PUPD method- why not? Opinion needed!


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Hi! I have a 7m LO and am super into gentle parenting, including sleep! She has been a terrible sleeper since birth and we bedshare + I breastfeed her every wake up, sometimes its hourly, sometimes every 2 h on a good night.

I’m a big fan of heysleepybaby and absolutely agree with her on everything. HOWEVER, i feel like I’ve done all the gentle adjustments necessary and she’s still not improving.

Someone presented me with the pick up put down method and I’m trying to understand why people like HSB would not recommend it? If its gentle. Is there something I’m missing?

I’m utterly against sleep training so i don’t wanna feel like im doing it, but at the same time PUPD seems fine? Help me think this through!
@cwall Imo this is an expectation thing, I never expected my child to sleep through the night so I never felt bad that he didn't. I feel like most people don't have a realistic view of baby sleep. I wouldn't do PUPD because I wanted to support my child to sleep, I have no expectations of them to be able to sleep longer or go to sleep unsupported.
@billthecableman Agree with this sooooo much. People have such a skewed perspective on how babies are supposed to sleep.

I always find it funny (interesting?) when I see someone describe their “awful sleeper” who has “just always been a terrible, no good, very bad sleeper” and then they… describe my literal baby 😂 Who I would consider a good sleeper. He needed contact and support as a little baby, he gradually grew to need less contact and support and started sleeping longer stretches, he has random weeks of poor sleep (usually related to teething, big mental leaps, milestone mastering, illness, or just a random bout of poor sleep!), but now at almost 20 months, needs someone to lay next to him to fall asleep (takes 10-15 min) after his bedtime routine, he generally sleeps a good 6 hour stretch, wakes up, puts himself back to sleep about 60% of the time, needs a little support (laying next to him, maybe he snuggles our arm) about 30% of the time, and needs more support (back rub, new diaper, maybe nursing) about 10% of the time, then sleeps about another 5 hour stretch.

This experience is very normal imo, and aligns with everything I’ve read about the natural development of sleep and ‘self-soothing.’ etc. My son has always been responded to at night and he has a FANTASTIC relationship with going to bed. Probably because it’s never remotely been a time of separation and disconnection for him. He has even recently in the last couple weeks started asking to go to bed when he’s tired, getting his loveys ready, finding pjs, etc. to start his bedtime routine.

The majority of kids will naturally start sleeping through the night most of the time around age 18 months - 2 years, with occasional random off nights. This is without any intervention or training. I never expected our son to sleep through the night until around then anyway. Makes perfect sense that around 17/18 ish months, he just… started doing that some of the time, and has gradually started doing it more often since. He’s not yet at doing it all the time, but he’s also just about to turn 19 months, so that seems pretty reasonable to me! I’m glad I never forced him to move towards independence before he was ready. He has always rested comfortably in his dependence on us, and has the invisible string of our attachment tied around him & us to follow when he does need support. :)
@billthecableman YES. Expectations influence us so heavily in parenthood. I needed this reminder today

Expect nothing or expect the worst + either way you will be more content than if you expect no meltdowns or expect them to sleep longer etc
@cwall PUPD is definitely sleep training. Anything that claims to “teach” your baby to “self soothe” is built upon the tenets of sleep training. Sleep training encompasses “CIO” (extinction) down to PUPD or the “chair method.”

What are you describing about your baby’s sleep is considered normal for infant sleep. You could do everything everyone recommends (especially sleep training things that aren’t actual sleep training) like a bath, routine, full belly, sound machine, etc, a lot of baby sleep comes down to the “good” sleepers vs not so great sleepers.

I am not here to judge your decision to do it (or anyone else’s for that matter) but only answering your question. Here are some things you might want to read. Obviously you will make the best decision for you and your family!


@cwall I did the same with mine, bedshare, and nurse every wake-up. She's 2 now and wakes once or twice for a quick nurse (2 mins and then rolls over and back to sleep). I really did nothing in the way of adjusting her sleep or schedule the whole way through, and she's put herself on a schedule of 8-630 sleep with very minimal wakes and with a nap in the day still. This was from 10 pm bed times and then up for 2-3 hours every night.
This is to say, sleep is very much developmental. Your child will get there without sleep training. It just takes time.
I will admit it was very difficult to be sleep deprived for so long, so no judgements to anyone who doesn't want to do that, but if you don't want to sleep train you don't have to, the baby will sleep.
The positive thing that I see compared to some of my friends who sleep trained is that my LO loves her bed. She will get up and say "bedtime" and go to bed when she's tired. We don't fight or have an elaborate routine. She views her bed as a safe/comfort space and doesn't see bedtime as a bad thing. That may just be her, though.
@illuminaughty That’s amazing! And i agree, i know she will get there eventually. I absolutely DONT wanna sleep train, i was just having a hard time understanding why the PUPD method rubbed me the wrong way if its known to be “gentle” but i couldn’t rationalize it!
@cwall IMO many people that are anti sleep training are very anti crying. With any change that’s made to a baby’s normal way of settling, they are going to cry. So not boobing on every wake up and instead rocking to calm and putting in crib is more than likely going to result in crying. Even if a partner settled the baby to sleep instead of the main caregiver for example, could still result in lots of crying and some people don’t find that gentle but in my opinion, it’s just another way of being responsive. That would be why because it’s still stressful for the kid who just wants to go to sleep with a boob in their mouth which is what they’ve become used to.
@katrina2017 Yes, maybe reducing night feeds and having partner respond to wakings. Or working towards crib sleep instead of co-sleeping and then reducing night feeds.

FYI my 7 month old sleeps in his own pack n play and I only feed him 2x in the night but he still often wakes every 2 hrs or less. I would personally not plan to night wean until 1 year or later because it is a useful and important strategy for us. But I am glad he can be soothed with other methods and we do sometimes have good nights with longer stretches.

edited to add: adjusting nap schedule can also greatly effect night wakings. That is gentle and responsive to me as well
Also we don’t feed to sleep. We have a consistent bedtime routine that starts with feeding with me and my husband takes over and does pjs, diaper, teeth brush, book, rocking and swaying. Baby sometimes goes down drowsy but awake and still wakes up often.

I say this because sometimes you can adjust your routine and not have a feed to sleep association and baby will still wake up. But this works for us and it means baby has a very close bond with Dad and can be soothed without breastfeeding.

Heysleepybaby definitely encourages consistent bedtime routines and adjusting nap schedules, as well as stacking sleep associations. I think there are definitely things you can do to try to adjust what’s going on without sleep training and without totally night weaning