How do I deal with night waking associated with new motor skills?


My daughter has been a champion sleeper almost since the day she was born (8 hours at 2 weeks, solid and consistent 12 hours by 11 weeks). However, she is 8 months and has just (tonight, as I type) figured out how to sit up in her crib and will not go to sleep. It’s like this whole sitting-up-from-laying-down activity is too exciting. She is rubbing her eyes and is clearly tired. I tried going in quietly and laying her down, which worked wonderfully for about 2 minutes. Any tips? Does she just need to figure it out the way we let her figure out self-soothing at the beginning of our sleep training, or is there something I can do?

Wow, she is a great sleeper! Motor skill development has a pretty big impact on sleep for many babies. The sooner she masters the ability to get up and get down, the sooner those wakings will disappear. You’ll want to do two things: first, give her lots of time to practice during the day. Second, when she sits up, don’t just lay her down. You don’t want her to view sitting up as a problem. Instead, help her go through the physical motion that she needs to use to get herself back down each time she sits up. With all motor skill milestones, you want to teach her how to solve her problems rather than depending on you to do it for her. Also be aware that the same thing will probably happen when she starts to pull up to standing. 

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