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Gina Ford routine - does it work?

(78 Posts)
veronika17Oct Mon 10-Nov-08 17:27:52

Has anyone tried Gina Ford routines (Contented Little Baby Book) on a very small baby and did it work? Mine is almost 4 weeks, am I starting too early? hmm

theSuburbanDryad Mon 10-Nov-08 17:30:30



Have a read of No Cry Sleep Solution instead.

theSuburbanDryad Mon 10-Nov-08 17:34:20

Here you go. You won't see results as quickly but you'll be much more flexible because it's not such a strict routine. It's more about teaching sleep cues and good sleeping habits which you can then build a routine around, whilst being led by the baby, rather than imposing a strict regime on a tiny baby.

4 weeks is far far far too early for Gina Ford - I think even she recommends not using her routines before 6 months.

minkybetty Mon 10-Nov-08 17:34:59

4 weeks too early...
my DD interestingly got herself into a routine all on her own which interestingly was very similar to the GF routine, so our babies are clever little things and could teach us a thing or 2. Also, I would forget all that "6.01am time to get up" "6.05 baby must be dressed and sitting on playmat" etc.... I found it very stressful.
I agree No Cry Sleep Solution much better.

shubiedoo Mon 10-Nov-08 17:45:07

Don't mention the war shock

jujumaman Mon 10-Nov-08 18:01:39

hee hee

You do know GF is "banned" on here?

But, in answer to your question. I know from my own experience -if you have a good little baby who likes sleeping anyway, it works well, as will any routine.

If you don't, it doesn't, as I know from my second child.

Follow it in the loosest possible sense and NEVER get down if your baby's not doing what Gina says. Also if you're bfing remember Gina says the routines will only work if you express insanely all day long (like when and how would you find the time?). Your baby will have a growth spurt around five weeks and there is no way he or she'll be happy with feeds at the times Gina says, will need them much more frequently. Much better just to feed them at least every 3 hours in the day, more if they want it and let them sleep as long as they want after, say, 10pm. And do whatever it takes to let them sleep, rocking, sling etc. Good luck.

theSuburbanDryad Mon 10-Nov-08 18:04:59

Gina Ford isn't banned on here, juju. hmm

hopefully Mon 10-Nov-08 18:09:59

I agree with juju - I have a big, healthy, usually agreeable baby, and we can loosely follow Gina with no real problems (he can easily cope with going 3 hours between feeds, and has done since 4 weeks old).

However, during a growth spurt I had to abandon for a day or two, and if he has a crap night things go a bit awry. During those times I just try to start the day at 7, finish it at 7 and feed roughly 3 hourly in between.

Have you tried the baby whisperer? Still routine, but far more flexible, and with some sensible suggestions about getting a baby to sleep other than Gina's fantastically optimistic, 'swaddle baby in the dark and close the door' (or words to that effect). Lovely, but what if he screams?

ps - many people on here are v anti Gina, and if you have a tiny/hungry/temperamental baby, I can't imagine it would work in any way. Also, if you are remotely inclined towards co-sleeping/attachment parenting type strategy, I think it's virtually impossible to marry the two ideologies.
Hope you have the confidence to go with the technique that will suit you best!

NellyTheElephant Mon 10-Nov-08 18:10:55

I found the GF routines really helpful with both my DDs. I started easing into them around 4 or 5 weeks - just a nudge and a tweak here to move their timings closer to those on the GF routine and by about 7 or 8 weeks we were into a great routine and really settle which I found amazing. Take it all with a pinch of salt though, use it as a guideline, rather than set in stone (e.g. the dream feed NEVER worked for my girls so I didn't do it), also (as juju said) ignore all that crazy expressing routine she recommends! I expressed every so often so I had a supply in the freezer, but there's no way I could have expressed like she recommends, I'd never have found the time. My milk supply was just fine and I had no problem with growth spurts.

Booboomum Mon 10-Nov-08 20:13:18

We just found the bath,feed, bed routine worked so well....did it from birth with both mine. Also tried to get into an every three hours feeding pattern fairly early, but I think it depends how big your baby is (mine were big)as to how often they need feeding. Initially really flexible with timings, but did the routine to try and give them the message that it was bedtime (even if I knew I'd be feeding again in an hour!!)After a while having done that they began to recognise bedtime and it really helped. Mine 3 and 5 now and still fab about going to bed!
I did use bits of Gina like some others....the bits that didn't scare me!

VeniVidiVickiQV Mon 10-Nov-08 20:14:48

Yes - too early.

No, it didnt work for mine. But it would have probably worked for DD, but she slept and fed regularly anyway.

nickytwotimes Mon 10-Nov-08 20:17:40

Didn't work for us either and ds was ff from 2 weeks.
Baby Whisperer was far better - looking for sleepy cues like th eNo Cry book and finding a routine that suits your baby and you.

cheerycherry Mon 10-Nov-08 20:26:27

Thought we weren't allowed to mention GF on here??? Be careful peeps!

nickytwotimes Mon 10-Nov-08 20:27:34

That was cleared up some months ago, cheery. DOn't panic!

Dior Mon 10-Nov-08 20:28:07

Message withdrawn

MerlinsBeard Mon 10-Nov-08 20:30:02

GF is allowed on here but MN in general choses not to talk about her or her routines because of a legal battle.

To answer the OP, GF did not work for me. i sold the contented baby on ebay for more than i bought it for and when i was given another i burnt it. That's how strongly against it i am. It does work for some people, it's too strict for me though.
I believe that she does have her own website, which iirc is a subscription site.

pudding25 Mon 10-Nov-08 20:50:56

Don'r think it is too early to start but don't take it all too literally. The best things I learnt from GF are that when they are little, they need to be back asleep no more than 2 hrs after they wake. Also, a good bedtime routine. I did follow the feeding guides and BF exclusively for 4 wks and then 1 bottle of formula. However, if DD was hungry outwith those times, of course I fed her -which is what Gina reccomends anyway. I also could not do any crying down business with dd so I used a dummy to get her into a routine which worked really well. Got rid of the dummy at 16wks when it started disturbing her sleep.

I think that if you are a routine kind of person, then GF is a good guide to get you and the baby into a routine.

Becky77 Mon 10-Nov-08 21:23:30

I think the routine is OK but who can follow things down to 15 minute precision? Like pudding25 says, once you realise they need to sleep roughly every 2 hours and feed every 3-4 hours you let them set their own routine. I sometimes check the book to see how much she thinks DD should be eating or sleeping but I dont lose sleep over it... It's just an "standard" to reference.

I also read baby whisperer but found her more confusing... All her lists of recognising different cries drove me mad!

themildmanneredsnotmonster Mon 10-Nov-08 21:26:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JonahB Mon 10-Nov-08 21:32:10

I started GF when both my DS's were about 2-3 weeks, so i don't think 4 weeks is too early.

I agree with Juju though - "Follow it in the loosest possible sense and NEVER get down if your baby's not doing what Gina says". It took mine a few weeks to get into the routine, but as long as you don't beat yourself up if they don't do things exactly to GF's timings, then it can be great.

As Pudding said, if you are routine kind of person then it is a good guide. I am a VERY routine person so it was fantastic for me. But its not for everyone, as you have probably guessed on this thread.

mamainstripes Mon 10-Nov-08 21:42:43

It worked for my dcs. I fed every 3 hours a la Gina between 6am and midnight for 2-3 weeks then started on the routine at 1 week. I did some expressing but not as much as is ordered recommended by Gina. Don't take too much notice of the age guidelines and don't worry too much about the timings. The overall thing is, babies can have one longer stretch of sleep every day so its best to try and get that to be at night by making sure that they get enough to eat and enough but not too much sleep during the day. I am a routine type person but I can see why so many people can't get away with it. All that controlled crying bollocks is a totally separate thing from the routines. Its a really badly written book though.

Becky77 Mon 10-Nov-08 21:46:42

@ themildmanneredsnotmonster - what is actually cruel about her methods? She's pretty clear in her book that you shouldnt force your baby into anything? There are a lot of babies (my DD being one) who really thrive on routine. I hadn't planned to have one but DD has fallen into her own which is not dissimilar from GF's.

Dottoressa Mon 10-Nov-08 21:52:00

Having failed on the routine front with DS, I read the Contented Little Baby book from cover to cover before DD was born, and she went straight into the GF routine pretty much from birth. She was a very easy baby, which probably helped - but it made a huge difference to me. I wasn't neurotically strict about it, but did generally follow the pattern. One big thing for me was that DS knew that he'd have me to himself at certain set times of the day!

It does restrict your activities to some extent (in that your baby needs to be awake at certain times in order for her to sleep through the night) - but given that I have a happily slow pace of life anyway and spend most of my time pottering at home, that didn't bother me much.

I can't say whether it would work with a more demanding baby, but I tended to feel that I needed as much sleep as humanly possible when they were little, and that this was one way to achieve my aim!!

Good luck, whatever you do...

pudding25 Mon 10-Nov-08 23:17:48

themildmanneredmonster have you actually read her book? Why is it cruel to enable a child to get lots of food and lots of sleep?

mumnosbest Mon 10-Nov-08 23:29:01

I tried it with DS, both of us were shattered after just a few days and gave up soon after. I found I was battling to get him to sleep, then by the time he was asleep, I had to wake him. Who on earth would reccommend waking a very tired sleeping baby for routines sake? With DD, I'm sure it would have worked because she is a good sleeper and has a routine very similar (but natural).
With DS I felt I really needed a routine as it all felt a bit chaotic. Someone suggested writing down feed and nap times and to my surprise we did actually have a kind of routine. Now chaos is our routine with 2 under 4's grin

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