458 of 468 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2008
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.
441 of 470 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2007
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2010
Someone recommended ths book to me before my little boy was born, so I bought it and read it before the due date. I was very impressed and I was determined that I would follow it to the letter. And I did - from day one. When my little boy was 6 weeks old my mom visited me from abroad and after a few days she kindly but firmly asked me 'why do you keep waking your baby up?' I explained to her the whole concept of routine and she just looked at me and said: your baby is deeply unhappy. He needs to sleep. And he was. Unhappy. And I was too. So, from that day on I let my son sleep whenever, wherever, and he was happy. Very happy. So was I, so was my husband! Soon afterwards someone passed on a little gem of a book to us : The Baby Whsiperer. I learned a lot from that book and it helped a lot because it wasn't regimented. I wish I had read it from the start - my life would have been EASY!
193 of 210 people found the following review helpful
on 12 June 2012
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!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2013
Some useful information, breastfeeding information was incorrect though. Take a few ideas if you want to but follow your heart and love your baby.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2014
I bought this when desperate my baby wasn't sleeping like I thought he should be. Turns out it's normal for baby's to wake! Thankfully I learned to trust my own instinct as the advice in this book seems to contradict and oppose everything that seemed natural and loving to me as a mother. This book ended up in the bin.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2014
More about making a quiet baby that fits into your routine, no matter what damage it may do to the child's development. Not recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2013
I had no family around me it was just myself my husband (who was working) and a wee tiny baby. Nothing can prepare you for motherhood my daughter seemed to fall into a feeding routine that reflected the Gina Ford routine. I waited till my daughter was six weeks till I started her on the sleep routine. It was tough for the first two/three nights but I made sure there was no stimulation 5pm onwards and she was fully in her routine by seven weeks onwards. I would like to say at 12-18 months you have to take them out between morning and lunch to tire them out more.
My daughter is five years old and still goes to sleep at 7pm and wakes up at 7am.
I helped my sister in law settle her daughter in a routine following the Gina ford routine. She struggled for almost 3 years and within 2/3 weeks my niece was eating sleeping and letting her mamma rest.
I would have been lost without the guidance from this book. I breasted my daughter with little trouble (other than latching on).
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2014
I like this book for the routines which are very useful as a guide and there are some great tips for sleeping, weaning etc.. I find it very patronizing though and think Gina would do herself a favour if she gave us mums a bit more credit and flexibility to use the routine as a guide only with our very unique babies. Some advice is silly and extreme such as blackout curtains for daytime naps which is totally unnecessary ( I'm on my third baby) and waking baby for an hour at the dreamfeed! Surely that is just going to encourage baby to wake up at 11pm Long term, trust me just feed and change quietly and put back to bed. Also I don't need to be told when to eat my own breakfast thank you Gina!! Having said that I wouldn't be without the guide for the routines which work if you are not too strict with them and as a quick reference guide for lots of baby care questions.