Gina Ford tends to divide mums – some of her methods are controversial but there’s no denying that thousands of parents the world over credit the former maternity nurse and her bestselling books with getting their baby into a good routine and getting them back their lives and their sleep!
How it works: Gina advocates a parent-led routine, whereby the day is broken down into small slots, to ensure your baby gets enough food, exercise, sleep and play and is therefore ready for bed at bedtime. Some people find the routine too strict, while others find her hour-by-hour plans invaluable in bringing some calm and structure to the early days as a mum – you always know exactly what you’re meant to be doing and when.
There are ten routines to follow to take you from birth to 12 months. Follow it to the letter and many parents find their ‘Gina baby’ is sleeping through the night from a few weeks old (Gina says it’s possible from eight to 12 weeks), but if you haven’t followed the plan from birth and got into a sleep pickle, it’s not too late. Gina’s Contented Little Baby book also discusses various methods you can use to get a baby with real sleep problems back on track.
Cara says: I used the basic structure of Gina’s routine to give my daughter's day more of a routine. I didn’t follow it to the letter but still found it very helpful in just giving my day more order (as it doesn’t come naturally to me).
Might suit parents who: Love routine and crave a little order in the chaotic newborn period.
Might not suit parents who: Don’t want to follow a routine to the letter. The plans work, but you have to stick to them so if each day can be very different for you, and you need lots of flexibility, this may not be your best bet.
Best age to try it at: It’s best if you can do it from birth, but you can pick up Gina Ford at any time in the first year and find plans for your child.
Mums say: ‘We used Gina’s book with our son, Luca. The routines gave us a good structure and definitely helped Luca sleep through from a young age – he’d cracked it by 11 weeks old. I had to return to work when Luca was four months old so it was vital that we were all getting a good night’s sleep, and it was great to be able to give our childcarers routines to follow that we knew worked.’ Nikki, mum to Luca, 21 months.