Once researchers stopped asking parents and started videotaping children in the night, it was firmly established that while parents may believe all kinds of things, children routinely and regularly wake through the night until they're at least 4.
If she didn't need anything, when she woke at the end of a sleep cycle, she'd naturally return to sleep without making any sounds. Since she's very likely to be hungry in the middle of the night because she's burning almost as many calories growing in her sleep as she does roaring around all day, you can't make her sleep anymore than you can decide not to feel hungry on Tuesday because you're going to be eating on Wednesday.
She may also be frightened, lonely, in pain, thirsty or finished resting for a while and bored. It is not possible for a child that age to meet her needs on her own, so she calls for you.
at 11:50 AM on Dec. 1, 2010