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 to have consolidated restorative sleep without a parent’s constant involvement. (no one wants to be rocking their baby for 12 hours a night!).

Swaddles – a positive association or a negative association?

A swaddle usually becomes a positive association very quickly, your baby will start to recognize the smell of the swaddle, 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 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 their swaddle and you are having to re bundle them up every sleep cycle or less. This is where the ergopouch range of swaddles come into their own.

While strong enough to prevent your baby’s startle from waking them, they are Houdini proof and the zip in feature means you will not be returning 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 will be covering your baby’s face, and ergopouch’s range of all natural fiber’s 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 bother introducing any positive sleep associations you might find it more difficult to get your baby to sleep consistently, or they may struggle to re-settle themselves as you might find you become their association (mum) and you won’t be there once their nap sleep cycle reaches 45 minutes, or their night sleep cycle finishes after 2-4 hours.

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 lovey or cuddly



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