Gina Ford! The Perfect Mother-In-Law
The day my friend gave birth, I conceived our son, so I had 9 months to learn and read up all I could for the up coming bundle of joy. I visited my friend severally and I loved how she had trained her son, who by the time I was giving birth he was almost 9 months. She could not keep quiet about the Contented Little Baby book by Gina Ford. Of everything she told me, she asked me to make sure that I got the book and read it in advance before baby came and then keep it under my sleeves soon as baby was born. Since I was a rookie mum, I knew that I needed to learn as much as I could before my son was born.
So a month to giving birth, I got ‘the baby bible’. I read it from cover to cover and was sure that when baby came I would cruise through the weeks. Well it is easier thought than done, because when my baby was born, it was hard work to keep him awake or put him to sleep as she had implied in the book. My son loved his sleep, both day and night and he was done eating in less than 10 minutes when she says that it can take them up to 30 minutes. Yes there are small side notes she makes about all this things that I experienced, and for that I knew she had a pretty good idea of what she had written about.
I loved the idea of sleep training, it was not easy putting the baby on a sleep schedule because when they go down during the day, you just want them to sleep so that you can have a few hours to yourself and so the idea of wake baby up sounds like the most ridiculous thing you would tell a mother but as she says more sleep during the day = less sleep at night. As the weeks passed and I noticed that I never had those sleepless nights anymore, I could only thank God that I had had the courage to stick through with the sleep schedule. As months passed, I could sleep through the night because my baby never woke up. From 6 months when baby could sleep from 7pm – 7 am without needing a food break at night, he slept through. I can confidently say that the sleep schedule by Gina Ford works.
I remember when my baby was three weeks old and he was going through a growth spurt, this was a lil bit frustrating and everything that Gina says was for some reason not working for me, he would sleep for 45 minutes during the morning nap instead of the suggested 2+ hours. I had some ladies come to plait my hair in the house and one of the ladies just told me to put him on his tummy that he would sleep longer. So adamantly and thinking its just this once tomorrow I can put him on his back as usual, I put him to sleep on his tummy, 2 ½ hours later, my hair was done and my son was sound asleep, I had to wake him up because he needed his milk. I was however, so afraid of sleeping him on his tummy at night because I had put him in his own room and bed from day 1. So we did tummy sleeping during the day and back sleeping at night.
When mothers ask me about following her schedule for food, I usually say that it is a guide and not a rule, I used to feed my son more than the times she has on her schedule, if baby was hungry baby ate, especially for the first 6 months when he was on nothing but breast milk. She has a very good guide on feeding but I believe that it does not override mother instincts, do not keep your baby hungry because Gina says to wait for an extra 30 minutes.
I could write a whole book in praise of how she came through for me, I used to say that she is the ‘ever-present help for every mother in need’ and she was, she had the answers. If you choose to go the Gina way, be sure to keep at it, at first it feels like training a baby who cannot be trained but with time it becomes so easy. It feels really good to know that you can put your baby in bed fully awake, tell them good night and they go off to sleep without a fight. In Nairobi, the book can be found at Book Point in town (opposite Ebrahims), Prestige bookshop and the bookshop at yaya center.
NB. This book is a guide not a rule book.
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