Anyone using the Gina Ford method?

(105 Posts)
MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 04:59:20

Hi, I have just had a baby and am trying the Gina Ford method to get some routine into our lives. I work (freelance) so it would help for me to know when the baby is due a feed or a nap so I can schedule clients. My other kids were fed on demand so this is all new for me.

Is anybody else using this method? If so, how are you getting on?

ZuleikaD Mon 01-Oct-12 06:59:24

Lol at babies being predictably 'due' a feed or nap. Sorry, no help here - all demand-based and wouldn't touch a GF book but I'm sure someone will be able to help.

Susieloo Mon 01-Oct-12 08:14:09

I was going to use gina and read the book religiously before I had my ds (now three months), I even made notes!! However I found it totally incompatible with breast feeding particularly re cluster feeding and growth spurts etc, she also seems to presume that your milk supply is low which is why she recommends expressing, i have too much milk if anything, the only bit I tried to keep was the total amount of nap time that the baby has in the day for his age but again it just didn't suit him, sometimes he will sleep all day and then still sleep well at night, we sort of naturally fell in to a routine. Sorry that's probably not helpful!!

tootiredtothinkofanickname Mon 01-Oct-12 08:28:49

Not a big fan of rigid routines, and not very familiar with GF, but I just wanted to add that it wasn't until close to 6 months that DS started to fall into a routine of some sorts, and we could predict nap times. The only thing I was "strict" with has been bedtime and feeding in a dark(ish) room at night. Otherwise, as Susieloo said, there are so many growth spurts in the first year, plus teething, that IMO it's less stressful to go with the flow when they are so little (DS is now 19 months and into a predictable routine, so I am not against it, just wouldn't recommend it before they are developmentally ready).

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 08:30:50

Thanks Susieloo. Yeah, I wondered why she recommended expressing. My DD is currently sleeping all day until about 7pm then she wakes up. She is feeding every 3 hours which is good, but she doesn't seem to wake up when she is feeding. I am worried that she is sleeping too much. I know that Gina recommends a maximum of 5 1/5 hours of napping a day maximum.

stookiesackhouse Mon 01-Oct-12 08:37:13

Hey. Just a quick one from me - I don't have DC but my cousin uses the Gina Ford method for both her babies and from what I have seen I would definitely try it myself.

She has a clockwork routine and is well rested herself. Both her boys sleep through the night and are strapping babies grin

She doesn't bf though and she did say she thinks the method is better suited to ff.

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 08:44:42

Thanks stookiesackhouse, it's good to hear that someone is having success with it.

Susieloo Mon 01-Oct-12 08:46:32

I really worried about ds sleeping all day in the early days and used to try and wake him up but he was just too little and needed the sleep, he just wouldnt wake up and i used to read gina saying 'baby should be having x amount of sleep now' and think 'yes thats great but how exactly do you wake them up!!' it's only on the last 4-5 weeks or so that if he is trying to nap too close to his rough bed time I can wake him up and he will keep his eyes open.

Also agree with too re feeding at night in a dim room before bed with no noise if possible and no playing and talking etc, I would say though that I tried to do this at six weeks and it totally failed, I just found myself upstairs in a dim room for 3-4 hours in the evening with a crabby baby so I stopped trying until about 3-4 weeks ago and now he seems to know its bed time and will have a really good feed before I put him in his cot.

The other reason I think gina recommends expressing is because her feeding schedule means the baby isn't necessarily promoting your milk supply by feeding more regularly on some days because he was having a growth spurt so needed the milk to sustain it therefore if you didn't express then you wouldn't necessarily have enough milk to keep up with how the baby is growing, I'm no expert though and that's just my thoughts!!!!

MrsApplepants Mon 01-Oct-12 08:50:53

We did GF with my DD, now 3.9. It worked like magic, the routine suited her and she slept 7pm until 7am from 11 weeks. However she was fully ff and a strict routine works well for our family. I wouldn't imagine GF methods would be as easy if baby is bf or if routines are not your thing.

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 08:55:21

An issue I have is that our normal routine does not fit with Gina's suggested routine and I don't know how to adjust it. For instance, we need to start at 6am rather than 7am as I am on the school run then. So I moved everything by an hour. But also I want her to be awake in the evening as my DH does not get home until 7pm and I want us all to spend time together. Also I am confused as there is not an equal time difference between the feeds...

ceeveebee Mon 01-Oct-12 08:57:42

I have twins and used the GF routines ( roughly) for the first few months. They were sleeping 7-7 at 12 weeks with a 11pm dreamfeed, which they dropped at 5 months.

Although I never made them nap in their cots, always in the travel cot in the living room or in their pram. But I did follow the advice re amount of daytime sleep, frequency of feeds etc. Agree not compatible with ebf - as I mix fed it worked well for me. Some of my ebf friends used The Baby Whisperer which accommodates cluster feeding in the routine.

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 09:00:38

ceeveebee, what is cluster feeding please?

pookamoo Mon 01-Oct-12 09:05:01

Cluster feeding is when the baby naturally decides it wants lots and lots of feeds within a short space of time (usually in the evenings).

I thought Gina Ford sounded fab until I had a baby. I know some people swear by it but I wouldn't choose to do it for my own children. It seems fine if you don't want to have a life of your own...

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 09:10:50

It seems fine if you don't want to have a life of your own...

I guess I was hoping that it would assist me in having a life of my own. Well, not my own, but I do need to work. But it does seem all-consuming.

I used gina ford as well and thought it really useful, and I really do have a contented little baby.

I would say use it as a guideline though and don't get too stressed if you/baby don't fall exactly into the times suggested. It also took maybe a week/two weeks to get a routine established.
Makes my life so much easier knowing roughly when dS will need fed/sleep etc, and the odd day we do something that means we can't stick to the routine- I find it's no problem for him to adapt and fall back into it the next day

ceeveebee Mon 01-Oct-12 09:19:25

pookamoo that's why I adapted it so that naps could be in the pram. Believe me with twins, having a routine is your only chance of having a life!

Merinda Mon 01-Oct-12 09:25:44

My DS was a bad refluxer, so we forgot about routines from day 1, it was impossible. I find the book ridiculous in its arrogance (as in "none of the babies I worked with had colic" As if every problem could be solved by strict routine). There may be some useful pointers for first-time moms, but overall I think it is massively overrated. Babies are not machines, they are all individual, and if you are a sensitive and observant enough mom, you will figure out your LOs patterns.
I think books by Elisabeth Pantley and Deborah Jackson, for instance, make a lot more sense. Oh, and they had own babies, unlike GF

starjules Mon 01-Oct-12 09:40:08

I followed the routine and thought the basics of it was great, but I think it is better suited to FF. I felt it gave us time to sleep and we were able to get out and about as our baby sleeps in the pram in the day so you really are not as tied down as it may seem. It's like anything really, read the book and take just what seems right and ignore the daft stuff. Our baby had awful reflux and colic and had more bottles for longer than recommended, but it really helped us with a new baby to find our feet and start us off in the right direction.

I couldn't get it working, mainly because it took me quite a while to get EBFing established - the method does assume a problem-free start to BFing. Also, my DS seemed to want to be awake when she said he needed to be asleep, and then I was supposed to be waking him up, 'regardless of how long he [had] slept', which was usually about 10 minutes, if at all! I agree that it sounds like it may work a lot better for FF babies. PS Doesn't a Mumsnet fairy die whenever you mention 'her' name?

steppemum Mon 01-Oct-12 09:43:34

ummm, hate to put a downer on this, but I thought all discussion of GF was banned after she sued mn a few years ago??

HandHolding Mon 01-Oct-12 09:44:51

Well I have tried...
It didn't work for me.

ds1: was supposed to be feeding every 3~4 hours. He never ever made it after 2.5 hours until he was about 6~7 months old and on solids. (And even after that, he has been twitchy about food and when he was going to eat until well after his 3rd b'day)
ds2: was supposed to have schedule naps. Missing the point where he was tired by 10~15 mins meant an extremely tired child who WAS NOT GOING TO SLEEP.

Seriously, just as much as I loved the idea of a routine and actually had one with both of my dcs, that routine came from:
1- the baby (because they actually develop a routine of their own)
2- whatever was happening around them (ie ds2 had to adapt to ds1 routine, just because ds1 was there iyswim). You mention having to get up at 6.00am for the school run etc... and then wanting your dc to be awake later in the evening. So it is clear that your baby is and will have to fit around that anyway.

However, that book made me feel awful because each time that one of the dcs wasn't actually 'conforming' to the rule I was feeling crap, as if I was the worst mum in the world for not managing that.

If you want a routine, I would forget about this book, look at what your baby is already doing and build up from that. I would also keep an eye on the afternoon nap and try to always have one after lunch, mainly because it's the one that stays for a long time. Same with the the evening routine because again going to bed at a decent time is something that is going to stay.
Other than that, she will give you an idea of when a baby is more likely to drop their morning nap etc.. which is useful as a guide only.
I you look at your baby and what he/she is doing atm, you will see when dc is tired and start putting her to bed around that time everyday. She will get used to it and you will develop your own routine that will fir both the baby and your life.

NB: I would be very careful about hoping to schedule clients around nap times. My experience is that babies are very good at waking up/refusing to go to sleep on the day that you need them to....

bumponboardagain Mon 01-Oct-12 09:45:51

I had the book and still do! Didn't follow the routines but used the info on sleep and how much formula to give. I found the sleep info helpful as both my 2 liked a long nap in the middle of the day. This would be wherever we were-in the cot or out and about in the pram. Also needed an idea on how much formula to give as hv and mw were not allowed to give advice on ff and would just say "read the info on the box" ! I kid you not- it was all breast is best blah blah blah. My 2 would not stop feeding when full, so would happily guzzle milk until they were sick so I needed a rough idea on how much they needed for their size and would always give a bit more if they seemed extra hungry. They both slept through approx 7pm-7am from 8wks ish with a dream feed at varying times depending on when the stirred (sometimes 10pm sometimes midnight)

I think its good if you want the ideas but you use them YOUR own way. I could not imagine running my day like her routine says as I couldn't stay at home all day. Do what works for you.

Meglet Mon 01-Oct-12 09:46:10

I used GF with DS from 5 weeks and it suited him. I didn't have a clue what I was doing and bf was turning into a nightmare. So I expressed + FF and he settled into a GF routine within a day.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 01-Oct-12 09:49:11

>ummm, hate to put a downer on this, but I thought all discussion of GF was banned after she sued mn a few years ago??

I already put in a report to MNHQ so they know the thread is here and can delete/watch as they see fit.

MummysHappyPills Mon 01-Oct-12 09:49:19

Don't do it. It dorsn't work, and just makes you feel inadequate. I had a refluxy baby and what she needed was lots of cuddles and small frequent feeds. I tried gina ford but it didn't work, so in the end I binned it and just trusted my instincts. Having a newborn is hard work, and if anyone tries to tell you otherwise they are lying! Books like this do not make it easier, you just have to ride it out, it gets easier very soon trust me... smile

MummysHappyPills Mon 01-Oct-12 09:51:21

And yes I second other posters who say that you settle into a routine of your own very quickly, but ime it just doesn't work to impose one on a newborn.

LetLoveRule Mon 01-Oct-12 09:56:13

I used GF with both of my babies and for us it was brilliant. Both times I had happy babies sleeping through from 9 weeks-ish, feeding brilliantly and reasonably predictable sleep/eat patterns. I found this gave us real freedom. Both babies would sleep in pram/cot/car - anywhere! I didn't feel I had to follow it to the letter, but the structure and general timings worked really well for us. People tend to go a bit nuts about GF and latch on to certain things she says, but if you want a routine of some sort, then there is sense to what she says. Have a read, take from it what you want.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 01-Oct-12 09:57:56

The 4 hr routine is usually far too long for an ebf baby, and the advice to express from Day 1 is also not the best in terms of ensuring breastfeeding success. That said, I do know a few people (can count on one hand but still.....) who have done ebf and Gina Ford successfully because they did just get babies who could go 3/4 hours between breastfeeds and didn't cluster feed/ go thru massive growth spurts. I also know quite a few people who ff and did Gina successfully. I'm not one of them, and I am a Gina drop-out, but it does work for some people.

The thing i don't like about it is that it makes out that ebf and Gina are usually compatible which simply isn't the case. Trying to establish bf is stressful enough for many new mums without trying to get into a feeding routine. The concern is that people prioritise the routine over bf, as they think there is some magic benefit to a routine for the baby, which isnt really the case.

janelikesjam Mon 01-Oct-12 09:58:27

I think she is responsible for so much pain in our nation's children's upbringing. I think her own disordered and chaotic childhood is the source of her wishing to bring obsessive order to the nations's babies. Love (including maternal love) seems to be something she never mentions. Her whole outlook is more appropriate to raising a stick insect (who are quite happy living in boxes by themselves and left alone) rather than a living, breathing human/mammal. She has never had children herself, naturally, yet paints herself as an expert to parents everywhere. I feel very sad about her influence tbh. I am praying for the day when her influence wanes.

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 09:59:05

I already put in a report to MNHQ so they know the thread is here and can delete/watch as they see fit.

No!!!!! Why do I always inadvertently seem to start these controversial threads? Please everyone - be nice. I really don't want this thread deleted.

QuickLookBusy Mon 01-Oct-12 09:59:09

Agree, if you are ffing babies do tend to get into a routine within the first few months anyway. Like many others have mentioned my dd slept through at 11 weeks, with a dream feed at 11pm. You don't need a strict regime to follow to achieve this.

Dd2 was a very different story but she was ebf and we coslept as she was feeding every few hours. I can't imagine a strict regime would work with ebf babies.

Bitdifferent Mon 01-Oct-12 10:04:26

I used it, worked brilliantly for dd2 after about 10 weeks of following it, just adapted it around our lives. I bf exclusively, expressed first thing so Dh could bottle feed her mid evening right at the very beginning as she wouldn't do the evening sleep bit! Dd3 was another matter. Would have suited if we could have stuck to it. All the school and nursery runs created havoc! Took till summer holidays for her to settle down and she was born the previous october! I'd try it for a rough routine and adapt it to suit you. All my girls sleep well and I think the sleep/napping routine is the best bit from her books.

HandHolding Mon 01-Oct-12 10:06:03

OP nothing to do with you!
Everything to do about a huge scandal a few years ago that ended up in tribunal with GF not being happy with some comments on her/her book by some posters on MN.
I am not sure the restriction on mentioning her name on here are still standing (I hope NOT!)

ceeveebee Mon 01-Oct-12 10:07:55

Btw the routine is for 3 hourly feeding for the first few months, not 4

Rubirosa Mon 01-Oct-12 10:12:19

GF seems to be about 50/50 suits babies or not. If your baby would naturally fall into something similar to the GF routine it works great, but if your baby is one that naturally needs to feed/sleep more or less often then it doesn't. Luck of the draw really!

You can have a routine without following GF though. I would set aside the first 6-12 weeks to just let your baby eat and sleep when they want, then you could start offering feeds at regular intervals if they haven't asked for one - for my ds this was about every 2.5 hours (he didn't go 3 hours between feeds til he was on solids!).

If you have older children, a natural routine might develop out of their routines? Eg. feed before school run, nap in the car etc.

ArtfulAardvark Mon 01-Oct-12 10:13:32

Didnt she used to be know a SWMNBN (she who must not be named) on here

I used her book successfully for DS1, didnt work so well for DS2 - I think the best this is not to be a slave to it at her "routine" could tie you down completely - which is fine if you are a paid "nanny" but not so great if you are a new mum, out of your depth and needing a life and the support of other people.

I do think she is right though in that it helps, if you can, to get into a "routine" of some kind but ultimately, however small, babies are people in their own rights and some of them are just NOT going to play ball so if you spend all day, every day trying to bang a square peg into a round hole you are just going to have one more thing to feel bad about. You will know within a week if it is going to work for you or not.

tootiredtothinkofanickname Mon 01-Oct-12 10:14:13

One of my friends' GP said that a lot of the women he sees with PND see themselves as failures because their babies don't follow the "rules" of when to sleep, feed, etc. Instead of going out for example, they spend ages trying to get the baby to sleep in the cot, and end up frustrated when the baby has other ideas.

On the other hand, there are so many babies who take to a routine very well, and this also works much better for their families as a whole. I am not against a routine, just against a very rigid one, and saying that all babies must be up at 7am for example, or feed at 10am, is absurd. And I am against not taking your cues from your baby, or leaving him or her to scream in a cot just because it's nap time according to a book.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Mon 01-Oct-12 10:15:11

one of my dc was a perfect GF baby, the other was not - babies have different needs and personalities. They were both ebf (with some expressed bottles). You can try it but if it doesn't work after a couple of weeks, then let it go, it's not worth the stress.

aufaniae Mon 01-Oct-12 10:17:42

I would suggest that this is all you really need to know about Gina Ford.

- she has no childcare qualifications AFAIK
- she's not a mother herself
- she's certainly not a breastfeeding expert
- she's good at selling books

If you find a routine suits you then you may find her suggestions helpful. However please remember they are only the suggestions of one person, who is not qualified. She's a nanny who's made a fortune out of writing books.

If the routines don't suit you or your baby, please don't feel like you're a failure, it's just that it doesn't suit you. Personally the thing which irked me most about her book was the message, repeated throughout the book, that her way was the only way, and that if you don't do it you're creating a rod for your own back.

I do hope this post doesn't get the thread deleted - I have stuck to the facts, and also described my personal experience in reading her book.

However I think we tread a dangerous road if no one says anything other than nice things, for fear of the thread disappearing.

toddlerama Mon 01-Oct-12 10:30:48

GF was like magic with my first 2 DC. I recommended it to anyone who would listen and credited it with our relaxed, rested parenthood. DC3 has resisted all form of routine. He is also the first baby I have successfully breastfed. Some kids just know what they want from the outset. I have to say that if I had realised how detrimental GF was to breastfeeding, I probably wouldn't have done it. But I didn't. I just thought I "didn't have enough milk". This opinion was reinforced by professionals. What I actually had were sleepy babies who needed to be brought to the breast more regularly and allowed to binge eat in the evenings (cluster feed). Worked like a charm for DC3.

matana Mon 01-Oct-12 10:40:23

I really just want to plead with MN not to take this thread down on the basis that it has been reported because GF apparently sued over comments previously. It would be a travesty because there is some excellent alternative advice and many commenters are from countries where freedom of speech is an intrinsic part of social culture. If you are going to ban people speaking about GF, then you might as well ban people talking about David Cameron, Ed Milliband, Kate Middleton and all the other people whose names frequent these boards. This is all fair comment imo.

Anyway, re GF i don't like her methods and agree with others who have said they are the cause of a great deal of anxiety. I only really learned to trust myself and my instincts and became truly happy as a mum when i ditched her books. I will stop short of offering an opinion on her personally as i don't think that adds anything positive to the debate. Bur I don't think GF routines suit small babies or their mothers, especially those who choose to BF. The whole point of BFing is that you do so on demand or risk messing up your milk supply. Babies' appetites wax and wain, as does their tiredness and active levels. So, so much better to do a more baby led approach. Incidentally to those who have said their babies were GFed into routine and were content, my DS was not GFed and was certainly one of the most contented babies i have ever come across and as a mother i too was relaxed, content and very happy. Even now as a toddler he sleeps, naps and eats wonderfully and adapts brilliantly to new situations precisely because we have an adaptable approach based on a basic routine (instigated by him). All of this despite me apparently making a rod for my own back by cuddling him, singing to him, slinging him, walking him, playing him music, attending to him when he cried and doing anything possible to get him to sleep. I used to worry that he slept too much and didn't know the colour of his eyes for the first few weeks of his life. It has done him no harm.

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 10:45:08

So, so much better to do a more baby led approach.

Unfortunately, this is a luxury enjoyed by mothers who do not have to work.

matana Mon 01-Oct-12 10:47:04

I work full time, but saved for many months to ensure i could take sufficient time off at the beginning of my baby's life. This was a 'luxury' afforded by a long conception due to PCOS.

matana Mon 01-Oct-12 10:47:57

But you have said your DD sleeps most of the day. Is it not possible to work then?

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 10:49:33

Ours also took a long time to conceive (we did 3 cycles of IVF). Unfortunately, I got sick in my second month of pregnancy and was on bed rest for months. We got ourselves into a terrible state financially, hence my return to work 2 days after leaving ICU after a very traumatic birth.

HandHolding Mon 01-Oct-12 10:51:30

Marche having a baby lead approach doesn't always means bf on demand etc...
For me a 'baby lead approach' means following your baby's lead as to how often they need to feed, how long they can stay awake etc...
Also following their lead re their development, so it's not because they have reached x months that they should have dropped the 3am feed but actually acknowledge that, for that baby, x months is too early but maybe x months+2 weeks is OK.
It's not incompatible with following a routine.

As I said, I had a routine for my dcs. I am that sort of person. But it worked for me and for the dcs because it fitted them and me.

Having a routine doesn't mean following GF or nothing.

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 10:52:54

I think if we did things DD's way, she would sleep all day and stay awake quite a bit of the night. I am up at 5 am, so I need to impose my own rules grin

HandHolding Mon 01-Oct-12 10:53:04

Marche that's sounds really hard work... sad

Hope you are still taking some time for yourself to recover. You will need it if you don't want to collapse in a few months/a year time.

HandHolding Mon 01-Oct-12 10:53:29

How old is she?

aufaniae Mon 01-Oct-12 10:53:44

Off on a bit of a tangent here, but perhaps helpful ...

Did you know that many mortgage providers offer a no-questions-asked mortgage holiday for maternity? It does add a little extra to the mortgage, but money very well spent IMO for not having to work when your baby's little.

We took the maximum 6 month mortgage holiday with ours, and it made such a difference.

Ours (Halifax) didn't advertise they did this, we found out by accident. Perhaps worth some thought?

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 10:53:58

... but I've taken note of your advice HandHolding, thanks.

HandHolding Mon 01-Oct-12 10:54:07

Does she feed all night? Does she have her day and nights mixed up by any chance?

matana Mon 01-Oct-12 10:54:35

Ok i'm sorry to hear that. Just goes to show you can't make assumptions based on a few written lines smile

I suppose what i'm saying (not very well!) is, if you find that it doesn't suit you, don't think you're failing by abandoning it, or that your DD won't be able to sleep without props etc. I sympathise with your situation, but GFs methods are not right for lots of babies. It very much depends on your baby though.

Good luck whatever, and i hope you find some of the other advice useful.

aufaniae Mon 01-Oct-12 10:54:53

I'm sorry to hear you had a traumatic birth sad

I must admit I am a little worried about you returning to work so soon.

How many hours a week do you need to work?

CerseiLannister Mon 01-Oct-12 10:55:00

I think you have just made this thread that little bit more controversial by writing that Marcheline! I love routines and wanted to be able to plan when I could meet people etc, so tried my hardest to get both into routines asap.

However, I couldn't get GF to work for DD1 - she was too hard to settle and so she would just fall asleep when she was due for another feed etc. Plus I hated expressing. However, I did get her into her own routine after about 4 weeks - she fed every 3.5 hours from when she first woke and would sleep from whenever I could settle her until I woke her for the next feed - always after 3 hours or maximum 4 hours since the last feed. So if she woke at 6, we'd go 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm etc. If she woke at 7, we'd do 7am, 10am pm. You get the idea. If I wanted to go out at 10am, I'd wake her at 6am, so we could do 6am, 9am, 12pm and she could sleep on way to wherever we were off to.

She slept through the night from 9 weeks, which was great. From when she started solids, she could fit into the GF routines, which I do think are great for the point of view that she establishes a long lunchtime nap early on, which is the one that they keep until they are 3 or so.

However, I do think that for the first 4-6 weeks you just have to go with the flow, work or not. And not worry if not much else seems to be going on. They are just so small and haven't read any of the books smile

With DD2 - she was easy to settle, so easy to get into the GF routines. However, although she "behaved" perfectly according to the routines by day, she didn't sleep through the night until 6 months. What can you do? Babies work differently to each other.

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 10:55:48

aufaniae, we actually lost our home whilst I was pregnant. We missed 2 payments just over a year ago, then when I was put on bed rest and couldn't work, they repossessed us. Devastating sad

CerseiLannister Mon 01-Oct-12 10:56:49

Was referring to

"Unfortunately, this is a luxury enjoyed by mothers who do not have to work."

in saying controversial - sorry thread moved on while I went off to pour wine!

aufaniae Mon 01-Oct-12 10:57:25

Oh MarchelineWhatNot I'm so sorry. sad
That must have been an absolute nightmare.

matana Mon 01-Oct-12 11:00:22

I fell pretty shitty now Marcheline that's awful and incredibly stressful sad

As someone else has said, your DD still sounds like her nighs and days are the wrong way around. There are things you can do to gently turn that around. You must be very tired too, so if there is any way you can sleep a little during the day and then take advantage of the other times your DD is asleep to do some work then that could be good. What other help do you have? It sounds like an awful situation for you.

Nottigermum Mon 01-Oct-12 11:11:45

I think I might write a book about schedules based on school runs. If you have a second or third baby, and you are stay at home or work from home, the baby has to follow the routines of the other children. It will be called 'The School Run Method'
6 15 - BF baby and switch TV on for two or three other kids
6 30 - Have a three minute shower whilst DH is burping/changing baby
6 33 - don't forget to get dressed
6:45 - shout at the kids to put on their uniforms that you have neetly put on the sofa the night before
6:50 - Shout again to put uniforms on
7:15 - Breakfast for everyone except Mum who has to shower the baby in the kitchen sink because of explosive poo
7:45 - Kids finish their homework on kitchen table Dh off to work after emptying dishwasher and filling it up again
7:50 - Mum puts in first load in the washing machine
8:30 - School run, in the rain, baby crying with hunger
9:00 - feed baby on a bench outside school gate. In the rain.
9:20 - Back home baby sleeping in pram and mum collapses on sofa with first cup of coffee.

Imagine the rest of the day. It's only Monday. GF is easy.

ZuleikaD Mon 01-Oct-12 11:29:38

MN are very unlikely to take this thread down. The ones that caused the ruckus were very personally abusive to GF and I think libellous. But it's not libellous to point out that she has no medical qualifications, has never been a nurse, has never been a mother and has no idea about breastfeeding. All of those things are true.

noviceoftheday Mon 01-Oct-12 11:32:56

I breastfed both dcs for over a year, but also returned back to work (part time initially) after 4 months, so I needed a routine for my children. Following the principles of GF helped. I really think how you get on depends on how you view it. If you follow it religiously and don't apply common sense e.g. only breastfeeding when she recommends, or, putting a baby that's not tired down to sleep, then yes, it's going to be a miserable existence. The book could do with making it very clear that it's a guide and that you don't have to follow it religiously, however, she is there to make money in a competitive book market so you can see why she isn't going to tone it down!

CerseiLannister Mon 01-Oct-12 11:52:24

I think never having been a mother is not really that relevant. I had never been a mother before I had my first child, but unfortunately, unlike GF, I had never spent day in day out with babies, with baby and childcare being my fulltime job.

aufaniae Mon 01-Oct-12 12:01:27

It may be her job, but she has no formal childcare qualifications. She's basing her routines solely on her experience of being a nanny.

Having worked as a childminder for many years (in the days before OFSTED registration) and now being a mum, I know there's a world of difference in looking after someone else's baby and being a mum yourself. (Going home to get sleep at night when childcare is a job being one difference for a start!)

Her experience as a nanny gives her a privileged viewpoint of course. But the opinons and experience of one nanny are no substitute for scientific study (on which qualifications are based, one would hope) nor for the many insight which being a parent brings you, IMO.

I would have much more respect for her ideas if they were backed up with some scientific evidence, or if she was more honest about her routines being just one of many methods, which may or may not suit people, or if she had some understanding of how isolating being a new mum can be. (Her routines encourage mums to stay at home, and this is not great I think).

ZuleikaD Mon 01-Oct-12 12:14:35

GF WAS a maternity nurse (not an actual nurse, note) in the dim and distant past before she started writing books. She certainly doesn't work in childcare these days which is why her advice can sound so out of date. And Cersei your experience with your own child immediately makes you more of an expert on your own child than she could ever be.

nellyjelly Mon 01-Oct-12 12:20:14

Doesn't work with feed on demand IME.

NK2b1f2 Mon 01-Oct-12 12:59:58

I used a 'light' version of GF with dd1 and it saved my sanity (what was left of it at that point). I picked the best bits and made them fit my baby (eg. dd1 always needed much more sleep than GF suggests). dd2 put herself into a GF routine at a few days old, so who was I to question her? Both girls slept through the night at 9 and 6 weeks respectively which went some way to making me a more relaxed parent...

I think there are many people who try GF or some elements of it but don't go around shouting about it beccause of the ridiculously negative backlash by people who haven't read the book and just spurt the usual 'but she leaves babies to cry'

OP, there is a GF book on having a new baby alongside older children/toddlers and it is less prescriptive due to the need to allow for school runs etc.

bishboschone Mon 01-Oct-12 13:28:03

Yes , both my babies slept from 7-7 with no feeds from 12 weeks . Love gf

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 13:57:53

So, can any of you GF experts help me come up with a routine that works for us? I would like it to incorporate the following:

7-8 am: School Run
2-3 pm: School Run
7-9 pm: Awake time
Feeds: 6 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm, 9 pm, 12 am & 3 am.

Thanks. Am not being lazy, but genuinely struggling with this. It's the nap times that I can't quite fathom.

Rubirosa Mon 01-Oct-12 14:03:51

Sorry if I missed it earlier but how old?

lljkk Mon 01-Oct-12 14:05:41

Friends who found GF too rigid for their DC2 turned to Baby Whisperer instead (Tracey Hogg), said that it gave them that bit of flexibility.

bishboschone Mon 01-Oct-12 14:07:02

When ds was a baby I left the house at 8.15 walking with buggy . He slept for an hour or so . Then he had his lunchtime sleep in his bed mostly or in his pram if out . Then left for school run at 2.30 . He slept on the way back and I either left him outside ( v safe ) or wheeled him inside while he slept . Onviously at the beginning they are asleep a lot . My best bit I gf advice is from day one put them in their bedroom / cot from the hours of 7-7 regardless of what they are doing . They are mostly asleep at this time anyway walking for feeds . My ds was prem , tiny and poorly with reflux . I still managed to get him to drop all night feeds by 12 weeks .

Rubirosa Mon 01-Oct-12 14:11:14

Does she feed to sleep? Could you let her nap for an hour or two after each feed, feed before the second school run so she sleeps during it, and then keep her up for a couple of hours before the bedtime feed at 9pm?

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 14:12:57

Rubirosa, she is 3 weeks old. Obviously too young for a strict routine, but I want something to work towards.

At the moment, she is sleeping most of the time, although she seems to be awake a little bit more each day.

Rubirosa Mon 01-Oct-12 14:16:58

Not GF, but personally I would try
Feed at 6.30am-ish so she naps on school run 7am-8am
Feed at 9am-ish and let her have a long nap 9.30am-11.30am
Feed around midday
Bit of awake time and then feed back to sleep at 2pm-ish for school run
Nap 2pm-3pm
Feed at 3pm
bit of awake time (other kids at home to entertain her?) and then a nap 5pm-6pm
feed at 6pm
bit of awake time and then start bedtime routine at 8pm to be fed and asleep at 9pm.

DoodleAlley Mon 01-Oct-12 14:29:06

I followed the routines in terms of sleep and feeds. He didn't keep up with them as quickly as they suggest but there are really helpful hits on when they are ready to move on.

DS never became a miracle sleeper but he was predictable which I found really helpful. I'm not a kind of trust your instincts/see how it goes kind of person so I was prepared to put the work into routines. And the blessing is that DS carried on lunch naps every day until nearly Four and still naps on the odd day.

But it was work you've got to help them Learn the routines and be committed to it but as a result he hardy cried as food was at a regular time and he didn't tend to get over tired.

Horses for courses though! I know I'm In the minority having followed GF!

DoodleAlley Mon 01-Oct-12 14:29:58

By the way they tend to discover the world between four and six weeks and start sleeping less so enjoy the calm
Right now!

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Mon 01-Oct-12 14:33:36

I feel really sorry for you, that's very tough.

I would warn though that thinking GF could solve all your problems could be very stressful indeed. If your dc doesn't conform, you will be freaking out with the added stress of worrying about what's "wrong" with your baby. You could roughy follow the guidelines but remember your baby hasn't read the book and please dont' beat yourself up if things don't go to plan. Good luck.

DoodleAlley Mon 01-Oct-12 14:38:22

I'd agree with the previous poster though it took work to establish the routine which was a bit of shock having seen a friends baby just do it without effort and the book gives no hit of it taking effort.

Maybe try it in a week or two and see how it goes? Pm me if you have any questions it's very much in my
Mind atm as I'm pregnant again

It didn't work for me either. I was worried why my little one just slept all day. I couldn't even wake her up from sleep with a nappy change. We have hardly any pictures of her awake from before 3mo! I didn't do anything and she slept through from 11 weeks or so. EBF on demand too. Sorry to all those saying you need Gina Ford to get a baby sleep through. Some babies just naturally sleep through from an early age, GF or not. You can't tell unless you run an experiement with two identical babies, same mother and see if using a strict routine makes a difference. Anything saying, I did GF and my baby sleeps through is non-scientific.

pookamoo Mon 01-Oct-12 15:03:57

Just a question, out of genuine interest, how do you get your babies to go to sleep "when they should" ? Mine only sleep when they are tired and/or bf/rocked to sleep. I was loaned a copy of CLB when DD1 was very tiny, and I couldn't understand how she expected the baby to just go to sleep at xYZ time.

OP this is your 3rd child, what did you do with your others?

Many people do manage to work and have a more baby led routine.

GF style is not suited to breastfeeding, IMHO. The supply/demand is how bf works, and if you try to get babies to bf at exact intervals it doesn't stimulate the milk supply to correspond with the baby's development...

DoodleAlley Mon 01-Oct-12 15:08:55

Actually I found the early routines really helped with my supply as its got a fair few feeds during the day to build up your supply.

bishboschone Mon 01-Oct-12 15:09:07

I don't think you can make them do it , more a case of steering them in the right direction . I agree it may have happened anyway but I wasn't prepared to take the risk .

DoodleAlley Mon 01-Oct-12 15:09:45

Obviously you would feed if baby was hungry in between but that didnt happen for us. Might have done for others I don't know

bishboschone Mon 01-Oct-12 15:09:47

I didn't breast feed but I think gf has designed the routines for maximum milk .

bishboschone Mon 01-Oct-12 15:10:03

Supply .

Rubirosa Mon 01-Oct-12 15:16:35

I don't think they are designed for maximum milk supply at 3 hourly feeds are fairly infrequent for most breastfed newborns and she doesn't allow for cluster feeding. A more typical breastfed newborn would feed 10-12+ times a day, more frequently in the evening.

ZuleikaD Mon 01-Oct-12 15:19:06

Yes, DS used to feed three times per hour in the evenings, never mind once per three hours.

DoodleAlley Mon 01-Oct-12 15:24:25

Im going to bow out now as its become more of a general discussion but feel free to pm me, OP, if you have any questions you think I may be able to help with and good luck

bishboschone Mon 01-Oct-12 15:30:51

Oh we'll . I didn't breast feed so I don't really know . Just the book is based around breast feeding and when I was ff I had to read between the lines .

Fairylea Mon 01-Oct-12 15:32:58

I was a firm believer in gf until I had my second baby. Now I just think you are either lucky and they happen to fit in with it or you're not. Ds literally would not sleep. Imean record 8 wide awake at 6 weeks despite doing everything per the book.

I don't know how they feed only every 3-4 hours either. I remember reading it, and trying to understand how a young baby can go for 4 hours (that's the midday one) without any feed! Mine was feeding every 2 hours or so at that age. And I can't get her to wake up, so it's the opposite problem of trying to get a baby to sleep at the wrong time. Both GF and the Baby Whisperer are big on no feed to sleep. I couldn't get mine to feed longer than 10min since a newborn and I even went to see the NCT bf consellor and asked if there was anything wrong with DD. She was always in a bf-induced coma within 10min!

aufaniae Mon 01-Oct-12 15:54:44

I never understood the no-BF-to-sleep stuff. It seemed to me that nature was crying out for DS to sleep after feeding! Why mess with it? It worked so well!

I have never had to sit beside a cot, desperately trying to get a young baby to sleep. Total waste of time if you ask me!

nellyjelly Mon 01-Oct-12 20:34:15

Nature intends babies to fall asleep after feeding. That is why all those hormones are released when the baby is fed. It is just that what nature intends is not compatible with routine and 'getting back to normal'.

NK2b1f2 Mon 01-Oct-12 20:34:21

Neither have I, aufaniae. Are you suggesting that that is what GF requires?

Lozario Mon 01-Oct-12 21:13:43

I've always thought that the basis of the GF routine was a good meaty lunchtime nap in order for the baby to be chirpy ish in the afternoon. I bf so always fed more than the book said but I took heed of the suggested nap times, adding a bit more daytime sleep as I think her times were optimistic for my two.

OP - was wondering then if you could do a morning nap on first school run, a midday-ish nap from 11.30-1.30ish with a feed before going on 2pm school run and then a later afternoon nap if necessary? I think even GF suggests a split feed to keep the baby topped-up in the evening too, ie at 5ish and then 6.30? I usually did that, especially for 2nd as it kept baby quiet when the toddler was eating!

I never really went for the dreamfeed idea though, mainly because I couldn't stay up that late (!) and DH was often working, and just couldn't bear the thought of disturbing her!!

Good luck OP

MarchelineWhatNot Wed 03-Oct-12 06:42:03

How does this look as a routine?

6 am: feed - kick around on mat - nap
9 am: feed - top & tail and dressed - nap
12 pm: feed - big nap in cot
3 pm: feed - go for a walk in pram
6 pm: feed - bath - family time
9 pm: feed - bed
12 am: feed
3 am: feed.

I should add that she does sleep a lot as she was premature. I would drop some of the naps as she gets a bit older.

LadyInDisguise Wed 03-Oct-12 18:43:34

Sounds a really good routine to me smile
What I have found not helpful is to try and have a routine at night. Not looking at the click and how often I got up was better ie not feeling resentful if it didn't go to plan.

MarchelineWhatNot Thu 04-Oct-12 05:32:44

Thanks LadyInDisguise. Yeah, the night time feeds times are just a general guide. Although oddly enough, she has woken up within minutes of 12 am and 3 am for the past few days.

Happybunny12 Thu 04-Oct-12 08:13:13

Ping! <sound of lightbulb going on>

Ah, as a relative MN newcomer, I was wondering why GF didn't come up in discussion more! Now I just need someone to fill me on how the obsession with Pom bears started, why people have 'gold' in nns, what a mumsmet scarf is?

apartridgeinapeartree Thu 04-Oct-12 08:29:30

You should be able to find the Pombears thread in classics.

No idea about gold. (Was it something to do with the Olympics perhaps? No clue, sorry!)

The mumsnet scarf is a large animal print thing IIRC? Or maybe brown with randoms spots. Not really my thing (sorry) I clicked the link once, though "oh, that's it then" and then didn't rush out to buy one.

Female celebrities wear it from time to time and people get all excited that it's code to tell us that they're a mumsnetter smile

MarchelineWhatNot Thu 04-Oct-12 09:44:07

Female celebrities wear it from time to time and people get all excited that it's code to tell us that they're a mumsnetter.

Goodness me, we're a sad bunch, aren't we? grin

FeralGirlCambs Thu 04-Oct-12 12:47:06

How are you getting on marcheline? I never looked at GF so can't help there but I had a prem baby (-7.5 weeks) whom we took home aged just under 3 weeks and we had a routine from the start, including (horror) waking her in the night for 3 hourly feeds - as I'm sure you know prems risk sleeping through feeds they can't afford to miss due to being titchy. I think being in SCBu for a couple of weeks - in Spain, where they are much more old-fashioned - had helped her almost to fall into a routine before we took her home. She was tube fed initially, then tiny bottles (mostly expressed breast milk) then we got BF established just before bringing her home. Give or take some off days and of course the transition periods from one routine to the next phase, she has been a well-ordered baby. I am self-employed, in publishing, and had only statutory MA (£125 / week) so whilst we could probably have just about afforded me taking time off it would have made life harder and I'd have got SO BORED. I adore DD by the way. I guess all newborns but certainly prem ones sleep a lot (and feed a lot) and I found working right from the start was perfectly possible - as everything was totally thrown in the air by her early arrival it was also pretty necessary. The cluster feeding, once they wake up a bit (I guess around 3-4 weeks) is a reality, though, and can't be routined out. I found Baby Whisperer quite sane though not always practicable. DD slept through at 14 weeks (ie 6 weeks after her due date, basically almost as soon as we let her). Long rambling post. I just wanted to add some personal experience, from which no general principles can be drawn. I always thought routine would be the way I would go, but was lucky in that it just sort of happened - not much time for research what with prem birth whilst on last 'baby-free' holiday! - I have no more idea than anyone whether it can be made to happen if baby is totally unamenable. But I definitely nudged at times - holding off feeds a bit and of course waking to feed (God, it was tempting not to). Good luck and really hope your circs improve. Btw DD is now just under 16 mo, sleeps really well, still has a pretty good routine, though it's transitioned by itself to only one nap, making work time very limited. Slightly tangentially to what you asked, if you CAN work at the newborn stage that's good because it gets harder, in my experience, around 9-10 months.

Rosiesharples Thu 15-Nov-12 10:08:33

We used thr GF routine with DD and it worked really well for us. She was sleeping through by 7 weeks with a dream feed at 11pm. However as the posts indicate it isn't for everyone. I think you have to be flexible with it we adjusted alot of the timings to suit us, there was no way 'baby was up and dressed and bathed and having her feed by 7am'! The key is not to beat yourself up if your baby doesn't fall in with the timings, the first couple of weeks were a bit trying when starting the routine but after that it just clicked for us. Im now expecting again and intend to use the main principles for bubba number two but with adjustments! Good Luck!

Curtsey Thu 15-Nov-12 10:24:55

OP I'm worried about you, do you really really have to go back to work this soon while you're still recovering? Are there any other options for you at all? I say this as someone who went back to work earlyish (when DD was 4 months). Sorry things are so tough for you right now sad

No advice about GF but one thing that was a lightbulb moment for me was googling nap patterns per my baby's age and making a note of them. I had been keeping her awake far too long between feeds rather than trying to guide her to sleep and she was turning into an overtired hellbeast. At 3 weeks I think baby needs to nap something like 45 minutes after first waking? Does that sound right?
Also: Do you have a sling?!

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