Sleeping Through The Night - Jodi Mindell, Ph.D.

I was pleasantly surprised when I read Sleeping Through the Night. I expected it to be really technical, full of lots of medial jargon and, well, badly written.  This isn't to say that all psychologist, like Mindell, are boring and dry and all those who run a sleep clinic are overly technical-but it seems to be a bit of a trend I've noticed :)

This book was well organized, simple to understand, provided enough information about sleep basics without overwhelming you with too much detail, and, most importantly, it provided a lot of
answers to the most common questions people have. There isn't much point to a sleep book if you read it and try the methods but find you have a hundred unanswerable questions. If you're looking for a book full of humor, you won't find it here, but Mindell's writing does flow well, is sympathetic and is easy to read.

Additionally she includes information about behavior management (which helps you understand why doing certain things to encourage sleep may or may not work), common child and adult sleep disorders and coping methods for those helping baby learn to sleep (who doesn't need coping techniques when they're listening to a baby cry?!).

What I really appreciate about her book is that she truly doesn't seem to be judgmental about parents choosing different methods to teach their children to sleep. Yes, she has her preferences, but she really seems open minded. She isn't one of those people that says "I'm OK if you do CIO....assuming you're mean enough to listen to your child cry, on the verge of death, in the dark for hours." OK, so no author has straight out said it this way, but some of them have pretty much conveyed this ;)

Mindell does feel strongly that sleep is important and she may make you feel guilty if you're not on the same page about this. She also isn't one to beat around the bush. She'll tell you like it is, even if it may make some people upset. For example, some people seem to be offended by her saying that if you let a child cry then cave in, you have not only just made the crying worse in the future, but you have just had your child cry for nothing. Not easy to hear, but really, it's the truth.

So what's her basic sleep training method?

Just like most sleep experts (and all sleep books worth reading), she recommends methods for setting your child up for good sleep. She has a few suggestions for the first 6 weeks, more suggestions from 6 weeks -3 months (which she believes is the best time to establish good sleep habits), and after this time, she offers her Basic Bedtime and Naptime Methods as solutions to sleep issues, if needed. These basically involve having your child on a good routine with some good sleep habits in place (like a bedtime routine and a good sleep environment) and then putting your child to bed awake rather than asleep. You then check on your child at intervals until they fall asleep.  I don't really agree with her when she calls her method gentle, but if you are comparing it to extinction CIO where you never check on the child, I suppose it is. When done consistently, her Basic Bedtime/Naptime Methods are almost always effective. There is even research to back this up.

Have any of you tried her methods? What did you think? Did you have success?



  1. rochelle @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

    Thanks! I have almost bought that book several times. I have used baby whisperer methods and Kim west methods (forgot the name) both with success. Which methods have you personally used with success? Got a baby coming soon. Got to be ready do it all again...whew!

    1. RachelStella @ My Baby Sleep Guide - Says...

      I do a little of everything :) I'll get to writing it out specifically for everyone one of these days. I keep meaning too. I do something similar to what my sister sharon is doing right now with her twins. (see post a few down). Routine from the beginning, try to encourage full feeds, try to put baby down to sleep (but if he doesn't got down well, I'll help him). I don't rush in. I try no-cry stuff before doing cio stuff. This does most of the "training" and they drop night feeds on their own for the most part and sleep ok. I do some cio when they are a bit older (I'm ok with leaving them for a few minutes when they're very young to see if they'll go asleep). It is usually more of a protest cio at that point and doesn't last long. Sorry, not a very organized answer :)

  2. I wrote a short article, Babies and Sleep: 4 Tips to better sleep for your newbor after doing some research for sleeping tips and habits to create with newborns. I believe some of the ideas I write about originated from Jodi Mindell because it seems very similar, but I have been able to find the same recommendations from other sources.

    Researching this topic increased my understanding although the "tips" make sense when you think about them. I feel a misconception from many is not realizing how early newborns can learn habits and how teachable they really are.

    1. Very true Julie, that is a very common misconception about newborns. Once most people even consider trying to establish some sort of habits, they are already deeply engrained.


  3. What about binkie's? I started putting my daughter to bed in her crib at six weeks and it went great. She would wake up once for a feeding and go back down up until about 4 months, then she started sleeping through the night. She is 5 1/2 months now and has never needed/wanted the binkie until about 2 weeks ago we stayed at Children's for two nights for a kidney infection and gave it to her to help soothe. The week we came home she wouldnt sleep without it and woke up several times. That weekend I took it away and she went down without a hitch. For a week she seemed back to her normal routine until this week, nothing else seems to comfort except for the binkie, but she wakes up several times through the night. Is the binkie inhibiting her from getting restful sleep and firguring out how to self-soothe? I know there is a possibilty she may be teething too.