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on 18 July 2007
I was under the initial impression that "The Contented Baby's First Year" was actually an elaborated version of "The Contented Little Baby Book", however was quickly proven wrong. It is in fact, a beautiful book, easily understood and with superb photographs illustrating main points, techniques and levels of a baby's development over its first year, which greatly enhance the adjoining text.

The useful information is presented in an easy-to-read manner with simple bullet points relating to the chapter and coloured text boxes highlighting helpful tips, which are great for quick reference purposes, although there is a complete index at the end.
Many questions and common problems are tackled and answered in an explicit, clear and concise manner providing not only a realistic solution but also an explanation as to why these problems occur in the first place so as to avoid them in the future.

Though it could be read alone, I feel that "The Contented Baby's First Year" would be much better appreciated as an accompaniment to "The (New) Contented Little Baby Book". It offers wonderful and easy suggestions and advice, which genuinely help the development of a child and positively enhance the experience of raising one.

Not a single aspect of a baby's first year - for both mother and baby - has been overlooked. This is a book to keep and treasure.

Highly recommended.
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on 10 June 2012
This is a terrible book. It is so regimental that I am surprised it doesn't come with a phone app that chimes each time your baby should feed, poo or smile. Honestly, I felt like I needed to update my Blackberry calendar with each activity!

If you believe that every baby is identical, crying indicates a pathology and you are prepared to feel inadequate in every way, then this book is for you. If, on the other hand, you are pragmatic and are just looking for some guidance, then this book is definitely not for you. Instead, I would recommend "Your baby week by week (Dr Caroline Fertleman)"

The contrast between the two books is remarkable. Both my wife and I had exactly the same opinion:
1) Gina Ford is far too prescriptive and opinionated. She has the attitude that if the baby isn't crying the exact amount of time she has prescribed, then there is something wrong with the way you are handling your child because, "in her experience" she has never encountered a child who didn't abide by her rules. Honestly, reading her book leaves you with a sense of foreboding and panic. It is completely inflexible and, in my opinion, non-pragmatic.
2) The "Week by week" book, by comparison, is far more pragmatic and gives more realistic and sensible guidance that leaves you feeling relaxed and well prepared (well... as prepared as you can be). There are simple things mentioned which seem completely obvious once mentioned (for example, the baby will probably sleep very well after the birth because it is also tired but it will pick up energy over the coming week and will cry a lot more by the end of the first week.) There are lots of similar explanations that are simple, helpful and comforting.

My wife and I had exactly the same opinion and we both love the "Week by week" book but cannot tolerate the indignation and unwavering smugness of Gina Ford's book.

In summary, we definitely do not recommend this book.
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on 9 August 2008
I bought this just a few weeks before my first baby was born at the end of last year, I found the first couple of chapters on general baby care and newborn very useful but then as the months went by, Gina seems to imply your baby 'should' be doing this and that and I sometimes felt that my baby didnt measure up to her exacting standards and her patronising tones made me feel inadequate as a first time mother. Her strict routines are well known and of course they are in here, not as detailed as in some of the other books but detailed enough for those of us who seem to muddle through and have babies not so suited to routines.
I thought the photos were nice and some of the babycare information was good however this could all be got elsewhere in more detail, i.e. Miriam Stoppard, 'What to expect' books etc.
If you are a fan of Gina and would like to get your baby into a routine as early as possible this book is for you. However be warned it may make you feel a little inadequate as the months go on!!
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on 25 July 2007
Is how this book has been described, and I have to agree. It is beautifully written and illustrated, and packed full of information useful to not only first time parents, but to second and third timers too! I already have one pre-schooler and found myself wondering just how useful this book would be with my second due in 6 months time....surely I knew it all right? Wrong! I found myself saying things like "ooohh, so THAT's what that was" and "ah-ha - that's what I need to do when this happens!" Even my husband (yep, he read it too!) "exclaimed aloud" a few times....!

But seriously, this book is for everyone. It does sit side by side quite sweetly with the Contented Little Baby book series', but if you're not a fan of these, or any other routines, then you can take heart and buy this book with confidence, as it really isn't wholly focused on routines at all. Plus, it would make a delightful gift to any parent - mum or dad!

In summary, whether you're a first time parent or a tenth timer, this book will be a welcome addition to your parenting bookshelf, and by the time the twelve months are over, a well thumbed one at that!

Just one more thing, I couldn't possibly review this book without mentioning the babies that are featured in it. They're simply too cute and squishy to forget, and the photography, lighting and illustration is simply, well, stunning!
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on 28 June 2013
if you are looking for a routine to turn a crying baby into a contented baby i would suggest buying only one gina ford book.....the new contented little baby book. In this book she sets out routines to work right from birth, and although i only started at 6 weeks i have found them easy to implement and have gone from routine 1 to routine 4 in just 3 weeks.

In this book gina refers to her routines, but in a cunning way to sell more books she does not give any of the routines away, which means you end up buying the new contented little baby book anyway! Bit cheeky really!

I have to say the routines worked for us, and helped my baby who sufferes from colic to become a very contented little boy. She also helps to tackle milk supply issues around growth spurt time so this lady does know what she is talking about. Not as controversial as some people think.
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on 21 May 2015
You have to take this book with a pinch of salt. It gives you great ideas for routines but follow what you need to as it can be like a boot camp for babies.
There is too much 'sales' talk on breastfeeding - it's easy to forget that some people cannot breast feed or do not wish to.
The 'Baby Whisperer' book is far better, kinder and less strict.
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on 27 July 2009
I got this book before my first child was born as it received glowing reviews. The factual information in the book is great (how the baby develops, bathing etc.) however she has some very strict views on feedind and sleeping.

She says baby should be awake at x time for x hours and is very adament on this along with how much and when to feed them. I got so worried and stresed when my son didn't do anything like what she said no matter what I did! I actually thought he was ill or I was such a bad mother because of it.

I ended up asking other ppl with children what was wrong and they said my boy was fine as did my Health Visitor!

Basically this book is OK IF your child can stick to the routine or perhaps if you are already a mum. For a nervous, first timer I'd steer clear.
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on 18 July 2007
I got this book when my daughter was six months old and wish it had been available from her birth. As a second time Mum I wasn't sure how much I would get from it, however the pictures are fantastic at showing holding positions etc that I had misunderstood.

The book is full of helpful tips - like lying the baby on it's tummy on the towel when drying which I tried and my baby loves.

Each month's guide is packed with relevant information and it is simle but detailed. I am finding if I have a problem I can refer to the book, locate the answer I need quickly and easily - especially this month as I am weaning.

I will be purchasing this book for my pregnant friends.
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on 20 July 2008
I bought this book because of all the wonderful reviews it had gotten and read it cover to cover while pregnant. When baby appeared however i soon realized that the advice in this book did not suit my baby at all. To begin with there is absolutely no helpful advice given on colic.. we get one paragraph relating to the colic of a breastfed baby where Gina tells us its to do with how long we breastfeed our babies and that none of her babies ever had colic (making us feel like bad parents thank you!). Most colicky babies are formula fed (mine is as well, for medical reasons) and thus this paragraph isn't even applicable. She also advocates a 3 hour routine of feeding, burping, changing and sleeping and gives advice on how long naps should be. Since my baby has colic then this routine went out the window, as i found that as soon as i managed to settle my baby to sleep then according to Gina i would have to wake her up again for another feed. Obviously that was not going to work! I also found her advice abit conflicting - in one section she says to feed the baby every 3 hours, waking them up if necessary. In another section it states that formula fed babies can go up to 4 hours between feeds, which would then wreck the 3 hour routine. I also found that the advice for burping a baby - holding the baby in a sitting position and rubbing its back in an upward motion, is actually not recommended by physiotherapists here in Norway as it can cause spinal compression (in fact, it is not recommended to put a young baby in a sitting position at all here!) so i was quite confused by this book.
Don't get me wrong, i wanted to like this book as i had heard great things about Gina, and the book itself has lovely colour photographs and is split up into sections for each month. I just found that it was abit confusing and impractical and not suited to all babies. I would borrow this book from a library if you can before deciding to buy. I think i will be selling mine...
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on 1 June 2015
Love Gina... although she's a bit like Marmite... you'll love her routines or find them just far to regimented. Everyone parents differently but I personally found her advice incredible and it worked a treat for my little ones. With both my children I started Gina's routines from 3.5months and had them sleeping through the night 7pm-7am with three clockwork naps a day within two weeks. They certainly were contented little babies! Fed amazingly, weaning and recipe advice was great (also recommend Annabel Karmel). Reassuring advice on all topics. Highly recommend!!
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