Best Baby Sleep Books
Before we get to the list of the best baby sleep books, there’s something very important I want to share with you.
Because finding a great baby sleep book can be a minefield.
Just like you don’t need a licence to become a parent, you don’t need a licence to write a book either.
As you probably well know, new parents don’t get much time to relax, let alone read a pile of books!
So it’s very important to seek out the most valuable baby sleep books, so you can use your time wisely.
Reading unrealistic baby sleep information is a waste of your precious time.
For example, some people search for such things as, “how to get your baby to sleep through the entire night”.
There are books available for sale promising 12 hours of sleep to vulnerable and sleep deprived parents.
You can see how deeply tempting this might be.
But there’s something you MUST know, based on biology and science.
It’s highly unlikely that sleeping through the night will happen from a young age.
The Problem With Some Baby Sleep Books
As my first baby got older, I reached the point where I felt like a failure.
The reason I felt like a failure is because she kept waking, and didn’t sleep through like society’s desired ideal.
I thought she should be sleeping more.
I really thought I was doing something wrong, and questioned myself as a parent.
Some parents do have babies that sleep for long periods overnight, but this is not the norm.
Periods of sleeping through will likely change at a certain point, in line with developmental milestones or wonder weeks.
The Truth About “Sleeping Through” The Night
It’s important to know that studies have defined the average ‘sleeping through’ period for an infant as being five hours.
This fact is often overlooked by many baby sleep “whisperers” and authors.
Some popular baby sleep authors aren’t even parents themselves.
Or, they weren’t at the time of writing their book.
In addition, some lack qualifications in an important area, for example infant psychology, lactation, infant mental health or other related subjects.
Some even give advice which defies science, safety, health recommendations… and common sense.
Despite that, such authors tend to do pretty well for themselves.
This is probably due to heavy marketing, lots of money, a good publishing house… and an alluring promise of lots more sleep.
And don’t we all want that? “Shut up and take my money already!”, right?
But at what cost?
It’s Important Who You Trust With Your Baby’s Brain
You may not think qualifications are important to consider.
But consider this: would you ask your rev-head brother to fix your car engine or would you ask a mechanic?
Or, would you take your cat to the vet, or ask your cat-loving neighbour to diagnose the problem for you?
No matter how much they love cats, it doesn’t equal the right advice.
Therefore, your baby’s brain, as well as yours, should be in gentle, loving hands of well respected baby sleep authors.
Choosing a great baby sleep book will pay off, both in the short and the long term.
Especially where you and your baby’s emotional and physical health are vulnerable.
Not just now, but forever.
The books you read can seriously alter your journey and experience.
Don’t allow a catchy, seductive baby sleep book title to suck you in.
Always remember this: sleeping through for a baby is only five hours on average.
It’s not biologically normal to sleep ALL night – these nighttime arousals have a survival function.
They’re believed to be protective against SIDS.
Best Baby Sleep Books – Our 6 Favourites
There are some real gems in the baby sleep category.
After 16 years running BellyBelly, here are my favourite 6 books on baby sleep, in no particular order.
They all have fantastic advice and information, written by authors who have a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Our fans often read a combination of these books, and pick the best bits which work for them.
#1: The Gentle Baby Sleep Book by Sarah Ockwell Smith
Sarah Ockwell-Smith is a mama of four young children, and has qualifications in psychology.
Following the birth of her firstborn, Sarah trained as a HypnoBirthing antenatal teacher and birth and postnatal doula.
In addition, Sarah has undertaken training in baby massage, hypnotherapy and psychotherapy.
Sarah is also the founder of BabyCalm, an award-winning company offering support and classes to new parents.
In The Gentle Baby Sleep Book, Sarah covers everything you can imagine about baby sleep in the early years.
Concerned about frequent night waking during babyhood? Don’t know what to do about bedwetting in toddlerhood?
You’ll have answers all in the one book.
The Gentle Baby Sleep Book will help everyone get a good night’s sleep.
And it’ll do this with both extensive scientific and anecdotal information, as well as plenty of gentle suggestions.
If you value a gentle, evidence-based approach that doesn’t involve leaving a baby to cry, this baby sleep book is for you.
#2: Sleeping Like A Baby by Pinky McKay
Australia’s baby calm expert, Pinky McKay, totally gets it.
Pinky is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI) and a best-selling author.
Most importantly, she’s a mother of five children.
In her books, Pinky combines good science with wisdom and experience, but most importantly, what’s best for baby’s health and wellbeing.
‘Sleeping Like a Baby’ gives practical tips on how to:
- Understand your baby’s tired cues
- Create a safe sleeping environment
- Gently settle babies and toddlers
- Feed infants to encourage sleep
This baby sleep book is a great starting guide and support for new parents.
It provides a solid foundation, and is ideal to team up with some of the other books in this list.
Sleeping Like A Baby offers down-to-earth and heartening advice on helping babies (and their parents!) to sleep better.
A must read baby sleep book for stress-free, guilt-free parenting.
#3: Helping Your Baby To Sleep: Why Gentle Techniques Work Best by Beth Macgregor and Anni Gethin
Another fantastic Australian baby sleep book, written by highly qualified authors.
Anni Gethin is a health social scientist, with special interests in early childhood development and health equity.
She lectures in public health and social science, and is a mother of three boys.
Beth Macgregor is a mother and psychologist, who trains health and welfare workers in infant mental health, child development and child protection.
She’s an active member of the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health.
After reading this brilliant baby sleep book, you will:
- Learn why babies wake at night and need help to settle
- Understand how early parenting choices affect a baby’s growing brain
- Examine why “sleep training” is risky, both in the short and long terms
- Discover how to create an effective sleep routine and safe sleeping environment
- Explore common baby sleep problems and how to cope with them
- Find out how tired parents can build a support system (and stay sane)
#4: Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping by Dr. James McKenna
Doctor James McKenna is another phenomenal professional who has written baby sleep books based on a great deal of research.
He’s a prominent researcher whose expertise includes infant sleep, breastfeeding and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Doctor McKenna also specialises in the evolution of human behaviour (especially parenting and infant development) and more.
Notably, he’s recognised around the world as a leading authority on co-sleeping.
There’s something Doctor McKenna wants parents to know.
He wants you to know that babies are dramatically safer, and healthier, when put to bed in a safe, family sleeping environment.
Discover the important steps to creating a safe family bed, with the latest information on the scientific benefits of co-sleeping.
#5: The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
This book is one of our fans’ favourite baby sleep books.
Elizabeth Pantley is a well-known parenting educator and mother of four children.
Her book, The No Cry Sleep Solution, is a 10 step process to help parents help their babies to sleep.
Tips from The No-Cry Sleep Solution:
- Uncover the stumbling blocks that prevent baby from sleeping through the night
- Determine and work with baby’s biological sleep rhythms
- Create a customised, step-by-step plan to get baby to sleep through the night
- Use the Persistent Gentle Removal System to teach baby to fall asleep without breastfeeding, bottlefeeding, or using a pacifier.
“I think the best thing about Pantley is that there is no guilt if you do choose to do things in your own time”. — Tuesday’s Child
“I’ve found it gave me the ability to find a routine they were naturally trying to fall into”. — Kamarine
#6: Three in a Bed: The Benefits of Sleeping with Your Baby by Deborah Jackson
Three In A Bed is another fantastic baby sleep book based on co-sleeping.
Only since Victorian times has it been standard practice for parents to put their babies to sleep alone, away from the parental bed.
Often in another room.
Three In A Bed reveals how babies who sleep with their parents benefit by getting virtually a full night’s sleep.
Deborah explains the advantages of co-sleeping, including its benefits for breastfeeding mothers.
She reviews the history of babies in the bed and, through interviews with parents, explores attitudes to co-sleeping.
Three In A Bed discusses the issue of cot death and contains hints on safe sleeping in the family bed.
It also answers common objections and discusses dealing with the moment when the baby leaves its parents’ bed.
Three In A Bed also offers practical advice on how you can sustain your sex life.