What are they?
A sleep association is something that a child requires to help him get to sleep. There are many types of infant sleep associations, some good and some not so good. Therefore you need to be very wary what you introduce your baby to at sleep time. The very thing that gets your baby to sleep may very well be the reason why your baby won’t sleep through the night.
Good Baby Sleep Associations
– Bedtime Routine
– Special Blanket/Teddy
Negative Baby Sleep Associations
Anything a child needs assistance with to help him get to sleep;
– Soother, Rocking, feeding, staying in room, etc.
– Continuously sleeping in buggy or car
– Falling asleep elsewhere and then being moved to cot/crib
– Musical Mobile needing switched on
Negative baby sleep associations are the cause for most infants not sleeping through the night. When we sleep we all wake frequently during the night. Although it is usually very brief, if we can settle ourselves to sleep we generally are not aware of being awake during the night. Children are the same, however as a baby’s sleep pattern is slightly different. They can wake more than an adult and if they are unable to get back to sleep, your baby may wake up as many as 5 or 6 times a night. Obviously a small baby will wake during the night for feeds. However, if you find your baby is awakening every 40 minutes to 1 hour it is probably an negative sleep association issue.
When a baby does not sleep though the night, it can affect the whole household. Usually some form of sleep training will normally be required to break the association. When breaking a negative sleep association I would strongly encourage you to use a gentle approach, prepare yourself, be persistent and give your baby time to learn new methods of falling to sleep unaided.