Starting (gasp) … Gina Ford routine?

(57 Posts)
Mamaofaboy Thu 14-Oct-21 11:11:39

My 20 week old DS is in need and ready for a better routine.

Baby led naps are a nightmare - he will have 30 mins maximum at a time and scream holy murder and he’s constantly overtired. I try to feed him (EBF) every 3 hours ish but he doesn’t really show signs of hunger, he’s just
more tired than anything else.

I’ve read the CLB book and thinking of starting him on weeks 8-12 (which I can’t ever imagine an 8-12 week old doing 😱) as that’s closest to what we are currently doing.

I’m not sure how I feel about some methods - avoiding eye contact, advice on when to eat and drink etc 🙄🙄🙄 BUT I do think her routines seem somewhat sensible when taken with a pinch of salt, and I’m willing to give the assistance to sleep method a try for a while to lengthen sleeping.

Any late starters of GF stories or any tips are most welcome!

OP’s posts: |
Somethingsnappy Thu 14-Oct-21 13:47:02

I haven't got any advice, as I'm not a fan, so just bumping for you really. But also a (kind of) lighthearted warning. GF is usually referred to on mumsnet as 'she who must not be named', as I think she has threatened mumsnet (or perhaps not only threatened - I can't remember) with legal action in the past, as she felt her 'good' name was being besmirched shockgrin

Bumblebee1223 Thu 14-Oct-21 13:57:09

With DD my first baby. I breastfed her to sleep and snuggled her on the sofa all day. Or got into bed and fed on my side so she’d nap for longer. It was so lovely, and I would have done it again.

Except now I have twins. I don’t force them into a routine, but if they get overtired I do encourage the cot. So sleeping bag, white noise, a dark room and a dummy. They are formula fed though so self settling is easier. I think that’s what GF is about but I am relaxed too as I love it when they nap on me during the day.

Could overtiredness be because of a CMPA? I just had to put one twin on special formula as he couldn’t sleep due to the tummy pain. DD had this also and I had to give up dairy.

Mamaofaboy Thu 14-Oct-21 13:59:32

Thanks @Somethingsnappy - I know some of her methods are very controversial and hated by some of the MN community! I disagree with some of her methods, “crying down” for instance isn’t something we’re going to start but after actually reading the book thoroughly I have to admit some things make alot of sense and I agree with much of it.

I wouldn’t recommend reading while pregnant or even trying with a newborn but at 4.5 months we’re ready for a better routine and a happier, less knackered baby!

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Somethingsnappy Thu 14-Oct-21 14:05:59

Yes, admittedly her routines may be much better for older babies, especially as you're clearly going to adjust them to suit you and your babies' needs. I just never really got as far as that as I looked at one of her books when my baby was newborn. I think I may have thrown it out the window wink.

Also, if your baby seems over tired a lot, then working on his sleep should certainly help!

Somethingsnappy Thu 14-Oct-21 14:07:29

Baby's needs. Sorry, just the one baby I see!

Mamaofaboy Thu 14-Oct-21 14:08:00

@Bumblebee1223 I think alot of people have a conception that GF says you must put your baby down and let them scream themselves to sleep, but that’s really not the case.

Im taking from the book that it’s about using a routine to anticipate when they will be due a good feed rather than lots of little snacks, and recognising when to get them to sleep to avoid the overtiredness. Doing these things at a consistent time should set a natural rhythm - or so I hope!

Definitely doesn’t state no cuddles or love - I’m currently sitting with my DS asleep on my arm and have been for the last two hours to help him “learn” to nap at noon-ish for a long sleep. When he gets the hang, I’ll start putting him down as the book recommends in the Assisted Sleep Method.

No signs of a CMPA, I think he’s just used to lots of cat naps as we’re usually out and about a lot so he grabs what he can when he can. Trying to reset this habit!

Congratulations on your twins, I’m in awe of any Mum that manages with more than one 😂

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Mamaofaboy Thu 14-Oct-21 14:11:29

@Somethingsnappy I think I can wholeheartedly agree I would have done the same with the book and a newborn!

I do think the reason she gets such a bad rep though, the book goes in the bin before reading much of it properly!

OP’s posts: |
inappropriateraspberry Thu 14-Oct-21 14:15:28

I did it at around 6 months, the routine really helped. Just remember that you can be flexible with it when needed! Nothing worse than parents who 'can't' do anything because baby has to sleep, eat etc.
Also did the crying thing as we were really struggling. It takes time and perseverance but does work. It seems awful because 2 mins of crying can feel like 2 hours when you're sat listening to it!

black2black Thu 14-Oct-21 14:21:57

What works for my 5m old is watching for his tired cues- going still and quiet, rubbing his eyes - then putting him in his crib in his sleeping bag with his dummy in. He falls asleep instantly. It’s the dummy. It’s like magic how it sends him to sleep. He has all his naps in his crib in our room unless we’re out.

minipie Thu 14-Oct-21 14:38:43

If your DC is used to being fed or held for naps then I don’t think GF will make a huge difference starting at 20 weeks without some kind of sleep training. Part of the reason GF works (for some babies…) is because it avoids ever feeding/rocking/cuddling to sleep. If your DS is already in a feed to sleep habit then just changing routine isn’t going to change this.

It’s still useful in terms of spacing feeds and how much overall sleep but I wouldn’t be expecting it to magically help his short naps into long ones or stop night waking if you aren’t also tackling the sleep association.

PersonaNonGarter Thu 14-Oct-21 14:39:35

She saved my sanity. Definitely do it.

Enterifyoudare Thu 14-Oct-21 14:43:30

My DC was the same as yours. I tried to implement her routine. I lasted a week before I gave up and accepted DS was a cat napper. I didn't push it because he slept through at night and I wasn't prepared to lose 8 hours uninterrupted sleep for having an hour to myself in the day.

The theory is great, the reality is every baby is different.

ChequerBoard Thu 14-Oct-21 14:52:37

I used GF very loosely, I'm quite a structured person and needed some semblance of a routine with both my DC.

As long as you don't get sucked into following GF (or anything else) down to the minute and adapt it to suit you and your baby.

My DC were very different, one loved to nap and one didn't etc. so we tailored the basic structure to meet their needs.

Mine are 18 and 14 now - both happy and healthy, so no lasting damage from being routine based babies.

Bumblebee1223 Thu 14-Oct-21 14:58:08

You’d be surprised but you really do adapt with twins! You discover you have this superhuman multi tasking ability that you didn’t know existed. grin

Yeah agree about the sleep association thing. One of the reasons I’m not overall strict with twins is that I will always cuddle them to sleep if they are upset. Which I don’t think is very GF. Instead, I’m gently encouraging cot naps. So I will put them down, stroke their head, but if they wake and need me I won’t hesitate to cuddle them back to sleep.

It definitely works for some people. But I know when I attempted it with my first, that you never get this time back and before you know it they’re on to the next stage, sleeping longer and have grown out of it anyway without you even doing much.

DebbieHarrysCheekbones Thu 14-Oct-21 14:59:40

She doesn’t have children
For some people that is enough not to follow her “advice”
Some might say that’s the reason she’s able to be a project manager is she’s never felt torn and guilty as well as totally sleep deprived yet completely besotted with the source of it all.

Her approach isn’t for me but that’s not to say I can’t see the appeal in the end result: just the journey to get there less so.

Bumblebee1223 Thu 14-Oct-21 15:07:54

Out of interest has anyone successfully done GF with a breastfed baby?

I could imagine in working with my FF twins but no way I would have been able to do it with DD due to feeding to sleep, Bf on demand etc. it’s been a while since I read the book but from what I remember you feed on waking?

sar302 Thu 14-Oct-21 15:08:47

I was very routine led, but I seem to remember - although it was a few years ago now - that after reading around, the GF method did not line up with most universally agreed nap lengths, quantity of naps or windows of wakefulness. Her recommendations were for shorter naps and longer hours between them than most people recommend - leaving you with an overtired baby.

Not what you asked! But I can recommend the wee bee dreaming nap schedules. Apart from some molar teething episodes (hell!) our DS slept (in his cot) through the night at 6 months, napped like clockwork and still (will be 4 yrs old in two months) has a short nap most days. Although this is definitely tailing off now.

Definite yes to routine - I think it helped all of us - but I'd look further than GF.

(Usual disclaimer, all babies are different...)

Stretchandsnap Thu 14-Oct-21 15:13:26

I have never understood the issue with GF on Mumsnet. I used her book for both my DDs and applied the 80/20 rule to it all. At no point did my daughters ever get left to cry, or go hungry and if it all went tits up then we just muddled through and started again the next day.
I am a very structured person and it suited me and clearly suited my DDs too, as they were happy babies, toddlers and now stroppy pre-teens grin

Stretchandsnap Thu 14-Oct-21 15:15:31

@Bumblebee1223 I breastfed both of mine to 7 months ish if that helps

didihearthatright123456 Thu 14-Oct-21 15:22:41

I used GF with my now 2.5 year old twins. It was absolutely critical for me to have a routine just for me to get through the next day. I didn't follow it strictly but instead I used key markers during the day, sleep, nap, play, bath etc and quite honestly it saved my sanity. My girls go to bed, they can spend 30-40 minutes singing to themselves, talking to themselves but ultimately they go to bed well and don't need us to settle them.

For the PP questioning about Breast Feeding, I agree I don't think the schedule works as well for BF, my twins were formula as they were on the premature baby milk until they were 12 months

didihearthatright123456 Thu 14-Oct-21 15:28:26

Bumblebee1223

You’d be surprised but you really do adapt with twins! You discover you have this superhuman multi tasking ability that you didn’t know existed. grin

Yeah agree about the sleep association thing. One of the reasons I’m not overall strict with twins is that I will always cuddle them to sleep if they are upset. Which I don’t think is very GF. Instead, I’m gently encouraging cot naps. So I will put them down, stroke their head, but if they wake and need me I won’t hesitate to cuddle them back to sleep.

It definitely works for some people. But I know when I attempted it with my first, that you never get this time back and before you know it they’re on to the next stage, sleeping longer and have grown out of it anyway without you even doing much.

Fellow twin mum here, and totally agree and good cuddle can work wonders, one of my girls is still struggling with teething at 2.5, if she's struggling to drop off a 10 minute cuddle is lovely for both of us and totally settles her down. I'm taking the cuddles whenever I get them at the moment lol

bowlingalleyblues Thu 14-Oct-21 15:39:10

DebbieHarrysCheekbones

She doesn’t have children
For some people that is enough not to follow her “advice”
Some might say that’s the reason she’s able to be a project manager is she’s never felt torn and guilty as well as totally sleep deprived yet completely besotted with the source of it all.

Her approach isn’t for me but that’s not to say I can’t see the appeal in the end result: just the journey to get there less so.

I agree with this. I ended up concluding that the routines would be brilliant if I were a nanny, but didn’t work for me as a parent where every day was different and I was working, going to medical appointments and having a social life. I did have a routine, but it was dictated by the stage my baby was at and while I did force a couple of things through like stopping night feeding, generally changing the routine only worked when they were ready.

Bumblebee1223 Thu 14-Oct-21 15:43:36

@didihearthatright123456 love hearing from other twin Mums! I was lucky they were born at 37 weeks, but I never really established breastfeeding and stopped at 6 weeks. I do like that formula can give a routine (plus they take dummies!), I agree with the feed/ play/ sleep. I cuddled my first on the sofa all day, so I’ve had to adapt this time but it does feel amazing when I get them to both nap at the same time! We even have a bed time already (they are 12 weeks) which we never had before but it is nice to have some peace!

I think it’s because DD is 3 now and says she’s a big girl and wants to sleep in her own bed! Makes you realise how quickly the time passes. smile

I’m trying to make the most of every stage this time around! Teething toddler twins must be so challenging! One thing at a time haha.

CharlieandLolaCat Thu 14-Oct-21 15:43:52

I LOVE Gina. I need routine and my EBF child (to 6 months) was a Gina baby. I didn't follow it religiously in so far as I moved routines when I needed and I would go out and about for naps etc but he self settled and was a contented baby and I had time to myself in the evenings. What's not to love!

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