The Sleep Lady Shuffle

Review of the Good Night, Sleep Tight Book and Workbook

In April we began reviewing books that discuss infant sleep methods. There are firm methods like Ferberizing (and Gina Ford disussed in the April 2010 issue of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter) and gentle methods like Attachment Parenting with a whole lot of methods in between the two extremes.

Today we continue the series with The Sleep Lady Kim West and her book and workbook Good Night, Sleep Tight series. We particularly like that she publishes a workbook along with the book. Her method is somewhere between the strict and gentle methods in that she thinks babies need to learn to settle themselves, that they need schedules and routines, but she does not encourage letting a baby cry-it-out for long periods of time.

Good Night, Sleep Tight: The Sleep Lady’s Gentle Guide to Helping Your Child Go to Sleep, Stay Asleep, and Wake Up Happy By Kim West and Joanne Kenen

Kim West has been given the nickname ‘The Sleep Lady.” Her infant sleep approach recommends routines and schedules but is a more gentle method than Feberizing. She does not advise caregivers leave a baby to cry-it-out for long periods of time.

The first four chapters provide a great foundation for understanding how children sleep and why it is so important to help teach them to self-soothe and to not rely on their parents to help them get to sleep in the middle of the night.

She recommends developing routines to help the child know when it is time to eat, sleep, and play. This gives the child a sense of security in knowing what is coming and what is expected of them. The author acknowledges the need for some flexibility and directs parents to follow their instincts about what will work best for their child. The author believes that sleep is a learned skill and in this book she explains how parents can teach their infants to sleep.

She starts with newborns, showing parents how to avoid sleep problems from the beginning. She has solutions for older babies, and children who have developed poor bedtime, nighttime, or nap time habits too. The Sleep Lady method includes a gentle, practical, step-by-step program called The Sleep Lady Shuffle. The Sleep Lady Shuffle has proven effective for hundreds of families.

Good Night, Sleep Tight also discusses co-sleeping, bedtime strategies for twins and siblings, and dealing with nightmares and illnesses. She offers tips on how to minimize sleep disruption when families travel or experience other breaks in routine.

Also included in the book are stories from parents about how the Sleep Lady method has worked for them. The stories are not only supportive to parents, but show how easily the Sleep Lady Method can be adapted for different parenting styles.

Good Night, Sleep Tight offers a practical, gentle, easy-to-follow remedy that will work for all families in need of nights of peaceful slumber.

The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook

The Workbook is a great companion to the book. The Workbook includes a step-by-step guide. It is organized by age and by process. The Workbook can be used as a stand alone guide with an essential to-do list, sleep plans, tear out sleep logs, sleep manner sticker charts, and a certificate of completion for celebrating success.

There are several sample plans with specific times for waking up, feedings, naps, bath, and bed times. There are plans for babies who need feedings during the night, and older kids who do not. Then there is a section with blank spaces which the reader could fill in to create their own plan. These are thirteen-day plans (they could however, take longer). At the end of the book, there is a sleep log where you can record your progress.

In chapter 12, there is a list of resources containing bedtime stories, books with information on childcare, books for new siblings, bedtime music, websites related to sleep, and information on postpartum depression.

What has worked for you? Do you prefer the strict or gentle methods of getting infants to sleep?

Purchase the book by clicking on the cover image or title of the book below:

The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy


  1. I am a newborn specialist but will stay with a family until the infant is 1 yr old. I like this book. I don't like Ferber or Babywise by Ezzo much at all. I have worked with dozens of newborns and infants and really like parenting a baby to sleep until 3 months old and predicting what they will need next at all ages. I agree with developing routines definitely. But I think the baby cries and you do what they want. We can't tell a baby it's time to sleep, they tell us. When they cry they are hungry or tired or uncomfortable and it's far more helpful to predict what will happen next to reduce crying, rather than making them cry it out.This book is good since it deals with parents with different philosophies. I do not agree with co sleeping but she goes ahead and respect those parents too.I have learned to follow the parents lead when it comes to parenting a kid to sleep vs letting them learn to settle themselves. But I would find it intolerable to allow a baby to cry more than about 5 minutes at a time if possible.–ML

  2. I agree with this book! I think it's super more gentle than Ferber!I think attachment parenting is not even remotely fair to expect a nanny to do.This Sleep Lady program starts around 6 months which means the newborn does not have to cry it out. I absolutley agree up to t3 months shouldn't be made to cry. Can't spoil a newborn.The process is a decision of the parents. One parent focuses on soothing the child in the child's own bed. Like Ferber the parents don't pick the child up. That parent will begin by sitting right next to the crib or bed and using soothing techniques. Every 3 nights or so, the parent will move just a little bit farther away from the child’s bed, but remain in the room. Eventually, the shuffle is supposed to allow the parent to get out into the hallway and then the child goes to sleep on their own. This has nothing to do with the nanny. It is up to the parents to decide if they will do this or not and then inform the nanny to do the same at naptime. I think it's a great process!

  3. Just buy the workbook. It's cute!

  4. "…directs parents to follow their instincts about what will work best for their child."I like that sentence! I still think it's crazy to raise a baby with a book! Instincts people insticnts!Reyna H NY NY

  5. Really great series! I agree with your nanny newsletter issue that MOST nannies will not be in charge of teaching parents how to train kids to sleep. I have been a nanny forever (2 decades +) and I always leave long before bed time. It's in the parents control. I simply try to be consistent in their methods of putting the children down for naps. I understand there may be a nanny or 2 in this whole country hired to help with sleep issues I just have never met them or even heard of them in America. When absolutely no sleep method is used (like mom sleeps with kids some nights, not others, then runs in 5 times a night to settle them, then I do created structure for my nap time. But I would never impose strict methods for a family that us super mellow and comforting to the kids. Not right to let kids cry in bed (even if you beleive in it) if the parents rock a kid to sleep. So follow their rules than be gentle implimenting your own. Career Nanny Ilene HuberAtherton, California

  6. I think this program is very similar to Feber structure in that it takes a lot of time. Parents need 3 weeks of uninterrupted bedtimes and napping routines to start the program and that can feel like a year to tired parents and infants. If a parent has the time amd patience great, but most of us work for working parents who are exhausted already when they return home in the evening. I prefer gentle methods. I understand crying it out but after 5 jobs of parents rocking and feeding their babies to sleep that's become what I am comfortable doing.Professional NannyClaudia De LucaIndianapolis IN

  7. Sounds like a good compromise between extreme methods. I'll check it out from the library. Thanks for always providing such great resources.MaryAnn Nanny in Michigan

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