A Beginner’s Guide to Gina Ford
Gina Ford has a mixed reputation amongst UK mums – she’s either loved or loathed. I can’t think of any other individual who can ignite such passion (negative and positive) in a circle of mummy friends – even the media has picked up on it.
I was first introduced to Gina Ford by my husband’s friends. They simply said, “She’s brilliant. She tells you what the baby needs and when – it takes the guess-work out of parenting.” I was sold! I had no idea that making a decision, to raise The Girl using a Gina Ford approach, was such a controversial thing to do.
This won’t be my only post about Gina Ford — I have more to share with you than could possibly be summarised in one post! So, for now, the basics. Who is she, what does she advocate for and where can you find out more information.
Who is Gina Ford?
She is an infant sleep expert in the UK who bases her advice her nearly two decades of experience working work 300+ babies in the UK and abroad.
What does she advocate for? Why is she controversial?
A routine approach to feeding and sleeping based on a baby’s internal body clock .
From what I can gather, she’s controversial for two reasons: strictness of routines and ‘crying out’ method.
At first glance, her routines appear to be quite strict which doesn’t gel well with the feeling of every parent that every baby is different and unique. This isn’t the case, her routines aren’t as strict as they appear – but more on that in another post!
“Gina Ford” seems to be synonymous with “Leaving your child to cry for hours on end.” That’s what others have told me – when I’ve said I use Gina Ford, they think I let my child cry and never tend to them. Which is, again, not the case.
Where can you find out more information?
If you’re a website-only person, Gina has an online community where you can read case studies, answers to more detailed questions than what Gina covers in her books, talk to other mums & dads who use her approach AND get to ask Gina Ford a question personally. I haven’t had to buy a membership, partially because between my husband and Em, I debated all of The Girl’s sleep problems and solutions. But if you don’t have that support, I would highly recommend looking at what further support Gina offers because the book doesn’t have all the answers.
If you like books, I’d start with The New Contented Little Baby Book and The Content Baby’s First Year. The first book is a manual that includes the detailed routines — I’d highly recommend getting a physical copy of this rather than an e-book so you can mark up the pages. The second book I found really helpful to read as The Girl grew up as the chapters are separated into each month of the baby’s first year.
I firmly believe that my use (and study!) of Gina Ford is why The Girl has slept through the night since she was 4 months old and why we didn’t have to hire a sleep consultant. Gina Ford worked for us — it doesn’t mean she’ll work for you, but I think she has a lot of value to give even if you don’t implement her routines.
If you have any questions for me about my experience of Gina Ford, please do let me know! Otherwise, until the next Gina Ford post…