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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:
prufrock · 16/01/2003 11:31

Susanmt - I do take your point, and feel awful for you that GF tipped you over the edge. I recommend GF to every pregnant woman I know, but I always make sure I do put that proviso in and tell them not to get too hung up on it. I also recommend taht tehy come to Mumsnet"

Jimjams · 16/01/2003 11:37

I think it comes down to different methods suit different people doesn't it. For Rhubarb staying in with her baby was a good thing, for me I would have been climbing the walls. GF will continue to worry me as I think her tone is so absolute IYKWIM that I can see how she pushes people over the edge. I think a lot of books are like that though, I know people who've been reduced to tears through guilt from the continuum concept. Is it any coincidence that none of these people are Mums??? TBH I read so many baby books I ended up following al sorts of things- just took the bits I liked out of each book. One thing that GF has convinced me of thogh is that I would never want a maternity nurse if they're all that bossy!! (not that I could afford one anyway).

And I still don't understand how you GF with 2 children!! Has anyone done it one here??

Jimjams · 16/01/2003 11:38

I have no idea what has happened to my tying today. Hope you can follow the message below!

Melly · 16/01/2003 13:01

Here here Bugsy, I thought your post was so honest and I can really identify with the way you feel about GF. I followed GF with dd (now 18 months) and think that it worked well for my type of personality and as a result I had a contented baby. I am expecting baby No 2 in April and will put baby in the routines from an early stage (earlier than I did with dd) but GF's tone is so bloody irritating at times isn't it. My SIL made me laugh when she lent me the book and put post it notes on various pages with her comments, i.e the bit where GF goes on about nightdresses, SIL wrote "crap, use babygrows".

Clarinet60 · 16/01/2003 13:21

Thanks everyone for your messages about PND & breastfeeding under medication. I'ts one of my areas of work so I do know about the research and fed DS1 while taking lofepramine, BUT ...... I seem to have a weird superstition about doing it with DS2. I know it's part of the PND but it feels so real to me that I daren't risk it. Crackers, I know, but I just can't seem to get past it. I can't go near my health centre either, apart from to take DS2 for his checks. Just can't get through the door.
Anyway, to get back to GF, which is what we were supposed to be discussing before I hijacked things, I dipped into the Contented Little Baby book, took what I wanted from it and guffawed loudly at the rest. I do, however, realise that this may not me possible if you are feeling vulnerable.

JulieF · 16/01/2003 15:51

Jimjams, in her 2nd book, from contented baby to confident child GF does give some guidance on how to deal with a baby and a toddler at the same time.

I too was one of those cluless mothers. I sailed through my pregnancy, treating it all as matter of fact but suddenly when I was presented with this helpless child I fell apart.

I was told to feed her on demand and that it what I did, when she cried I fed her. When my mum expressed concern at how much I was giving her and the fact that she always threw it back up or seemed to scream with stomach ace I was told my the midwife, no she must be going through a growth spurt, so I carried on.

Nothing I did seemed to comfort her, I would spend the entire evening and early hours of the morning with her in every positioon possible to try and ease her pain and stop her screams. My dh had to return to work after a week and I lived away from all my family, they visited once a week.

In desperation I turned to GF and in 1 day everything changed. By structuring her feeds and sleep she became much happier, the colic magically diappeared, I had been overfeeding her after all, mistaking her tired cries for hunger. That first night she didn't go to sleep at 7pm, but she lay happily in my arms for a while, much better than the night before.

I also suffered from PND, but I feel that if it hadn't been for GF it would have been worse. It may seem a bit extreme to be told you must have breakfast by 8pm or lunch at 12.30 but up until then I hadn't been eating, unless you counted the odd choclate bar or pack of crisps. I needed to be told these things. She also wrote that it was ok that I hadn't wanted to breastfeed, all the other books had made me feel so awful for not trying, in fact this was a major issue for me for months.

Before GF i sat in the house all day on my own, after I began to get out and about, meet people and play/interact with dd. I dread to think what state I would be in if I hadn't discovered this book.

Rhubarb · 16/01/2003 16:31

In GF's defence (again!), I think she probably expects people to use common sense when reading her book. Not having been a mother herself she probably doesn't realise the inadequacies you torture yourself with, the little things that worry you endlessly, wanting your baby to be like all the other little babies and do everything they are supposed to do at certain ages. Her book is only a recommendation, just like all the other books, it is not compulsory reading. But yes, some mothers will get wound up and depressed if their babies don't fit in with it - but can't we say that about all the other parenting books? Maybe GF should put a disclaimer in there that not all babies (or mothers) will follow her routines to the letter. But I honestly don't believe she meant her routines to be followed to the letter by every mother up and down the country.

I would recommend any parenting book only with caution. It's funny but I was reading a piece in the Daily Mirror today about sleep clinics. Do you know how they cure toddlers and children with sleep problems? By convincing their parents the need for routine! And, horror of horrors, controlled crying too! These methods may not be for everyone, but then thankfully not everyone has children that need to be taken to sleep clinics. I wonder if these parents had read GF they would have endured the years of sleep deprivation that they have done?

And, courtesy of Bloss, the final word must surely go to GF herself on the question of why she came across as so 'bossy': "Look, I just think that this is a good way to make it work. For instance, doing the bath at 6pm is a good way to get them through that tired and grumpy period before bedtime. But I don't care when they get washed! But the thing is, if I put all the qualifications about every suggestion I make into the book, it would end up an encyclopaedia, and what I wanted to do was to provide a small and simple book that was easily accessible to a tired, first-time mother that was feeling a bit lost."

Jimjams · 16/01/2003 20:24

Good points rhubarb. One of my best friends used to be a nanny. She said she thought she knew it all when she was nannying; she would do this this and this as a parent. Then when her baby was born she found it was totally totally different.

I'm glad GF worked for you. And I can see how she must have helped. I do think all parenting books should be taken with a pinch of salt, but I all for reading them for ideas. It is hard without support. We moved when we had DS2 as my parents lived a 5 hour drive away and DH's are in another country! Having them pop round a few times a week makes such a difference. Now I feel hard done by if they miss two days in a row!!!

aloha · 16/01/2003 21:10

I've actually changed my views on GF. Before having a baby, thought she was a madwoman and the idea of having all my time spoken for was crazy. When I had my ds and was so soppy and besotted and he was so resistant to routine I thought she was plain wrong about everything. Now he's older and has a routine, I think she actually makes some good points. I also agree you can tell she's not a mother and has little understanding about how hard it is to let your baby cry, particularly if it is your first (and how much your own baby's cry cuts you in a way no other baby's cry ever could), how easily you feel a failure if your child won't behave 'by the book' and just how much you sometimes want to hold, snuggle, sleep with and indulge your baby. I certainly would hate to sleep with someone else's baby, no matter how much I liked him and thought he was cute. Sleeping with my own was a different matter. That, and a certain Scottish briskness of manner, probably accounts a lot for the tone. I also now believe that most babies, like most adults, thrive on regular bedtimes and hours. HOwever, I still don't think that anything would have made my ds be a GF baby when he was tiny, at least not without a LOT of crying & heartache.

Jimjams · 16/01/2003 21:18

aloha- great post

Lulu41 · 17/01/2003 13:44

I like this thread as I am expecting number and had such a mare sleep wise with Ds that I am willing to give anything a go this time round I am determined not be sleep deprived for another two years. Reading the book I have thought the routines are pretty harsh but I am sure there are ways of implementing what is useful from the book and discarding the rest without getting hung up about it - I hope!! This one is due in July and I will let all you GF fans how I find it although it may well be a few months down the line as I dont have a PC at home.

Lulu41 · 17/01/2003 13:44

I like this thread as I am expecting number and had such a mare sleep wise with Ds that I am willing to give anything a go this time round I am determined not be sleep deprived for another two years. Reading the book I have thought the routines are pretty harsh but I am sure there are ways of implementing what is useful from the book and discarding the rest without getting hung up about it - I hope!! This one is due in July and I will let all you GF fans how I find it although it may well be a few months down the line as I dont have a PC at home.

Lulu41 · 17/01/2003 13:45

Expecting number 2 I should have said - oops !!

Sam29 · 19/01/2003 17:30

Hmm, interesting. Well now I kind of wish I had never asked this after reading all your horror stories of the hell that seems to be the first few weeks / months!!!
Will be going for the basic ideas from Gina I think but try not to beat myself up if baby does not accommodate all her timings and expectations. this seems to be the best way to remain sane........

OP posts:
bloss · 20/01/2003 00:21

Message withdrawn

pupuce · 20/01/2003 22:16

Hi Bloss
Yes - I confirm -

pupuce · 20/01/2003 22:16

Hi Bloss
Yes - I confirm -

pupuce · 20/01/2003 22:17

Hi Bloss
Yes - I confirm -

pupuce · 20/01/2003 22:18

Funny that... it kept giving me an authentification error! But it posted !

anto · 29/01/2003 14:19

I read CLBB when pregnant and nearly had 40 fits at how bossy, prescriptive and smug Gina's tone was. Then had my baby...NOT a sunshiney little bundle of joy, but a colicky, howling baby who was NOT impressed with her neurotic, panicking, first-time parents and let us know all about it.

I fed on demand (every 2 hrs) for the first 6wks and picked her up every time she so much as whimpered. I was just about holding it together and she was generally quite cheerful most of the time. However, she reached 4 months and I realized that I was ready for some structure in my life. I slowly sleep-trained my baby using Richard Ferber's Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems (excellent) then used Gina Ford's routines to introduce 2 daytime naps and bedtime at 7pm. My DD slept through the night from 5 months and naps in the day, every day, and has been happy, bright, funny and cheerful ever since. I'm sure this is because her sleep is properly structured - at the end of the day, this is what CLBB is all about. She doesn't have tantrums although she is suffering from the terrible twos in every other respect! She is now 2.5yrs and tucked up in bed fast asleep for her lunchtime nap - gives me a breather every day and I don't know how I'd cope without a little time to myself, esp. now I'm pregnant again.

IME most mums who don't mind about their babies having no routine/waking up in the night soon change their minds when no.2 arrives!

aloha · 29/01/2003 14:39

Sam29, don't be too put off. Your baby will still be the single most beautiful thing you have ever seen in your life, and you will know the meaning of that unconditional love thing you have heard so much about (even if you dream about hurling your angel child out of the window from time to time). And you don't know, you may have a great sleeper with or without CLBB. Even my horror who didn't sleep through until 8 months is now a dream chid and a great sleeper at 16 months, still two naps a day and 11 hours at night and really quite a normal life and I could not love him more. Routines can be fantastic, or not suit you at all. You probably won't know until you have your baby. When are you due?

Melly · 29/01/2003 14:49

Here, here Anto. That sums up what i thought when I first read CLBB, like you, I started her routines at about 6-8 weeks with my dd and haven't looked back. No 2 is due in about 10 weeks and I am keen to put the baby into routine from the word go, was feeling a bit daunted by this, but have been encouraged to see posts from others who have 2 or more children in the GF routine.

susanmt · 29/01/2003 16:24

But you CAN have regular time to yourself through the day and a routine without the CLBB. Gina Ford did not invent routines or the idea of routines. My main 'style' of parenting would be more like AP than anything else, extended bf, co-sleeping, baby wearing etc, but my children also had a basic routine and still do. It is just a basic routine. And even when I had 2 I kept it loose and relaxed and laid back - it isn't GF or total chaos!

Bozza · 29/01/2003 16:36

Yes I agree with you SusanMT - thats pretty much my style too. But NOBODY gave me any ideas on how to achieve it which would have been very helpful. I'd never heard of GF and only read Miriam Stoppard. I actually based my routine on the nursery DS started at 4 months but have moved on from there. And also worked out how to move things round to fit activities in etc.

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