Has Baby heard you telling him it’s important to stand up for himself and taken you literally? It’s exciting when your little one learns to pull himself up into a standing position, but once he has that newfound power, he will have to decide how he’s going to use it. For many babies, just after bedtime, or when they’re supposed to be taking naps, can seem like the perfect time to practice – and who can blame them? The top bar of the crib is generally the perfect height for babies to grab onto to pull themselves up.
Standing in protest
For babies who are already restless sleepers, or are on strike against naptime and bedtime, pulling themselves up into a standing position can feel like a great way to take a stand. For others, the appeal of standing up in the crib during naptime or after bedtime has more to do with how fun this new skill is – and it’s not their faults how much harder sitting back down is than standing up in the first place.
This means that there are a few different reasons a baby standing holding onto the rail of the crib might cry out for his parent or another caregiver. First, he is standing for the same reason he’s crying out – because he doesn’t want to lie down and sleep, he wants to get up and play. On the other hand, he might have pulled himself up for fun, or for practice, or to see if he could, and might be crying out for you because he needs help lying back down again.
Standing as sleep regression
For many babies, working on and passing important developmental milestones can have an effect on sleep, and pulling up is an important physical milestone, which means that some sleep regression or resistance is fairly common during this time, even if it looks a little more dramatic when he is resisting while standing on his own two feet.
Dealing with a stubborn stander
When it truly is time for Baby to sleep, but he just keeps standing, there are a few different strategies you can take, based on why Baby is standing and what his temperament is. The first option is the simplest – just to let Baby stand. If he seems pretty happy to be standing up, and he has plenty of time to fall asleep on his own time, you can just give him the chance to see if he will get bored, lie back down, and fall asleep on his own.
It’s possible that he’ll fall, but it’s unlikely that he’ll hurt himself. It can be tempting to put up bumpers to cushion the crib bars, but babies who are already feeling restless can use bumpers as steps to start climbing right out of their cribs, so adding bumpers can actually add an extra layer of risk, instead of a safety net.
If Baby is upset, or is stubborn enough that he is unlikely to give up and turn in on his own, try going in and lying him down for sleep again – and again, and again, and again. For the first few nights (or naps) you may feel like you spend more time lying Baby down again than you do sleeping, but after a few nights, Baby will probably have started to move on from his stand-and-deliver ways. If he hasn’t known how to sit back down again on his own, he will start to work that out, and if he was just in it for the thrill of trying a new skill, pulling into standing up will start to get old before too long.
A little bump from losing his balance when he is pulled up into a standing position isn’t much danger to your little one, but if he figures out how to climb out of his crib, that’s when things can start to get dangerous. If he is standing up in his crib, make sure the mattress is set as low as it will go, so that the railing is as high as possible. If he does figure out how to climb out, he might be ready to let the crib go in favor of a mattress on the floor.