My baby just started crawling (or rolling, standing or walking), and now she won’t nap - and she’s waking early. Help!

We’ve often noticed that once babies finally begin to get the rest they need, their brains and bodies suddenly have enough fuel to catapult forward developmentally. This is a good news–bad news situation; the good news is that she’s achieved a new milestone. The bad news is that sleep might bump off track temporarily.


You should still continue with your predictable wind-down routines and putting her to sleep on time. Most babies won’t wake throughout the night when they begin doing something new with their bodies, though some may due to separation anxiety. You’ll have to settle for some early mornings for a few days until you’ve noticed her excitement about her new skills begin to fade. If she’s not napping well, you’ll also want to take a break on naps--either settle for shorter naps, temporarily, and put her down more frequently, or use a stroller, reclined so it is *completely* flat, to help her take longer naps. Also be sure to adjust bedtime at night earlier by 30-60 minutes, depending on how tired she seems.

Anywhere from a few days to a week or two after she’s hit the milestone (crawling, standing and walking are the most exciting to babies), when you’ve noticed her excitement subside during the day, you can return to your sleep plan. It shouldn’t be like starting all over again, but you may have another night or two of some check-ins to help her get back on track.


If your baby just started rolling but can only roll back to tummy, you can use the "rule of 3" when the skill is brand new; when she gets stuck on her tummy in the crib, quickly flip her back over - even if it's not time to do a check-in yet - then scram. Flip her again if she rolls a second time, and a third time as well. After the third time, though, just let her be if she rolls again. There's no safety issue if she can roll, as she has enough head and neck strength to reposition herself if needed.


If your baby just started standing and gets "stuck" standing in the crib, you can use the same rule of 3 by gently unpeeling her fingers from the side of the crib and letting her "plop" down. Then leave the room (if you're using the Visit method) or return to your position on the floor or in your chair (if you're using the Stay or Touch method). After 3 times of helping your baby sit down, let her be.


No matter what new milestone your baby has just reached, give her LOTS of opportunity to practice during the day in between naps! This will help make it less likely that she'll want to practice new skills in the crib and get herself revved up.

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