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What is Association Fading Sleep Method?

Jun 09, 2023

As parents, we all want a good night's sleep for ourselves and our children. Sleep training can be a useful technique for establishing healthy sleeping patterns, and one popular method is Association Fading. In this blog, we'll go over what Association Fading is, how it works, and why it can be a gentle and effective approach to assisting your child in developing independent sleep habits.


What exactly is Association Fading?

Association Fading is a sleep training strategy that focuses on progressively diminishing or fading out a child's sleep associations or dependency. External elements such as being rocked, nursed, or held to sleep, as well as interior factors such as the presence of specific sounds or odors, can all contribute to sleep associations. The purpose of Association Fading is implement independent sleep routines that allow a child to go asleep successfully without relying on unsustainable sleep associations.


What is the process of Association Fading?

Association Fading reduces or eliminates the presence of the sleep association while offering guidance and response to support their learning of a new sleep routine. We make tiny modifications to the sleep habits and gradually fading down the association over time is approach. We use alternative methods of guidance that include presence, voice, touch and pat in very specific orders with time constraints that allow a child to securely fall asleep independently.  Using proven behavioral science, we believe that all babies know how to fall asleep independently.  We are NOT teaching a child how to do that, but simply replacing the routines and triggers they currently have that lead them to to go to sleep.


Why is Association Fading taking such a moderate approach?


Because it stresses gradual adjustments and respects the child's needs and comfort throughout the process, association fading is considered a gentle method to sleep training. Its goal is behavioral based in order to foster predictable patterns for children that help communicate they can go to sleep. Association Fading, as opposed to more abrupt methods that include leaving the room during this learning process, fosters a responsive and supportive approach, allowing the child to feel comfortable with parental presence throughout the sleep training process - WHILE STILL GETTING EFFECTIVE RESULTS.  Alternatively, we are more structured that the traditional chair method and shush pat that allow us to see success faster. We emphasize presence, predictability, and effectiveness that create security and the ability for a child to fall asleep faster.

Where does Association Fading Method become extremely different than other methods?  The responsive approach on the first night of sleep training definitely provides a key differentiator, but the approach to build appropriate schedules that works with each child’s unique sleep cycles allows for a perfect intersection of the desire to sleep and sleep independently!  

Advantages of Association Fading:


Association Fading encourages the development of independent sleep skills, allowing the kid to fall asleep on their own and self-regulate their sleep based on a pattern happening before nap time and bedtime.

Association Fading promotes healthy sleep patterns by gradually fading out unsustainable sleep routines and associations, resulting in more restful and consolidated sleep for both the kid and the family.

During the sleep training process, this responsive method focuses on offering active guidance and support to the kid, creating a stable attachment between parent and child, while also giving the minimum space needed to allow a child to progress.

Association Fading allows parents to modify the approach to their child's specific needs, making it flexible to various temperament of a child to be more effective and developmentally appropriate.

Long-term advantages: Association Fading lays the groundwork for sound sleep patterns that can last throughout infancy and beyond independent sleep routines. As parents, we all want our children to have quiet nights and tranquil sleep. Sleep training can be a useful tool in this regard, and one evidence-based strategy that has received attention is Association Fading. In this article, we'll look at the scientific evidence behind Association Fading and why it can be a responsive yet effective strategy for promoting healthy sleep patterns.


The Evidence for Association Fading:

According to research, Association Fading aids in the development of self-soothing skills in infants by gradually diminishing sleep associations. Mindell et al. (2006) discovered that infants who underwent Association Fading had better self-settling abilities than those who depended on sleep associations.


Association Fading contributes to improved sleep consolidation in babies, according to a study conducted by Gradisar et al. (2016). Sleep associations were gradually phased out, allowing newborns to learn how to fall asleep independently, resulting in longer and more consolidated sleep episodes.


An association that promotes healthy sleep architecture Fading assists infants in developing a better sleep architecture. The cyclical patterns of sleep stages, including deep sleep and REM sleep, are referred to as sleep architecture. Touchette et al. (2005) discovered that babies with fewer sleep associations had better sleep architecture and more efficient sleep cycles.


Reduces night wakings: According to Adair et al. (2005), Association Fading results in a considerable reduction in night wakings in newborns. Infants were able to self-settle and return to sleep without the need for external sleep associations after gradually fading away sleep associations, reducing the requirement for parental intervention.


Improves parental well-being: The benefits of Association Fading extend beyond newborns. Mindell et al. (2015) discovered that parents who used Association Fading reported improved mother mood and lower levels of parental stress, resulting in increased overall family well-being.


Association Fading is an evidence-based sleep training method that has various advantages for infants and their families. This strategy, which is supported by scientific research, boosts self-soothing abilities, improves sleep consolidation, supports good sleep architecture, minimizes night wakings, and improves parental well-being. Parents can assist their infants develop autonomous sleep abilities while also creating a caring and secure sleep environment by progressively fading out sleep connections.


Remember that every child is different, and it is critical to approach sleep training with empathy, compassion, and attentiveness. A pediatric sleep expert or healthcare professional can provide additional advice customized to your child's individual requirements. With Association Fading, you may pave the way for a calm sleep journey that benefits both your child's and your own well-being.


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