Choosing a Woolbabe Sleeping Bag is one of the best steps towards introducing a sleep association for your baby, but what is a sleep association and what else can you do to help your Woolbabe bag work it’s magic?
Whether you call it a sleep association, a sleep prop or habit, we’re talking about the same thing - it’s essentially what you use to indicate it’s bed time for bubs. Sleep associations can include routines / rituals such as a bath before bed, stories or a special song, or props such as a sleeping bag or comforter.
Using a baby sleeping bag can help you create a strong association that it’s time for sleep because no matter what time of day it is or where baby is, they’ll know as soon as they get into their sleeping bag that it’s time to catch a few zzzz’s.
By using a Woolbabe Sleeping Bag, you know your little bubs will be comfortable and cosy throughout their sleep thanks to the temperature regulating properties of merino. The handy thermometer will also give you an idea of how to layer your baby so they’re not too hot or cold.
If you’ve been swaddling your newborn, you will need to start transitioning them from a swaddle when they show signs of rolling and this is the perfect time to introduce a sleeping bag as the prime sleep association. There are many other effective sleep associations you can introduce (more on those later), but the sleeping bag will be both a strong sleep association and a comforting item from home no matter where your baby is sleeping. Of course you may have been using a sleeping bag from newborn, so you’ve already got a strong sleep association in place!
As babies get older and become more aware of their surroundings they can find it harder to get to sleep and this can be a good time to look at what sleep associations you’re already using and what you could consider adding if you find bubs needs a little more support. Strong sleep associations can include things such as:
- - A darkened room
- - White noise
- - A comforter
- - A bedtime routine (bath and stories)
- - A special song
- - Dummy (Pacifier) or thumb sucking
A Sleeping Bag
As we discussed above, a sleeping bag is one of the best sleep associations you can have. It’s safe, easily transportable, familiar and both you and bubs are confident in how it helps your baby have a comfortable sleep. As soon as your baby sees their sleeping bag, they’ll know it’s time for sleep. So whether they’re at home in their nursery, out and about in the stroller or in the porta-cot at a relatives home, bub’s will instinctively know it’s time to settle down for a nap.
A Darkened Room
Some babies are very sensitive to light, so using a blackout blind to completely darken a room is a good indicator that it’s sleep time. It’s not only a must for day naps, but can be especially useful during summer when evenings are lighter for longer. Blocking the light will block the many distractions they see so they can focus more on sleep.
If you’re out and about you could use a shade cover for your stroller or a light muslin cloth to cover their baby capsule. Whilst these solutions won’t be quite as dark as a blackout blind over windows, they will block out the multiple distractions of being out and about.
Babies have had 9 months of white noise in the womb, so continuing this in the fourth trimester and beyond can also have a strong association for sleep and also help your baby settle better. If you have older children or are in a noisy environment, using white (or brown or pink noise) can help block out unexpected sounds and help your baby settle and stay asleep longer. Some adults even use White Noise to help them sleep.
Introduce a Comforter
A comforter, a lovey, a blankie, whatever you call it, it’s something special your bubs can take to bed with them and these can grow to be a very strong sleep association. Designed to provide your baby with comfort, a lovey can be used to help a baby get to sleep at the beginning of the night and throughout the night when they need to resettle as well. Comforters can be especially useful when separation anxiety strikes at around 9-12 months, when sickness occurs, plus general changes such as starting day care.
We don’t recommend comforters for very little babies, however once bubs is over about 6 months of age you can start to introduce a comforter. We don’t recommend comforters for babies under the age of 6 months.
To introduce a comforter it can be a good idea to sleep with it yourself for a few nights before introducing it to your baby, so it smells familiar to them and they become attached to it more quickly. It may take them a few days to get used to it. We also recommend having more than one in case one gets lost or forgotten!
Consistent Bedtime Routine
A consistent bedtime routine which is the same every night is another strong association that bedtime is coming. A calming bath, followed by 1 - 2 quiet stories before placing your baby in their sleeping bag and cot before a kiss goodnight is a good way to wind down after a long day.
You can develop a routine that suits your family and you may choose to sing a special goodnight song or include a baby massage after their bath. Whatever you do, consistency is key.
Dummy / Pacifier
Using a dummy/pacifier has its benefits, however be aware that if a baby isn’t yet old enough to find their dummy and replace it if it’s lost in the night then it may end up costing you sleep as you need to get up to find and replace the dummy! That said however, dummies can be an excellent settling tool, especially for colicky babies.
Whatever you choose to introduce as a sleep association, using a Woolbabe Sleeping Bag is a safe, cosy start for your baby.