Every parent wants to do the best job possible for their baby, thing is they don’t come with a manual.
Or do they…….
If you haven’t heard of Gina Ford’s book The Contented Little Baby then read on as I share my experience of Gina. While pregnant you seem to have care at every step, but then you have your baby and all they do is show you how to latch your baby to the breast, ask you if you know the signs your baby is hungry and then wave you off!
You then arrive home with this little person! Totally dependent on you
-It is overwhelming how awesome the emotions you are going through in those first moments. Adrian caught me a couple of times crying, not because I was sad but because he was so perfect.
Initially a new born baby sleeps a lot! And seem to feed constantly! It seems easy enough…….
Feed them and let them sleep!
As weeks start to go by tiredness becomes awesome! I felt like I was feeding every hour and power napping not sleeping.
The problem was I had no structure to the day. I couldn’t get anything done and felt like a walking zombie.
This was till I had a conversation with another mother at our library singing group.
I explained that I wasn’t getting much sleep as I kept waking up to feed Sebastian through the night.
Her reply was you must read The Contented Little Baby! She told me how from 6 weeks her baby was sleeping through only waking once for food till 7am. -I wanted some of that.
She lent me her copy.
Reading the book that afternoon was a revelation I was doing it all wrong I thought.
Within the chapters Gina gives you a blow by blow routine to follow. How long to keep the baby on the breast for and when to sit down for coffee!
Her bed time routine seem like a good place to start so that evening I got him ready for bed Gina style and like in a dream he was asleep and slept through from 7pm-10pm and then 3am till 7am. -Awesome.
I decided it was the bible and that I would follow religiously her steps.
7am on the alarm and I was off. Sebastian should be having at least 20 minutes feed………..
Oh dear only 5 minutes.
That was the first brake away from the steps, of many!
My day went from bad to worse as I started to think Sebastian was rejecting my breast as he just wouldn’t have more then 5-10 minutes when feeding. I kept trying to get him to latch on for more but he simple wasn’t hungry.
I couldn’t understand why the book was telling me one thing but my baby was doing another! This routine was starting to look impossible.
By 11am that morning I was in a bit of a state.The more I worried the more it upset Sebastian and visa versa.
For anyone who knows me they know I don’t have my Mum I can just call up so frantically I called Adrian at work and asked him to speak with his Mum in Romainia. I would have called her myself but she doesn’t speak English!
Her thoughts were “Why are you following a book?”
I knew what she meant, it does sound ridiculous to follow a book with a new baby but trust me if you have children and you have suffered sleepless nights and found yourself snapping at your partner because you can’t get a moments peace. you will understand my desire to form some kind of structure.
It wasn’t till I got to the evening tired and stressed out and in need of a chat with someone who would help put me right, that I remembered my Auntie Mary said I could call anytime.
Why didn’t I think of her earlier!?
20 minutes on the phone to her and I decided to throw the book out of the window.
Her best advice was that as long as my baby was happy and gaining weight I really shouldn’t worry how long he is feeding for.
That was it for me I wasn’t going to be a slave to routine. If my baby wanted food then he wanted food, if he wanted sleep then he wanted sleep! If it meant sleepless nights so be it!!!!!
So Sunday morning arrived with me in a much more relaxed position. It is amazing how much your emotions reflect on your baby as Sebastian was a completely different baby. Back to his happy self now that Mummy wasn’t going crazy.
I bet your thinking that this blog totally trashes Gina’s methods?
What I took away from her book was the evening routine. Within the first few chapters of the book she talks about how breast feeding works and how a baby sleeps.
Everything I read in these chapters was helpful. It taught me how much sleep a baby actually needs and how their sleep cycles differ from an adult. How breast milk is made and what it is made up of.
Once I understood this Sebastian was sleeping much better and feeding a lot better.
This meant that before long Sebastian was in the exact routine Gina Ford explains in her book.
OMG I didn’t even try to get him into it he simply fell into it himself.
I have to say it did take around 2 weeks for this to emerge but now it has, it is a dream come true.
Sebastian is less then 8 weeks old and only wakes up once in the night for food.
His bedtime is 7pm and then I don’t hear a peep till 10.30pm. I feed and change him and then he is down again till 3am till 7am.
During the day his naps are easier to follow and easily adapted if you need to. This means that I have an hour here and an hour there to do the things I need to do -exciting things like cleaning or blogging.
So although this may have started as a Gina Trashing session I actually owe her big time for helping me get a bit of control back over my life.
Thanks Gina. I am now totally a Gina Ford Follower!
Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Coach