The French have baffled parents with their lack of fussy eaters, now it seems they are experts at getting their children to sleep through the night.
According to a parenting book written by Pamela Druckerman, Bringing Up Bébé: One American Woman Discovers The Wisdom Of French Parenting, most French babies sleep through the night by the time they are four-months old.
Interviewing Tribeca Pediatrics French founder, Michel Cohen, Druckerman discovers their secret: Le Pause.
When their children wake, instead of attending to them immediately, the parents pause for a minute or two to see if they settle on their own. If not, then they soothe the child.
In her book she explains:
One reason for pausing is that young babies make a lot of movements while they’re sleeping. This is normal and fine. If parents rush in and pick the baby up every time he makes a peep, they’ll sometimes wake him up.
Another reason for pausing is that babies wake up between their sleep cycles, which last about two hours. It’s normal for them to cry a bit when they’re first learning to connect those cycles. If a parent automatically interprets this cry as a demand for food or a sign of distress and rushes in to soothe the baby, the baby will have a hard time learning to connect the cycles on his own.
That is, he’ll need an adult to come in and soothe him back to sleep at the end of each cycle.