One of the biggest struggles of being a new parent is getting that blissful sleep at night. However, a TikTokers recent video shared a new trick that might be the ultimate dream come true as new parents — successfully helping their babies go back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night.
Lily, a pediatric sleep consultant and expert, uploaded a video on her @dreamcoach account, where she provides a variety of sleep tips and techniques. These range from addressing inconsistent sleep patterns to highlighting the significance of daytime naps for families.
She starts off her video by highlighting when to try this method. She said the perfect time to test it out is when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night and doesn’t get the amount of sleep they need. You know what that leads to. A cranky and crying baby who will leave you wanting to rip your ears off.
“I promise this one thing will make a huge difference in them settling back to sleep and learning how to fall asleep independently,” she said in the post.
Next, she goes through the steps of the method. When you first start hearing your baby cry in the middle of the night, don’t go to their crib just yet. She advised to look at the baby monitor and count to 100 to resist the urge of calming your baby.
“Just watch and respond versus react,” she said.
She gave us the reminder that we shouldn’t be worried when babies wake up in the middle of the night. It’s actually completely normal. They just need some time to calm down and fall back to sleep on their own.
She said this method will make a world of difference and that, most likely, your baby will fall back to sleep after just 100 seconds. Also, she said it’s important to know the difference of when you should let your baby fall asleep on their own and when it’s time to intervene.
Even though Lily encourages her followers to give this method a chance, there was definitely a mixture of negative and positive feedback in the comment section.
“You do you, but I’m not counting on anything if she wakes up crying. I will always go get her as soon as I can,” a not so optimistic user said.
Another viewer claimed this works for them and allows them to distinguish the difference between fussing and crying.
“This has worked so well with my daughter,” the user said. “I quickly noted that fussing and crying is not the same. I did not respond until fussing became crying”
Raising your child doesn’t come with a manual book. So it’s difficult to hear your baby crying and feeling uncertain about the right course of action because you’re unsure of what’s best for them. These conflicting opinions regarding the 100-second rule motivated us to take action and seek assistance from experts.
Should You Try This? Experts Weigh In
The comments from users might be giving you mixed feelings about the method. That’s why we spoke with Nichole Levy, CuboAi Sleep Advisor and Certified Child Sleep & Behavior Consultant to learn more. Before we dive into the method, we wanted to get down to the basics — why do babies wake up in the middle of the night?
She reminded us that waking up in the middle of the night is not just normal for babies, but adults. However, babies just make it more obvious they woke up. Many factors are involved in a baby waking up in the middle of the night such as hunger, discomfort, and if they fell asleep on their own or not.
“Babies who are well-rested and go to sleep on their own are less likely to cry as they transition between sleep cycles because they are aware of their surroundings and there is nothing keeping them awake,” she told Sleepopolis. “Babies who are not going to sleep on their own may wake up and not be familiar with their surroundings (looking for their caretaker that was there last time they were awake).”
She said that waking up in the middle is a big part of a baby’s learning process. With this, you might notice more nightly wakes from your babies if they are reaching those essential learning milestones.
Now let’s get into the main reason why we’re here. Levy said that the 100-second rule method is just another version of what is known as the “practicing the pause” method.
This method involves parents having the chance to listen to their baby before heading to their bed to soothe them back to sleep.
“Since we know that babies do wake up and sometimes even cry out as they transition sleep cycles, it gives the parents a chance to watch or listen to their baby before going and helping them back to sleep,” she said. “There is a big difference between a baby waking up and crying, sitting, standing, yelling, and a brief sleep cycle transition.”
With the 100-second rule, Levy said it gives parents the opportunity to scope out the situation. She said if they are still asleep and just crying while they transition between sleep cycles, we will do more harm than good by waking them up.
Levy said this method is worth a try for infants and even toddlers who might wake up and cry during their sleep cycle transitions. She also offered some of her own advice for dealing with a baby that wakes up frequently.
Some tips include helping them feel comfortable falling asleep on their own, being in their sleep area when they awaken to create a sense of comfort, adhering to appropriate wake-up times and age-appropriate naps, and establishing a bedtime ranging from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
However, even though waking up is normal, she advised us of some red flags to look out for. She pointed out that if your baby is waking up every hour during the initial part of the night, this should raise concern. In such instances, your baby could be experiencing airway obstructions that cause discomfort and hinder their ability to sleep peacefully.
“Babies should go into a deep sleep for about three hours right after bedtime without a major or any waking,” she said. “If they are waking a lot during this time, check to see if they are snoring or mouth breathing.”
Raising a baby is all about trial and error, so the 100-second rule is something worth considering. It might surprise you and leave you with a peaceful night’s sleep for both you and your little one.
Levy, Nichole. Personal Interview. July 28, 2024.