Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

Adapting Gina Ford for a formula fed baby

(42 Posts)
TurtleAnn Mon 01-Jun-09 19:33:21

Has anyone tried to adapt the 'Contented Little Baby' routines for formula fed babies successfully?
I am following the advice on P63 about formula amounts and using the 'routines for breast-feeding' but as bottle feeding takes a lot less time than breast feeding I am finding that my 6-week old has completed the awake time early. For example, the bedtime wind down says, wake up at 5pm, bath by 5.30, feed at 6pm, bed by 7pm. Well, I can do the wake up at 5 and bath at 5.30, but it takes 10 minutes to feed at 6pm, so the latest he is in bed and asleep is 6.20 (I have a sleepy baby who is easy to settle and was very difficult to wake for feeds).
Did you:
1. adjust the activity times to include extra play before the bath
2. just put your baby to bed early
3. have wind down play after the feed and extend the bedtime routine (if so how do you plan to reduce the routine from 1 hour as your baby grows into a toddler?)
All advice welcome...
Why is there no advice for formula fed babies and routines?

skramble Mon 01-Jun-09 19:34:00

Are you new to this site?

rubyslippers Mon 01-Jun-09 19:34:45

just put your little one to bed when they are sleepy smile

ignore the timings and follow your LO's cues

a 6 week old does not need play time before a bath

CurryMaid Mon 01-Jun-09 19:37:08

I thought Gina Ford was aimed at formula fed babies anyway?

There is no way on god's earth that her routines could fit with true demand breastfeeding of a newborn.

nickytwotimes Mon 01-Jun-09 19:39:23

Yep, if you followed GF's routines for a breast fed baby, youur milk would dry up in days. and your baby would sob 24 hrs of the day from hunger.

Find your own routine together. I love routine, but found GF far too restrictive.

skramble Mon 01-Jun-09 19:39:43

I think my Breast fed DS read Gina Ford books in the womb, it was the perfect little content baby, it can work sometimes grin.

LittleMissNorty Mon 01-Jun-09 19:49:34

Just adjust the routine to suit you and your baby. IME if you get feeding times sorted (say 3, 7, 11 routine) the rest will fall into place. By 3 months they will mostly adjust their sleep / activity to fit in.

Having said that, my 17 week old feeds 3 hourly during the day and goes for 12 hours without a feed at night! He has playing / activity for an hour of so then he zonks out.....2 shorter naps morning and afternoon and one 2 hour nap around the middle of the day.


misshardbroom Mon 01-Jun-09 20:07:55

Put the book down.

Go and cuddle your baby.

Trust your own gut feel and judgement about finding a way that works in your home, for your baby.

Peaches174 Mon 01-Jun-09 21:16:31

maybe what the op feels is instinctively appropriate for her baby is a set routine? Demand bf and the looser structure that comes with is not for everyone and that's ok too!

TurtleAnn Mon 01-Jun-09 21:35:34

Yes, I am new to this site.
Thanks for the support from those who gave support and advice.
My 6-week old seemed to really like the 1:1 play session and I am finding the wider GF advice of 2-hour awake zones, followed by swaddled sleep has led to my baby having the most restful sleep since he was born and much less stressful feeds. But I am finding he doesn't want to play for 2 hours (quite rightly so, who would want me 1:1 in their face for more than 1 hour at a time ).
The 4-hour thing just didn't work because Bubba kept waking up after 3 hours not 4, leading to over-feeding of formula and obsessive routine keeping on my part. GF is way more flexible.

And in answer to the 'drop the routine', 'who needs advice anyway', 'breast is best' crowd - read my blog to see why I am asking for support and after considering how you would feel if you knew a mother whose child had a routine brain scan following a 3-day hospital stay, you will be qualified to provide the 'do what comes naturally' advice ad hoc.

Oh, and GF is exclusively for breast-fed babies, she only provides 2 pages in the whole book on formula.

bloominnorah Mon 01-Jun-09 21:44:01

I tried to follow the book and had the same prob as you when DS got to 6 weeks.

I liked the idea of a structured routine but found that he was sleeping for 6.30pm after his formula and I then couldn't wake him for the 10pm feed.

Because he was too tired, he slept right through that feed and didn't wake till 3.30am for his next feed.

I decided to abandon GF and changed his feed times to every 4 hours with the last one being 8pm. This meant he was in bed for half 8 and didn't wake up for his next feed till half 5 in the morning - which was bliss at the time!

He is now 29 months and still has a strong routine. (not to everyone's taste but works for us) HTH

LynetteScavo Mon 01-Jun-09 21:49:28

The original GF books only advised on F' Feeding. I think they were changed to fit in with "breast is best".

I've no idea where you'd get hold of an old book, though.

LynetteScavo Mon 01-Jun-09 21:55:31

Ok, YOur baby should be in be NO LATER tha 7pm - or s/he will become over tired, so just put your baby to bed at

TurtleAnn Mon 01-Jun-09 22:08:43

Thanks, I think Oxfam have a copy of the original book, I will swing by tomorrow and see if they still have it.
I agree with the 'no later than 7pm' theory, but if I pop him into bed at 6.20, having woken him at 5, he will wake naturally before 10.30 and then before 2.30 in the middle of the night.
It is all so much fun adapting and working out the routine for my little bundle of joy, of course it will all change in 2 weeks when he knocks the 5am feed on the head (that's the plan anyway)...
I have to say in support of GF, that at 6-weeks, this is the first parenting I have enjoyed, I really do feel like I am making time for my child and bonding.

nannynz Mon 01-Jun-09 22:17:36

I'm a maternity nurse and have a slightly different bedtime routine.

So 5pm awake and playing, quite often I'm cooking dinner so baby will sit in bouncy chair and play or I'll we'll sing/play etc. Then bath/massage at 6ish trying to extend the time for half an hour if baby happy. Then bottle at 6.30pm sometimes stopping half way for a book read or song, and baby will be in bed around 7pm.

This is something I aim for around 3 month, some babies have done this from two weeks and others it's taken 3 months to get them to do the routine.

I always try to find the balance between routine and flexibility, all the parents I work with are happy with this. Good luck you sound like you're doing great.

misshardbroom Mon 01-Jun-09 22:48:50

Sorry... but my post was intended to be supportive.

And for what it's worth, I'm the very last person who would bang the 'breast is best' drum because it really didn't work for me.

All I was trying to say was that, in my humble opinion, (and not inconsiderable experience) slavish following of a routine in a book can be demoralising and knock your confidence in your own judgement.

I'm not saying don't have a routine, I'm suggesting that you should find one that suits you and suits your baby.

TurtleAnn Tue 02-Jun-09 09:06:46

Thanks, I like the idea of awake and playing and moving the bath to 6pm. I too am using cooking dinner (to radio gold) to play with my baby. I have just had a lovely 2 hour awake time playing, watching the washing machine, watching Mummy wash up the breakfast dishes and sing (even though she doesn't know the words!) and kicking nappy free on the changing table while Mummy puts the clean clothes in Bubba's wardrobe.

Thanks again, I know you are all trying to be supportive and I also know that e-mail advice never sounds supportive because it is written words and not softly spoken advice in a concerned voice. At the end of the day, thats why I joined Mumsnet, to get a variety of opinions from other Mums who see the world differently to me.

CurryMaid Tue 02-Jun-09 09:08:37

How can GF be exclusively for b/f babies if she provides two pages on ff? hmm

QuintessentialShadow Tue 02-Jun-09 09:20:11

I think following this routine could be very hard.

Bearing in mind that Miss Ford was a nanny and used her experience as a nanny, and not a mother, to develop her routine, it might be hard to realistically fit in anything else than babycare. I have had several friends who has complained about their own inadequasy a few months down the line as they cant seem to fit LIFE and motherhood, and running a house, into the routine. One blames her severe pnd on tryign so hard to use the routine.

Meglet Tue 02-Jun-09 09:26:51

turtle I'd go for more playing too. The days are so light at the moment it seems crazy to put a baby to bed so early. I did GF too and it suited me and ds.

TurtleAnn Tue 02-Jun-09 13:04:04

I agree, playing with Bubba is hugely important. I am spending a good portion of the 'awake time' 1:1 using baby sign, and employing all of the 'talk to your baby' games for newborns (see RCSLT website). But I am finding the the flexibility of GF in allowing Bubba to part of the daily routines quite agreeable, so long as he is a part of them (being talked to and shown things) and not an outside observer just watching from the bouncy chair.

I was surprised by the GF book too, the 2 pages on formula are really basic and don't go into much detail at all. I expected more information to answer my questions like; Is it ok to over feed? How guided are the guided daily amounts printed on the boxes? How strict is the advised 4 hour schedule on the packet? When do you swap to 'hungrier baby' and how do you tell if your baby is really 'hungrier' or just growing? Can over feeding do damage to Bubba? These might seem like naff questions to more experienced Mum's, but to me, just coming out of 6-weeks of feeding hell, these are crucial questions that I don't want to get the answers wrong to and GF doesn't answer any of them. Neither do the NHS. I can't be too scathing about the NHS as they are also my previous employer (prior to Bubba), but I really had expected more support in formula feeding than I am getting from them.

I think everyone is different, if you had asked me last week, I would have been on the verge of ringing the GP to get prozac for post-natal depression (or whatever the buzz drug is these days). But GF is making me feel like I am on top of things, doing the right thing for Bubba and allowing some quality time for myself, i which I am allowed to eat, take a shower and perhaps have a quick chat to my husband without worrying that I am neglecting Bubba. But that is also down to Bubba, he is still a sleepy baby who benefits from being woken for feeds so getting him to sleep in the GF routine is a piece of cake, getting him to stay awake in the GF routine requires some work.

Finally, the GF routine advises Bubba sleeps in his buggy/ elsewhere than his cot during the day so I am still able to go out every day and meet friends for coffee, which has been my fighting pnd strategy up to now. And yes, I mean every day, I really was blue there for a while.

Meglet Tue 02-Jun-09 13:49:48

Glad you're feeling more on top of things now, I was the same, crappy first few weeks with ds then I felt happier with a rountine. I did stick to the feeding guideline measurements on the formula packet, although some feeds were closer together because of gf. As long as your ds is thriving then best to stick to the packet guidelines. I think we went to hungry baby at 4/5 months.

CurryMaid Tue 02-Jun-09 17:05:46

TurtleAnn, all those questions you haven't had answers for from Gina Ford or the NHS can be answered right here on mumsnet.

Have you seen the breast and bottlefeeding section? There is so much good advice on here don't worry if you can't get it from a book smile

Ellle Tue 02-Jun-09 18:23:36

TurtleAnn, just read your blog. I can’t believe everything you went through, I’m glad you and Bubba have sorted the feeding problems now and it’s all in the past.

My baby is exclusively bottle-fed at the moment, and I used mixed feeding until he was 3 months. I got one of the GF books to get some idea of how a routine looked like (how many feedings, how much per bottle, playing time, sleeping time, etc).
I only used it as a starting point and just created our own routine.
At 6 weeks my son was having 5 bottles (5-6 oz each) every 4 hours, and a total of 780ml per day (26 oz). This has now changed (he is 17 wks), and he still has 5 bottles but only during the day since he dropped the 4am feed, and the intervals between them are 3 hours.

My son also drinks the bottle very quickly, so the extra time can be filled with more playtime if your baby is up to it, or if he gets tired after an hour or so then he is ready for his nap. I don’t follow exact times for play or naps, I take the lead on what my son is feeling like doing at the time.

So just do little changes into the routine and see how they work until you find the best routine that suits you both.

southeastastra Tue 02-Jun-09 18:35:51

is your baby really called bubba? grin

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: