Review: The Contented Toddler Years by Gina Ford
The kids are away with their aunt and I have the house to myself. Can there be anything more exciting than that?! Umm… May be to others, this may not seem a big deal, but as a mum with a baby and toddler, this is the first time in weeks, if not months, that I am home alone.
It feels bliss!
What is more… they gave me a very calm morning to sort out my kitchen. I don’t know about you but, I am one of those people who can get into a lot of depression if my kitchen isn’t clean. Not that I am a supermom, who does it all. But I try … and I try … and well, sometimes, it just isn’t enough. But there is nothing more important than happy, healthy, giggling kids!
Do the Contented Toddler Years Routine by Gina Ford work?
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I have four kids.. three live with me and one in Heaven. (This post was written when my third child was six months old.) With every child, I have learnt something new.
- With my first born, I learnt to prioritize.
- With the Heavenly Babe, I learnt to juggle
- And with my third child, I learnt the importance of Routines.
Of course, most of it, I owe to reading Gina Ford’s The Contented Toddler Years because before that nothing really impressed me about putting my kids on a routine. You can get the book here on Amazon.
The truth is, I really didn’t know how to go about setting a functional day plan. So I started looking for resources to learn more about how I could fix my baby’s sleep and feeding times. I went through online resources reading up what all I can find. Then one day, I found the Gina Ford Toddler Book at our local library.
I have, since then, read more of her books and applied the knowledge to raising my very own contented baby.
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It works! I found the routines and started applying them when my late daughter was a baby. It helped me instantly transform my sad little clingy baby to be happier. But it with my third child- Lil’ that we are really seeing the ‘Contented little baby’ magic!
She follows every routine to the dot. The best part is that I can leave my toddler at daycare or with a baby sitter and they can follow the routine without her being disturbed. My children are perfect because of these routines.
Now, I agree that Gina Ford Routines may not be for everyone. I have friends and families who have had babies around the same time that I had mine. Some of them followed and were convinced that Gina’s routines work, while some didn’t.
I am not sure why it didn’t work for them and I didn’t go back to enquire as to what didn’t work for them. Here, I’ll tell you why it worked for me.
Things the Contented Little Toddler Book helped me with
There were a couple of things that I had had a problem with in the past.
Routine. One, was that I didn’t really think that the age old saying that ‘a baby had its own routine and changing it would be harming it’ held true.
Demand feeding. Two, I didn’t believe in demand feeding because I saw, how it went really bad. I didn’t have control over when was the right time to say, no more.
Bedtime issues. Then there was the major problem that I had with getting my kids to sleep when it was time to sleep. With my first one, I had to rock him or walk him to sleep forever.
Feeding through the night. My late elder daughter had to be fed to sleep. I knew that it was wrong, but everyone I knew said that that is how babies sleep. There was just too much wrong advice around me.
Meal time issues. I also didn’t know how to get my kids to eat more or eat less. My son, well… he ate everything and on time but he was hyperactive (as in Hyperactivity, really) and my did he vomit often! My daughter didn’t take to solids until she was almost 9months old. She didn’t want most of the stuff and she hated fruits.
I found Gina Ford when my second one was around a year old and from Day 1 of routine, life was perfect. This has been proven again with baby number 3.
How Gina’s Routines helped me
Feeding: I followed Gina’s advice to breastfeed the baby every two hours between 7am and 12am for the first week. By the second week, my baby was ready to take up the 2-4week old routine from the book.
The baby followed it herself. All that I did, was looked after my needs and of course, I made sure she bathed on time and that I woke her up to feed her on time or sleep as soon as it two hours. As the weeks changed, and the routines changed, so did my baby. She would change something herself and when I looked into the book, there it was.
Occasionally, she would be strange not sleeping on time or feeding too much or fussy and when I checked in the book, it was to find that she was having a growth spurt. Everything would be well, as soon as she was out of that phase.
We took a vacation when she was about 3months old and it was really interesting how, even in another country, away from her stuff and all, the baby stuck to her routine.
Everyone thought she was an easy baby. She had a time for everything and when I wanted to go out and leave her with someone, they knew exactly what she wanted. Sometimes, I went off for the whole day and she was fine and so were the people caring for her!
We returned home when she turned 5months. She would sleep from 7pm to 7am every night with a sleepy feed at 10/10.30pm but after a few weeks of returning, she started getting up at night. At first it was once at 5am and then it was twice and then thrice and this was becoming daily. She was chewing her hands all the time… drooling so much that I had to change her shirt every hour or two and she was always screaming.
We thought it was loneliness from coming back from vacation.. Or may be that she was sick. We took her to doctor and he thought so too but things didn’t change. I referred to the book after a few sleepless nights and read somewhere in the book that babies over 6.8kgs need to be weaned early.
I was quite unsure of myself, but I bought some baby rice and started at her 11am feed. It was shocking how she got back on track within a few days of starting to wean. It was like all’s well in the babydom!!
She turned six months a few days ago and we are slowly moving on to three meals a day. She is taking everything she should be taking, and feeding well and sleeping well, so all is well.
I recently published my experience with introducing solids to babies. Gina’s routines worked again. Thank you Gina! 🙂
Why did Gina Ford’s routines work for me?
I have been thinking this for sometime. It worked for me and some of my friends and family. I can’t talk about them, but for myself.
I think the reason it worked was because I so strongly believed it would. I had read and reread the book so many times before the baby was born, I had read up every where I could and in a way researched the technique so that I could start from day 1. That or Lil’ One is a very easy baby! 🙂
So to conclude. Gina Fords, Contented Toddler Years definitely helped me in setting workable routines for my children. I have had another baby since I wrote this post in 2012, we now have four contented little babies who have grown up in to calm confident children.
- Routine for Preschool aged child.
- Stay at home mom routine
- School aged children routine
- Potty training in 3 days
- Feeding Schedule for Baby starting Solids
- Car seats for babies and toddlers
- Sleep issues
- Shopping with toddlers.
I think I need to visit more often to your blogs. It will help to understand women in my life with better perspectives. Thank you for sharing your amazing insights.
We used the Babywise method in our house, which also focuses a lot on routines, scheduling and not using food as a sleep prop. It's worked overwhelmingly well for us and we plan to use it with all our future (fingers-crossed) children. Thanks for sharing your experience!!