What to do when an 8-month-old baby refuses crib sleeping? This can be a tricky age to get kids to accept the crib. Here’s why and how to handle the situation.

8-month-old won't sleep in cribPin


Mom’s Question:

My 8-month-old won’t sleep in his crib. He will not sleep without me. The only time he sleeps without being held is in the car. I try not letting him nap in the evening. He gets breastmilk through a bottle.

He eats his last bottle at 9 and falls asleep immediately on me. I try to wait 20 minutes or so and go lay him in his crib. He immediately wakes up before he is even laid down. I have tried letting him cry it out. Even up to an hour. Ever since he started standing, he stands up at the crib bars and screams at the top of his lungs. I go lay him down and he pops right back up before I even get a chance to rub his back.

I am desperate. What can I do????


Helping 8-Month-Old Baby Learn To Sleep In His Crib

Why an 8-month-old won’t sleep in his crib

8 months old is a tricky age to try to teach a baby to sleep alone. At this age, the baby is learning that he is a separate person from mom – scary! So the baby often suffers from some degree of separation anxiety; he really doesn’t know that you are still around when he can’t see you or feel you. So putting a baby down alone in a crib awake is usually not working at this age, and really makes the baby even more scared.

That said, of course, you can’t sit around with a baby in your arms all night.

Some tips to try to help baby sleep in their own bed

Give the bottle lying down

If you can, you can start a new routine to give him his last bottle lying on your bed, snuggling up with you, but not in your arms. You can still hug him and make it a really cozy moment.

When he falls asleep, just leave him there. (But make sure he is safe and can’t roll off the bed in his sleep.)

Leave your baby (safely) in the bed and only try to move him into his crib when he is in deep sleep. You can check if he is in deep sleep by lifting his leg. If he is completely relaxed, he is likely to be in deep sleep.

Move the Crib Right Next to Your Bed

Ideally, you make sure that he falls asleep as close as possible to his crib – or even in the crib, if you have a kind where you can take off one side of the crib and tie the crib and your bed together.

Is there any way you can fit his crib directly next to your bed?
In such a case, once he is used to falling to sleep next to you instead of in your arms, you can try to put him in his crib with you lying next to it so you are still almost touching.

Even if you can’t have the crib next to your bed, a good transition from your arms will still be to first teach him to fall asleep next to you.

There are other tricks to help a baby feel safer in the crib as well. You can read about several tricks here.

I hope this helps,


More Babies That Refuse Crib Sleeping

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Mom to Mason

    I am having similar issues with my 10 month old son. He goes to sleep okay, but wakes in the middle of the night and the only way to get him to stay asleep is to sleep on the couch holding him. He goes to bed around 8:30 and wakes anywhere between 11 and 4 and won’t go back to sleep in his crib. I am exhausted After almost 3 months of sleeping on the couch.

    I have tried everything. He sleeps in our bedroom still as we do not have a bedroom for him ( we are adding on to our house in the spring). Letting him cry it out for long periods of time in the middle of the night is hard when he is right beside us.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Mom to Mason,

      Is there any way at all that you can simply keep him in your bed for a while instead of going to the couch? If you have a partner, I think the one who isn’t attending the baby at night is the one who should be sleeping on the couch, since couches, in general, aren’t that comfortable.

      If you can find a way to move your bed to be close to the wall and thereby get rid of the risk of your son falling off it, you could just let him come to your bed at night for a while to maximize your sleep. And take turns with your hubby if you have one!

      Once you feel a bit stronger and your son is a bit older (and hence has less separation anxiety), you can start training him to sleep in his crib. But doing that while being completely exhausted is pure torture!

      Your son is in a sensitive age right now, so it isn’t strange at all that he keeps waking up and refuses to go to bed alone. I think sometimes it pays off to fix the short-term first situation first, instead of thinking that long-term he has to sleep in his bed so I can’t have him in mine now. One way or the other all kids stop coming to their parents’ bed at some point – and then we tend to miss it 🙂

      So just think of a way to get your sleep right now. If he wants to snuggle up with mom or dad to feel secure at night, then let him. But make sure you can sleep at the same time!

      Hope this helps,


      1. mom to Mason

        Thanks Paula, for the suggestion. I do think that we may get some better sleep if we stay in bed. I will have to try this and send my husband to the couch or vice versa when he gets up with him.

        We have had a few nights of him sleeping through the night in his own bed, but now he is teething and has a cold. I am trying to accept that this is short term and hopefully soon enough he will stay in his crib all night. I am sure one day I will miss this. Thanks!

  2. Sandra P

    Hi Michelle, we are having the exact same problem with our almost 8 month old. He will only sleep in my arms or in the baby carrier (on me). As soon as I transfer him to the crib, or even onto the bed beside me, he wakes up and cries until picked up. Did you ever find a method that works? I tried to let him cry it out, but found it too difficult on all of us.

    1. Michelle

      Honestly, I let him cry. For about 3 or 4 days he cried himself to sleep. One night it lasted a little over an hour. I talked to the Dr. and she said that you can let them cry for 3 hours. Not that I would recommend that. But I just sucked it up, shut his bedroom door and turned the tv up. I know that sounds terrible. But every night he cried for less time. And now when its bedtime, I give him his bottle and when he’s all done, I lay him down…and he is even still awake. He doesn’t cry at all. He doesn’t even fight naps anymore. Although, when he is teething or has painful gas issues, he doesn’t stay asleep. He wakes up in the middle of the night and I put him in bed with me. Other than then, he sleeps all night from 9 to 7ish.

      1. kadie

        who would do this??
        let your baby cry it out for up to 3 hours??
        you do know that babies can sense abandonment when they are that young and they think you have abandoned them.
        that is pitiful