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Gina Ford's Contented Little Baby Book Routine

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by nick909, May 16, 2011.

  1. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Just started our 1 week old on the set feeding times and set nap times routines put forwards by by Gian Ford in her Contended Little Baby Book following a week of no sleep whatsoever due to excessive night-time feeding and lots of daytime sleeping.
    So far so good. Baby seems settled and content. Seems a little dictatorial, but I can see the logic in all of it.
    Anyone else had experience of her or her routines? Any views? The voice of peace and tranquility through logical application, or the ramblings of a psychotic control freak?
  2. I never followed Gina Ford - but looked at the book and just thought it was 'too' dicatorial. I also began to panic about what if baby didn't sleep for the exact amount of time, or took longer to feed than the time specifed or could not nap in the day when she was meant to, which would throw the whole routine out the window.
    If you can do it, good on you. My sister-in-law roughly followed Gina Ford and found it worked for her. I guess, with a one week old, you might just have to be a bit more flexible as they too are just finding their feet in the world. But, if it means you can sleep at night - then hooray!
  3. I have followed the book and now my LO is 81/2 months and pleased we did follow it. Now she is older we are a little more relaxed about how long she has but she generally still follows the routine, she fitted into it really well. I took the best parts, at first I thought it was a bit of a joke, especially when she says not to look at the when getting them to sleep, but it all makes sense now. i know a lot of people dont agree with it, but it gave both my partner and I some guidance in the early stages. It really helped as I knew what she wanted at certain time and as I was BF knew when it was best for visitors and that I would get a decent rest come lunch time :)
  4. Personally I disagree with it and never used it - in my view babies are too little to impose such a strict routine on. I watch my sister in law desperately trying to force her baby to feed when she is not hungry and then not feeding her when she is hungry because it's not part of 'the routine'. I found my baby fell into her own routine around 4 months old, but it is still very fluid. I prefer it, as it means I don't have to panic if we are out and she hasn't had her dinner at an exact 15 minute time slot. However, baby did reliably have naps every two hours and started to get tired about 7pm from around 4 months onwards, and I did try to stick to these slots.
    If it works for you and your baby, fine, but personally I think you need to maintain some fluidity and adaptability to your baby, especially at such a young age.
    Also, Gina Ford has never had a baby, so I take anything anyone childless says about child rearing with a pinch of salt! I breastfed and am still doing so, and I also think keeping such a strict routine may have interfered with my production - my baby fed about every hour for the first six weeks, I think!
  5. bundalph

    bundalph New commenter

    I agree with haggisfish!
    I am not a fan of GF, but I would never, ever pass comment on how someone else chooses to raise their baby. Each to their own. I would assure you though, that most babies really do eventually find their own routine as haggisfish says. I fussed and fretted about routines in the beginning, but my HV reassured me that it was okay to do everything on demand for the first few months. My little one is now 6 months old and, like haggisfish, she has a fluid routine. Although the downside of the fluid routine is that I can't predict exactly what time each morning and afternoon she will take a nap. The plus side though is that because her routine isn't rigid, if there is some change in it for some reason, she can cope. However, having said that, some mums really like a strict routine and if that works, then go for it.

  6. We used it as a loose guide (at age 3 he still didn't sleep through the night!). I am pretty sure it was no coincidence that within 24 hours of using that routine we lost all signs of colic. If you stick to it regimentally then you will never leave the house and curse the child for daring to wake up from the nap earlier. However, as a guide I found it invaluable for just giving me an idea of when to feed/sleep - we had been feeding to sleep rather than waking for a feed and wondering why he wouldn't sleep. Some days will match it perfectly, others will go spectacularly to pot - just start again the next day.
    The moment i knew it was a routine that worked for us was when I put my son in his pushchair at nap time (we were on our way out) and he looked at me, smiled and then closed his eyes and went to sleep - my sister was amazed by what happened!
    TBH, as a teacher I like routine and i was struggling not knowing what was going on before hand. I do feel it should be called contented parent contented baby as I am pretty sure it is more happy mummy makes happy baby.
  7. kittenmittens

    kittenmittens New commenter

    I read it while pregnant, knowing nothing about babies, and panicked that my life would soon be over! I let my LO take the lead with her routine and she slept through by about 8 weeks and was sleeping 7pm-6am from 12 weeks. She is a very happy baby and we have a good routine that we found together. I go out when I want/ need to- from 4 weeks old we started baby groups, going for walks and visiting friends most days- we still do at 5 months. She is put down for a nap when tired and feeds at roughly the same times each day, but I don't panic if it's slightly early or late if she's happy.
    My favourite part was 'month 3- you may wish to take a trip out today'. ***??? I also like the little 10 minute slots to have a sandwich etc, it's just completely unrealistic to me! Why waste time trying to feed a baby that isn't hungry- even amounts of milk are given- or fret that they are napping for an hour rather than 45 mins. If you try to force your baby to do the opposite of what they need to do, that's just bad parenting.
  8. I read it and hated it - there is no way at all that it would have worked for us. I actuallythrew the book in the bin rather than sent it to a charity shop as i disagreed so much with the advice given. (I don't want to criticise anyone who has used it as it's your own choice, but for me it went completely against the grain)
    I have fallen into "attachment parenting" techniques and am completely happy doing it that way. I bf on demand (still going at 14 months :)), carried her in the sling a lot of the time (not much now as she's walking), co-slept (now in her bed rather than ours, but still one of us is with her some of the night most nights), and did baby led weaning. We couldn't be happier.
    To be honest, when baby is only one week old most of us have had very little sleep. I never had a strict routine, but I did make sure that daytime and night were different, so at night the room was dark, she was fed and back to sleep without any talking, changing nappy, etc. During the day she was always in a brightly lit room and when she woke up we would talk, sing, change clothes, nappies etc.
    If you are breastfeeding you will need to be very careful with following GF as the strict feeding routine doesn't suit many bf babies, as growth spurts mess the routine up comletely and people end up thinking they don't have enough milk, when you would do if you fed on demand.
    Whatever you decide, good luck. Children are a massive adventure, and what suits one doesn't suit another, it's a real puzzle finding out what suits your particular little person.
  9. If it works for you then go for it - I feel a routine should be there to make your life easier primarily. I found GF stressed me out so we just muddled through and I wouldn't change it! I know other people who love GF so it just depends on you and baby. 1 week old is still really tiny so don't forget to enjoy all the lovely sleepy cuddles and just staring at the little thing!
  10. I used GF from when LO was a few weeks old and I could've kissed the woman. BUT you HAVE to be flexible with the routines. Use them as a guide only. Don't get your knickers in a twist if you're out and about and LO can't nap at a certain time etc etc. It's very hard to follow with a newborn as they need to feed little and often but by about 6 weeks I was soooooo happy to go from demand feeding to more 'set' feeds. It helped my sanity if I'm honest. LO was ready by then to be going longer between feeds and was so much more settled with a pattern. Not all breastfed babies want to feed on demand for ever. Her nap times suited my LO and once he started with them he was much happier and more well rested. The best bit about her routines are the bedtime routines. We followed them from very early on and LO is an amazing sleeper (could be a coincidence of course). He sleeps 12 or 13 hours a night and has done from 3 months old. A routine isn't for everyone I doubt, but it worked for our family. LO is like me...needs his rest and sleep :)
    Mine too! There can be much hysteria about GF, people go on about her controlled crying techniques. But if you actually read the book she touches on it once. I never needed to do CC by the way, which ironically I partly put down to her routines. Good luck!
  11. As others have said, it depends on you and you're personality. I like having information to start from and found it helpful but didn't stick to it very strictly. There were days that ran to routine and days that didn't. If it makes you feel more confident and relaxed about parenting use it, if it stresses you chuck it! The intro chapters make it clear that the routines can be tweeked, and it is not about leaving the baby crying which is what people think.
  12. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Thanks for the replies and opinions. I think we'll do as some suggest and use it as a guide. We tried to follow it to the letter yesterday, and whilst it worked, by and large, it felt like we were handing our child over to some supernanny a week after she'd been born. And you'd drive yourself mad if you tried to keep it up, The idea of trying to establish set feeding times is a good idea though, as is the advice of nighttime feeding being in the dark as well as naps being taken in baby's room. So we'll take this from the guide if nothing else. If baby wants differently at times, then of course we'll accomodate things such as demand for extra feeds; extra naps and extra cuddles, and we're certainly not going to force baby to do the opposite of what she wants to do.
    Like someone posted, we're teachers and we like a little organisation in our lives! We'd also like a routine that allows just a little time together at meal times, or an hour or so in the evening etc., with baby sleeping, so we can still feel we have some semblance of a life and listen and talk to each other. This might provoke outrage in some camps, but I don't feel that this is bad parenting. Good parenting doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing every second of your life, in my opinion. On the contrary, if we feel happier and more relaxed then this will be passed onto the baby, rather than the mood of fractious, exhausted parents. I'm aware than a good night's sleep for both of us is unrealistic at this stage though.
    I admire the poster who fed on demand hourly for 6 weeks. There is no way we'd be able to manage this though.

  13. I think this has already been mentioned but most breastfeeding advocates as far as I'm aware would advise against set feeding times, especially in the first 6 weeks when your supply is not yet established. We feed on demand (at 5 months) but that still only means maybe 6 feeds in the day and a couple at night, and these days they're quite predictable.

    With respect, that's a lot to expect of a week old baby who has no concept of dinner time or bed time. Our baby was 4 months before we had her in bed at a time which meant we could have some evening time together. Just don't set your expectations too high for fear of being disappointed or frustrated if things don't follow the routine [​IMG]
  14. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Indeed and that's what we'll do. We'll try a few things out and if they work, great, if not then we'll accept it rather than try and enforce anything unmanageable or that upsets our child.
    And I'll stress that we would never do anything that upset her in any way, such as forcing her to eat when she's not hungry or making her wait for feeds (although we've been advised to stick to a 3 hourly feed by the hospital for now, as she's quite little at 6lb, so we'll try to wake her for them if she doesn't naturally, but again won't forcefeed her).
    The daytime routine seemed to work anyway, baby was happy. But we think we'll be up at nights for a while yet anyway as baby likes lots of cuddles at night. We're not comfortable with the idea of baby in bed with us, so it will be tag teaming for the time being!
    Thanks again for all of the advice.
  15. It wouldn't have worked for us- I need flexibility in my life and hvaing her sleep only in her cot during the day would have been rubbish.... she sleeps anywhere, cot, car or sling, or even on the floor... I think getting them to a stage where they only will sleep in one place is difficult otherwise you can never take the child out. She also used to love a lie in and I could never have wanted to wake her at 7am. I also prefer to keep her up slightly later as she likes spending playtime with her dad.
    . If it works- it works, but as we breastfed the strict feeding routing wouldn't have worked. She clusterfed in the evening so slept through fairly early on. I lean towards the attachment parenting style, so the exact opposite of Gina Ford but many parents wouldn't have done what I did. In addition, it took a couple of weeks for her to be able to sleep alone- she would scream and scream... There is no way I could have used CC.

    It is a case of doing what works for you- use it as a guide, but at one week old, don't expect miracles.
    You just need to find a way which works for you. My daughter has fallen into her own, fluid, routine and it works brilliantly,but GF works for some.
  16. You sound a lot like I was, a bit of a pick and mix approach. I wouldn't have force fed but my LO usually seemed to welcome a feed at the times GF suggested. I would take him out as well but one of his sleeps would typically be in his cot, so by the time he went into his own room at night he was used to the room.
    Every experience is different, I found mine fed a lot in the evening in the first 6 weeks (I think people call it cluster feeding) I remember it feeling like a treat when he started sleeping 7-10pm every night and I had evenings 'off', but equally it was nice to have him cuddled on the sofa with us. Find a balance of enjoying LO before he suddenly gets big and gradually introducing as much of a routine as feels natural to you.
  17. Hi,
    Just wanted to share a website that I used as a guide to my LO's routine when she was much younger - it's www.babysleepsite.com. It's a website created by a sleep consultant and was a real lifesaver for me when I had to go back to work and wanted my daughter in a routine.
    On the website itself if you go to where it says articles and scroll down to Sample baby schedules, it gives schedules for both bottle and breastfeeding and starts at 4 months - I think I started using it at about this stage and followed it right through - I'm actually still following the toddler routine she has.
    Hope it's of some help to some people out there!
  18. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Just to answer my original question, following a couple of days of attempting her routine, I can confirm that Gina Ford is indeed a psycho. Not for us, her lunatic schemes.
    We're just going with the flow for now with baby, as she is so very weeny. Will start looking into routines when she (and we) can cope with it - a little before Mrs909 has to start back to work probably. Baby has at least started sleeping at night now, if only for a couple of hours at a time, so things aren't quite so fraught as they were a few days ago!
  19. I'm gald you are getting some sleep! To be honest, the thought of having any kind of routine early on would have freaked me out totally as others have said, I would have worried about not being in the right time at the right place for a feed or a nap.
    I breastfed on demand until my LO was about 6 months and we did have a bedtime routine from about 3 months, altho it didn't seem to help much! My hand was then forced my mealtimes of 'proper food' and since 6 months I have had a pretty set routine of feeds and mealtimes, but not really naps as I think its important for me and her to be able to get out and about and not be restricted by having to nap in her cot.
    Anyway, she is now 8 months and goes to sleep and wakes up at exactly the same time every day and has been sleeping through the night for about a month. So the moral of the story is that even if you don't start of with a routine, the baby will find her own eventually.
  20. I'm so glad you've come to this decision nick, didn't want to 'stick my nose in' before but she really is sooo weeny. I know that at the stage you are at it feels as if the world has gone mad and nothing will ever get back to being sane again...but be assured babies gradually find their own level and their own routine. At your stage (six months ago) I was really struggling with bf and LO was often not satisfied...OH and I thought we were never going to be awake again. BUT after 6 or so weeks baby was doing most sleeping at night although obviously up and feeding but sleeping in between and was starting to find a routine.
    Things I think you can start to practice which pay dividends later on:
    Making night-time feel like night-time. We tried to make sure that we keep things as dark and quiet as possible and that night time feeds/changes/getting back to sleep were not play times (my OH found this particularly difficult!) This wasn't being unkind (like Gina can feel) but just being soothing and quiet.
    Also we started after about four or so weeks to try to follow The Baby Whisperers EASY (Eat, Awake, Sleep, You) routine but not too rigidly. But tried to get going at least that in the day time LO stayed awake after feeding for a little bit (at first only 10 mins maybe!) and then went to sleep..I think this really helped us not to get into a feeding to sleep routine in the day.

    LO is now six and half months and there are still days when everything is haywire but she and us have found a level and we are very happy and sleep well...good luck xx

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