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A TikTok user took to his account to claim French babies sleep through the night by the age of six weeks, a testimony bound to make many British parents sick with envy as they wonder how to get their baby to sleep.
User Ashketchum910 had over 2 million views on his video explaining the “hack”, which is a parenting technique the French have apparently been using for many years. It’s known as “le pause” or “the pause”. In 2012 the idea was given the name in a French parenting book called Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman.
She claimed giving babies time to comfort themselves when crying before offering immediate parental intervention helps the youngsters to settle themselves.
In his video, Ash explained: “The interesting thing here is none of the French parents were able to really pinpoint why their children were such good sleepers and why they sleep during the night at six weeks old.
“It’s basically this behaviour that during the day or during the night when your child cries, you don’t instantly rush to their side and pick them up and comfort them. You can take a few beats, let them console themselves, and then they get used to it and put themselves to sleep.”
Ash is not the only parent discussing “le pause” on their TikTok. Cat, a baby sleep consultant from @babysleepteam explained on a TikTok video how babies will naturally make noise when they wake up from a sleep cycle during the night. They may cry out and still be asleep, she says, but often they will settle themselves and fall back into a deep sleep.
She said: “French parents just wait, they just wait a couple of minutes to see if their little baby is going to fall back asleep. Obviously, if they don’t they go and care for their baby.”
Of course, a night of uninterrupted sleep is something most parents of young babies dream of. But, does “le pause” really work?
Does Le Pause work? Experts weigh in
Laura Amies, aka Nanny Amies, star of Channel 5 Toddlers Behaving (Very) Badly has worked with children for the past 20 years, giving her expert insight to Express.co.uk. She advised it is key to know when to intervene and when not to, and that putting your baby to sleep correctly is key too.
“For babies and children, a lack of sleep means less chance to process learning, increased irritability, disturbed body clocks, and generally less contentment. For adults, it can mean a lack of focus, impulsive decisions, and much less patience than we truly require when it comes to implementing effective sleep habits.”
While parents should limit their expectations at six weeks, she warned, ‘le pause’ can help them teach their children to sleep through the night in the early months. Laura said: “While I’d never dare to say that all babies would sleep through at six weeks, I do say that from around four months you can begin aiming for this.
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“Once a little one has predictable sleep associations that are in line with their own sleep environment, allowing them a moment to re-settle can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to them developing the ability to link their sleep cycles together throughout the night.”
She advised that during sleep “tears do not always translate to fear, trauma or a need for intervention. Obviously, in some instances they do and that’s where the magic happens, knowing when to intervene and when to hold back for a short period will make or break healthy sleep patterns.”
Laura said putting your baby to sleep in the same way they will wake up is important to help them not cry when they reach the end of a natural sleep cycle. She went on: “As babies drift off they are absorbing all of the environmental information available to them. If, when they wake a smell, sensation or sound is different, this will alert them to potential danger…cue the parents, who respond in ways to let their baby know they are safe.
“While this is wonderfully nurturing, if a baby learns that it is only safe to sleep in a parent’s arms, at the end of every sleep cycle where they wake alone, they will cry out to let parents know they may be in danger. This then plays on loop.
“An analogy I use with the parents I support is; try to imagine falling to sleep, on the sofa with your partner’s arm around you, with the lamp and TV on for example, then you wake at the end of your sleep cycle and you are alone, in a darkened, quiet room…I think you’d feel scared too!”
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Heidi Skudder, The Parent and Baby Coach sleep expert, weighed in too and told Express.co.uk: “As a sleep coach, I am aware that babies sleep very noisily at times (usually when they are in lighter sleep). Letting new parents know that even when making noises and sometimes even crying out in their sleep babies can still be fast asleep, can be really beneficial to not only parents’ confidence but also that babies’ sleep patterns too. A baby who is interrupted less and given time to re-settle by their parents will get used to sleeping for longer chunks of time at a younger age.
“While it is not necessarily going to help every baby sleep through the night (there are many more factors involved in night-time sleep other than just pausing and waiting for baby to settle themselves back), it can be quite powerful, particularly for those parents who rush to their baby at every noise.”
She explained: “Le Pause consists of waiting a few moments to see if baby settles back when awake, before then going to them if they need your support. Babies are often very capable of sending themselves back to sleep some of the time, so the pause is just helping babies practise that.
“If a baby continues to cry, parents are responsive and tend to their baby – either by comforting or feeding them, dependent on their age. This is not about leaving a baby to cry, but rather giving them a moment to see if they can work it out themselves, before then going to them.”
However, the expert added: “Le Pause should not be confused with sleep coaching techniques which should not be used on a baby as young as six weeks of age.”
Heidi, who is working with Stokke, advised parents on how to be mindful of their baby’s sleep. She said: “Pausing is not the only thing to be mindful of when it comes to baby sleep. The baby’s temperament, comfort level, feeding, and tummy should all be taken into account when looking at a baby’s sleep, while also acknowledging that babies wake frequently too.
“Using swaddling, white noise, and a safe sleeping environment such as the Stokke Sleepi, which with its soft oval silhouette, cocoons your infant in their early years, are all important contributing factors to how well a baby sleeps too.
“By providing parents with adequate knowledge of what normal baby sleep looks like; whether it be regular wakings, or noisier sleep, then parents are able to make their own informed decisions as to how best to parent their babies during the night-time. As with all areas of parenting, there is no right or wrong approach!”
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