Baby Sleep: My 8 Month Old is Standing In the Crib

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  • April 09, 2013

Would you like to have me answer your baby sleep question in my next video? If so, scroll down and submit your question in the comment section below. I will pick several questions a month to answer and post them here on the blog!

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s baby sleep video about standing in the crib:

Hi, Kim West, The Sleep Lady and today, I’m going to help Kristy find a baby sleep solution. She wrote in the following:

“We used your techniques on my child when she was about 6 months old. It worked really well. She’s 8 months old now and has recently learned to pull herself up to a standing position in her crib. If she woke in the middle of the night when she was younger, she would just crawl around the bed, fuss after a few minutes and go back to sleep. Now, she’s unstable so we’re worried about her falling and hurting herself on the crib. We’ve tried going in and laying her back down and then leaving the room but she gets right back up. My husband must have gone in 50 times within 30 minutes until she finally fell asleep. Is this what we should be doing? Once she’s stable enough, then we aren’t worried about her falling. Should we not be going in and laying her down?”

Kristy, I cannot begin to tell you how often I get this question. I am even planning to make sure I add a section about standing in the crib in my book, Good Night Sleep Tight when I reedit it. This is a big milestone for your child. Can you imagine if you spent most of your life on your hands and knees or on your back and all of a sudden now you’re upright? The whole world looks completely different! It’s pretty amazing for them and they want to practice it all the time, and not just during the day. They do go through a phase where they are able to pull themselves up on to their crib rail and they lock their knees, but don’t know how to get back down. I imagine it must be kind of scary for them, and when they get help laying back down, they think, “Hey, I want to practice that again. That was kind of fun.”

Because she maybe hasn’t learned how to lay herself back down, and we don’t want her flinging herself back and possibly bumping her head, I would recommend that you practice a lot during the day. For example, when she pulls herself up on the couch, I want you to take a toy, put it a near her and out of reach so she has to get down and crawl over to you to come get it. You may even have to take one of her hands and help encourage her down to crawl. You can gently press on the knees and the back so she goes down to crawl and get the toy, and make sure you clap or reward her when she does. Another way to practice is to play Ring Around the Rosie where you get onto your knees and hold both of her hands and sing, “Ring around the rosie… and we all fall down” and plop them onto their bottom. This can be a fun way for you to encourage her to do the same thing over and over. You might have to take her hand, while pushing her knees a little bit, until she really masters it (in about a week or two).

Once you see that she is able to lay herself back down, then I would go to her crib side and pat the mattress and say, “Lie down, sweetie.” Once she lies herself down, quickly stroke her and leave the room. You will have to stop the pattern of going back in to lie her down so often. So in the meantime, while she’s learning how to lay herself back down, I would go in and sit by her crib and wait for her to relax a little bit before gently laying her back down. Try to unlock her hand and encourage her to lie down. Once she lies down rub her back a little bit more than you think you should to encourage her to stay lying down. I would recommend you sit by the crib and when she starts picking herself up say, “Shh-shh-shh. Night-night,” and encourage her to lay back down. You might as well just plan for you or your husband to stay next to her crib until she’s completely back to sleep each time she wakes up because it will be less exhausting for you during the night until she masters her skill during the day. Once she knows the skill of lying herself back down you and can start to move away from the crib ala Shuffle.
Thank for asking this very common question and I hope that helps you.

In Service,

Kim

The Sleep Lady

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

If you have struggled with a child who is standing in her crib before she knows how to lie down, feel free to share your experience and support. Please feel free to click the “reply” link under this article and leave them a comment. Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!

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12 Comments

  • WillowMae says:

    Hello. I have a 11 1/2 month old and we are on day five of some gentle sleep training. I have done a lot of research and am trying to cater a plan to our son’s individual needs. For the first four days, he reduced the time from crib to sleep each night, but for the last two nights, the time has increased. I’d like to know if this is problematic and what I might do to adjust our plan. Here’s what we’re doing:
    His bedtime routine is active (naked) time, bath, quiet reading, song, nursing, and putting in the crib. I have then been laying down on a pad next to the crib and soothing with my voice and by patting with my hand between the bars. He always lays down when I pat the mattress, and snuggles with my hand briefly. We have a “sleep sheep” playing a heartbeat sound, and a humidifier for white noise in the room. He has a lovey (and a pacifier, which he often pushes between the bars. He doesn’t always use the pacifier, so I’m not sure if it is a factor). One thing I’ve done each night (at first out of desperation) was take a five minute break. It seemed that my son laid down and fell asleep shortly after I returned, so I kept doing leaving the room for five minutes, upon which he would cry pretty hard, and then sort of settle himself. When I came back, I would say “it’s sleepy time, lay down and close your eyes”, I’d rub his back a bit, and he’d be out. At first.

    The first night, it took 1:57 from crib to sleep. The second night 50 minutes. The third night 39, the fourth night 30, then back up to 46, then tonight, 63 minutes. One change for the last two nights is that his dad was out of town and now he’s back. I wonder if that different energy could affect him. His dad is part of the winding down routine (reading books, snuggling) but I do the rest. I can’t think of other changes, but I’m wondering if I am needing to pull myself further away from him or touch him less. I thought the purpose of moving away is just to avoid creating a new crutch, but could me being so close actually be getting in the way of his sleep?
    Thanks. I don’t know if this is the proper place for such a long question, so feel free to edit it as you see fit if you want to use this for anything.

    • Breanna Gunn says:

      It sounds like you’re on the right track! I would be conscious of allowing him to cuddle with your hand as you pat and reassure him. Remember that the use of sleep coaching is to teach our children to sleep independently, and by patting him to sleep you could be inadvertently creating a new sleep crutch. Have you been moving your chair and offering verbal reassurance before physical? You may want to review this blog article about fighting sleep. Also, allowing active time this close to bedtime may be winding him up a bit. Is it possible to do it earlier in the day?

      Dad being gone could definitely be a factor, and the reason for the increased time it’s taking your baby to get to sleep. Routine is so important! See how your baby reacts now that he’s home. Good luck!

    • breefawn says:

      WillowMae It sounds like you’re on the right track! I would be conscious of allowing him to cuddle with your hand as you pat and reassure him. Remember that the use of sleep coaching is to teach our children to sleep independently, and by patting him to sleep you could be inadvertently creating a new sleep crutch. Have you been moving your chair and offering verbal reassurance before physical? You may want to review this blog article about sleep coaching the super alert child: http://www.sleeplady.com/baby-wont-sleep/the-baby-fights-sleep. Also, allowing active time this close to bedtime may be winding him up a bit. Is it possible to do it earlier in the day? 
      Dad being gone could definitely be a factor, and the reason for the increased time it’s taking your baby to get to sleep. This article about routine may help you: http://www.sleeplady.com/baby-sleep/by-meagan-klipstein. Routine is so important</a>! See how your baby reacts now that he’s home. Good luck!

  • WillowMae says:

    Hello. I have a 11 1/2 month old and we are on day five of some gentle sleep training. I have done a lot of research and am trying to cater a plan to our son’s individual needs. For the first four days, he reduced the time from crib to sleep each night, but for the last two nights, the time has increased. I’d like to know if this is problematic and what I might do to adjust our plan. Here’s what we’re doing:
    His bedtime routine is active (naked) time, bath, quiet reading, song, nursing, and putting in the crib. I have then been laying down on a pad next to the crib and soothing with my voice and by patting with my hand between the bars. He always lays down when I pat the mattress, and snuggles with my hand briefly. We have a “sleep sheep” playing a heartbeat sound, and a humidifier for white noise in the room. He has a lovey (and a pacifier, which he often pushes between the bars. He doesn’t always use the pacifier, so I’m not sure if it is a factor). One thing I’ve done each night (at first out of desperation) was take a five minute break. It seemed that my son laid down and fell asleep shortly after I returned, so I kept doing leaving the room for five minutes, upon which he would cry pretty hard, and then sort of settle himself. When I came back, I would say “it’s sleepy time, lay down and close your eyes”, I’d rub his back a bit, and he’d be out. At first.

    The first night, it took 1:57 from crib to sleep. The second night 50 minutes. The third night 39, the fourth night 30, then back up to 46, then tonight, 63 minutes. One change for the last two nights is that his dad was out of town and now he’s back. I wonder if that different energy could affect him. His dad is part of the winding down routine (reading books, snuggling) but I do the rest. I can’t think of other changes, but I’m wondering if I am needing to pull myself further away from him or touch him less. I thought the purpose of moving away is just to avoid creating a new crutch, but could me being so close actually be getting in the way of his sleep?
    Thanks. I don’t know if this is the proper place for such a long question, so feel free to edit it as you see fit if you want to use this for anything.

    • Breanna Gunn says:

      It sounds like you’re on the right track! I would be conscious of allowing him to cuddle with your hand as you pat and reassure him. Remember that the use of sleep coaching is to teach our children to sleep independently, and by patting him to sleep you could be inadvertently creating a new sleep crutch. Have you been moving your chair and offering verbal reassurance before physical? You may want to review this blog article about fighting sleep. Also, allowing active time this close to bedtime may be winding him up a bit. Is it possible to do it earlier in the day?

      Dad being gone could definitely be a factor, and the reason for the increased time it’s taking your baby to get to sleep. Routine is so important! See how your baby reacts now that he’s home. Good luck!

    • breefawn says:

      WillowMae It sounds like you’re on the right track! I would be conscious of allowing him to cuddle with your hand as you pat and reassure him. Remember that the use of sleep coaching is to teach our children to sleep independently, and by patting him to sleep you could be inadvertently creating a new sleep crutch. Have you been moving your chair and offering verbal reassurance before physical? You may want to review this blog article about sleep coaching the super alert child: http://www.sleeplady.com/baby-wont-sleep/the-baby-fights-sleep. Also, allowing active time this close to bedtime may be winding him up a bit. Is it possible to do it earlier in the day? 
      Dad being gone could definitely be a factor, and the reason for the increased time it’s taking your baby to get to sleep. This article about routine may help you: http://www.sleeplady.com/baby-sleep/by-meagan-klipstein. Routine is so important</a>! See how your baby reacts now that he’s home. Good luck!

  • breefawn says:

    That does sound scary, dippy11. It sounds like you’re doing a great job…have you tried a sleep sack, or helped her practice sitting down during waking hours? I would encourage you to post your question on http://www.facebook.com/thesleeplady where a Gentle Sleep Coach can help you brainstorm. Good luck!!

  • breefawn says:

    That does sound scary, dippy11. It sounds like you’re doing a great job…have you tried a sleep sack, or helped her practice sitting down during waking hours? I would encourage you to post your question on http://www.facebook.com/thesleeplady where a Gentle Sleep Coach can help you brainstorm. Good luck!!

  • pazingaro says:

    My son just started sleeping in his crib 3 nights ago (6 months old). He did really well… even sleeping 6 straight hours on night 3. He is sick now (runny nose, scratchy throat, hoarse voice. He will sleep the initial 6 hour stretch but then he stands in the crib holding the bars screaming.
    He nursed for 2 hours. ..fell asleep…I laid him in the crib and he immediately woke up and cried and climbed the bars.
    Any advice on a sick baby who can’t sit back down on his own?
    Thank you! !!
    -Patricia

  • pazingaro says:

    My son just started sleeping in his crib 3 nights ago (6 months old). He did really well… even sleeping 6 straight hours on night 3. He is sick now (runny nose, scratchy throat, hoarse voice. He will sleep the initial 6 hour stretch but then he stands in the crib holding the bars screaming.
    He nursed for 2 hours. ..fell asleep…I laid him in the crib and he immediately woke up and cried and climbed the bars.
    Any advice on a sick baby who can’t sit back down on his own?
    Thank you! !!
    -Patricia

  • breefawn says:

    pazingaro  That sounds frustrating, Paz! Have you started sleep coaching? If not, then this article may be helpful: http://www.sleeplady.com/baby-sleep/how-the-sniffles-can-mess-up-your-newborns’-sleeping-pattern/. He may just need more snuggles and attention while he fights off this bug. Good luck!

  • breefawn says:

    pazingaro  That sounds frustrating, Paz! Have you started sleep coaching? If not, then this article may be helpful: http://www.sleeplady.com/baby-sleep/how-the-sniffles-can-mess-up-your-newborns’-sleeping-pattern/. He may just need more snuggles and attention while he fights off this bug. Good luck!