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The New Contented Little Baby Book: The Secret to Calm and Confident Parenting Paperback – March 5, 2013
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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“For an astonishing number of mothers, she has proved a savior.”—The Daily Telegraph (UK)
About the Author
Gina Ford is a bestselling child care expert in Great Britain. A nationally recognized name as a maternity nurse, she now runs a consulting service and the popular Contented Baby Web site. She has published more than twenty parenting books.
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Our experience has by and large been very good. The structure gives us a feeling of control and stability. Without it I think our household would be far more anxious and chaotic. When you are sleep deprived, emotionally exhausted, recovering from a major body trauma and your brain just isn't working how it should do, it really helps to have a framework to fall back on. A manual of sorts. It isn't easy. It doesn't work all the time. But having a structure and essentially pressing a reset button every day is very comforting for everyone involved in this brand new relationship. I don't think we could follow every little detail in the book and have tried to remain a bit flexible. But the routine and structure helps both us and the baby, so it is a win win there.
Sure, it ties you initially to being at home for the baby's nap times which may curtail your outings somewhat. But we found that ensuring our little one gets the right amount of wake/nap time during the day means we all ultimately get a good nights sleep. That is a sacrifice we are very happy to make. We have veered off the philosophy a few times, wanting to take the little guy out and about on long day trips. The end result was some sleepless nights and us chipping away at each other for a day or so afterwards. Nobody was happy.
Ultimately only you will know if this sort of thing suits your personality and if it doesn't then that's totally understandable. It's not been easy at times but having stuck it out we've definitely noticed some good results. The little man is becoming more and more predictable in his feeding and sleeping patterns by the day. Time will tell if it pays of the way we think it will. We have some real world examples of friends that have done it this way, and those that have not. And the picture of the families that have followed the Gina Ford method is definitely one that we prefer.
Whichever direction you choose good luck!!!
Enter "The Book." Out of desperation, I jumped right to the schedules after lightly skimming the other chapters. We implemented the 8-12 week old schedule that night with a fierce devotion. Within 3 days, our son was taking 3 solid naps a day and sleeping for 4 hour blocks at night. He was also much more content during his waking periods. We were ecstatic. A week into the schedule, however, we started to run into problems. Some days, he would be screaming for a bottle an hour before he was due to have one, and we felt horrible "holding out" until the allotted feeding time. Other days, he would wake in the middle of a nap and be unable to go back to sleep. The schedule didn't say what to do in those situations. OR SO I THOUGHT.
Frustrated and convinced that the schedule wasn't working, I decided to go back through the book in its entirety, to see if there was anything I had missed. And indeed, there were a number of things in the chapters that weren't in the schedules. I ended up typing out my own schedule with various notes incorporating the tips from the other chapters. With these refinements, we were able to get our baby completely on track, and we had the confidence to deal with "off days" without worrying that we were losing the schedule completely.
Today, at three months old, our son takes three naps every day, and he goes to bed at 6:45 each night, waking only once for a feeding at 3am. (To be fair, we wake him at 10pm before we go to bed for one last feeding.) He takes 5 bottles every day at regular times, and he's generally happy and calm when he's awake. Is he a perfect baby? No, not by any means. But my husband and I are now confident that we know what he needs when he needs it, which has made the baby feel more relaxed and happy. Plus, the regular schedule means we all know what to expect each day, and we can plan our activities accordingly.
So, if this system works so well, why only four stars? Because most exhausted parents are going to do exactly what I did, which is flip to the schedules first, without really reading the entire book. I know it says to read the whole thing, but when you're desperate and sleep deprived, you just don't have time. The author could have easily done what I did, which was create a more nuanced schedule that incorporates the tips from the various chapters. I'm not sure why she strung out all the important tips throughout the book, but that's how she did it, so you have to read the whole book. Otherwise, you'll still just be guessing some of the time, and you'll lose the confidence that's necessary to make the schedule work.
One last note about the tone of the book. Several reviewers on Amazon have commented on how severe the author is, and how often she uses words like "must" and "cannot" when imploring parents to follow the book to the letter. While we generally follow the timing of the schedule, we don't completely follow her method in every way, because we've learned that some things just don't work for our baby. For instance, our baby has reflux, so he sleeps in an inclined rocker, not in a crib. We also put him to sleep tightly swaddled, though the book says he should only be loosely swaddled at this age. Lastly, we allow him to fall asleep for his final nap with a pacifier, which is a HUGE "no no" in her book. We've learned that this is the only way to ensure he takes that last nap, which he still really needs. So, take her exhortations with a grain of salt. There are some things that just won't work for your baby. The sleeping and eating schedules, however, will make a HUGE difference for most families, especially if they are stuck in baby roulette mode, like we were.
Best of luck to all the new parents out there!