The Gentle Sleep Book by Sarah Ockwell Smith – Book Review

I must admit, I am not a fan of “parenting guides”, especially sleep training books so I was quite tentative in reading this book. I was thinking “oh no! not another one!”

Imagine my surprise to find this book is nothing like any other “parenting guide”.

Sarah Ockwell-Smith provides the reader with recent research and evidence as to why

The Gentle Sleep book - Sarah Ockwell Smith
The Gentle Sleep book – Sarah Ockwell Smith


babies and children sleep in certain ways. This information alone could help a sleep deprived parent see things in a different way and help their family. Lightbulbs went off in my head as I read the research. As a doula I hear many stories and get asked many questions about “why won’t my baby sleep?” my answer is usually because his/her instincts are telling him/her to wake often and he/she needs you after being in your womb for 9 months. This book delves deeper into why this is so and the milestones in a babies sleep development. When you read this information it all suddenly becomes clear as to why babies sleep a certain way and why we adults struggle with this.

Trusting our instincts is something I often tell parents. “What does your gut tell you?” often this goes against all the parenting guides out there. Within The Gentle Sleep Book it talks of trusting instincts. I like this. Sarah Ockwell-Smith does give a routine but it isn’t prescriptive at all and she tells the reader to take only what you want. NO cry it out here! Simply how to move with your baby’s natural rhythm to get the best for you and your family.

 “A mother doesn’t have to be perfect:in fact Winnicott says it is her imperfections that allow the child to become independent. she just has to be ‘good enough’.” Sarah Ockwell-Smith – The Gentle Sleep Book

This book will be one I recommend to people as its non-prescriptive and different to anything else about baby/child sleep. Finally a truly gentle sleep book!

I haven’t read anything else by Sarah Ockwell-Smith but I think I may now find copies and read.


Review by

Michelle Bromley – Snowdrop Doula Community Interest Company