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Giving advice to first time mother on Gina Ford routine and comforting

(121 Posts)
speedymama Mon 25-Jun-07 13:12:07

My friend gave birth 12 days ago to her first baby. She had telephoned me for advice because like with all first time mothers, she wants to do her best.

The first issue is to do with getting the baby into a routine. She is trying to do the GF method but baby is still waking up at night for its feed (when she called me the baby was 8 days old). I told her that she needs to give it time and that it could take several weeks to establish a routine (it took me about 4 months with my twins).

Secondly, the baby is using her breast as a comforter. The baby tries to put her thumb in her mouth but always misses. The mother does not want baby to suck its thumb because she'll have trouble stopping when she is older. I told her that if that is the way the baby will receive its comfort, then let her suck her thumb and help her by putting her thumb in her mouth. DT1 is a thumb sucker and I use to put his thumb in his mouth when he could not do it.

This is the first time I have given advice to a RL new mother and I hope my advice will help her rather than create problems for her in the future. What do you think?

JolieGirl Mon 25-Jun-07 13:16:54

Eh? GF says you SHOULD do night feeds & feed on demand lots at the beginning!!! 12 days is ridiculously early to even be thinking about a routine, GF or otherwise. Again re a comforter a 12 day old baby should use whatever it needs/can, anything it does now aged 12 days old will have NO bearing on anything it will do in the future. The best advice you can give her is to bin the books, use her instinct for the first few weeks, feed plentifully and frequently (both her and the baby), cuddle the baby, have a glass of wine in the evening,get as much sleep as possible and CHILL OUT.

tassis Mon 25-Jun-07 13:19:51

i know plenty of people who have successfully had their babies on a GF type routine but have fed in the night for months.

Gina's thing is to wake them for a feed at 10pm and then (hopefully) they might only wake once more in the night. She doesn't say they'll sleep through at 8 days!!

speedymama Mon 25-Jun-07 13:23:11

She says she is up all night with the baby because it won't sleep or feed but wants to stay latched onto the breast. That's why I thought that the baby is using it as a comforter and is she is trying to suck her thumb, the mother should help her by putting it in her mouth. That way, she can get some rest at night.

I've read the GF book but forgotten much of it. I was under the impression that she could get a baby into the routine by 6 weeks. Am I mistaken?

Blu Mon 25-Jun-07 13:23:57

What is wrong with the baby using the breast for comfort? Especially if she does not wnat to encourage thum-sucking or a dummy (probably doesn't it she is concerned about 'bad habits').
Re-assure that a baby of this age needs time, and she isn't 'failing' because a routine hasn't established yet..once it is old enough to take larger quantities of milk (tell her a newborn has a stomach the size of a walnut), then it will be able to go for longer periods between feeds, but surely at this age, feeding on demand is what's needed? If that frightens her, tell her it changes. Introduce her to Mn!

Blu Mon 25-Jun-07 13:25:14

x-posted. if the baby is wakeful, and it appears is trying to get it;'s thumb in it's mouth, is it actually waking itself up waving it's arms 9they do that!) and would light swaddling help? The one arm in, one arm out technique?

tassis Mon 25-Jun-07 13:26:02

think she does claim baby can be in a routine by 6 weeks (not 8 days!) but don't think she claims they'll be sleeping through, though clearly some do (mine both got there by about 8 months!)

goingfor3 Mon 25-Jun-07 13:26:32

The baby is only 12 dyas old. It's still getting used to it's surroundings. If it's using the breast as comfort it's beacuse the baby needs comforting. Your friend should scrap all ideas of routine and just read herbabies sgns and go with the flow.

tassis Mon 25-Jun-07 13:26:46

was about to suggest swaddling but blu go there first!

speedymama Mon 25-Jun-07 13:27:59

Not familiar with swaddling. My friend said that the baby is doing something with its hands and it appears that she wants to suck her thumb. I'm going to see her on Thursday so I'll have a better idea then.

CatIsSleepy Mon 25-Jun-07 13:29:13

you may be able to get a baby into a feeding/sleeping routine by 6 weeks but doesn't mean that baby will go all night without feeding...a night-feed or feeds could be part
of the routine. if she is breast-feeding it will help keep up her supply to do night feeds too.
it's very early days for your friend anyway- her baby is v. tiny still and needs comfort any way it can get it...i used a dummy sometimes but dd wasn't keen. she discovered her thumb at about 3 months and life became much happier for everyone!

CatIsSleepy Mon 25-Jun-07 13:30:28

oh yes-we swaddled dd too...seemed to help her

Blu Mon 25-Jun-07 13:30:51

Can someone link to a diagram of how to swaddle?

CatIsSleepy Mon 25-Jun-07 13:33:40

no but i had a lovely book called First-time parent which i think showed how to do it.
I was never that great at it- if dd was getting really worked up she would manage to wriggle her arms out of it...
what's that startle reflex called where they throw their arms in the air? she had that really badly and would wake herself up-swaddling was the only way to stop her doing that at the slighest hint of noise...

speedymama Mon 25-Jun-07 13:34:03

Why does swaddling help? I'll mention this to my friend when I see her Thursday. My DTS are 3yo and I did not know about swaddling.

goingfor3 Mon 25-Jun-07 13:35:14

http://parenting.ivillage.com/newborn/ncare/0,,lz_76v6-2,00.html

CatIsSleepy Mon 25-Jun-07 13:36:10

see my last post and Blu's post...
it also seemed to help calm my dd down-made her feel secure perhaps. she would get very upset when tired and scream alot and wave her arms about. swaddling helped stop the thrashing about and she would settle a bit quicker.

Sixofone Mon 25-Jun-07 13:41:12

This thread has me close to tears, it really does, I can't bear anything that tells mothers to push their babies away and deny them comfort. Where is your friend getting the idea from that her baby shouldn't wake for night feeds, or that it is wrong for a 12 day old baby to want the breast for comfort, or that it is wrong for babies to suck their thumbs?

Speedymama, IMO you should tell you friend to LOVE her baby, dump her books, feed the baby when it wants feeding, it is not a robot, and that will be the best advice you ever give her!

speedymama Mon 25-Jun-07 13:44:54

The other thing she is doing is the controlled crying. She left the baby for 1.5 hours and it cried non-stop before she picked her up again. I'm wondering if she has misread the book.

speedymama Mon 25-Jun-07 13:46:39

Thanks for the link Goingfor3. I'll print a copy for her.

Mumpbump Mon 25-Jun-07 13:46:46

GF definitely does envisage night feeds. I seem to remember the text being a bit confusing as it is trying to generalise for all babies. I had a friend who tried GF routines and it took weeks for it to actually kick in. What is important to remember is that very young babies simply don't have large enough stomachs to hold enough food to last them through the night so it is inevitable - unless you're very lucky - that you're going to have to do night feeds for the first couple of months...

Can't comment on the comforting point as we never had this with ds, but we swaddled ds and I think it makes a huge difference. They are used to being snug inside and it recreates that feeling. I would definitely recommend it.

Mumpbump Mon 25-Jun-07 13:48:36

Also, cc is not recommended for babies under 6 months old in the UK. Someone told me it was because they don't recommend leaving a crying baby alone that young because of risk of cot death. There is a modified form of this called controlled comforting - google search for Time to Sleep and you should get an article - which does not involve leaving baby alone...

speedymama Mon 25-Jun-07 13:53:12

Thanks Mumpbump. Even though my DTS are 3yo, I feel like I have forgotten everything to do with babies.

Mumpbump Mon 25-Jun-07 13:55:20

It sounds to me like she's being a little overambitious... Before ds was born, I remember everyone saying that it takes 6 weeks for things to start being more manageable. I found it took until 8 weeks with ds, at which point I figured out his tired signals and he started to nap during the day. Might be worth mentioning to her so that she can adjust her expectations accordingly.

goingfor3 Mon 25-Jun-07 13:55:59

I'm shocked she left her baby to cry for 1 1/2 hours! I couldn't let mine cry for more than five minutes! Babies can't be spoilt before six months, they cry for things they need. As someone said your friend needs to throw away the books and love her baby.

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