Book Review: The Gentle Sleep Book

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GentleSarah Ockwell-Smith is someone who has written some really good articles on infant sleep. You know, the kind that are actually based on research and respect for children as human beings (my battle cry). She has even made some quality vlogs of late so in general, she is a nice person to follow if you are wading through the sea of uninformed bullshit that is infant sleep training advice. So while I tend to view infant sleep advice with the greatest of skepticism (and I usually have to calm my gag reflex while reading), I was hopeful that her book would compliment my own Sage Nighttime Parenting: Rested and Connected and add to the body of evidence based, gentle guidance for parents whose priority is to raise a heart full child.

It does. I can honestly say that this is the only other sleep book I have ever read that I would actually add to my library of resources. The Gentle Sleep Book: A Guide for Calm Babies, Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers moves through the story of nighttime parenting in a very simple yet completely informed way. I highlighted numerous gems as I moved through the book and I know you will do the same. Viva cosleeping, night nursing, babywearing, and full term breastfeeding!

The greatest gifts of this book are¬†that she adjusts parents’ expectations to that of the normal, healthful baby and she offers helpful suggestions that are all based on honoring your child’s natural needs and enhancing attachment (no advice of disconnection here).

The 2 criticisms I have of this book are that it is based on the assumption that all parents work full time outside the home and all children attend traditional public school beginning in early childhood. In this sense it doesn’t feel inclusive of lifestyles outside the mainstream. Her vantage point is still squarely centered in the modern view of child rearing with tools like cribs and pacifiers. I do get that she is speaking to the masses but if you extend these core principals she values they could naturally and easily encompass things like homeschooling and non traditional work.

P.S. I love the intro from Tracy Cassels of Evolutionary Parenting.

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