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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?

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?

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