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Gina Ford

(22 Posts)
Amanda3266 Mon 10-Jan-05 13:43:57

Well, having seen the 300+ reviews for Gina's "Contented Little Baby Book" on Amazon (all either loving or hating her with a passion). Just thought I'd ask....

Did you use her methods?
Did they work for you?

I was given the book during pregnancy and thought it looked good. However, when ds arrived I just couldn't cope with it at all. DS had reflux which meant feeding little and often if he was to keep it down so the feeding routine was first thing out of the window. Then due to the reflux he was often uncomfortable on going to bed - the sleep routine went rapidly the way of the feeding one.
Now I just feel I shouldn't have worried so much and actually think Gina's book contributed to my anxiety as every moment of the day I was thinking "Gina's routine says I should be doing this now.....".
How sad and twisted is that?

What do other people think here?

PicadillyCircus Mon 10-Jan-05 13:48:01

I was pretty much like you - felt I "should" be doing things and it took a while to out of that feeling.

Was very happy the day I threw that annoying book away .

But happy to accept that other people and babies find the book very useful.

(By the way, you may be opening a Mumsnet can of worms here as I think there may be strong views held )

Amanda3266 Mon 10-Jan-05 13:50:19

Yep! Like you I feel that if it works then go for it - if it doesn't try something else.
Wouldn't condemn anyone who finds that the routines are a lifesaver.

serenity Mon 10-Jan-05 13:51:14

OK, this could turn into a nice civilised GF thread, but.........

I can see why some people might find her routines comforting, as having a baby can turn your world just a little chaotic, but it's not for me. I worry it puts too much pressure on people to conform to an ideal that might not necessarily suit your child. However I'm still BFing at 14 mths with a child who refuses the bottle and who won't sleep through so I'm not exactly an advocate for child led parenting!! DD and me are very happy though which is what is important IMO

Pagan Mon 10-Jan-05 13:52:58

Never read any books so never felt anxious if I was doing the right or wrong thing. Took the view that women have been having babies for 1000s of years and you do what is right for you. Mother knows Best and remember you are the mother!

Amanda3266 Mon 10-Jan-05 13:53:11

Hope this stays civilised - it was Amazon that got me thinking as some of the reviews there are vicious. I'm very much into doing what works and makes parent(s) and child happy.

Beansmum Mon 10-Jan-05 13:53:29

I bought the book, read it during pregnancy and thought I might use it as I didn't have a clue about babies.

But ds found his own routine quite quickly and to be honest I couldn't be bothered with someone telling me when to wake up, when to eat, when to play with my son. Also I seem to remember she suggested waking the baby at the same time each morning. there is no way I would wake a sleeping baby at any time of day, and especially not at 7am!

ds now (7.5months) sleeps 8am-8pm and feeds at pretty fixed times, although he doesn't really mind waiting a bit or eating a bit earlier if I need him too.

Beansmum Mon 10-Jan-05 13:54:22

sleeps 8pm-8am obviously!

Amanda3266 Mon 10-Jan-05 13:55:07

Pagan's post got me thinking that yes - women have been mothers for 1000s of years. However, all of a sudden we seem to be in a time where we undermine their confidence in their abilities. Wonder why that is? That's a whole other subject though.
God this MN thing is addictive.

Chandra Mon 10-Jan-05 14:07:21

For us it was a blessing though I understand that some people can hate it. I don't have any family or friends with children around me (except mumsnet, of course but I found it long after the routines had been established ) so to have "somebody" to tell me what I can expect of the baby at anytime of the day made the thigs really easy (it was a matter of watching the clock just to know the reason of DS's cries; sure, there were other kind of cries other than for food or sleep, but we had not much problem in identifying them).

The fact that the baby was in a routine has and still help us to keep his eczema controlled (it flares when he goes out of routine), to organise the day and to plan for non-baby activities ( I would have found it impossible to do a MA during DS's first year if I had not had the certainity that from the time he went to sleep at night I had several hours that were trully mine). But to have a very regular structure of feeds also helped us to realise when something was wrong during his reflux time.

He is a very happy boy, no harm done.

bottle Mon 10-Jan-05 14:09:14

i used it as had to go out every evening from when ds was six weeks and sit exams etc... so it really helped that he had a routineish and i got some sleep, didn't do cc only imposed upon him by waking him for feeds but me v eclectic and able to take from instincts and all manner of advice re babies but if you take it too literally potentially upsetting which i have heard of - have to say keep my head down re gf a lot as it tends to cause big reactions in people - it really helped me and dh and would recommend it if you can take it and the tone with a pinch of salt - dh would sometimes read it out in mock serious way it used to amuse us anyway

Amanda3266 Mon 10-Jan-05 14:13:21

Interestingly, although I "broke" just about all of Gina's "rules", ds sleeps like an angel from 6.30pm -7.30am next morning. (No I don't know how I've been blessed with such a child either).

cat82 Mon 10-Jan-05 14:17:14

Absolutly swear by her methods. Dd started on it when she was around 3-4 weeks old. Loosly at first. Gradualy we became stricter with feeding times, we did the bed time routine from day one, and eventualy we tried to stick to sleep time as much as possible.
She's been sleeping 12- 12.5 hours (7.00pm-7.00am) since she was 2.5 months old.

It is easy to become "obsessed" with having to do stuff at certain times, but you can make it more flexible, dd is 7.5 months now, still sleeps for 12.5 hours a night, but don't panic if she's 10 minutes late for a feed, or hasn't gone to bed dead on 12.30 for her nap time at lunch. In fact at weekends if we're going out we try not to worry at all, she sleeps in her pushchair.
I totaly understand why you think it contributed to your anxiety! The key is to relax with it, use it as a rough guidline. It really, really, really did work for us but i've not met loads of people it has also worked for tbh. I do think it depends on the baby as well, it's not going to suit all of them.


marialuisa Mon 10-Jan-05 14:18:50

Kind of did, as in got her up at 7am and got her to bed at 7 pm, but didn't do the black-out blinds, day sleeps in a cot etc. Discovered she didn't need a 10.30 feed to sleep through and she did her 12 hours a night from 5 weeks.

I started my finals when DD was 6 weeks old and don't have the personality to accept "i've got a new baby my life is chaos" thing so it was nice to read something that acknowledged that it was ok to feel as I did.

wordsmith Mon 10-Jan-05 14:28:14

Amanda, i agree with you totally. I bought tclb book when ds1 was about 4months old cos it had rave reviews. I wasn't having any particular problems, but you know what it's like, with your first child and no experience of nephews/neices you imagine that there must be some "correct" way of doing things, and it seems comforting when someone professes to have all the answers. But like you it just increased my anxiety levels that ds1 wasn't behaving exactly as gf said he would. She tends to infer that her way is the only way that works, when in fact it's just one of the ways. For example I think it's very inflexible if you have to go to work, plus when you have another baby, just try implementing her routines with a 4 year old to look after too! "No darling you can't go to so-and-so's party because gina says ds2 should be sleeping now!" It also assumes child no 2 will come along when no 1 is about 18 months/2 years, and I don't know about you but I was still in denial about ever having another one at that stage! Older children aren't as compliant as the gf toddlers!

There's nothing wrong with her techniques per se - I found controlled crying useful, and the advice about blackout blinds and sleeping bags was spot on - but most 'manuals' will tell you that without the smug, know-it-all tone. It's interesting that the mothers who tell me that their child follows gf to the letter and is a wonderful sleeper/eater/everything, only have one child so far!

(PS one of those fairly glowing amazon reviews is mine - around October 2000 I reckon - but I have changed my mind since having another, very different, child!

bluemoon Mon 10-Jan-05 14:30:42

I read GF when pregnant and it was all too much to take in. When dd was born I kind of 'went with the flow' and she was a pretty good sleeper fairly early on although a few things from the GF book did filter through like trying to encourage them to take all their milk in the day and remembering they are tired after being awake for a very short time when a newborn. Around the 3 month mark I did start to want a more predictable routine, not just so I knew what I was doing but also because I didn't think dd slept enough in the day and she was cranky well before bedtime. So I re-read some GF and like before found some very useful points. From what I've gathered here that's what most people have found with the book, that it's hard / undesirable to stick to her routines completely but she offers some very practical advice that no-one else does.

I'd like to have been one of the 'women raising babies for 1000s of years' types but I just always felt rather 'at sea' and unconfident and it was useful to have something to refer to when I knew things were going a bit wrong but didn't know how to remedy the problem.

wordsmith Mon 10-Jan-05 14:31:43

Also meant to add that gf doesn't have any children of her own. I'm sure she's a superb maternity nurse but she doesn't live with these families full time, permanently! Real life is occasionally different to the theoretical version.

Blu Mon 10-Jan-05 14:51:26

Having observed from a safe distance (tongue in cheek icon)the lives of GF-routiners and seen it form a secure bedrock to their lives - or indeed save their sanity, whilst also feeling a strong 'anti' reaction to almost everything about it for myself, I think a lot of whether it is right for you or not comes down to you, your personality, your lifestyle, your particular strengths and approaches to things.

And that's exactly how parenthood should be

wordsmith Mon 10-Jan-05 14:53:37

Blu, that's exactly what I meant to say. Only shorter and more to the point.

louisse28 Mon 10-Jan-05 19:20:16

Gina Ford works for some people and not others. My friend stuck to her routines rigidly, especially with regards to the 7-7 routine. Maybe this is why her son is such an angel with sleeping and mine is a monster. I personally found it really hard forcing my son to have naps at certain times, while also having to wake him up when he was 'zonked out'. It seemed quite harsh. In saying that her theory on always starting the day at the same time, i.e 7 really works as my son is usually asleep by seven pm. I think you take from her book what you need, but shouldn't feel restricted by it.

chocolatecath Mon 10-Jan-05 21:14:19

Like others have said, I think Gina's book is a useful guideline for some things, eg sleep times (although a lot of this is common sense), and you can take what you like from it and leave the rest. But I also strongly disagree with some of the things in the book, eg the breastfeeding advice. I believe that Gina values routine above breastfeeding and I also think that if you restrict the feeds to the number she suggests in the first few weeks your breastfeeding will fail. If your baby is hungry, feed her and forget the routine. Also, ignore all the remarks she makes about an inadequate milk supply. Only a tiny percentage of mums are genuinely unable to provide enough milk for their babies. As long as you are feeding the baby as often as she wants, for as long as she wants, you will be ok. I suspect Gina's mums only have an "inadequate supply" because they have stuck so rigidly to the routine and not fed their babies often enough that their supply has diminished as a result. Aim to feed your baby 8-12 times a day at first and remember it takes 6-8 weeks to establish a milk supply. Things will settle down after that. And there are lots of breastfeeding sites that offer support and breastfeeding support groups in real life too. Hope that helps. I wanted to warn you because my b/feeding went wrong with my first baby (before I got Gina's book) and I now know a reasonable amount about it. Best of luck, hope all goes well for you and the baby.

janeybops Mon 10-Jan-05 21:21:29

I followed it loosely with my first, mainly because I lacked confidence and experience of babies. DD was sleeping through the night early though - 5 weeks I seem to remmember. I also had loads of milk so no probs there either.

One bit which I think is excellent advice is about the black out blinds and putting them to sleep in the dark even in the day.

However with ds I found it imposssible to stick to s I had dd to consider too. He was fed on demand pretty much - but he was much later at sleepign througn the night!

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