I am a mom of two boys, one is 11 and the other is 5. My boys are independent kids who are self sufficient for their ages. I credit this to my use of a french parenting tip and I’m going to tell you all about it.
In case you didn’t already know, I had my oldest child when I was 15. The only thing I could do during my pregnancy to feel remotely in control was to veraciously consume parenting books. I’d go to the library (because I’m an older millennial who at the time didn’t have a computer or cell phone) every single week and get stacks of books. Before and after school (and during lunch breaks most days) I read those books. I read a lot of crappy books honestly, many with outdated tips or pointers that didn’t feel right for me. In all of that time spent reading I soaked in a few things that made me the mom I am today. When it comes to parenting I feel extremely confident in my skills, I get frustrated like everyone else sure, but at the end of the day I am happy with how I parent. I do my best to raise kids who aren’t coddled, I mean coddled as a negative thing, not developmentally appropriate affection or care. Part of that is letting them have a go at solving their own problems before offering to help.
This brings me to the tip that changed how I parent. It had my babies sleeping through the night at 3 months and 4 months old receptively and has helped to raise my kids to be problem solving, self sufficient bad-asses. Le Pause is a common french practice, it’s said to be why most french babies “do their nights” by 3 months old. Unlike some parenting tips it is extremely simple and doesn’t require you to buy anything.
Before diving into that I want to say that NOT ALL BABIES ARE GOING TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT AT X MONTHS OLD. Okay so now that that is said, I do believe how we respond to our babies cues can help nudge them towards sleeping longer. I could go on and on with disclaimers but if you have any reason why your baby needs to wake to feed at night discuss this with your doctor before trying it out.
Le Pause simply means when your baby stirs at night you go in and pause, observe what they are doing and wait just a minute. It’s extremely common for babies to wake or make noises as they go into and out of sleep cycles. Sometimes we do more harm than good when we rush in and scoop them up. Waiting and observing your baby allows you to pick up on which sound means they’re hungry or if they’re simply wiggling a bit before going into a sleep cycle. This is in no way “sleep training”, you respond to your baby in a timely manner but you do pause for a minute (or several) before rushing in. The french parenting books I read back then and have read recently are very heavy on that tip.
The connection you have with your baby when you practice Le Pause allows you to pick up on many things and helps beyond sleep. I know when to let my youngest son struggle a bit when he’s prying legos apart based on the look on his face, this comes from practicing Le Pause since he was a newborn. I know when to push my oldest son a bit to solve an algebra equation and when to help him break it down from practicing Le Pause.
Taking time to slow down and observe is the skill Le Pause really teaches. When you are able to pause and take in what your child is telling you with their body language you are able to be in tune with their needs before they even speak. Don’t get me wrong there will still be days when you have a rough time or when your kids are difficult but I truly believe adding Le Pause into my arsenal of parenting tools has helped tremendously.
Here are a few good books to read about the subject
French children don’t throw food The original french parenting book I read way back in the day*
Happy parenting ya’ll :) Watch this space for more content related to all things pregnancy, breastfeeding, parenting and beyond
-Amber Ginn CLC, IYCFS, CD