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Got a Baby Standing in Crib During Nap Time and Night Time? Worried About Falling and Sleep Schedules? Once Your Little One Can Stand, they’ll Be Sure to Practice at Every Opportunity. Here are my best tips for Parents Worried When Their Baby sits up in crib or Stands – and what to do about it.
It’s one of the huge ‘proud parent’ moments in life.
That moment your little one hits key baby milestones, and pulls themselves to standing for the first time.
Parents watch in amazement! Their chubby little legs shake to support their weight! And you know it’s not long before they’re walking and exploring the world.
Soon they’ll leave being a baby behind, insisting they’re a big kid!
Life is not quite the same with a baby that can stand up. And you’ll find your little one wants to practice this newly acquired skill. As often as they can.
And “as often as they can” sometimes means at nap time and at nighttime.
When they’re supposed to be sleeping.
At this stage of parenting, I remember being really tired. After months of dealing with a baby that would only fell asleep in my arms, swaddled cozily, I was thrilled to finally transition her to sleep in her own crib and ditch the swaddle for pajamas and a sleep sack.
I remember that feeling like such an achievement – and I was finally getting some good nights of sleep.
And then, just when I really, really needed her to rest, my daughter started standing up at the edge of the crib, having a great time until she got stuck, and insisted I come help.
First, know this isn’t uncommon.
But when paired with the usual 8- to 10 month-old sleep regression?
It’s fair to wonder if they’ll ever fall asleep normally again.
If your baby is sitting up or standing up in their crib or mini crib, instead of getting some sleep, keep reading.
In the rest of this article, I’ll go through my best tips to get through this phase. I hope they’ll help get your baby back to sleeping (and lying down again).
Why Do Babies Start Standing in the Crib?
Standing in the crib is a developmental milestone you should be proud of. Your baby certainly will be!
It usually happens around 8 months old, when leg and other muscles are strong enough to support a baby’s weight.
For your baby, it’s exciting. When you’ve only seen the world from down low, towering from new heights is understandably thrilling.
But for parents, it’s a reminder that baby sleep is a delicate balance of rest, change, and development.
And it requires some patience.
Practice Makes Perfect
Of course, once your little one can stand, they’ll definitely want to practice their new skill.
In their mind, what better place is there than their crib?
Cribs are almost perfectly designed for standing. The rails serve as convenient grab bars to pull up and hold onto.
(For this reason, some parents change to a pack and play instead of a crib at this stage, since there are no rails on pack n plays).
Unfortunately, this standing playtime often prevents them from going to sleep.
Crib Height Safety Note
If your crib mattress has been set at the top or one of the middle heights on your crib, it’s time to change.
Ideally, you’ll lower the crib mattress to the lowest height before your baby can pull themselves to standing. If you haven’t lowered it already, don’t delay.
You could also put them in a travel crib with a floor-supported mattress, such as the Phil & Ted’s or the BabyBjorn. The floor-supported mattress has a higher weight limit than more traditional style pack and plays, and is also very low to the ground!
Having the mattress low helps keep your baby safe in their crib from a standing height.
Some parents also change to a Montessori-style floor bed around this age, or slightly older.
How to Help Your Baby
Help Them Stand Up – And Sit Down Again
As an exciting milestone and step towards walking, you’ll want to help and encourage your baby to stand.
Equally important, teach them to go from standing back down to sitting again.
Don’t skip this step! Otherwise, they might get stuck standing in the crib all alone, with no way to get down to sitting again!
Practice During the Day
Use playtime during the day to encourage pulling up to standing.
Stay close by while your baby learns to pull themselves up using the sofa or furniture.
Once they’ve mastered this, move further away with a toy that’s out of reach. They’ll have to practice getting down again to come to play with it.
If your little one is struggling, you can take a hand to help ease them down. You can also gently press on the back of their knees while supporting their back to help them learn to bend if they’ve locked their legs straight.
It can also help to play games where you sit up and down repeatedly. Ring Around the Rosie, where you sing and all fall down, is great fun and will encourage confidence.
Don’t panic about them landing on the ground with a bump, although I would recommend carpet or padded play mat rather than a tiled floor, or pull the mattress out of your pack n play for more padding. Babies have a nice padded diaper to help protect their bottom as they land.
Make Nap Time Earlier
If your baby wants to practice standing in the crib and is doing so safely, there’s no point fighting it.
But you still want them to have enough restful sleep.
To combat this battle, move nap time to a bit earlier. This way, they still have those vital practice minutes for standing, but also have enough time in their crib to actually get some sleep.
You can also get your baby to wear a sleep sack for their naps. This will make it a bit trickier for them to stand up at first, but after a couple of weeks they’ll probably figure it out.
This works better as a deterrent when your baby begins trying to climb out of their crib at night.
Sleep Training Advice for Babies who Sit and Stand
If your little one insists on practicing milestones such as rolling, sitting, and standing – rather than sleeping – it’s tempting to intervene. After all, babies need their sleep, and over tired kids can be tough to handle.
As contrary as it sounds, however, try not to help.
If your little one is enjoying this practice time, working on their rolling, sitting, or standing in the crib – as long as they are content, happy, and safe – let them!
As much as babies love to practice their new skill, they’ll also eventually learn to lie back down and rest. They will nap and sleep in their own time.
There’s also the longer term issue. If you make it a habit to run in to see them every time they stand up, they may learn to seek the attention, and do it even more!
During this aspect of sleep training, it’s important to allow your baby to learn positive sleep habits and figure out how to go back to sleep by themselves.
Even if that means some milestone practice in the meantime.
Your Baby Is Standing and Not Sleeping
If your little one stands up and is happily playing at the crib, let them. It can be tempting for parents to enter the room and reposition your baby back to a lay-down position to sleep. But if your baby is in this playful mindset, this will only result in a jack-in-the-box inspired game, where falling asleep is the last thing on your little one’s mind, no matter how tired they may be.
Generally, if there are no tears or cries suggesting they’re stuck, give them 15 minutes to see if they can settle themselves. If they are really tired and have managed to master the skill during the daytime, they’ll work it out by themselves.
However, if your child is taking longer to settle to sleep, after 15 minutes, go in and pat the mattress to encourage your little one to lie back to sleep. You can leave the room at this point, or if you want to be sure they fall asleep, you can wait next to the crib.
If you wait in the room, sit on the floor next to the crib, rather than stand. If you are standing, your baby may also want to stand also to reach your height, whereas if you are sitting, they can be closer to you by lying in the crib.
You can also gently stroke their back and soothe them to encourage sleeping.
If your baby is frequently standing, stands for hours, or has multiple night wakings where they stand instead of sleep, you may need to evaluate your baby’s sleep schedule for their age and milestones.
It might mean adjusting the number of hours of sleep per day and night or changing their bedtime.
And when your baby starts climbing out of their crib, you’ll need some new strategies all together!
If Your Baby Falls Asleep Sitting Up
Sometimes a baby sits up in their crib and drops asleep in this position. While it can be a bit strange to see. But never fear, this also is a common part of baby sleep progression that some little ones go through.
Babies learn that sleeping sitting up is not as comfortable and will get back to a usual lying position for their naps after a few days.
If Your Baby is Standing and Crying in the Crib at Bedtime
For parents hearing their baby crying in distress, it is difficult at times not to run in and intervene.
A video monitor is useful at these times, as if you can see there is no obvious need or incident, so you can give it time. Don’t rush in immediately, or you’ll end up in a sleep training program where your little one becomes reliant on you.
Your first strategy is to give them time to self-soothe and try to work it out for themselves.
It may be that they can’t get down to sitting (common for new ‘standers’ who are only just learning this new milestone)
Wait for around 5 minutes, then go in and encourage a lay-down position to nap. Pat the mattress so that baby learns to get back down with their new skills to sitting and with a little bit more encouragement to lie down, and then hopefully sleep!
If your child is stuck standing in the crib and can’t independently get back down yet, you can help them into a lying position.
You can then stay with them, sitting on the floor next to the crib, rather than standing. It can be helpful to keep a reassuring hand on them for a small while until they are settled and stay asleep.
If you’re worried your kiddo might fall in their crib and hurt themselves, I hear you.
Thankfully, it’s fairly uncommon for children to hurt themselves this way, since they land on their mattress.
In our house, it was worth it to give our daughter time to figure it out. But you’ll have to make this decision for yourself, and talk to your paediatrician if you’re concerned.
And as tempting as it may be, don’t use crib bumpers as these cause more risk of danger to your baby.
A video monitor can be a useful tool if you’re feeling cautious, and allows you to intervene if it is needed.
Final Thoughts on Baby Standing in their Crib
After this article, I wouldn’t blame you if you’re feeling a little bit perturbed at your little one having reached the standing up milestone age. And if your child is sitting in their crib, know standing won’t be too far away.
Babies learn this new skill and enjoy the excitement. Coupled with a sleep regression which happily falls around the same time, it may seem like night sleep will never return until they are sleep trained again.
Rest assured it’s usually a phase. Once you get past the stage where your little one can become un-stuck and sits themselves down again, they’ll get into a habit of going right back to sleep once again.
If you think this article will be useful for other parents who are finding this one of the baby’s milestones difficult to manage, feel free to share it with them too!