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Gina Ford routines - what do you think?

Hey mummies!

Gatecrashing from the pregnancy forum, hope you don't mind! I've just started reading a Gina Ford's Contented Little Baby book and it sounds a bit scary! All the routines and the controversy of whether to follow them or not. Wondered whether anyone was following these and how they were going? Also wondered what 'real' mummies had found to be best practice.



  • Hi Secretmama,

    The book will probably seem scary if lo is not here yet! I must say I found the book really helpful - but I didn't start using it until lo was about 3 1/2 months old. I think early on you just need to adjust to having lo and finding your feet and I think they're too little for routines then. However we are really busy trying to set up a new business so I felt I needed some structure and found that my little girl just slotted straight into the routines. They are worked around breastfeeding - which I'm still doing, with options for Bottlefed babies. The routines tend to work with natural sleep patterns for babies. I must say that I did find it really helpful and helped me feel in control and organised. I don't stick religiously to them, but my little girl likes her routine and it keeps her happy - so I go with it.

    I also used her weaning book, as I didn't have a clue when it came to that! A good guide also!

    I'd say suck it and see but don't worry if the 'routine' doesn't work straight off - particularly early on. Also if my little one wakes in the night and seems to need a feed, then I feed her - i've never been able to do controlled crying. Use the book as a guide for your own natural instincts and you'll be fine.

    Best of luck

  • I haven't even read the book so I can't comment directly but I know the jist of them.
    I found that, as a breastfeeding mama, it was quite hard to put newborn into a strict routine. I fed on demand and LO napped as-and-when he wanted. He always had a bath before bed but that was about the only consistency we had.
    Once he turned 12 weeks I started introducing times and a bit more structure to the day. We also reduced his bedtime from 10pm 'til 7pm and introduced a book before bed.

    My LO is now 11 months and we have our little routine but I'm not too reliant on it. We do the same things, at the same times, in the same order before bed and he always has a proper nap in his cot during the day; other than that we're pretty flexible.

    I think Gina Ford works better for bottle-fed babies and for mums who need/want to return to work reasonably quickly after birth. I definately think that having some routine is better than having no routine.

    Good luck with the rest of your preg x
  • I also used the contended little baby book and for me it was a lifesaver!...i started when dd was 3mnths old and never looked back altho i did addaped the routine slightly and wasnt as strict in dd is 22mnths now and she has slept from 6.30pm til 7.30am everynight since 3mnths and im not joking either!...i was very strict with myself i think its really good if you would like some form of order back in yourlife...of course its not for everyone and is a very contravercial issue!.x
  • It's perfectly possible to get lo into a good routine without the regimented program Gina Ford advocates. Morgana has been sleeping through the night sicne she was 5 months old and she's a happy little munchkin without Gina Ford. It might suit some, but I found I got along nicely without it by using common sense.
  • Im gatecrashing from preganncy forum too. I bought this book. My auntie had twins and nearly had a nervous breakdown before using the Gina Ford twin book. However my auntie did not follow exactly she did tweak it a bit to find what suited her as she has 2 other children - she used it as a guideline. However she was bottlefeeding.

    I think it seems good but dont know how easy it wil be to follow when breastfeeding. I dont know if anyone else has done this?
  • I agree that as a breastfeeding mum I couldn't make Charlotte feed on a strict routine. I let her take the lead during the day and we fell into our own routine. We created the same bedtime routine every night from the very beginning no matter what time we were putting her to bed. We gradually moved bedtime earlier until she was going down at 6:45 at about 5 weeks. She would still wake for a late feed around 10:00. At 8 weeks she slept 6:45-10:30 then 10:30 - 7 a.m. We gradually reduced the late feed and by about 14 weeks she was sleeping through 6:45 p.m. - 7:15 a.m.
    I think Gina Ford has some good ideas but it's possible to develop a routine that suits you and your baby without being so strict.
    Good luck!
  • Personally I think its much easier to do it your own way & find a routine that suits you. We have a rough routine with Gabriel (8 weeks) but it's only the night time routine that is consistent, the days are still a bit here & there. Feeds are relatively at the same/similar times but he is a terrible napper so thats just all over the shop. Hoping to get a bit more structure soon. I dont think I could do Gina Ford - I flicked thru the book and it sounds scary - the feeds are 4 hourly, and my (bottle fed!) baby could never do 4 hr feeds just yet. Best to feed on demand at first. x
  • what is gina fords rles then? ive heard of her but never read anything of hers ive heard its a bit strict,, can anyone elaborate?
  • Hi ya,

    it does read in quite a harsh/strict tone but its all about how you interpret what she's saying. we followed the GF routine with Joshua from 2 weeks old and it worked for us. Joshua was sleeping through from 9 weeks old (7pm-10pm dream feed then 1030pm-7am) and he really is a contented baby!

    we literally followed the timings of feeds and naps (I was bottle feeding from 3 weeks old) and where he slept, methods to help baby sleep.we didnt follow what I consider any of the harsh bits ie no eye contact at feeding etc

    im the type of person that prefers a routine, not because I wanted my life back after having Joshua cos thats how I run my life by routine otherwise I can be a right lazy cow :lol: so routine works for us. some days the GF way didnt work but I never beat myself up over it just tried again the nxt day. it does say as part of the routine when you should eat your lunch and have your dinner etc but this is obviously only advice and its there to make sure you rememeber to eat and drink cos believe me as a 1st time mum you forget all about your needs.

    remember all babaies are individuals just like us and sometimes they dont want to follow a routine so dont beat yourself up if it goes wrong one day. there are a lot of people on here who dont like the GF way but for us it worked but you should do whats right for you and your baby. hope this helps xxx
  • read my post cos im witing a book too.......!!
    fea x
  • hi. i personally don't like her way of thinking!! a baby so small needs to be fed on demand whether bottle or breast in order to put weight on and be contented. her ways of making the baby wait until a certain time all for a routine are so wrong and bad. when we are hungry we get our selves someting to eat, a baby cries when he / she is hungry so we should feed them not make them wait. just seems so wrong. i have 5 children and have never followed her routines and have just used good old common sense and had no problems, after all who needs a book to tell you how to bring up your baby. a baby will fall into your routine and the family routine quite naturally. xxx
  • I agree with what everyone is saying. Just to be difficult! Lol! I love being flexible enough with Harry to know that if he's hungry he can eat and when he's tired he can sleep, but i do like the structure of a vague routine. I like to know that at a certain time (or thereabouts) i can have five minutes to myself. And despite not actually reading her stuff, i was always under the impression that it was bath, book, bed (three B's in the evening as opposed to three S's in the morning!image )was the norm, until i spoke to loads of different mums. That was the way i was brought up and i loved it and so far Harryu does too. I think it really comes down to how you feel about the strickedness of a routine and how organised you are.

    From what i get from talking to people, the more 'organised' they seem to be, the more the routine works for them. X
  • I think you must be right i find i like to be very organised and like to no whats happening next thats prob why the routine worked for us...x
  • I have not read this book but it sounds awful!! I have read the baby whisperer by Tracey Hogg and it really helped...who is this Gina Ford bird anyway? She sounds dreadful!!! x
  • gina ford is a wicked nanny who hasn't had any kids of her own but has managed to write a book about the horror of being in her care....
    i agree with routne ,although i think of it more as a sequence of events like what was said earlier the 3 b's but mine is more like 4 b's book, bath,bottle and bed the rest of the day is more relaxed but i like her to have 2 naps 1 in the morning 1 in the aft
    as a first timemum you get better more honest tried and tested advice from REAL mummies on here not in a book by someone who is just trained (for want of a better term) in child care
    fea x
  • I never followed the book either. I just used common sense. I have a routine with Kara but it is in no way strict and have always been this way since she was born. I fed Kara when she was younger on demand and she was bottlefed. She was prem and there was no way I was going to hold her out feeding just because someone said so in a book. My friend used this book for her twins and thought it was great. It probably was a lifesaver for her though with 2. When they were young she was wakening them every 3 hours during the day for a feed which I think is awful. I would never wake a child for food. If they are hungry they will wake themselves. I would hate someone to waken me then feed me straight away. Sorry if others don't agree with me. I don't mean to offend anyone if thats what they do. Its just my opinion. I am a first time mum and I have a very content baby at almost 10 months with no strict routine.
  • I have 2 older children and there was no Gina Ford with them. they both settled into eir own routine very easily. 9 years on I thought I would have the same with Sam - however I am still strugling at months with getting him to sleep through. So I have started to introduce some of the Gina Ford stuff and we are getting there.
    As others have said I have read and then adapted to suit our dayto day needs. xx
  • I never read any book whatsoever, afterall regardless of what some (who are not even mothers) authors say noone will be able to judge MY baby better than me.
    I used plain common sense and let ollie settle into his own routine. It worked for us from about 3 months onwards, and he is a very happy very content little boy.
    Breastfed babies cannot wait 4 hours for a feed at first or they would be screaming, because bmilk is very easily digested, so that part of the routine would have to be altered....
    I like a structure to my day, and I like to be organised (although it doesnt always happen that way) but there was no way i was going to follow a routine from a book. We sorted our own out.

    And tbh - who does Gina Ford think she is? Supermum? She hasnt even got any kids of her own!!!!!!
    I'm sorry but i think she is an evil person, and she should actually have a child before she comments on how to bring them up!

    Enjoy your baby at first, because you wont get those first weeks back, and try to find your own routine that you and your baby are happy with. You might find that you both fall into one really easily.

  • I wouldnt say she is an evil person. She doesnt have children but she has worked with thousands of children and parents. Not all health care pracitioners have children eg HV or MW and doctors but we go to them for advice.

    Maybe I needed a book cos I dont have much common sense :\) which is probably true :lol: but the book does have some really good anything take from it the bits you want too and ignore the bits you dont agree with which is what i did.

    As everyone said though babies generally fall into their own routine, and yes those first few weeks you will never get back xxx

    [Modified by: webmaster on July 08, 2008 01:47 PM]

  • I agree with you Vicky +Joshua. SHe isn't evil and seeing as she has cared for 100s of babies and I had never even changed a nappy b4 my little one I was happy to read her book. I did read others too and took advice from moms etc and found that Gina made a lot of sense. If you read the book properly you find that she never says to leave a child in hunger nor to 'make them wait 4 hours'. I started it at 6 weeks when I was having a breakdown as was on edge and neeeded some structure.
    Maybe some people would call me naive or stupid but I didn't know how long babies should go without feedin and i didn't know that after 1hr 30-2hrs a baby needed a nap etc (admitedly i would prob have worked this out) and so for me it was a useful routine. I agree with most people in that if you tried to follow it religously you would have problems but I tried when I could and some days it didn't happen but I always started my day at 7am and bathed baby etc at 6pm ish no matter what and lo and behold out of all my friends who have had babies the same time as me (7 of them!!) mine is the only one to sleep through so far (after dream fed at 10pm) and will go to sleep from being put down awake.......and he was totally breast fed and in special care for 2 wks after a huge fight to live.

    I had all sorts of comments (mainly mothe in law!) about how it was cruel to implement a routine etc but hey, I had my social life back on track, can leave him knowing the routine works, have a (mostly!) happy baby, sleep!!, and peace of mind.

    I'm not saying she is for everyone but for me she saved my life! But at the end of the day everyone muct do what they feel works for them regardless of anyone's advice!!!
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