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396 of 401 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To balance out more extreme views
I feel the need to balance out the rather extreme reviews this book has had. As a new mum myself I heard about the book, and came on and looked at the reviews, and felt a little overwhelmed. Some say treat it like a parenting bible and follow every word and others say you shouldn't even attempt it and accuse the book of being 'cruel'.
After having had my son (who is...
Published on 7 Feb 2008 by stephthestar

versus
160 of 172 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gina Ford v. Baby Whisperer
My baby is 3 months and, being a lawyer, I liked the idea that there was a text book out there that could tell me how to have a contented baby, or indeed how to whisper to her to get her to do what I wanted/needed her to do... I think both books have good points to them, but my views after having read both, and tried both approaches is as follows. There are some positive...
Published on 12 Jun 2012 by Lorry M


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395 of 400 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To balance out more extreme views, 7 Feb 2008
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I feel the need to balance out the rather extreme reviews this book has had. As a new mum myself I heard about the book, and came on and looked at the reviews, and felt a little overwhelmed. Some say treat it like a parenting bible and follow every word and others say you shouldn't even attempt it and accuse the book of being 'cruel'.
After having had my son (who is now 7 months), I would say that this book is excellent as a starting place. If you, like me, have had advice crammed in every orifice from every person you know and need some good solid advice this book is very useful. It gives you a good sense of an 'ideal' and the confidence to put the suggestions into practice, and it's not as rigid as everyone makes out if you read it properly. On the other hand, the routines are planned down to every last detail and this can be a bit tricky considering what babies are like.

I feel the best way this book can be viewed is: read it, absorb it, then put it to one side and do what YOU feel is right. Refer to it if you get stuck, and for suggestions and guidance, but don't pressure yourself or your baby into strictly adhering to it, but don't completely disregard it. My son wouldn't wake 3 hourly despite everything I tried he would only wake after 4 and slept through the night from 5 weeks (which I am now finding isn't such a bad thing after all!!!)But I had the confidence that I knew a bit about what was going on thanks to Gina Ford.

In other words, just use your common sense and trust your instincts. Only you know what is right for you and your baby. Every baby is different.

I hope this review is helpful to you.
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421 of 445 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful but not a bible, 13 Oct 2007
By 
E. Purton "EllenMP" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Bottom line: Are you a control freak? (be honest)If so, then this is the book for you. If not, then give it a miss.

I did not read this book with my first, who was a nightmare baby sleepwise, but was eager to avoid that fate with my second so I did buy and read it then. I found her general baby care advice very sound and helpful and wished I had read at least that first section with my first. As for the much discussed routines, I think that she has based them on what has worked with lots of babies and therefore they will work fine for lots of babies.

You have to take the book with a grain of salt and choose to use as much of the routine as works for you and your baby. I liked to dip into it every week or two and get an idea of how Gina thought things would be changing for my baby and then make up my own plan based on my baby's needs as well as the rest of the family's.

I have to say that I would often put him to bed thinking he wasn't tired, but give it a try because Gina said to and then find him out cold in seconds, so I do think she knows a thing or two about typical baby rhythms. However all babies are not typical, her routines are virtually impossible if you have an older toddler to manage as well, and if you are a go with the flow kind of mum you may find you don'e enjoy being a slave to a routine.

On the other hand, I think many new mums (especially type A ones) feel completely lost when they bring a new baby home. They have no experience with babies, and very high expectations of themselves. Finding themselves confronted with a whole new job, one which is far more important than anything they have done before and yet for which they are entirely unprepared, can bring on panic and depression (to say nothing of the effects of sleep deprivation and hormone upheaval.) This book can be a solid anchor for a new mum who feels out of control and overwhelmed. It tells you how to care for the baby, what to do with it all day, how to structure your new life, how to take care of yourself, and how to feel confident you are doing things more or less right. Once you feel like you have a grip on things, you can throw it away, or use whatever parts of it are working for you.

It is important to realize with this book that it is for the MUM, not the baby. Most babies will be fine on this routine, on another routine, or on no routine at all as long as they are kept warm, dry, fed and loved. A happy mum (and dad) are a great plus for your baby, so if you think you are the type of person who will need some structure and guidance to keep you sane, then by all means buy this book and give it a try. If you think you want to use your instincts and be free to go with the flow, then this isn't for you.
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160 of 172 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gina Ford v. Baby Whisperer, 12 Jun 2012
By 
Lorry M (London, Enlgand) - See all my reviews
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My baby is 3 months and, being a lawyer, I liked the idea that there was a text book out there that could tell me how to have a contented baby, or indeed how to whisper to her to get her to do what I wanted/needed her to do... I think both books have good points to them, but my views after having read both, and tried both approaches is as follows. There are some positive views at the end, but I want to start with the reality.

If you buy Gina's book you are clearly a person who likes routine, perhaps who is even a little bit of a control freak. That's why I bought it, I admit it. However, this book goes to extremes in that it even tells you when to have breakfast! The routines are very helpful to get an idea about when things could happen, but unless you have a baby who is extremely passive and completely 'common baby problem' free (e.g. colic, reflux), feeds perfectly and has no mind of her own, then sticking to the routines is nigh on impossible. For example, if your baby sleeps in the car/pram this means you can only drive/walk places at the times the naps are meant to take place. So if your NCT friends are meeting at a time that clashes, you and your baby miss out. Also, if you have a baby who refuses a late feed at 10pm as they are sleeping (and who won't dream feed) then you have to get all of the calories in during the day so the feed times Gina suggests are also out. Furthermore, not being able to stick strictly to the routines when you are tired and emotional during the first few weeks can just add to your problems. You feel more like a failure.

However, having said that, my baby is 13 weeks and has been in her own room from 7 weeks and has been sleeping around 10 - 11 hours at night from around 10 weeks. I really do attribute this to routine. Gina's book is useful if you follow it loosely and make the routine work within the parameters of your own baby's rhythms. For example, Gina's notion that a baby's day is from 7am - 7pm worked for us. I never get baby up before 7am and she goes to bed around 7pm. By sticking to this more or less all the time I know where I am, when my day begins, and when it ends. Baby feeds at different times to the times Gina suggests because she doesn't take a late feed. However, by having the 7am - 7pm frame within which to work, I know how much food she should take and at what hourly intervals. Sometimes baby's feeding is erratic during the day e.g. during growth spurt, but I always stick 7am - 7pm as Gina says and I think that has helped baby sleep well at night.

The Baby Whisperer has some great tips in it, in particular how to interpret your baby's body language and crying which Gina's book lacks. It is also more compassionate and in tune with the emotional side of parenting e.g. Gina says at one point to think about who needs a cuddle you or your baby. If it's you, don't pick her up if she is crying. Now, I challenge any Mum not to pick up their crying baby if they want a cuddle! The routine suggested by the Baby Whisperer is also less rigid than Gina, focusing on what the baby does rather than the clock - the idea of Eat, Activity, Sleep, You Time - the "EASY" Routine. I try to work this into the framework of Gina's 7am - 7pm day so at least there is some timing structure so I know where I am. However, the Baby Whisperer book is generally full of stories about how the Baby Whisperer saved the day with many families (as is Gina's book to a certain extent), but if you strip that out, I think the Baby Whisperer has the edge over Gina for being more practical, flexible and helpful, with more useful insights to how to interpret your baby's needs. It certainly is less likely to stress you out! So, Gina's 7am to 7pm day + Baby Whisperer's flexible routine = a plan.

Reading and having either or both books as a crutch for the first few weeks I think is a good if you're that sort of person (which I am). At least you have a point of reference if all else fails, and by reading the books you feel like you are doing something to prepare yourself for the arrival of your baby, or if the baby is here, doing something to help you fathom out what the heck you're meant to be doing! But take it all with a lot of salt, take from the books the info you want or need, and do what makes you and baby happy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm, 18 Jun 2010
I first read this when I was pregnant. I wanted a bit of structure to my day and had heard good things about Gina's routines. It sounded fantastic and just what I was looking for. Then baby arrived; I had already decided that we wouldn't start the routines until at least 2 weeks and so one Monday when she was 2 1/2 weeks old the routine started (I always like a fresh start to a new week!)

Fast forward a couple of weeks or so and I was miserable. I had tried hard to stick to the routines, avoiding going out or having visitors when we should be feeding or sleeping. I found it horrendously stressful when the baby woke up at the "wrong" time and found the whole palaver of pumping and storing expressed milk a few times a day ridiculously time consuming (we were - and still are - exclusively breastfeeding). I had no time to just enjoy my baby - my eyes were always on the clock and/ or running around getting ready for the next bit.

By the time she was six weeks old I couldn't cope with the stress of feeling like we'd failed each time we fell out of the routine. I took a step back and was shocked at how little time I'd let my daughter be herself in her short time. I spent my whole day trying to get her to sleep at the "right" time, keeping her up when she was tired, waking her up when she was happily sleeping and trying to mould her into a little person that just wasn't her. She wasn't particularly happy, I was utterly miserable and decided that we'd do things our way from now on.

Well, a new dawn began. We still took heed of some of the things in Gina's book and yes, I still started and ended my day at 7, but the in-between bits were a bit more relaxed. I stopped pumping milk - so what if baby needed to feed a bit more during a growth spurt, having made the decision to breastfeed I had already committed myself to being at her beck and call where feeding was concerned, so that was fine. If she woke up "early" from a nap then we just carried on with our day - feeding her when she was hungry and letting her sleep when she was tired.

Ironically, at around 10 - 12 weeks when I revisited the book out of interest, I noticed that her "natural" routine was actually rather like Gina's - although one more aimed a younger baby than she was at the time. She is now 5 months and is a really happy baby. She sleeps through the night most nights (7pm - 6am) and still naps well in the day. We have fun together and still have a good but "loose" routine going, without watching the clock all the time.

Do I regret reading this book? No I don't. Some of Gina's advise is very pertinent and worth a read and I still believe in some kind of structure to the day. My regret is that I allowed myself to believe that my baby could work to a timetable, exactly as it's printed on the page. As a nanny, I'm sure that Gina was well able to implement these routines but it is very different when you are the mother of the baby and trying to recover from childbirth, adjust to your new life as a mummy and get the hang of these rigid routines. I have since read through Tracy Hogg's "The Baby Whisperer" and wish I'd read it earlier as I think it would have been a better choice for us.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit too harsh for me!, 27 Jan 2013
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Some useful information, breastfeeding information was incorrect though. Take a few ideas if you want to but follow your heart and love your baby.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really helpful for new parents, 28 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Contented Little Baby Book (Paperback)
As a new parent and supposedly organised person I was totally unprepared for the havoc wreaked upon me by my first baby. My sister-in-law recommended this book to me and I followed Gina's routines from 10 weeks with my first child who subsequently turned from a very fractious, poor sleeper (awake for two hours in the night for no reason) to a brilliant happy baby who will sleep anywhere.
My second baby is now thirteen weeks old and I have followed the routines from day 1. I have to say that the routines are difficult until the baby is about six weeks old, and that is my only caveat despite my devotion to Gina. My second baby is a blissfully happy good sleeper and has slept through the night from 10 weeks. However, do bear in mind that the baby will not have read the same book and may not slot straight into the routines from day one as a newborn.
I would however highly recommend this book to new parents everywhere as it is the first book that actually tells you what to do as oppose to theoretical advice. Be prepared though, Gina does not tell you what to do if things go wrong and assumes that every baby will stick to the letter of the book. Use you instincts and the book as an excellent basis for your life but be prepared to be flexible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great advice, but you need to read it well and re-read, 23 Jan 2014
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Maybe the extreme negative reviews are from those that haven't read and re-read the book fully or with an open mind. She does say that every child is different and may need more or less of feeding or sleep at different stages. She also provides trouble shooting for when you're having difficulties.

The choice for us was simple, feed on demand thus be constantly tired, stressed and take it out on each other. Or try and get our baby into a natural daily rythym of sleeping and feeding and regain some quality of life as a family.

Both us as parents and our baby are happier from using the wealth of advice in this book.

The stats don't lie, more people have benefitted than not so I think it's worth a try with an open mind. If it still doesn't work, well at least you gave it your best shot. Keep trying new things until you find something that works for you. Good luck!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unscientific hearsay, 1 July 2014
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Most of the reviews for this book centre around the "routine" or "no routine" topics. That in itself is very difficult for anybody to agree on as it depends on the parents, the baby, circumstances etc. I have read so far several baby books, talked to many of my friends and based on my own experience I have come to realise that some routine is good and one should have an idea to go with, especially when a first-time parent: for example, how many times to feed, when is it good to go to sleep in the evening, how long can you expect them to sleep etc.

Apart from those general guidelines which one can get in this book (out of some 300 pages I have bookmarked 4 pages that could be useful), the rest is absolute hearsay without any scientific support in any way. The reasons why one should follow her routines (which are militant actually) is explained in these terms: "I believe", "I have seen", "In my opinion". Nothing is substantiated with references to real scientific research, because, well, it has really none. The entire book is based on whatever she ever saw and, most crucially, however SHE interpreted what she saw. Fair enough, she has worked with many babies, but that does not necessarily qualify somebody to write passages like: "In my first book I said that, having successfully spent many years teaching parents how to put their newborns into a routine that results in a happy, thriving, contented baby, I can only assume that the authors of these [other] books have not personally worked with enough babies to know this is possible" (p. 34-35). Obviously, the authors that do not agree with your suggestions do not have your experience - that is all very scientific and logical.

Apart from this she commands (sorry, comments) and gives advice where I saw very little reason to trust her expertise: do not buy a microwave steriliser (it is a bother to take it in and out when you need the microwave for something else!), do not buy a DECT monitor as they are dangerous but get a wall-to-wall stain-treated carpet (completely opposite to what any allergy-conscious professional suggests).

I personally cannot say I would take advice from a book where the author only gives self-serving claims and explanations - example: "Parents who contact me for help with their "colicky" baby describe how the baby screams, often for hours at a time, thrashes madly and keeps bringing his legs up in pain. These babies seem to have one thing in common: they are all being fed on demand." (p.276). Obviously, if the babies are not doing well it is because the parents are not doing what she suggests. So let us then ignore what any other paediatrician and other medical professional has written about colic, why it happens and what is the baby going through.

There are also several parts of her advice that seem to be downright wrong: some pertaining to breastfeeding, others to sleeping. Doctors who work with sleep and study it actually suggest not to wake up a sleeping baby (see book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child).

I think that there are many more useful books out there and therefore cannot recommend this book at all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful and Informative, 22 May 2009
By 
Brendan O'Dwyer (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book as we are first time parents. I found it very easy to read and very practical in approach. A lot of people may have an issue with Gina Fords methods but I fnd that you can put your own take on it and it works very well. I would recommend this book for others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Try it!!, 7 Jun 2003
By 
R. Chilcott - See all my reviews
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I was given this book by a friend when my first son was two weeks old and I was absolutely exhausted from demand breast feeding. yes, I did find the whole experience of waking him when asleep etc.. difficult, but he slept through the night from 7.00pm till 7.00am at twelve weeks of age and he is now four years old.

Gina does say in her book that the routines are guidelines and not to feel as if you have failed if your baby is not following the routines. I can fully agree with this as my second son had his days and nights muddled at first, but with patience and the knowledge that it had worked with my first son, we have a twenty week old baby who is contented in every way.

I agree that ginas routines are not for everybody and it is hard work to establish the routines in the first few months, but if you can the results are fantastic!!!

Also her guide to weaning is fab too!.
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