The Discontented Little Baby Book

by Pamela Douglas

Recommended by ONCDC


As a RIE inspired early educator I was intrigued by “The Discontented Little Baby Book” because of the way it challenges some of the ideas while mirroring others. Douglas takes a very different view of respect and balance in the lives of young children. I appreciate the research, the story, and the challenge. This is an interesting book for parents or infant teachers who are trying to understand and connect with their young child. Luckily my baby, a newborn when I was reading this, was quite content, but really good information that could hopefully help for those challenging moments with babies.

“The Discontented Little Baby Book” is not prescriptive but recommends cued care, listening to and following babies cues, as well as experimentation. I needed that reminder to experiment when I was reading this and I appreciate how Douglas encourages the reader to follow the baby’s lead, try things, and figure out what works for you and your baby. This book would be an excellent starting point for those first few months at home with baby.

Key Points:

  • Any advice that tells parents not to listen and follow their baby’s cues is going to lead to mis-attunement, mis-connection, and more crying.
  • Some of the things we are doing to try to address crying, feeding, and sleeping challenges may be amplifying those issues.
  • Babies senses are under-stimulated, despite an overstimulating environment.
  • Get out of the house and do things, trust young babies will take the sleep they need. My favorite line was “We don’t get anxious about whether or not our cat is taking enough sleep. [...] Quick! I have to get the cat to sleep!”


  • Sadly Douglas primarily focuses on the first 12-16 weeks of infancy and I wish I could hear her perspective on older infants and toddlers.
  • The book explains breastfeeding challenges in fit and hold but doesn’t provide a lot of support for how to improve fit or hold, it left me searching for more.
  • There are a few, though only a few, moments in the book where I think Douglas proposes things to serve the parent’s need over the baby’s rather than balancing the parent’s and baby’s needs. For the most part the book is respectful of both adult and child’s needs.
  • Douglas challenges the typical medical approach to issues in the first few months which I find refreshing but others might find off putting or dismissing.