My feed

to access all these features

For free parenting resources please check out the Early Years Alliance's Family Corner.


Is the Gina Ford regime actually possible?

99 replies

Sam29 · 11/01/2003 10:59

Bought The Contented Baby Book last weekend thinking that it would suit me as a first time mum to be who knows nothing at all about babies...... got to the section where she sets out daily routines and was terrified to death! Is this actually possible? Do you ever get to leave the house? Whilst I like the philosophy of getting baby into some kind of routine I'm not sure whether structuring every minute of every day is something that is humanly possible!
Anyone done this and survived?

OP posts:
Rhubarb · 14/01/2003 15:06

Oh dear, another GF thread! I really don't know why people are so anti GF at all! I can only think that some mums are naturally good at being mums, whereas others, like me, are not. GF is great for a first-time mum who has had no experience of other kids and no-one around to advise her. If you are a confident mum, then you don't really need GF. I would never criticise any parenting book just because it didn't work for me, I might be denying someone else the chance to get a little order into their lives. Which is what annoys me about those who are anti-GF, they never seem to be able to live and let live.

I had never thought of GF's ideas before I read her book, and no-one was there to advise me. I was struggling and tearful. I bought the book when dd was 3 months old, and within 3 days of following the routines she was sleeping at night and I had 2 clear hours free in the afternoon to be just me! I could have kissed her for that! Since then I have chopped and changed it to suit our lives, but dd still has her afternoon nap, and still sleeps 12 hours at night. She was also a Godsend when it came to weaning dd off the breast, again because I had no-one else to advise me and I was absolutely clueless at everything!

So if GF doesn't work for you - chill. It might do for someone else so please don't criticise too much. You do your thing and we will do ours!

susanmt · 14/01/2003 15:18

Rhubarb, the question was, is it possible? I just answered to say that no, it wasn't possible for me.
Actually, I thought we were all being fairly civilised for a GF debate myself

SoupDragon · 14/01/2003 15:24

I thought it was civilised too Perfectly reasoned tales of how "yes, it is possible" and "Oh no it's not!"

Rhubarb · 14/01/2003 15:33

Well Tiktok said she was mystified by us GF fans and Anais said her advice was to put down the book. Both of these remarks I think were unfair. Just because they didn't like GF doesn't mean to say they can tell everyone else not to use it. I know Tiktok, as a bf counsellor, will be very confident as a bf mother, and Anais always sounds very confident as a person too, so perhaps they don't know how it feels to be thrust into this role, totally unprepared and with absolutely no previous experience whatsoever. GF CAN be useful and she certainly worked for me, no matter what anyone says! Yes, she can seem harsh and regimental, but no more so than some other parenting books I've come across. She does use common sense, which is what Tiktok said, but when you are a new mother, tired, harrassed and tearful, you don't tend to use common sense at all! You can't even spell it when you're in that state!

I've recommend GF to a number of new mums, and all have benefitted from it. If her routines didn't work her books wouldn't be so popular!

And in no way are my messages meant to rile anyone BTW - I remain friendly at all times!

Croppy · 14/01/2003 16:07

Anais said clearly her comment was her own personal view. I for one would really like to hear a Fordie answer Tik Tok's query as this very issue has long mystified me!. The clearest message from her book is that the routines MUST be followed to the letter.......

aloha · 14/01/2003 16:10

Oh, I thought this was all very civilised too! I think there's a big difference between expressing gently phrased doubts (or even roaring dislike) about a book and attacking a fellow mumsnetter. I think this debate actually managed it very well. Anais did suggest 'putting the book aside' in her 'personal' opinion, which I thought was very tactful!

Jimjams · 14/01/2003 21:29

I have to say I find GF fascinating as it is so different to anything I would even dream of doing. If it works for people fine, go ahead. I'm far too unorganised. As I said before the only thing that concerns me about GF is that I could see that it could be damaging if you had a baby that wasn't going to fit her routines, and if that then stressed you out. If GF suits mum and baby then no problem. I think being in following routines would have made me depressed, but then I have had happy babies who were fairly content to sleep wherever I dragged them off to.

The thing about being too tired and then not sleeping well is a good one though. DS1 gets totally hyper if he's too tired. In fact we had to drop his daytime sleep to take that into account. Otherwise he was not going to sleep until about 11 by which stage he was bouncing off the walls and then not sleeping. By droppping the daytime sleep (quite early- he was 2 ish I think) he was then asleep by 6.30 and would sleep until 7am. Bliss.

bloss · 14/01/2003 23:13

Message withdrawn

forest · 15/01/2003 01:47

In someways I don't really want to join this thread as it is so rational but I am mystified by your response Rhubarb - did you really have no maternal instinct at all? You see, I did read GF out of curiosity and couldn't understand why you would need someone to tell you what to do, it just didn't feel instinctive and in my ignorance I presumed other mums would feel like me. Then I read what you say Rhubarb and you come across as being completley clueless (honestly no insult meant) when it comes to newborns. Why couldn't you respond to your newborn? I am really sorry if this comes across badly but I am at a loss as to why you found it so difficult. If it is makes you feel better my dd is still not sleeping through the night (she is 9 months) but this isn't a yardstick that I measure her development. Her happiness and our bond is - which is so immense that even strangers comment on it!

bloss · 15/01/2003 04:01

Message withdrawn

SoupDragon · 15/01/2003 08:27

This is my opinion... most mothers come into motherhood from a work environment where they've been trained to do their job and have the qualifications to match. Then they get presented with this little bundle of helplessness and are packed off into the big wide world without an instruction manual. How many mothers are actually "qualified" to look after a baby? Nursery staff and nannys have to train for however long it is and be vetted for example! Would you hand your precious baby to someone as unqualified as you were when you walked out of hospital? I know I wouldn't!! I've realised that, although I have a nice long list of qualifications on my CV, I am now doing a job (SAHM) I am completely unqualified to do and one which I have absolutely no experience of.

I guess GF is a instruction book to use if you're not one of those people who can figure stuff out through instinct and guesswork. It can provide vague guidelines, a framework to work within or a rigid routine for you to follow depending what your baby needs. Mine didn't need anything near that rigid, just a gentle nudge in the right direction, Bloss's needed a stricter routine.

I think you need to spend a few weeks getting to know your baby and getting to grips with feeding. If you then feel you need to, have a look at GF or any other "baby naumal" and find the approach that matches your baby. You may find that you take to parenting like a duck to water (I didn't and still haven't!)

Not every family is cut out to be a "GF family" and not every family is cut out to be, say, a "attachment parenting" family. You probably won't know what sort of family you'll be until you get there!


ScummyMummy · 15/01/2003 08:34

Forest, I'm dead peeved at what you have said to Rhubarb. Have you ever considered that not all people feel the same way as you all the time? I think the onus is on you to educate yourself rather than asking potentially hurtful questions- have you heard of PND, for example?

Instincts schminstincts. Muddling through is good enough, IMO.

Croppy · 15/01/2003 08:40

Bloss many thanks for your comments. I have obviously only read the books rather than actually used them and I appreciated you taking the time to explain.

Marina · 15/01/2003 09:40

Well said Scummy - and a thanks from me to Bloss also for explaining the semantics of GF so well. I leafed through GF when ds was a squawking 6 week old and put it down in floods of tears, but it is clear time and time again on Mumsnet that some people find it a very useful book.

Temptress · 15/01/2003 09:45

At the end of the day I think its clear that different things suit different people. My personal opinion is that I think these books are ok as a reference and providing you can adapt them to your own situation. What I would hate is for a new mother to have this book, be unable to stick to the regime outlined and to then feel she is failing as a mother.

Scatterbrain · 15/01/2003 09:59

Yes - well said Scummy - Forest's comments were well out of order ! Please think before you post in future !

GeorginaA · 15/01/2003 10:10

Well said Bloss - was a very well written explanation. And thank you SoupDragon for writing so succinctly how I felt about being a mother for the first time and still do from time to time!

Temptress · 15/01/2003 10:12

In Forests defense she did say several times she didnt mean to upset and I am sure she didnt I have seen her posts on other boards and they are very compassionate. I think the subject of GF is always a highly debatable one, but certainly not one worth arguing over.

susanmt · 15/01/2003 10:39

Unfortunately, the details of what works and what does not in the CLBB can be lost in the haze of tiredness and panic of being a first time Mum. I was lent the book when dd was about 6 weeks old and I wasn't coping very well - very tired and crying all the time, although dd was pretty content. I decided to try it because I felt I wasn't coping, and within three days was admitted to hospital with PND that required ECT (Electro-convulsive therapy) to set me right. It exacerbated the depression I was already suffering from as trying to make my reasonably good baby fit into the routines turned her into a monster.
I am part of a postnatal depression support group, and I am not the only person in the group who has had depression exacerbated by either trying to follow the routines or by being 'preached' at by people who follow them (the book was heavily promoted by a health visitor where I live and therfore is fairly widely known).
I try no to be grumpy about it as much as possible, but I do feel I could have avoided hospital and seperation from my baby (until a place came up in a mother and baby unit) if I had not become so dramatically depressed following the use of these routines. Of course, my (dreadful) HV should have picked up my depression, but I would not have suffered such a catastrophic event if I hadn't tried to fit my dd into something so totally alien to her.
Hope this explains my position (again).

Lil · 15/01/2003 10:44

Bloss your post is interesting. I am quite anti GF, only in that mothers get so wound up if they can;t follow it to the letter - I mean just look at some of the questions raised on this site! But having said that I think the one thing she shows thay hardly any other book that baby's do upset if they are tired. And by following her sleep patterns it seems to solve the srying (well it did for me - and seems to have for you Bloss?)

Lil · 15/01/2003 10:45

srying =crying of course

Temptress · 15/01/2003 10:57

susan I noticed you are part of a postnatal depression support that an online one?

susanmt · 15/01/2003 11:37

No it's a local group, Temptress. Sorry!

jasper · 15/01/2003 13:33

Interesting. It's not just unconfident mums who don't feel maternal, or who have "difficult" babies who have success with the GF routines.

I have several friends who are extremely confident parents as well as being "maternal" (whatever that is ) who have had great success following her routines.

Personally I was too lazy to do it properly but I did find lots of the book helpful, particularly the idea that successful bf could be achieved without allowing your baby 24hr access to your breasts

Abbey · 15/01/2003 13:54

I am the second child of six and was very used to babies when I became pregnant. I suffered PND with my dd and am now suffering again with ds who is now 8 Months old. I found GF very helpful at a time when my hormones/brain chemicals were all over the place and felt very isolated. Now I am on the road to recovery and am cutting corners with GF routine to suit my families routine. I would recommend Gina to anyone.

I just wanted to say that I find Forrest's comments ill conceived and offensive. I wish we all could take to motherhood as easily as that. However, sometimes mother nature has other ideas.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.