Another hot topic when it comes to a good night’s sleep for baby is sleep association.
So, what is a positive sleep association?
A positive sleep association is an object or ritual which you as a parent do before every nap or night time sleep. This act or object is something which your child then starts to associate with going to sleep in a positive way.
We consider an association to be positive, if it has a positive effect on a child’s sleep habits and enables them to have consolidated restorative sleep without a parent’s constant involvement. (As much as we adore our littlest family members, no one wants to be rocking their baby for 12 hours a night!).
There’s probably a million questions running through your head about whether your baby’s sleep routine has positive or negative associations attached.
Let’s break it down a bit…
Swaddles – a positive association or a negative association?
A swaddle blanket usually becomes a positive association very quickly. Before long your baby will start to recognize both the smell and the sight of the swaddle.
If you constantly use the swaddle as part of your settling ritual, your baby will then be able to transfer this association while out and about, and know that if they are in their swaddle, it’s time to sleep.
The only time a swaddle might be becoming a negative association is if your baby is constantly busting out of it and you are having to re bundle them up all through the night. This is where the ergoPouch range of swaddles come into their own.
While strong enough to prevent your baby’s startle reflex from waking them, they are Houdini proof and the zip in feature means you will not need to return to re-swaddle your baby during a nap or overnight.
Sleeping bags and sleep suits – positive or negative associations?
Sleeping bags and suits are the perfect sleeping aid after a swaddle, they are safe and ensure no loose blankets end up covering your baby’s face, and ergopouch’s range of natural, organic fibers means there are no nasty chemicals around your baby while they sleep.
Your baby will already associate their swaddle with sleep in a positive way, and therefore moving onto a sleeping bag between 4-6 months will ensure that this association carries on.
You can use a light weight 0.3 Tog bag over summer, and a warm 3.5 bag or suit over winter, this will ensure your baby always has this association with them, no matter what the weather.
Why bother with positive sleep associations?
If you don’t introduce any positive sleep associations early on, you might find it more difficult to get your baby to sleep consistently. Baby may struggle to re-settle themselves as you their beloved mom, may become their favourite association.
You can also ensure a smooth transition into daycare napping if they can take their positive sleep associations from home, to daycare or a relative’s house. This means restorative sleep anywhere!
Swaddling and Sleeping bags are just two of the positive sleep associations we recommend at Baby Sleep Consultant Australia.
We also recommend:
- White noise
- A consistent nap ritual (such as a song)
- A consistent night time ritual (such as a bath/massage/feed)
- A security blanket or teddy bear
Written by Emma Purdue
- Owner of Baby Sleep Consultant Australia
- Certified infant and child sleep consultant
- Happiest Baby on the block educator
- Owner of Baby Sleep Consultant Training International
- Mother of 3