Learning to pull to stand or standing up independently is a huge step for your baby. However, when they first start doing this, a lot of babies find themselves in a bit of a pickle, especially if they’re alone in their beds. Because whilst they might know the way up, they haven't figured out how to sit back down yet, and get stuck in their standing position.
As your friendly sleep trainer, I’m going to address the problem you’re facing by offering 2 solutions: what to do in the day-time and what to do when it is night-time / time to sleep.
What to do in the day-time:
Speaking both from my experience as a baby sleep consultant and a mother- when you notice your baby starting to show signs of pulling to stand, then don’t just focus on the standing bit, but also on getting her to transition from standing to sitting and maybe even lying down. Allow her to practice all day long, as often as she will tolerate, and fully supervised so that she doesn’t inadvertently hurt herself. This way, when nighttime rolls around she’d have had plenty of practice.
The next question you might ask is: How to teach a baby to lie down from standing? First, work on getting her to sit from a standing position. Place her favorite stuffed animal or toy on the floor next to where she stands to encourage her to take a seat or lie down. Demonstrate to her what to do. Place her on a playmat, and use a couch or something soft as her prop to “pull to stand” so that if she hits any surfaces she doesn’t hurt.
Be patient when you’re going through this process. Rome wasn’t conquered in a day; building your baby’s confidence will take time and many attempts.
What to do during sleep time:
When it is time to go to sleep, however, our approach changes slightly. Because independent sleep is a priority, you won’t be able to always be there in the room supervising all of your baby’s movements like you would in the daytime.
We understand that might make you nervous. Here at Lullabub Sleepers, your baby’s safety is paramount, so we understand the concern with leaving your baby in the crib alone, especially if there's any danger that she could inadvertently hurt herself.
But, consider this: if you constantly need to intervene to lower your baby down from her standing position, then she’d become reliant on you, and won’t be able to acquire the skills she needs to develop to lay down and fall asleep. Worse, she might even figure out that standing up and raising a fuss gets you to pay attention to her, so this might even become a recurring pattern.
Here’s where we at Lullabub Sleepers think the balance is to the question “How do you get baby to sleep when they keep standing up?”.
Avoid putting your baby down when she is standing in the crib too often since we don't want her to become dependent on you. Just a few repetitions of lifting her up and sitting her down will show her what you expect, after which you may switch tact and reduce touch by just patting the mattress and telling her “sit down”.
Once she’s sat down, you could say "lay your head down" or "come lie down, baby". You can even demonstrate this motion to her. In short, assist your baby without completing the work for her, and she will manage the rest on her own once she’s acquired the necessary knowledge and competence.
Once you’ve communicated what your baby needs to know, then leave the room and leave her to it. You should continue to monitor her movements remotely through a baby monitor. If at any point in time it appears that she is in a precarious position of hurting herself, you may choose to enter the room at that time to prevent that from happening.
If your child has never been sleep trained before, then in addition to the 3 points above, also remember this in your moments of despair: your baby is probably not purposefully refusing to go to sleep. She’s just not drawn the connection that lying down makes it much easier to drift off to la-la-land.
It might be challenging, but stay cool under pressure, show some patience, and be consistent. The time and effort you put in now will pay off tenfold when your child is sleeping through the night and looking forward to nap times.
If you’re still having trouble, don’t hesitate to let us know. We’ll set up a quick call and address your concerns.