperer method to stop early waking is called “wake to sleep.”
Basically what you do is wake your baby before she wakes on her own. For the 45 minute waking, you would go in and rouse her at thirty minutes.
You don’t want her to fully wake up.
You then pat her gently until she goes back to sleep, which might take 15-20 minutes. If she cries, you move on to pick up put down method (discussed below).
If it sounds like something you want to try, you will probably want to read it for yourself in the book (page 251). The idea of this is to get her used to sleeping through the cycle rather than continuing to habitually wake up at the 40-45 minute mark.
I accidentally did this one time with McKenna. She had a certain time she was waking at night consistently. I had friends over one night and ended up doing her dreamfeed much later than I typically had been, and it was close to the time she had been habitually waking in the night.
She skipped the habitual wake that night and every night after that.
Wake to sleep is quite easy to try and worth a shot if you have baby consistently waking early or waking in the night anyway.
Read: Baby Sleeping Through the Night: Top Tips to Make It Happen
PICK UP/PUT DOWN
The pick up/put down method can be used to help baby fall asleep initially or after she wakes early.
Hogg says that when you first start this, you might be doing it for an entire nap period. She says it is important to stick to feeding times, so if/when mealtime comes, stop the pick up/put down sequence and do the feeding.
The information on this method cover pages 251-263, so there is a lot more than I will put. Here is the info for you so you can see if you are interested.
Basically, you pick the baby up and hold him until she stops crying. Then you lay him down. If he starts to cry, you pick up, hold, wait for him to stop crying, then put him back down. You do this until he falls asleep or until it is feeding time.
This can be done for naps or for night wakings.
Hogg says to not do this until baby is 4-5 months old because it is too stimulating before that age. She also says you can do this 100 times or more before the baby will fall asleep.
Read: How To Finally Stop the 45 Minute Intruder
These are a couple more options for you when your baby wakes early. This is great to try if you do not want to do any sort of cry it out sleep training. See Gentle Sleep Training: The Four S’s for instructions on how to do this gentle sleep training method.
- The Complete Guide to Troubleshooting Short Baby Naps
- Waketime When Baby Wakes Early
- How To Calculate Waketime Length When Baby Wakes Early
- What To Do When Baby Wakes Early From Naps or Won’t Fall Asleep for Naps