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The Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford

  1. #9
    elephantine is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    I started using the routine as a guide, from about 9 or 10 weeks, and it helped a lot to establish some order to my and my baby's day, which made our family life easier. But I would add a number of caveats and reservations to following GF's advice:
    1. As others mentioned, I don't think the GF routine is advisable in the early weeks. In my case, my newborn fed much more often than advised by the routine (especially during growth spurts), and personally, I don't think it would have been good for establishing our breastfeeding relationship.
    2. My baby did not sleep through the night until several months later, so the main benefit of using the routine was in making our daytimes easier. My bub gradually reduced the number of his night feeds down to one night feed by around 12 weeks which was quite manageable, but this process of reduction started before I began using the GF routine, and I attribute it more to the techniques in the No-Cry Sleep Solution book. GF suggests leaving them to cry in their cot for some time virtually from birth, which I couldn't do.
    3. I did not take the routine as set in stone. e.g. my baby would sometimes get hungry well before the scheduled feed times, and I would simply feed him earlier. The detailed nature of the GF routine implicitly puts you under pressure to adhere to all the times quite strictly, but this was not always a humane option!
    4. Your baby may find his/her own routine after a few weeks, rather than you having to impose an artificial one from a book. Although mine cried a lot less as time went on, his feeds and daytime sleeps continued to be quite unpredictable and due to the general chaos this created, I felt it worth giving GF a try.
    5. I founded the GF book itself quite painful reading as she came across as heartless and bossy!

    Despite these caveats, however, I’m glad I used the GF routine, if only as a guide. It definitely helped me decipher my baby's cries and needs. Before using the routine, I was often unsure whether he was fussing out of hunger, sleepiness, over-stimulation, needing a nappy change, etc. But after starting the GF routine, I could usually calm him simply by doing what the routine advised at around that time of day (e.g. feed, nap, outdoor walk), often to my surprise! I do believe he became a more contented and easier baby with the routine. It took a lot of the guesswork out of first-time mothering and gave me more confidence in handling the baby, compared to when he was feeding and sleeping ‘on demand’. Plus, I could plan daily activities and outings e.g. my husband and I could enjoy a quiet dinner together in the evenings, after putting the little one to bed at 7pm. Sorry for long post, but hope this is helpful!

  2. #10
    jools is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Discovery Bay

    Just thought I would add something to the Gina Ford debate. I too tried this routine with my first child. I gave up very quickly as I found it difficult to keep to the routine let alone get my child to do the same. I am usually quite routine orientated but the detail was too great for me.

    I also feel that we need to look at why we want our babies in this routine, is it really what is best for the baby? We live such busy, scheduled lives that many of us want our babies to fit into this. Maybe it's time to slow down and let our babies take the lead. I don't have an answer, as my life is as scheduled as the next person, though I do sometimes wish I could slow down. Though having said all this both my children sorted out their own routine by themselves, which fitted into our family, so again I question the need for imposed routines, that can involve trauma for both mother and child. Babies seem to sort it out for themselves.

    I would also like to point out that Gina Ford doesn't have any children of her own, so whilst she is quite willing to try these techniques on other people's children she has never carried them out 24/7 with her own.


  3. #11
    JennyB is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Discovery Bay

    I remember the urge to read this kind of book before the birth of my first child, and during her early weeks of life. I remember the desperate need for reassurance that order can be imposed on the expected chaos, and expect this is especially true for those of us without prior experience with babies. It did feel comforting to be told what to do. I read the Babywhisperer as well as part of Gina Ford, and treated their pronouncements as gospel, since I didn't know anything.

    Upon re-reading with more experience of my own, they both sound unbearably opinionated; they are right and everybody else is wrong. The worst part for me is the predictions of dire armageddon if you don't follow their advice, that your baby will become a demanding little horror who makes your life a misery. If that were the case, how did generations of people cope before the publishing of the book? How about people in other cultures which are not as clock-obsessed as our own - are their babies less contented than ours?

    The one piece of information that I obtained from such books that I found valuable, but many people may find obvious, is that very young babies do need naps very frequently, and it can be hard to get them to sleep if they are overstimulated and have been kept awake too long. (Gina Ford puts that in a less kind manner, that "babies under x age must *not be permitted* to stay awake for more than x hours"!) This can be achieved by many different ways that will probably not scar your child for life. I was determined (on advice of books) not to rock or feed my baby to sleep, and had a lot of trouble getting her to sleep in the early months as a result, which drove me to despair at times.

    I am expecting my second baby in a few weeks and intend to go with the flow a bit more to make my life easier in the early months, and work on changing habits that I don't like later when I have more energy. I also intend to waste not a second pumping milk or washing/sterilising pumps and bottles until it is really necessary, as I know this is not the best way to stimulate milk supply, so I would prefer to take the opportunity to nap instead!

  4. #12
    joannek is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Hong Kong

    I agree w/ JennyB & Jools. I too had a "desperate need for reassurance that order can be imposed on the expected chaos", I thought it would make my life easier if I had a plan to stick to which would work. Instead, I went crazy trying to fit my baby into the GF schedule. finally i gave up and life became easier, especially when I asked my ped about putting a baby on schedule. he replied "putting a baby on schedule is for YOUR convenience, not hers." then i figured, i should just try to let her spend more "awake time" during the day & "sleep time" during nite (my baby spent her day sleeping & nights a wake for the first month). It took me 3 days to turn around her day & night. and eventually, maybe at 3 months, she fell on her OWN schedule. i heard that they all do, eventually, usually @ around 2-3 mths, which could felt like forever when u're a new mother.

    i also agree that my friends who had babies on the GF schedules had to rush home to feed/nap the baby. Hence the parents' lives are not as flexible.

    In the end, I think take it easy, most babies eventually sleep for longer stretches at night around 3-4 mths.

  5. #13
    casparmum is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    The main thing I took away from the GF book is that it's important for your baby to get plenty of nap times in the day. I thought keeping my 1st baby awake would make her sleep better, but it didn't. But once we established good napping, everything was easier, including feeding, bedtime etc, and eventually sleeping through from 12 weeks. My 2nd was a horror at night, despite good napping. I did everything the same with him as I did with my 1st but he never slept through the night confidently (and still doesn't). They just have different temperaments. I always go to them if they cry in the night and I breastfed until they were both 12 months old. I am convinced it's all in the nature and not in the nurture. And my 3rd is due in 7 weeks, and I have no intention of following any books, as school runs etc dictate our days now. But someone said this already, and I couldn't agree more: it's only for a short time in our lives and it's all over very quickly. Enjoy the baby time and breastfeeding. We wish it away because we are so sleep deprived, but looking back, I don't regret my decisions not to leave them to scream or withold feeds. But maybe I am too soft!

  6. #14
    sunrays is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Clear Water Bay

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks so much for all your advice and tips on coping in the first few months. I think reading that book did freak me out as it is so dictatorial and you feel you would be doing something wrong by not following it. This of course makes us feel guilty and like "bad mothers" at a time when we are vulnerable.

    It seems many of you used it as a guide rather than following it so strictly which is more likely to only cause the new mom stress.

    Thanks for making me feel that my life will not have to turn into a boot camp and to just enjoy the time and let things unfold they way they are supposed to.


  7. #15
    cinnamon is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    central, hong kong

    Isnt it terrible the way we some of these so called experts make us feel?
    I was chatting to a girl frined , who is expecting her second and she had been reading about letting her 1st child go to sleep on his own.
    SHe was saying "I know that you are SUPPOSED to not go in and keep them company when they sleep, but I dont want to! Its so hard"
    I thnk that the pressure is terrible.
    The point I think a lot of us miss is that these techniques are meant to give us a choice.
    Do you want to spend that time with your baby, giving him cuddles and watching him go to sleep?
    Or would you prefer to be watching tele, or doing something else?
    Neither is wrong and neither is right.
    IT's all about whats right for you !
    If you want to cuddle your baby to sleep then do it.
    As I said before this will not last forever.
    I hate to sound like a clihe but it is true that, all too soon, they wont want you to cuddle them
    Relax and enjoy motherhood!
    Its tough, its exhausting, its challenging. Sometimes you want to chuck it in.
    But if your lucky enough to experience motherhood, make the most of it!

  8. #16
    turtle is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Contented Baby Book is a Winner

    Dear Sunrays,

    I used Gina Ford's book as soon as my milk had come in. I was SO daunted by the daily routines she sets out in her book and only stuck with them because I had my Mum there helping me. If you are going to do this on your own you will need to really persevere as trying to get into her routine is UTTERLY EXHAUSTING. However, if you are determined, as I was, this book is a total winner. Make sure you hire an industrial double breast pump - this will make getting into the routine and establishing your milk supply so much easier. I can give you info on where to hire from if you need.

    Because of Gina, my daughter sleeps so well from 7-7 at age 4 months. The mums who crticised me for following her 'ridiculously strict' routine are the ones who are still getting up 5-7 times a night with their 6 month old babies and who are stressed as are their husbands. My daughter needed a llittle more sleep than Gina recommended, but I just used my judgement and made a few changes here and there. Otherwise, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If you can persevere and follow her routine almost to the letter for 4 months the benefits you will reap are ENOURMOUS. Good luck!

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