What is asleep association? A sleep association is something your child associates with going to sleep. When it comes to sleep associations you can implement some of them from birth, and some a bit later. If you looking to change a sleep association under 5 months, I recommend you talk to me (Maryann) or health professional especially if it is a feed to sleep association. So, let’s look at the different types of sleep associations.

Firstly, we will look at the sleep associations that require the parents or carers in the room. These include being fed to sleep, being rocked to sleep, patting or shushing. Now some children will feed to sleep at bedtime and then sleep through. Other children will feed to sleep and will then wake at the end of every sleep cycle needing to be fed back to sleep. When your little one is waking every 2-3 hours overnight and needing a parent or carer to help them back to sleep this is a good indicator that they have a strong association. If the sleep association doesn’t require you to be in the room they will generally stir and put themselves back to sleep.

Sleep associations that require a parent of carer in the room:
  • Feed to sleep
  • Rocking
  • Patting
  • Parent sitting in the room
  • Dummy (babies under 7 months)
Sleep association that don’t require parents in the room:
  • Sleeping bag
  • White noise
  • Dummy (over 7 months)
  • Cuddly

Some little ones will have several sleep associations while others will only have one. Do what works for you and your family. You can read more about settling your little one to sleep here.

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