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I feel quite sorry for Jamie Oliver

I read Jamie Oliver talking about parenting and the fact that they follow a specific routine.  In his own words –

What people don’t understand is that sticking to Gina Ford is a job, it’s not easy, it’s not casual, it doesn’t suit you.

Which to be honest doesn’t really sound like a whole lot of fun.

Call me strange but whilst I’m all for well behaved children who sleep brilliantly, I’m also for having a  bit of fun along the way.

I will admit that I did read Gina Ford before I had Big – liked the idea of a contented baby, liked the idea of some framework, liked the idea that there was a master plan which would make sense of this parenting lark.

Unfortunately Big had not read about how to be a contented little baby.  And she had very distinct views about how she wanted things done.  And it wasn’t in the order that Ms Ford claimed was essential.

So we ditched that as an idea and decided to muddle along in a more free form, rough outline, able to do things when we fancied them type of way.

In fact for the first weeks we did nothing but follow her cues – you want to eat, right you are!

You want to play, let’s have another round of peekaboo*!

You want to sleep, superb!

After a few weeks we had fallen into something a bit like a routine and at 8 weeks we instigated regime change and started bedtime routine.  Now I may be laid back about some things but since then we have had a distinct plan to bedtime.

When Littler arrived she had most definitely not read any manual of approved baby behaviour.  She fed all the time, screamed if she was put down, was unable to sleep, was just not going to adhere to any routine except the one she dictated.  If I’d tried to get her to go 3 hours between feeds then we’d have had 2 hours and 45 minutes of screaming.  If I’d tried to put her down for a nap she’d have screamed.  If I’d tried to insist on her playing on her own, she’d have screamed.  You get the general picture.

In short we found our own framework which included feeding whenever she wanted, lots of time in the sling (Yes it frees up your hands! Yes you can actually do stuff) and accepted that after all she’d gone through this must be what she needed.  I remember clearly the day that she fell asleep and I was able to lie her down on a bean bag and had half an hour off holding her.  I got stuff done!  It was incredible!

But throughout all of this we’ve been able to find our own way, to find what works for us and our baby (and yes that does include co-sleeping) – looking back having to do something exactly would have not suited us, perhaps it works for Jamie and his family.

But what I will say is our way at least is a bit more fun – we can go out and let them sleep in the sling or the pushchair, we can fit them in around a life and they can see that you can have fun, you can go out on a whim, you can stay a bit longer out and have to miss out parts of your plan if its fun to do things differently.

*we play a lot of peekaboo in our house, its supposed to help them learn that you leaving them doesn’t mean you won’t come back.  Not sure its true but it made me feel a whole lot better about knowing I was abandoning them / going back to work relatively early on.

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18 comments to I feel quite sorry for Jamie Oliver

  • This Mid 30s Life

    >I read Gina Ford after having my first baby, I heard it was amazing.

    I loathed every word I read, and ended up reading it for a laugh. I thought it was ridiculous – BUT I have friends who absolutely swore by it.

    It just wasn't for me at all.

  • Ali Davies

    >I never did the Gina Ford stuff. I remember a health visitor saying to me that the problem with her book was that babies dodn't read books.

    I think parenting by books can take away our natural instincts and doesn't account for teh fact that all babies are different.

    Having said that a book I found incredibly useful when my son was a baby was The Secret of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. It follows the natural way of babies. Great book. She also wrote one for toddlers too but didn't do that one.

    Have you read the Continuum Concept by Jena Leidloff. That is a thought provoknig book too.

  • TheMadHouse

    >I too read Gina Ford with Maxi, I had no experiance of babies at all. I had no idea what to do, had been told that I wasnt alloweed to breast feed (due to meds that I HAD to have) and cam home with some formula and a baby I had no idea what to do with. I also read every other book I could find as all Maxi did was cry regardless of anything I did with him, so I am not so quick to judge anymore.

    I had friends that did GF and yres it meant that they did need to be home at certain times, but it worked for them.

    I think that is what is great, we all do things in the way that works for us

  • PippaD aka Mummy

    >I never got people who insist that a child should sleep in their bed every nap time. If I was at a friends or my Mum's for the day then their bed isn't there!

    We too have a routine that fits us and that I think is all that matters!

  • Whimsical Wife

    >I never read any child rearing manual as errr the babies/children never read one and so they wouldn't have known what they were supposed to be doing would they???

    I've got two very different children, in very different ways and I love them for it, if I'd have had to do it by following a manual I think it would have tipped me over the edge and into an endless pit of boredom…. I like fun and variety and the unexpected, I dislike rules immensely!!!

  • I'm So Fancy

    >I read them all. Then used them as kindling while pouring booze down my throat in front of the fire. Two babies acquired within a matter of a few months meant we needed routine, yes. But honestly, once you've suffered the guilt of infertility, (wear socks and don't eat raw lettuce or you've ruined your chances!) having some crazy lady try and make me feel worse for having children who refused to follow her plan wasn't really working for me.

  • Reyes

    >Who is Gina Ford? Her book has not come to Spain. In here the big thing is the "go to sleep baby" books, which teaches you to teach your child to sleep at night. You have a lovely blog by the way. XXXReyes

  • PhotoPuddle

    >I was so lucky with my daughter that we just kind of fell into a routine that suited both her and us.
    I could never have done something as strict as Gina Ford. I needed to get out. I wasn't going to spend all day at home just so she could have a nap in her own bed when there were more interesting things for us to do. She was perfectly happy to sleep wherever! I think routine is good but you have to be flexible as well.
    Oh and whilst I acknowledge it is helpful for some people I didn't gain anything useful from parenting books. The most helpful advice I've ever got has been from other parents I know.

  • cartside

    >Even after 2 children, I've not yet read Gina Ford, only heard of her books. I did read Tracy Hogg but even her gentler approach didn't work with no.1 who sounds like the mirror image of your younger daughter.

    How would Gina Ford work with 2 kids anyway? My daily routine is determined by nursery times and playdates, baby just has to adapt. There is no way I could have a routine determined by baby (or rather Gina Ford). Sling is fab to sleep in, and I can use it everywhere, so we don't use a cot during the day at all. And I'm far too lazy during the night to stick her back in her cot – we co-sleep and she sleeps beautifully between feeds. So no routine, and no sleep deprivation, a flexible baby and we're all happy.

  • naomi

    >Gina Ford is great for one baby but you can't do it for the 2nd child. The 2nd child does whatever you do with the first and still somehow falls into a Gina Ford pattern.

  • Sparx

    >We did Gina Ford for the first couple of months but kept slipping. All babies need is love; structure is good but we all find our own routines!

  • Emma

    >I've decided that we all write our own books when it comes to parenting just as we do when it comes to our own lives. We shouldnt follow anyone's routine but our own and we should always do what's best for us and our children. Can you tell I'm not a Ford fan? 🙂

  • Mwa

    >I have the Gina Ford book, and I read it to get a little more structure, but then I throw it all away and do what I want anyway. It does help with helpful hints like "it's okay if they cry for a little bit" and it allows me to see roughly how much sleep they should be getting in total.

    I'm hopeless with structure in general, though, so I could never follow it to the letter.

  • Posh Totty

    >Wonder if Gina Ford could help me get my food phobic, insomniac 8 year old to eat and sleep?

  • Notes To Self Plus Two

    >I have to admit I am a Gina Ford fan. I read the book, ignored her nonsense and extracted the raw process. I saw it as something to aim for, did it fast and loose if you like … and it worked (and without any "controlled crying").

    I hope you are well H. BTW, my blog has moved to http://www.notestoselfplustwo.com

  • marketingtomilk

    >* off Gina Ford.
    She represents everything i hate about modern society. Let parents make decisions based on intuition. I'm no mother earth, i have no problem with any kind of parenting technique per se (within reason of course) just as long as it is bourne of free choice, and not pressure.


  • Anonymous

    >Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  • Cari Ahumada

    Crazy, this article is totaly unrelated to what I was searching on google, but your site comes up on the first page?! I can only assume that your doing something right if Google trusts this site enough to put you on the first page of a unrelated search. 🙂

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