I often get asked which sleep/routine book I recommend for babies.  The answer is a difficult one – there are so many out there.  What I usually ask mothers of new babies is why they expect their baby to be in a routine?  I felt pressure from a whole range of people to ‘have my baby in a routine’.  As a first time mum, I thought this was something I really had to instil in my baby.  I thought that as ‘good parents’ we had to teach our baby to sleep through, feed at predictable times and have a nap when it was convenient for me.

It wasn’t until later that I became more educated about breastfeeding.  This helped me realised how trying to get babies to ‘fit in’ to our expectations instead of tuning in to our baby’s needs can compromise some people’s ability to breastfeed.  Some breastfeeding issues do effect a baby’s ability to sleep or settle, and if you’re concerned that this is the case you can contact me to see if a consultation would be appropriate.

Some of the side-effects of enforcing a routine on your baby can be detrimental to breastfeeding.  If your baby is crying because they are hungry and this cry is not heeded, at least two things happen.  The baby will not have his needs met and the mother’s breasts do not receive the stimulation they need to maintain her milk supply.  If this continues, a baby is at risk of poor weight gains and the mother is at risk of a diminishing supply.  Sometimes, like me, hindsight tells us we could have made better choices.

Do I like any of these books?  Absolutely.  Any book which supports a mother to listen to and respond gently to her baby has a role to play.  Having a variety of tools in your ‘parenting toolbox’ can be a great benefit.

If you’re looking for a book to help you with some parenting, sleeping and breastfeeding issues, I suggest you read whatever you like – take from it things that you think suit your parenting style, is gentle with it’s approach,  and supports feeding your baby when they are hungry – and discard the rest.

As babies get older, they often find their own natural pattern of feeding and sleeping.  When we tune in to our babies, we are more likely to pick up on the cues they are giving us.  We don’t need a book to tell us that.


Photo: Dynamite Imagery


  1. Katrina Sinclair

    Thanks Stacey for your post. I found books that friends said were a “must read”, had my bub & I in all sorts of turmoil. I found books that suggested “you have to let them cry it out” usually had both of us in tears. Also I found books, telling me that I should be dictating the times of feeds or how long bub should sleep, detrimental to my supply.

    Once I let go of the illusion of controlling my bubs day, things fell into their own rhythm and everyone benefited!!

  2. Stacey Revie

    Thanks Katrina, It’s so lovely when a mother and baby can work things out and find their own way of getting things right.

  3. Debbie Brown

    I found that a routine helped me to cope with my day. I was never able to understand my baby’s cries “like a mother is apparently supposed to”. Everytime my baby cried I felt like a failure, feeding was tremendously hard, getting him to sleep was hard, in fact everything was tremendously hard. When my baby was 4mths old I found the book, “The Secrets of the Baby Whisperer” which became my bible. This book explained how to understand signs of tiredness, it explained sleep cycles and encourages you to work with your baby’s signs. It provided me with a routine that allowed me to know what I should be looking for next. It lifted the cloud that I was living in and allowed me to feel like I had some control over my day. I was able to understand and act on signs of tiredness with confidence. Understanding sleep cycles let me feel like I had time for myself to take a shower, eat a meal etc. So, although I love the routine, I do agree that it is important to make sure it can still be flexible enough to respond to your baby’s needs.

  4. Stacey Revie

    Thanks for the comment, Debbie. Many mums find it empowering when they learn to tune in to their baby. It’s great you were able to find a book that helped you to do just that.

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