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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.

laracroft2001 Mon 01-Oct-12 09:15:05

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.

ElphabaTheGreen Mon 01-Oct-12 09:43:24

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

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