Your opinions on Gina Ford's contented babies and toddlers? how much is tosh?

(40 Posts)
Giraffinalaugh Wed 10-Jul-13 21:40:40

Just that really. Ive got a 6w old and started reading today as sleep and settling him down is just a nightmare.

A lot of it seemed like obvious normal common sense to me. Some good advice too. Some bits im undecided on and seem a little rigid.

What are your experiences? Have her routines and tips changed any of your lives drastically? Im not sure i want to implement any of them until im decided. But i have a baby who only seems to sleep on my chest and its driving me nuts. Screams so so loud when you take him away.

PoppadomPreach Wed 10-Jul-13 21:49:38

I think if you feel strongly that her techniques do not work for you, and your baby is telling you very clearly he wants to sleep on your chest, then you should listen to your baby.

Her techniques, as helpful as they may be for some, did not work for me either.

Giraffinalaugh Wed 10-Jul-13 21:53:08

Im really not comfortable with co sleeping though. The thought of falling asleep with him on me scares the living daylights out of me. I need to do something to gethim to sleep on his own.

Lion5711 Wed 10-Jul-13 21:55:09

Yes I agree with the above, your baby is still very young for the harsh routines she suggests. Listen to your babys needs and it will get easier. They work for some but I personally think its too much and went against what my 'inner self' (not a hippy really!) thought!

pookamoo Wed 10-Jul-13 21:56:01


go careful!

pookamoo Wed 10-Jul-13 21:57:18

Sorry. At 6 weeks old, on your chest is where your baby needs to be, really. Routines come much, much later.

Nadalsballs Wed 10-Jul-13 21:59:49

I think some of it is helpful but try not to be too rigid as it can end in disaster. I've had a couple of friends who ended up pretty depressed as their babies wouldn't do what Gina said they should. I've also had friends who never left the house because baby needed to nap etc at certain times.

Having said that, I found some of her advice really helpful, eg re growth spurts.

I also found the baby whisperer solves all your problems quite handy too.

NCforpersonalreasons Wed 10-Jul-13 22:03:41

Her routines are fabulous..........if you have a baby that falls into line with them.
If not, at a time when you are sleep deprived and often feeling like shit, they make you feel worse, as you see yourself failing at the 'simple' task of putting your baby into a routine.

I was given Gina Ford's book as a new baby gift. I can honestly, hand on heart say that trying to follow that bloody book ruined the early weeks with my first baby.

6 weeks is still so tiny. Your baby is programmed to be with you. I know that doesn't really help, but sometimes it is easier to go with the flow and tackle it when your baby is at an age when they will respond to certain tactics!

Even though you're not comfortable with co-sleeping, it would be wise to look into safe co-sleeping, rather than battling it and falling to sleep on the sofa with your baby - which is far more dangerous than sleeping in a bed ready prepared. (Not saying you have to co-sleep, just that you're better prepared for it in case of sleep deprived nights)

DocMarten Wed 10-Jul-13 22:03:59

A GF thread shock

LovelyWeatherForDucks Wed 10-Jul-13 22:04:15

I found books like that useful for getting an idea of eating / sleeping amounts and patterns, but only after the first 3 or 4 months...up until then 'whatever works' was my approach and by 7 months or so he began to fall into a routine which is coincidentally vaguely gina-esque in terms of eating and nap times. Don't get too worked up about routine yet as it'll only get frustrating when baby inevitably changes every few weeks!

The technique that helped settled my baby when tiny was a combination of the 5 S'S (swaddle, shh, swing, suck, side position) - look up 'happiest baby on the block'.

CharlieBlanche Wed 10-Jul-13 22:05:09

In my experience GF's routine are about contented Mims rather than babies. I don't mean that as a criticism really just that some Mum's feel better with a set of rules and a rigid structure. It's not really about what's best for babies.

That's not to say it's bad for babies, although it's not the choice we made.

I would say be careful though - the most stressed Mums I knew were following GF. One Mum I know is pretty much still following a very strict routine for her 6 yo child, which never deviates even on special occasions.

krisskross Wed 10-Jul-13 22:05:12

i am not by any stretch a gina ford routine sort of person. I am also reasonably disorganised. I had a 20 month old DS and a newborn DD. My friend lent me the book (this is 4 years ago) - i ignored pretty much all of it, but i did find some practical tips in it , such as always have your changing bag packed the night before and other similar small, common sense practical things- that are pretty hard to fathom when you are knackered.
ps dont bother buying the potty training in 7 days...!!!!

krisskross Wed 10-Jul-13 22:06:08

hello up there lovely- we also used happiest baby on the block!!! Youre the first other one ive ever met!

CleverlyConcealed Wed 10-Jul-13 22:12:22

Hear that klaxon going off at MNHQ??

thedicewoman Wed 10-Jul-13 22:12:39

I found that the techniques really worked for my 1st, but she already seemed to be in a routine naturally. she was sleeping 7-7 by 8 weeks... my 2nd has been a different kettle of fish, although he has been sleeping 7-7 since about 5 months so not too bad from what I read on here! however, at about 4 weeks I started the GF routines with my 2nd and actually feel that they revolutionised my life at the time!! suddenly my DS Wasn't crying incessantly in the daytime while I was trying to sort out my DD, it helped me get more tuned in to when he need to sleep/feed etc and honestly just made everything 100% easier.

I read her book and thought it sounded ridiculous. I was planning to feed on demand, co-sleep etc. Then had an actual baby who had other ideas. After a few weeks of demand feeding and co-sleeping, he was unhappy and unsettled, and I was confused and had lost confidence.

I started with GF's feeding times and they seemed to work. So we tried the sleeping times. Within a few days DS1 was happier and more settled. I ended up following most of her advice, from blackout blinds to swaddling.

With the second, third and fourth babies, I knew what worked for us as a family and was more confident as a mother. I would say I used about 70% of what she advises.

With four children under 5, including twins, routines were a life-saver and enabled me to get DS1 to school on time even with a two year old with SN and two small babies.

Meglet Wed 10-Jul-13 22:13:50

I ended up using it by 6 weeks as I was all over the place and DS was miserable. It turned out my maternal instinct was pants and all I needed was a 'how to' guide. Luckily DS suited it literally overnight so it wasn't a hassle to put him in the routines.

I wouldn't force it on a baby if it wasn't working though.

ggirl Wed 10-Jul-13 22:13:53

Well I used her routines(loosely) , can't remember when I started them with ds (def later than 6weeks)but I have to say they worked a treat with him ,he settled very easily and slept very well.
It was a while ago now (ds is nearly 11) but the things I remember working well were ,not letting him sleep late in the am and putting him straight to bed as soon as there was a sign he was getting tired.

whatsoever Wed 10-Jul-13 22:14:24

I read the section in Contented Little Baby on expressing schedules when I started expressing when DS was 10 days old. It said 6.45am. I never read any more as the thought of getting up at 6.45am for any reason other than a crying baby when I was a zombie with a newborn appeared absurd to me.

I think some babies love the rigidity of a Fordian regime & some don't, ditto parents.

You have my sympathies, I would not have wanted to co-sleep either, it was absolutely not for me. I couldn't sleep with a baby on me or in bed with me & I'm not a nice person worh no sleep.

If you decide to co-sleep, go for it wholeheartedly but if you really don't want to, you will need to persevere with putting your baby down to sleep. You don't have to go with controlled crying though if it's not for you. We used pick up put down (a Baby Whisperer technique) when DS went from our bedtime/Moses basket in our room to earlier bed time/cot in separate room, and he was happy within a few days. It meant we never left him to cry but did keep putting him down.

Jimmybob Wed 10-Jul-13 22:17:01

I found it really kindling for the fire when we running means you can't have a life if you follow this.

Seriously all the recent work in neuro science is about the importance of the bond between the mother and child in long term brain development...and also lack of appropriate attachment can lead to anxiety in later life. So short term pain for long term gain in my book. It doesn't have you will have a mis behaving child. You baby is just learning to communicate with you as you are with him/her. Being with you helps to regulate their heart beat, blood pressure and breathing & you will miss the cuddles when they get older...

Also it might feel all consumming now but you will look back on this as a magical time that went by in a flash.

So...have I gone on enough...think so smile

Jimmybob Wed 10-Jul-13 22:17:45

I meant it doesn't mean... not doesn't have..... a mis behaving older child.

GEM33 Wed 10-Jul-13 22:19:52

Ncforpersonalreasons i totally agree with you. I got Gina's book and the baby whisperers book in the early weeks and wished I had never read them. i wish I had just read THE FOOD OF LOVE by kate Evans before DD came along then I would have been a lot more relaxed about my parenting skills and did what came naturally and instinctively to me. Instead I worried and cried and drove myself nearly insane that I couldn't stick to Ginas routines. I have 1 friend that stuck to the routine and basically she wouldn't go out for days in order to stick to the schedule.
OP - Do what YOU think you should do and also what you can live with. If you like Gina routine and you can manage it and it helps you cope do it. If you dont agree with her and find you are stressing about what to do when throw the book in the bin!
If i had another baby now I would be so much more relaxed and just go with the flow. By the time you have them in one pattern they change again eg drop a nap or add a feed or have a growth spurt etc.
Im a bit of an attachment theory parent and I reckon you cant beat a sling and co sleeping x

InsanelyBrainDeprived Wed 10-Jul-13 22:22:42

My first was a classic gf baby right down to feed times, sleep time. Pure coincidence! I'd never read the book then. He fed 6,10,2,6 right on cue and slept thro 10-6 by 8 weeks.

Second child needed constant contact until around 10/11 months.

They are now 3 and 2 and both sleep 12 hours a night with 2 hour afternoon nap.

Go with what suits your baby, eventually you will work out a routine that suits you both. Not helpful when you are sleep deprived I know. Sorry

edam Wed 10-Jul-13 22:27:41

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

GEM33 Wed 10-Jul-13 22:28:01

look on used item sites for something similar for cheaper cot x

BlueSkySunnyDay Wed 10-Jul-13 22:30:35

Used it with DC1 brilliantly, absolutely no chance with DC2. I think if you try to force an unwilling baby to do it you will make yourself very miserable - if the timings work with your baby it is a great help but I wouldn't follow it religiously.

But sorry can no longer see her name on here without thinking of the (very funny) comment that caused all the trouble grin I still think of her a SWMNBN (she who must not be named)

Is there a big flashing red light at MN HQ which goes off when one of these threads starts?

Lots of good advice here, all in the same vein! If you feel you need a routine and your baby will benefit, try it, but please don't feel bad or like you can't "do it" properly if it doesn't work. Babies and adults are all different and tbh a lot depends on your life and demands on your time - eg do you really need to know exactly when your baby will be sleeping/eating etc at any given time (maybe because you have to go to work) or does it not really matter because you are home/with baby all the time so it doesn't really matter and you could just go with the flow? I could certainly imagine needing a strict routine with twins/triplets (especially with siblings around) as threebee describes grin.

A gentler approach to a routine is the Baby Whisperer if you are interested in an alternative, it sort of lets you feel your own way to a routine rather than the strict clock watching/blackout blind etc dictated advised by GF.

Facepalmninja Wed 10-Jul-13 22:32:46

I wonder if sleeping side-car way would suit you and your family better? Putting the cot next to bed with rail down (or off if you can bridge gap between beds and fix cot so that it is locked). That way you all have some space and your baby is close to you.

Bullets Wed 10-Jul-13 22:38:03

I can't believe this is still here??!!

JethroTull Wed 10-Jul-13 22:42:44

I don't see what all the fuss is about. GF has a theory. If you read her book and think it will work, give it a go. If you think it sounds like a crock of shit, don't bother. People have different theories about all sorts of things. If you're a theory person, read a few books & see what take your fancy.

thedicewoman Wed 10-Jul-13 22:43:39

I'd also like to add that I've never done the " baby MUST be sleeping in cot" for every sleep, you have to make it work for you too, my sil never left the bloody house between 12-2 for 2 years just nonsense. I agree with a lot of posters that it may just not suit your baby,I guess I was lucky that it suited then and me, and also that I didn't/ don't let it rule my life, rather it fits in with our lives.

glitch Wed 10-Jul-13 22:44:56

Shhhhhh, we don't talk about swmnbn!!! grin

JethroTull Wed 10-Jul-13 22:59:40

Glitch why? (Seriously, what's occurred in the past?)

Giraffinalaugh Wed 10-Jul-13 23:01:24

God thanks for all of the advice, I'm just finding it a bit overwhelming and confused about what I want at the moment.
I had never really looked into books and after an awful couple of nights picked up the gf book by chance in tescos today in utter desperation for anything.
I can tell by reading it that the rigid routine isn't for me but bits of it do seem like good ideas. I just really can't fathom that if he has had enough to eat and the right amount of stimulation that he will go down on his own in a darkened room after wind down time. How does she mean to do that with babies like mine? Just leaving them to cry? I couldn't this young. Maybe I need to keep reading, or try the baby whisperer, or just trust my instincts if I knew what they were telling me.
I have no judgements against people that do, I just really couldn't co sleep. Trust me, if anyone was going to roll over on to their baby it would be me, I'm clumsy as anything! I've had his Moses basket literally right next to my bed and sometimes I've put it on the floor and slept next to it but it does nothing. I know I'll get through it but I just want to see him happy and content in a way that feels safe for us. It's driving me mad.

DocMarten Wed 10-Jul-13 23:31:52

jeth - have a google all will be revealed

MillionPramMiles Thu 11-Jul-13 09:02:50

I think its no more or less tosh than other baby routine books (eg baby whisperer, No Cry Sleep Solution etc). I'd suggest trying the principles that you think might work for you and see if they suit your baby. If they don't, there are plenty of other books that suggest different approaches to try.

There are no guaranteed, fail safe ways to get a baby to sleep successfully (though most maternity nurses are confidant that if they apply GF to a newborn from day one, it will fall into the routine within a couple of weeks). A lot is down to luck/genes and your baby's personality. So don't kick yourself if something you try doesn't work.

Lots of parents convince themselves that their babies fantastic sleep routine is down to their parenting but it's unlikely that's the case. As many parents of a fantastic sleeper have found out with their second child...

SquidgersMummy Thu 11-Jul-13 09:04:09

Attachment is much more important. Just enjoy these early weeks. You know your baby best and what the best thing is to do. Even when you think you don't. Babies have very little memory capacity so routines are for mums - not babies. Your baby is tiny. It's the 4th trimester. You just need to be close and take each day - and some days each hour - as it comes. Babies that are securely attached with mums who try to tune in and be responsive to their cues grow up confident and with much better developed prefrontal lobes - the clever bits in the brain. For the first months the visual system is very immature and what babies can see and track and understand is limited: I'm surprised they don't cry all day long it must be so strange.

Has GF completed any professionally recognised training in clinical psychology, developmental psychology or paediatric neuropsychology??? I have worked in these setting all my career - never have I passed on - or heard of these routines being passed on by health professionals in these settings.

Enjoy these newborn snuggles. Congratulations xxx

Meringue33 Thu 11-Jul-13 13:37:37

I've read GF and had some useful tips from it. However, regarding the sleep routines, my LO is 6 mo and has only in the last few weeks started going upstairs to sleep at 7pm. He still wakes 1-3 times in the night for a feed/cuddle.

Between around 9 weeks and nearly 6 mo he spent the evenings on my lap feeding and dozing in front of tv (with occasional screaming). He'd sleep in Moses basket from around 11pm-5am (sometimes with a waking).

Before 9 weeks it was just completely mad and unpredictable. IIRC, 6-9 weeks were the toughest so hang in there!

When they are ready to sleep alone, they will. I did try to put him to bed when he was smaller several times but all that would happen is we'd have a miserable time upstairs doing pick up put down when I could have been watching telly and chatting to DP with LO on my lap. He just wasn't ready yet.

I have a friend who still persists with the routines. If her LO is up at 4am and only resettled at 6.45am, she gets up like Gina at 7am. Me in that situation? I go back to bed and we both have a lie in!! No brainer IMO :D

OddSockMonster Thu 11-Jul-13 13:47:22

Instincts are great. That's the one thing I've really learnt when I've looked back in hindsight.

If you want to follow a baby settling method from a book, borrow several from the library and see what suits you and your baby.

Jimmybob Thu 11-Jul-13 21:27:50

What squidgersmummy said...

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