Happy pausing! It helps to create a healthy balance of responsiveness and learning in so many ways.
“Le pause” or pausing is a very popular strategy and to me the parenting hack/strategy that can help promote independent sleep, independent sleep, self-regulation, secure attachment, independence, and so much more.
The idea with the power of pausing, is that we are giving the baby or child a moment to handle what they’re going through and/or settle themselves. If they don’t, we calmly swoop in like the loving parents that we are.
If we quickly jump and react to baby, we have reinforced a high-stress response, whereas pausing is a more relaxed response to a baby’s or child’s needs.
It also helps us! By pausing, we give ourselves a moment to collect ourselves to better handle a fussy or crying baby.
Here are some ways to use The Power of Pausing
When babies move through their short sleep cycles, they can make sounds: grunts, whimpers, or cries. Pause anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes before you respond to see if they can settle back down on their own. If they don’t, you are right there to help them. You can decide the duration of pausing that is comfortable for you, but try to build up the time. Remember, when you do respond to your child; approach them with a calm demeanor versus one that is more stressed or concerned.
PASSING GAS OR POOP
Many newborn babies need to learn how to poop. They will squirm or make sounds as they pass gas or poop. Practice pausing. Before you help them by bicycling their legs or giving them any drops, give them some time to pass it (pun intended) and increase the time frame. They WILL learn how to poop. It’s a new sensation, but one they will eventually get comfortable with.
As your baby gets older, you will use The Power of Pausing in various circumstances:
When babies/toddlers are learning language, it’s beneficial for language to be slow and high-pitched. What also helps is to pause to give them time for them to register what they are hearing and eventually learn to speak. Rapid-fire speaking and language won’t allow their developing brains to
With any play activity (practicing rolling, using shape sorters, etc.), practice pausing. Before you help them with a skill, see if they will do it first. This can start from when you start playtime. Of course, younger babies will need you more often to show them what to do, so the time increment will be shorter. But start to practice pausing with play. You will see them develop skills and even enjoy some independent play! As they get older, you will use the same concept when they are frustrated.
NAPS (FOR AN OLDER INFANT)
When an infant is napping, they will wake up after an hour and stir and cry. This is one sleep cycle. Even a sleep-trained baby may develop this. Give them a pause. Based on your baby’s temperament, you may increase the pausing time (we used to pause 15 minutes). Similar to the Ferber method, you are allowing them a moment before you intervene and help them.
If you are practicing pausing and baby is in another room, take a look at them on the monitor to see what they’re doing.
As your baby gets older and becomes a toddler, tantrums will happen. Pausing will help you! Before you react, pause. With pausing, you are more likely to stay calm during the meltdown. With pausing, you are more likely to regulate your emotions so you can attend to theirs. This is vital in navigating and getting through the tantrum.
There is no literature to support how long pausing is “okay” for. But from a developmental perspective, I have no concern, as you are going to be checking in as the loving parent you are when the pause time is over.
As your baby gets older, these amounts may change. Your goal is to find the pausing amount that works for you and your baby. You come up with the amount of time you are comfortable with, but DO PAUSE.