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My Baby Learned to Stand and Now He Won’t Sleep Through!

Parents have written to me often about this topic. As soon as their baby learned to stand, they won’t sleep. Here are two of those questions, along with my advice to help them through. Two of those notes are featured here, and I’ll help these moms learn:

  • Why is this happening?
  • What they can do to help
  • How to use The Shuffle to ease back to sleeping well

learned to stand

“My Baby Learned to Stand and…”

“Alone and Miserable” wrote:

My son is 8 months old. At 6 months, he started to sleep through the night  after I tried your techniques. But by 7 months, when he started teething, he wanted to constantly be picked up at night, which I did. Since then, he has been waking up 5-8 times a night and won’t stay asleep. I started to bring him into bed with me at about 2-3am because I am just so overtired and drained. Naps are also a battle. Now that my son learned to stand, I can’t even leave him to cry a little for fear that he will hurt himself. I feel like I’m falling apart. My husband sleeps in the living room now and has never been much support at night. I feel alone and miserable.

And Ashley wrote:

First off, I have read your book, and thank you, thank you, thank you! We accomplished a full night’s sleep using the Sleep Lady Shuffle. Our now 8 month old has been sleeping great — 11-12 hours/night!! Naps were also great at 1 1/2 – 2 hrs. each after nap training. Then he learned to stand in the crib. He will just stand there and talk then start crying. I go in and lay him back down.

Sometimes it only takes once and he will finally fall asleep. But sometimes I have to go in every 15 minutes for an hour, and then he finally gives in and falls asleep. This has been going on for almost 3 weeks. Our naps range from only 1 hour to 2 hours per nap. So we have 3 naps a day instead of 2. What am I doing wrong? What needs to be happening so he can get longer uninterrupted naps? 

These moms used The Shuffle. Want to read about that?
Read: The Sleep Lady Shuffle: How to Gently Sleep Train your Baby

Milestones Affect Sleep

Cognitive, emotional or motor developmental milestones often affect sleep. In fact, Dr. T. Berry Brazelton in his book Touchpoints: Your Child’s Emotional and Behavioral Development, Birth to 3 reminds us that we may see regression or a period of disorganization not just in sleep, but in social, emotional, and feeding patterns as well.

I find that the most pronounced, although temporary, sleep problems occur as a child is learning to walk — which means they have learned to stand. You may also see problems right before your child sits up, crawls, stands, and is potty trained. I address many of these leaps in the relevant age chapters of The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight, but the key is remembering that these new skills excite children and change their world, sometimes quite literally. For instance, when you child stands up in her crib for the first time, she may discover everything looks different from up there!

Milestones can cause sleep regressions!
Read: Pre-Toddler Sleep Regression? 5 Tips to Help You Get Back to Sleep

learned to stand
Babies do tend to learn how to get up before they can get back down, so let her practice during the day.

Practice Standing During the Day

When your baby has learned to stand up in their crib, I would try not to intervene or if you do put them down once, but only once. If you decide to sit next to the crib, pat the mattress and encourage your baby to lie down. If you sit versus stand, he will be more likely to sit down to be on your level.

Babies do tend to learn how to get up before they can get back down, so let her practice during the day. Let her stand up and try to get down holding on to the couch or your finger. Games like ring-around-the-rosy are also good for developing up-and-down motions. But do the practicing games out of the crib, during awake time, not at naps or bedtime.

Do you have a great bedtime routine?
Read: Bedtime Routine for Toddlers — Soothing and Predictable

Is it time to move your child from their crib to a bed?

Get the complete guide to transition from a crib to a bed!

Get this guide

Once They’ve Learned to Stand

Until you child learns how to get down from a standing position you will need to help him, so practice a lot during the day! In the meantime, when he wakes at night try to delay laying him down until you think he has reached that moment where if you lay him down you think he will stay down. Its an intuitive process and I know you may misjudge that moment sometimes…its ok.

Ashley, when you continue to do it for him, it becomes the new sleep crutch. So, Ashley, its important that you stop laying him down if he knows how to do it himself…regardless of whether you do timed checks or the Shuffle to address his wakings.

“Alone and Miserable” — follow the guidelines I mentioned above and try to be as consistent as possible. I would recommend you re-start The Shuffle and be consistent about how you address all night wakings. Your sleep situation is not unusual and shows you how easy it is to ingrain a new negative sleep habit! Babies are so smart. The good news is that it might not take him so long to “remember” his old sleep skills since it was only a month ago that he learned to stand and started waking up.