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The Contented Little Baby Book - Gina Ford

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      19.01.2012 17:57
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      A very regimented approach to handling babies

      I suffered from postnatal depression when my baby was around 4 months old which quickly became very severe. It might sound extreme to say so, but I hold this book partially responsible. Now, with hindsight, I can understand why many second-time mums told me not to touch it with a barge pole.

      Basically, it creates unrealistic expectations in new mums - that a baby should be sleeping, eating etc at set times. However, routines that are set in stone are bound to fail (for many mums) when you consider that they're being applied to newborn/young babies. Yes, they will work for some people (but more through luck than judgement, I suspect) but if you're someone they don't work for, it can leave you feeling frustrated and confused. Like grown ups, all babies are different - some are perkier in the morning, some are night 'people'. You'll get some who are up at the crack of dawn and others who like a lie in (and - I'll tell you now, even this morphs constantly. My daughter, now two years old, sleeps through the night but some days she wakes up at 7.30, other days at 8.30. I guess it all depends on what she's been up to that day etc!).

      As such, a 'one-type-fits-all' approach to sleep is ludicrous. At times, this book sent me into a total tizz. Luckily, I was steered towards a far more helpful book - Baby Love by Robin Barker. For a start, she tells parents not to aim for/expect any routine before the age of six months. Any routine before that isn't for the baby's benefit - and those bubbas who do 'find' a routine would probably have done so anyway.

      I finally accepted how unrealistic Gina Ford's utopian baby world is when I twigged that, of course, not all babies in a street/town/country are going to be sleeping, waking and eating at the same time! It just doesn't happen and is never going to happen - even if all those parents followed her (very prescriptive) advice to the letter.

      Be warned - if you do decide to try following this book, it is incredibly regimented. If you're happy to be constantly clock-watching, then maybe give it a try. However, for most new, hormonal mums, living by such a strict schedule (and then, potentially, failing) is, in my view, the quickest route to the loony bin there is. So please, if you do get this book, take it with a large pinch of salt! Use the bits that work for you and if bits of it don't, then don't stress over it! And certainly don't let it make you feel that you're doing something 'wrong' as a mum or dad.

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        03.05.2010 15:19
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        Avoid this book, follow your own instincts

        I remember' as a sleep-deprived first time mother, hearing about this parenting 'bible', and thinking I would idly thumb through it at Mothercare one day. But after reading just a few of prescriptive directions in it, I recoiled in horror. I think it was the thought of waking myself up in time to wake up the baby at seven that really scared me, and I didn't really appreciate having my whole day timetabled, even down to when I should have my dinner and when I should wash up the breast pump! Maybe it's just me, I never have taken direction that well.

        So I didn't come across the book again until baby number two came along, and a well-meaning friend lent me hers, advising me that I could dip in and out and just use the bits I liked. So I tried to put a bit of routine into my daughter's feeding. Up till then she seemed to be constantly on my breast, and I tried to get her to go three or four hours between feeds. Well I did manage to get her to go a bit longer, but the next time, I took her to be weighed the health visitor was very worried that she hadn't put sufficient weight on, as she had always been doing up till then. So the book went back to the friend and we carried on following our own rules: feeding when she wished, sleeping in my bed most of the time. And do you know what? She turned out alright in the end.

        Psychologists now have plenty of evidence that leaving a baby to cry is damaging to their brain development. They are only babies for a short time, it's important that you give them that time and respond to them sensitively, and you can't do that, if you follow this book by the letter.

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          14.03.2010 12:12
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          A great resource to have on hand for definitive answers

          Some people really like Gina Ford's books, some think they are a terribly restrictive way to bring up kids. I think that it depends on your personality. If, like me, you love to have days that follow some kind of routine and are a bit anal anyway, you will love this book.

          I have often called it my idiots guide, and I am not joking when I say that as a first time parent who was completely clueless, I must have consulted this book at least three times a week during the first 6 months. It basically outlines *exactly* what you should be doing, *exactly* when. I had no idea how much milk my LO should be drinking, as he was a bad feeder, but Gina explained down to the precise ml, something that the literature given by the health visitor was very, very vague on. It also sets out the exact times you should put them down for naps, something which I found my son fell into very easily and naturally.

          However, I would warn that- DO NOT try to follow the times to the letter. If you do, you will not have time to go outside and do nice things together, meet friends, eat or take a pee! Rather, use it as a guidleline to check if you are heading in the right general direction. I found the Secrets of the Baby Whisperer book a much easier and laid back routine to follow for a newborn, but once the night feeds are easing up, this one took over for me.

          Only downside to these methods is- not everyone uses them! I still find to this day that when arranging playdates, it can be difficult to slot them in around the set lunch and nap times, but if you juggle things around a bit, it doesn't really harm.

          I would definately reccomend this to a first time parent without much confidence or relatives around to ask advice- it is a great book to have on your shelf when you are thinking "what should I be doing?" It was my bible!

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          01.11.2009 11:32
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          Take what you want from it and ignore the rest - use your own instinct!

          This book promises to give you a happy, contented baby who will be sleeping through the night by 10 weeks but only if you follow the strict regime that Gina Ford insists upon.

          I don't know about anyone else but when my daughter was only a few days old and was screaming her head off because she was hungry, there was no way I was going to be able to keep to the strict feeding timetable set out in this book.

          Gina Ford has a timetable for everything from when baby should be asleep, when they should be woken, when they should be fed and even when their nappy should be changed! Funnily enough my daughter didn't seem to want to fit in with this timetable so very early on the book was thrown to the side and natural instinct just took over instead.

          However, before you think this is just going to be a rant about how awful Gina Ford is and how no-one should ever read her books, I did have a change of heart a few weeks down the line!

          When my daughter was about 5 weeks old and I could see a sort of routine emerging to our daily lives I decided to give the book another go. Before too long, both me and my baby were fitting in well with Gina's wake at 7am, nap at 9am etc etc and amazingly enough my daughter did seem to be pretty contented with it all.

          I have to admit though that I didn't follow Gina's routines to the letter as to do that, I feel that you would never be able to leave the house! The main things that I followed were the times of sleeps and feeds. I was bottle feeding though so it was probably a lot easier for me than for someone who would be breastfeeding.

          One of the things that I ignored from the book was the insistence on baby sleeping in a completely dark room. This just wasn't always going to be practical and I'm happy to say my daughter can sleep with curtains open or shut!

          I also decided not to wake my daughter up at 10pm for a quick feed to try and get her to sleep through longer. It just seemed madness! She would be in a lovely deep sleep and on the couple of times I did try it, it didn't make her sleep any longer than if I left her to sleep all the way from 7pm.

          Admittedly my daughter didn't sleep through the night from 10 weeks but she did from about 4 months so I don't think that's bad going!

          Did I have a contented baby - most of the time but then again so did my friends who didn't follow Gina's routines.

          Would I use this book again - yes I would and have just recently purchased her toddler taming one - whether that works remains to be seen!!

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          22.07.2009 16:02
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          Helped me in the early days.

          My baby boy will be one year old next week and my husband and I have been reliving our favourite memories of the last year. I have also been putting lots of things that I no longer need into storage and whilst doing this came upon this book.

          It is the very well known "Contented Little Baby" book by Gina Ford. This book seems to have a Marmite following, some people love the very strict routines and advice she gives and others find it too restrictive.

          I read this book cover to cover several times during the early months of my first child's life and I would have to say that during this time it was very helpful and reassuring. I had absolutely no experience with babies before I became a mum and the very strict hour by hour routines really helped give me the confidence that I hadn't forgotton to do something important.

          However after a few months, I wanted to get a little more of my life back. I wanted to travel to friend's, go on day trips, spend an afternoon at the shops etc and Gina's routines really don't give you any flexibility on where and when baby can sleep.

          I ended up using the book as a reference guide, basing my day loosely on the routine but adapting it to meet my and baby's needs. After all, a happy mummy makes for a happy baby.

          **The layout of the book
          The first section is about preparing for the baby, what equipment and clothes you will need, what you will need in the nursery. This section is helpful but does not really give anything unique.

          The next few chapters discuss what will happen to your baby during the first year, how they will feed, how often and how much, how they will sleep, how often and how much and common problems like colic and hiccups.

          The bulk of the book, which follows, is a detailed, hour by hour routine. There are 9 routines from the first at 2 weeks old up to the last which covers upto 12 months. These routines develop slowly, with slight variations to nap times and feed times.

          There is also a small chapter on weaning. With routines (called feeding plans) for baby from four to twelve months.

          **What did I like about this book?

          1. It gave me confidence and structure in the early days.
          2. It gives a general idea of how much sleep and milk your baby should be getting.
          3. It has case studies throughout which can be a bit lighter to read than pages and pages of "you must do this and then this".
          4. There is a check box at the beginning of each routine so you can easily see how the routines change without reading all the way through.

          **What I didn't like
          After the initial shock of having an infant to care for, I realised that actually I do know what's best for my baby. Once you get to this point, the book becomes too restrictive and at worst a bit patronising.

          ISBN 0-09-188233-8
          RRP £9.99
          www.randomhouse.co.uk

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            08.08.2008 14:30
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            A must-have read for expectant and new Mums!

            The first few months with a new baby (particularly your first) should come with a health warning!! The lack of sleep, endless demands and bickering with your partner are likely to put you off ever having another.....and then comes salvation, Gina Ford!!

            To my mind this woman is a genius, I brought my first baby home from hospital with not a clue where to start. I spent the first 10 weeks in a daze, feeling like a zombie and wondering when it would all end. I read this book and most of all it gave me hope! I followed the routines to the letter and within 2 weeks my baby was sleeping through. She is now 3 years old, sleeps 12 hours a night, still sometimes naps in the day and I can honestly say has been no trouble at all. You might think that it was related to her age when I started etc and she would have been like that by 12 weeks anyway..............thats when I did it all again on number 2!!

            I started my 2nd baby on the routines since I brought him home from hospital, he was sleeping through by 7 weeks.

            The book is organised into age related sections, making it easy to refer to as required. There are also sections on what you need before the baby arrives, bottle feeding, breast feedng and weaning. Take from it what you need and ignore the rest if you want, at least you will know more than you did before!!

            This book can be bought from the likes of Amazon for as little as £6.50, to my mind, a price worth paying!

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              13.01.2003 04:52
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              • "bullies babies"

              but this book so annoys me! This is cruel if this woman looked after my kids I'd probably report her for the things she has done! She advised a mum to leave her baby to cry for 3 hours until he slept! She treats children as a hindrance, obviously because she has never experienced the joy of motherhood herself. She'd be better off running boot camp! I was flabberghasted when i read this (in the library, i was not going to line her pockets!), Her advice is detrimental to breastfeeding. You cannot succesfully breastfeed on a schedule, you need to feed baby whenever s/he is hungry thats how it works. Her routine (written out in school timetable fashion) is ridiculous and even tells mum when do eat! Her advice completely undermines a Mums trust in herself and her instincts as a mum. leaving your child to cry does not feel right yet she encourages this. You know not to wak a sleeping baby eyt she tells you too wake baby at 7am. This book should come with a health warning as unfortunately books can't be banned! I have literally cried over heargin some mums experiences of trying to follow this book. I believe Gina Ford is exploiting new mums, who these day often have little family around to advise and help, and making alot of money. If you ahve to read a childcare book try "the womanly art of breastfeeding" anything by William Sears or to do with Attachment Parenting. I will finish with a quote from Dr William Sears, paediatrician - "If we were all first time parents isolated on a deserted island without the advice of baby books, child psycholgists, or in-laws - you would care for your child instinctively - breastfeeding, holding and carrying your baby during the day and sleeping with your baby at night" now that is more like it!

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                21.08.2002 23:23
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                WHAT THE BACK COVER SAYS.... The prospect of bringing a tiny baby home for the first time is daunting. Horror stories of sleep-starved nights, inconsolable crying and feeding on demand can make any proud parent fearful of what the future may hold. If you can afford it, you hire a maternity nurse to help the baby settle but for most parents this isn't an option. The Contented Little Baby Book is the perfect alternative. Based on twelve years of research and studying the natural sleep rhythms and feeding patterns of young babies, top maternity nurse Gina Ford has devised a strategy that is easy to follow and takes into account the needs of individual babies. Gina's secret is simple. Once you've established her routine, everything else will follow. As a result, your baby will: * Sleep through the night from an early age * Feed regularly and well from either the breast or bottle * Be less likely to suffer from colic and * You will get a better night's sleep and feel more in control Practical and calm and packed with lots of parent-friendly schedules and time-plans. The Contented Little Baby Book has already worked for hundreds of mothers and babies all over the world. Now is can work for you. GINA FORD.... A very experienced Maternity Nurse. All the 300 or so babies that Gina has helped looked after are a happy testament to how a routine can help. THE CONTENTS.... Preparation For The Birth The Nursery, Baby Equipment, Breast or Bottle Feeding Equipment, Clothes for the Newborn, Your Baby's Laundry. After The Birth Leaving the Hospital, Breast/Bottle Feeding - What to Expect, Common Problems, Dummies, Crying, Bonding - What to Expect. Understanding Your Baby's Sleep Demand Feeding, Sleep Rhythms, Your Questions Answered Feeding In The First Year Breast/Bottle Feeding, Milk Production, Weaning Your Baby From Breast to Bottle, Your Ques
                tions Answered, Structuring Milk Feeds During The First Year. Routines For The First Year Benefits For Your Baby, Benefits For You, Establishing a Routine, Daytime Sleep, Adjusting the Routines, Several Routines for Different stages of Breast Feeding, Several Routines for Different Ages of Babies. Introducing Solid Food Weaning Your Baby, Different Stages, Your Questions Answered, Feeding Plans From 4 Months to 12 Months THE BOOK.... As a new mother to be it can be quite daunting searching for information of what you can expect. I liked the title of this one and it had been recommended to me by a friend. I though it was a reasonable price and purchased it from WH Smiths. Gina Ford gives alot of practical information and advice on what you need for the baby, through first coming home with the baby, feeding & sleep routines and weaning onto solids all up until around 12 months. She answers alot of commonly asked question which I found particularly useful and provides alot of charts showing how much milk or food the baby needs to have and when etc.. I personally found the routines that she set far to rigid as you planned your day around the routine and I felt this was not always easy to do when you are a young mum and have to rush to baby clinics, first time mums groups and baby massage classes etc. I therefore took her advice and guidance and fitted a routine around myself and my daughter which suited us fine. (Routine's start at 7 am, whereby if baby is not awake you must wake them, it then tells you when to feed, how much or how long for, when to play with them, when to put baby down for a nap and finally to bed at 7 pm!) My daughter is 14 mths old, she has two naps a day, has slept through since a very early age and eats well I put it partly down to what I have read in this book and in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. There is alot of very good common sense advice and in
                valuable information in this book and I would recommend it but say this, don't feel disheartened about the routines you can just use them as a guideline. REMEMBER a book is to empower you not to dictate or patronise you. It is after all a guide and not a gospel! ISBN 0-09-186914-5 PRICE £8.99 Available from all good book stockist in the Family/Health Section or your Local Library for a free loan!

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                  02.02.2001 19:15
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                  This is one of those books whose reputation goes around like wild fire amongst new parents in need of solutions to age old problem concerned with childcare. Parent and baby magazines review it giving it an excellant write up, and friends discuss it at get togethers; "Have you not read it yet? Oh you should it's REALLY good!" It's hailed as the miracle book that will get your baby to sleep through the night within days of it's purchase. You haven't had a decent nights sleep for what feels like months, your nerves are on edge, you are sleep deprived, and basically you would use any advice if it resulted in more than 4 hours of blissful sleep. It may be your second or third baby, but your chronic tiredness has left you short of confidence, brain power has diminished, and you ignore all your instincts, not to mention your own ideas and experiences. Ms Ford has written this guide following '12 years of research and study' into the sleep rhythms and feeding patterns of babies from birth. Her book goes into lengthy details about timetables for feeding, changing, winding, putting down to sleep and all other daily activities in your babies life. The back of her book states; 'Gina's SECRET is simple, once you've established a routine, everything else will follow.' And so your life with the perfect baby will commence, or will it? Does she know something we don't? The problem I feel is that Gina has based her research on looking after other peoples babies as a maternity nurse. It's a very different ball game when you are looking after your own baby 24 hours a day. I tried to stick to her advice for a 48 hour period because I was finding my baby was basically nocturnal. This would not have been so bad were it not for the fact that I also had a busy 18 monther to look after as well. The book demands that your baby should be awake, fed and changed no later than 7am. Fine, but not when you,ve been aw
                  ake half the night and this time may be your only chance to sleep before your other child wakes up! O.K so structuring the day to fit in as many of your babies calorific needs during the day time, and not letting them sleep for long periods may mean that many babies sleep through the night and are happy, but not all and not mine. Ms Ford also has a lot to say about babies crying, even quoting that most books and research states that very young babies can cry for between 2 and 4 hours a day. How ever she states that she would be 'absolutely horrified' if any of HER babies cried for even 1 hour a day! SHE only lets them FUSS for 10 or 20 minutes at a time. She must be one hell of a maternity nurse if thats all they do. Although she outlines the reasons why babies cry, she does not really stress that crying is actually good and a normal thing. Endorphins, for instance, the bodies natural pain killers, have been found in tears. We feel better after a cry so why shouldn't they. My baby cried for several hours every evening despite feeding, bathing, changing and giving her colic drops, it was extremely stressful, but no harm came to her. At the end of the day it is a lottery what kind of baby you get, and you can not expect too much in the first 12 weeks. It's hard, but I think it's important to go with your baby's needs. I abandoned the book and since my baby has started to get herself into her own routine. She doesn't want to be awake all night and sleep all day, missing out on the daily goings on. A friend recomended the book to me saying how it had worked for her. When a few weeks later I told her I had ditched the book, she confessed that her child had reverted back to waking several times a night! The book gives some pretty standard advice about preparing for a baby and advice about putting your baby to sleep in a dark room is quite obvious. It is widely acknowledged that babies have to learn to get themselves o
                  ff to sleep, this may mean they cry for a while, be strong and let them. The first 3 months of a childs life can seem like 3 years to new parents trying to establish a good sleep/wake routine, but in retrospect, the early days pass incredibly quickly. Yes I know many babies and toddlers continue to wake in the night well into their second year, but given some flexibility, most babies do get into their own routine early on. Once your baby becomes more active during the day, is weaned, and learns the skill of going back to sleep on their own without the need for nursing or reassurance, things should sort themselves out. Finally remember that you are not a maternity nurse and looking after your baby is not a job. It is emotionally exhausting work and none of us are superhuman. Read this book and you place your self at risk of feeling a failure.

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                    30.08.2000 05:41
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                    I wish I had bought this book right at the beginning !! Gina Ford is a leading maternity nurse and her key is Routine and if you don't like that word, then don't buy her book !! I Was lucky and Jack slipped into his own routine by 4 months, but there are things that I wished I had done earlier. Gina Ford has written this book based on twelve years of research and study of natural sleep rhythms and feeding patterns of young babies. She has set out simple guidelines to follow and there are routines for the first year, which include when to feed, dress, bath and change your babies nappy !! Although everyones baby won't slot into a routine its beneficial to at least establish some kind of routine every day. She advises that babies should always sleep in the dark, with black out blinds and no light at all, and that they should be woken from naps naturally, by opening the curtains. Its a really good book and we have been following it, to a certain extent for the last 6 weeks. It has been mainly with Jacks mealtimes, that are now at the same time every day, regardless of where we are. I am sure that following this book with a newborn is totally impossible, a friend did try but gave up and started again at 8 weeks, there are certainly some good tips and ideas and I will try with the next, hehe !!

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