Updated: Oct 2, 2020
When assessing how an individual baby falls to sleep, we often see a pattern or association that has developed over time. In many cases, the parent does not recognize that there is an
association or they have not made the connection yet.
Part of our role is to recognize the association in an effort to see the bigger picture when making changes to a baby's sleep.
For example: in a lot of cases a baby will fall to sleep sucking. As a result, a baby may begin to associate falling asleep with the need to 'suck'. Consequently, the baby will continually need to suck back to sleep as she wakes throughout the night. So, if an infant has breastfed TOO sleep, they have actually sucked to sleep.
Throughout the night, that same baby may be given a bottle or soother to go back to sleep.
The bottle, breast, and soother are examples of props. Although the prop varies throughout the night, the overall association is still sucking.
There are 2 categories of associations that can be created when it comes to infant sleep
Do you resort to rocking, bouncing, carrying or strolling your baby to sleep?
If you do...... these 'props' fall under the category of 'MOTION' associations.
I have seen parents be very creative in this area over the years. The more common motion props are strollers, carriers, swings, carseats (in the car), or sometimes being swung by hand / forearm (ouch).
How about baby gently placed on top of the washing machine with the spin cycle going, bouncy chairs, or being motored by a parents fair hand?
Not forgetting the actual physical attributions such as being rocked in your arms, or bounced in your arms, or maybe you sit and bounce on a yoga ball (very common).
Then there is walking the stairs or pacing the kitchen with the hood fan going over the oven, or doing squats in the bathroom with the water running.
When bedtime is hard and you've got a baby not sleeping, creativity can flow!!!
It's all fine and dandy when your little one is a light weight, but when they hit super welterweight status, it's a real physical work out! Pass the protein shake PLEASE.
Motion is a weak association to break. So if you are only using one of these items to lull your baby to sleep, making changes won't be as challenging. AND by challenging I mean, less overall fussing, crying and protesting.
The ONLY issue with motion associations is........ because they are weak, they often take a LONG TIME to be effective.