My baby stands (or sits up) in the crib and won’t sleep!


Find out what to do in each of these situations:

baby sits or stands in the crib and won't fall sleep

Nothing makes a mama prouder than when her baby learns a new skill. Your baby sitting up and pulling to stand are big developmental milestones! But what should parents do when milestones interrupt their baby’s sleep? Should you intervene when your baby stands in the crib and won’t sleep?

Some babies fall asleep sitting up! If you’re worried because your baby won’t lay down in the crib or they might fall down and hit their head, you’re in the right place. 

This article explains what to do when your baby stands (or sits up) in the crib and just won’t sleep. 

This post may contain affiliate links.


Babies learn new developmental skills in phases. Most babies don’t learn to roll front to back, and back to front, in a day. Instead, it happens in stages. First, your baby learns to sit up (or stand.) But the second part of that development, being able to get back down, comes several days later.

It can be tiring and frustrating when your little one gets stuck (or just refuses to lie back down) in the middle of the night. But, I promise you, it doesn’t last long. Sleep trained babies get through this phase quicker, since they know how to fall back asleep on their own. 

Most parents worry about their baby losing sleep. Or getting caught in a never-ending game of jack-in-the-box. How you intervene depends on whether or not your baby is upset. Let me explain.



“My baby is standing or playing in the crib, instead of sleeping.”


If your baby sits or stands up in the crib, and is happy hanging out, the best thing to do is give them space.

If your baby can’t get back down on their own, this gives them the opportunity to practice.

If your little one can get down on their own (but is just refusing to) this prevents them from getting dependent on your help.

How long you leave your little one is up to you. As long as they’re not crying, I recommend giving them 15-20 minutes to work it out on their own

After that time, go in and quietly sit on the floor next to the crib. Pat the mattress to help your little one understand that they should lie down. When you sit on the floor, you’re down low which makes baby want to come down to your level. If you stand next to the crib, baby wants to be up at your level. 

You should only reposition your baby after giving them a decent amount of time to do it on their own, like 20 minutes.

Yes, everyone will end up losing sleep for a few nights. But giving your little one the chance to maneuver around the crib helps them grow comfortable in their sleep space and not depend on you long-term. It’s the quickest way to get your baby sleeping well again.


This video will explain what to do when your baby is standing in their crib and won’t sleep



“My baby falls asleep sitting up”


At some point, most babies will fall asleep sitting up. My daughter did this at 7 months. I felt sad seeing her on the video monitor snoozing propped up against the crib. So I went in and laid her down. Guess what happened? She woke up, and sat up again! And the jack-in-the-box game began.

It can be upsetting to think about your baby sitting up while sleeping in the crib, but this phase lasts only a few days. Babies quickly learn that it’s more comfortable to sleep lying down and will get themselves back down. This happens quicker, though, if your baby is given the space and opportunity to practice. So, again, it’s best to leave your little one to figure out how to get themself back down. 

Most parents will try sneaking in and gently repositioning their baby if they fall asleep sitting up (or even standing!) Just be prepared for them to wake immediately. ?


“My baby stands (or sits up) and is crying in the crib!”


If your baby is sitting up or standing in the crib, and is crying, it’s ok to give more support.

I always encourage parents to wait a few minutes to see if their little one will resettle on their own. I promise, it WILL happen one day. (And it’ll shock the pants off you!)

You can wait only 3-5 minutes before going to your baby if they’re upset.

Rather than picking your baby up right away, sit on the floor next to the crib and encourage them to lie down. Patting the mattress can help. Another few minutes of fussing, with a parent nearby, can help your little one get back down on their own.

If you know your baby can lie down independently, you can wait it out a bit longer, like 5-10 minutes.

After this time, if your baby is still upset, gently lay them down. Keeping your hands on them for a few minutes can prevent them from popping right back up, as can sitting on the floor next to the crib.

Make sure to give your little one lots of floor time during the day to practice getting up and down on their own. Don’t always help them if they get “stuck” in a position. Give your baby time to work it out on their own (as long as they’re safe.)


“I’m worried about my baby falling in the crib and hitting their head.”


Many parents worry that their baby might get hurt if they fall down in the crib and hit their head. I completely understand (and I’ve been there) but I would avoid rushing in to help your little one get back down. Always give your baby time to work it out on their own. Only intervene quickly if your baby has gotten hurt before. 

It’s rare for babies to get injured in a crib that has only a mattress with a fitted sheet. Watching your baby on the video monitor can reassure you that they’re safe. You can also check out Vertical Crib Liners. They’re a safe way to soften up your baby’s crib. Traditional crib bumpers and mesh liners aren’t safe.

If you want my favorite baby monitor recommendations, click here.


To sum up…

Your baby sitting up, or standing, in the crib and refusing to sleep is a common “rite of passage” in parenthood. It can feel like an eternity when you’re up at 3 am with a baby that refuses to lie down, but I promise that this lasts only a few days. 

The more “hands off” you can be, the quicker this phase will pass. Let your baby practice their new skill during the day too, so they can master it sooner. Some parents have their babies practice in the crib during the day when they’re awake. Sleep trained babies tend to struggle less, since they know how to fall back asleep on their own. If your baby is five months, or older, you can begin sleep training to get the whole family sleeping through the night. 

Ask me anything in the comments!


Let’s stay connected!


  1. Joy Tes


    I’m contacting you in desperation after too many failed attempts at getting my 11 month old to sleep at night. I’ve put him on a routine and it generally works during the day but at night he just doesn’t sleep.
    Lately he started standing and sitting up in his cot which enabled him to stay up protesting way longer. I tried to let him cry for a while but realized he didn’t know how to get down by himself. So whenever he woke up at night which happened on average 10 times a night, I would help him lie down. After a few days and with our helping him practice it during the day, he managed to get down on his own. But now again he stands up and cries and I believe he knows he should lie down but he doesn’t give in. He cries until I walk into his room and then immediately lies down and tries to fall asleep checking every couple of minutes that I’m still standing next to his cot. Eventually he would fall asleep only to wake up after one sleep cycle (half an hour).
    Last night he woke at 12am and cried for 1 hour and 15 minutes, then he fell asleep for 5 minutes after which he got up again and cried through the night (the stage of crying where there are long gaps and he is always sounding like he’s going to fall asleep any minute) until 7am!
    Have you come across this situation with babies before?
    What am I doing wrong?

    I’d be grateful for any advice or guidance.
    Thank you!.

    Joy T

    • Artemis

      Hi Joy,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your 11 month old’s sleep struggles. Both he and you must be totally exhausted.

      We have come across this situation with babies countless times, and we actually specialise in helping parents like you getting their babies sleeping incredibly. We’ve seen parents in your situation get their babies sleeping through the night in 1-2 weeks (without using Cry It Out) and we’d love to help you, too.

      You’re not doing anything wrong, you’re trying your best. Remember that! But as sleep professionals, our gentle program is the best way to solve this:

      It’s 20% off for Black Friday, so this is the best time to sign up.

      We can’t wait to work with you! You’ve done a great job so far, but let’s work together and get you guys sleeping well.

      Artemis, BSMS Support Team

  2. Kat

    “This phase lasts only for a few days”

    We have been dealing with this for months now…

    • Artemis

      Months?! Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that.

      Developmentally speaking, babies learn how to lay themselves down from a squatting, sitting or standing position in a few days. So if your little one is still standing or sitting up in the crib, I assume it’s because they’re resisting sleep and/or they might not know how to settle themselves for sleep.

      We would love to get your little one loving their crib, laying down and falling asleep peacefully all night long. It’s totally possible!

      Our sleep program goes through this in detail and gives very clear guides on what you need to do. We would love for you to join us! The link is here:

      Let me know if you have any questions, otherwise sign up and we’ll see you in the program!
      Artemis, BSMS Support Team

  3. Devon

    Hi! My baby is almost 9m and the last few weeks he keeps waking up all different times and sitting up then standing and screaming crying.. he fell back once and hit his head on the back of crib but he was ok but he is too scared to get down or doesn’t know how… he used to sleep through the night before knowing how to sit up crawl and pull up and stand.. and if he cried he would know how to sooth himself back to sleep but he doesn’t anymore bc he’s sitting and standing in the crib and doesn’t know how to position himself back to laying.. I’m so tired myself 🙁 any advice ?

    • Artemis

      Hi Devon,

      Sorry about this, you guys must be exhausted.

      Sounds like your little one is mastering this new skill. It’ll be super easy to get him back to sleeping amazingly once it’s passed, since he was sleeping so great before!

      We would be happy to give your little one a “sleep training tune-up” in our program below:

      We’re having a huge Mother’s Day sale, so definitely take advantage of it!

      Good luck,
      Artemis, BSMS Support Team

  4. Saurabh

    My baby is almost 9 months old and she still refuses to sleep on her own. We have tried leaving her in the crib for more than 30-40 minutes, but she refuses to lie down. Whenever we put her in the crib, she springs up and stands. After 20-30 minutes she starts to cry inconsolably when she is sleepy but won’t go down. We end up rocking her in our lap to help her sleep. We have tried lying down with her on the bed, but then she holds us to stand and plays for a few minutes before again starting to cry. It is getting very tiring now to rock her every time she needs to sleep. Any help or tips would be really appreciated.

    • Artemis


      Aww I understand this is very hard for you guys (and her!). These milestones are super fun for our little one to practice, but not fun for parents at bedtime.

      Practice getting to a lying down position during the day (just like this article says). Just show your little one how it’s done and encourage her to do the same (lots of praise!)

      As for her crying in the middle of the night, she’s most likely crying because she doesn’t know how to fall asleep peacefully on her own. Our program will teach her that, step by step. You get a night by night guide so you don’t feel overwhelmed, and you don’t feel forced to give up in the middle of the night!

      Here is the program:

      For a limited time only, you can use coupon code ‘2022’ to get 15% off at checkout.

      Hope to see you soon, Saurabh!
      Artemis, BSMS Support Team

  5. Felisha Ferreira

    Baby is 6.5 months old, teething, and has just recently learned to pull herself up.
    I know the teething is affecting her sleep, but im more struggling with her pulling herself up.
    On naps, and sleep she pulls herself up and won’t fall asleep.
    If she’s happy, I leave her for a while, if she’s screaming, I dont leave her as long. She can’t get down yet.
    Every time I intervene, I gently put her back down, hold my hand on her back, then walk away but she screams bloody murder every time.
    She will only fall asleep if held until shes 90% asleep.

    I dont want to create bad habits, as she was a pretty great sleeper up until now, but she screams until she chokes and coughs. Its sometimes hours of trying to put her down, for her to only nap for 20 mins, or wake up 2 hours into her night sleep.

    Definitely feeling stuck

    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Felisha,

      Teething and pulling up at the same time?! This definitely sounds exhausting!! I am attaching our 6 month old sleep guide for helpful tips.


      We can definitely help you get your LO’s sleep on track and get your entire family sleeping better! We can provide the best support to your family in our 21 Days to Peace & Quiet program.I used the program with both of my daughters at 6 months and it was a LIFESAVER for my family!

      In this program we offer 4 step-by-step sleep training methods. You choose the one that feels best for your LO. We have super gentle & gradual all the way to quick & efficient. Each step of the way you get advice based on your baby’s developmental stage, energy levels, and temperament.

      One of our package options include personalized support and I find this to be so beneficial during the sleep training journey! Jilly and members of our support team answer questions 7 days a week in our private FB group and we host 2-3 Zoom calls per week! You will always feel like you have the support you need every step of the way.

      You can find out more info on the program here:

      When you are 100% consistent in following the steps of the program, your baby will be sleeping amazingly within 1-3 weeks. It depends on the method you choose as well as your baby’s adaptability, but we cover all of this in the program!

      Happy to answer any questions you have. We hope we get the chance to help you and your LO on this sleep journey!
      Have a great day!
      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

  6. Nina Gerrard

    Hi my LG sleeps well at night in her sleep bag.. she rolls around and falls asleep on her own. I domt go in to her unless she is crying and I’m fine with this. However day naps are different. I dont put her in her sleep bag in the she is able to get up and sit quite easily. Twice she has bumped her head on the edge of the cot as it is still on the middle level and caused brushing. So ive been going in and sitting her bk down but I’ve become so frustrated with this. I’ve also started to tap her to sleep so she doesn’t start to sit but it’s just nightmare and I end up really stressed. I’m so worried if I leave her she’s going to bash her head again. I just don’t know what to do.

    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Nina,

      Naps can definitely be tougher than night sleep because there is often less drive to sleep. I would continue to use the sleep sack during the day AND black out/use white noise. I would also recommend checking out our naps program. We can provide you will personalized support (daily questions answered and zoom calls) and walk you through the nap training process step by step!! Please check out the link below for program information.

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

  7. Kelly

    Hi there,

    My baby is struggling with going to sleep for some naps as he will start standing up and getting upset and not lying back down. I read that you said that this phase should only last a few days, until they master going back down from standing. My son does know how to go back down from standing but seems to refuse to do so once he is standing in his crib and upset. I am wondering what I should do and how long it will likely last? I nursed him to sleep for today’s nap but I don’t want to start that habit as he is sleep trained and was a great sleeper before this new skill.

    • Alyssa Taft

      Hi Kelly,

      This can definitely be a tough stage! The best thing you can do is continue to put your LO down to sleep awake but drowsy and give your LO a TON of standing to sitting practice during the day. Your LO will learn how to do this and then everything will get back to normal. You can lay down your little once to show what to do but then give him the space to figure it out!

      Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

  8. Natalie Ballesteros

    My son is almost a year old and we’ve recently started CIO. He only cried for around 25 minutes the first night but he continued to doze/nod off for the next 1.5 hours and has yet to figure out how to lay himself down. It seems so cruel to let him sleep sitting up for so long, and in fact, he’s still not fully asleep. I sent my husband in to help him lie down and he jumped right back up and started crying again. How long is too long and at why point do we intervene? Especially if he’s not sleeping.

    • Artemis

      Hi Natalie!

      Ah, I know how hard this is. But unfortunately, the more you try to “help” your little one once they’re in the crib, the more you’re prolonging the process of them learning how to lay themselves down.

      The absolute best trick is to practice during the day. I know it feels cruel to leave them in the crib sitting up, but it’s actually a milestone all on its own! They need to find the core muscles, technique and arm strength to lay themselves down, otherwise they’ll never learn.

      You could also practice with him during the day. Make a game out of it and sit up and lay down until he figures it out. In a matter of days, he will have mastered it.

      Reach out if you need anything else!
      /Artemis, BSMS Support Team

  9. Jessica

    Hello! I could really use some help. My 11 month goes down easy at 8pm after our routine, but will not stay asleep. She has always woken up in the 11 o’clock hour, and after that it is all over the place. I generally nurse that first time, but try not to after. Some times she will sleep for another 2 hours, but most of the time it’s an hour or less. She wakes up crying hard, she will stand up and cry. I have tried Ferber, but everytime I leave the room she gets up and cries. She will fall asleep standing, if she falls she wakes back up and it starts again. When I go in there the cry is a horrible whaling cry, obviously heartbreaking. We can go back and for like this all night long. I can hold her and she will sleep all night, not ideal because I can’t stand all night and don’t want to sleep in a chair. I can have her lay with me, but she wakes every few hours crying until I nurse. Naps are the same, so I will just lay with her on the floor and nurse to sleep and she will sleep fine for 1-2 hours. What reference material do you recommend??

    • Micaela

      Hi Jessica, seems like your Lo has a nursing to sleep association. At her age, she could potentially sleep 11-12h without any night waking and unless your doctor tells you otherwise, she can safely be night weaned. Our sleep training program offer 4 step-by-step method you can choose from. 3 of those methods actually have you stay in the room. Teaching her how to fall asleep independently at bedtime will improve her night sleep and removing the nursing to sleep association will ensure that she will not wake up during the night unless she is truly hungry. You can check our program here and if you have any doubt you can sedn us an email.
      Have a nice day!
      Micaela BSMS Support Team

  10. Gillian Kelly

    My baby has just turned 10 months and getting to sleep and staying asleep has gone to hell! The most important bit of background to this story is my baby came out of her harness for hip dysplasia at 9 months old (after being in it from 8 weeks old) and now she doesn’t know how to sleep without it! She will immediately roll over to sit up and crawl or stand up in the cot. I try and give her her space but she physically doesn’t know how to get from front to back which I believe is a tiny step in her development that she’s missed with having the harness on. Now she’s way down the track that if I try and get her to practice rolling from front to back she immediately tucks her knees up and crawls. I then have to go in and put her down onto her back every 10-15 minutes but she just rolls over. I’ve even tried ‘cold turkey’ and just tried not going in there at all but she literally lasted about hour and 15 minutes just sitting up and sucking her thumb until she’s hysterical and so overtired that I’ve had to either put her back in the harness or feed her to sleep to actually get SOME sleep.
    Previously WITH the harness she would be asleep with the time I put her in her sleeping bag and walk out of the room. I had a strict routine of feeding in the other room, the going into her room, making the room dark and turning white noise on. She self soothed so easily when going to sleep herself or going back to sleep in between sleep cycles by sucking her fingers. I’d always have to go in and wake her up because she’s sleep all day!! Now she’s getting MAX an hour of nap time and that’s with ++ intervention. If I don’t intervene she’ll just go HOURS not sleeping. Letting her ‘work it out’ has just not worked.
    – Have you had any experience or specific recommendations for babies sleeping AFTER the hip harness??
    – How long past the nap time should I let her go for before I intervene and do whatever it takes to get her to sleep?

    • Alyssa Taft

      Hello Gillian,

      Is your LO sleeping in a sleep sack? I would definitely try this so she can feel somewhat cocooned like she did in her hip harness. It is definitely going to be an adjustment for her, but she WILL figure it out. Have you checked out our 10 month old sleep guide? It has great timing recommendations for awake times for naps!

      Best, Alyssa, BSMS Support Team

  11. Mina Naumova

    Hi there,

    I am a little bit worried that I am going into the wrong direction with my LO and I need your help. My baby is almost 1 yr old and nearly 2 ! months ago he started pulling himself up on the cotrails just all of a sudden when I was trying to put him to sleep. I tried everything, but I think that I might have overdone it in my constant attempts to lay him down and I broke down several times. To make things worse, I gave up at some point and took him to my bed which I was doing it for a month (just to fall him asleep and then moving him back to his cot in his room). Now I want him to start falling asleep on his own in his cot, but it is as difficult as before. I think I might have created a bad habit. He can sit down, not sure about laying down on his own, but he is fightingit big time until he is draining himself out and fell asleep exhausted from crying. Please help!

    • Micaela

      Hi Mina, this issue is not uncommon and we help clients everyday solve it in our sleep training course 21 Days to Peace and Quiet. The program has advice on moving to a crib from a variety of sleep spaces such as parents’ bed, the Rock n Play, Dock a Tot, bassinet, etc…. so you’re covered for that!

      The program focuses on getting babies happily and easily sleeping in the crib all night long. The crib is the safest place for babies and toddlers to sleep and also leads to the most restorative sleep.

      The program has 4 step-by-step methods that walk you through teaching your baby how to settle to sleep on their own, which will show them how to resettle during night wakings too. It also covers reducing and fully weaning off night feeds.

      With 3 of the methods you stay with your baby as you teach them to sleep better. You don’t have to leave the room if you don’t want to. And you can choose a slower, more gradual method to reduce your baby’s resistance, fussing, and crying. We can’t promise “no tears” but you can work to minimize baby’s resistance.

      I’m confident we can get you and your baby sleeping great.

      Here are all the details:
      Micaela BSMS Support Team


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