OK, So this book was handed down to me by my sister in law who absolutely loved it, followed it to the letter and actually ended up buying 2 copies because she mislaid the first one.
One day I mentioned it to my friend who was on baby number two at this point and before I even finished the sentence she spat, 'BURN IT!' like some kind of possessed demon!
Woah!!! Controversial, and I was about to find out why.
Ok, so a small confession. I didn't read ALL of the book cover to cover. My god is it LONG!!! 337 pages of the benefits of a routine, the regimented routines themselves, a whole section on troubleshooting, and an Index. My word there is A LOT to take in.
Now, when I was told about this miracle solution to all my sleepless nights I won't lie, I got excited. However, I really wanted more of an instruction.. booklet...or a pamphlet... not a novel! I have learnt over the years I am quite a lazy person and am TERRIBLE at sticking things out. Especially if they require an extreme amount of effort. I am also not a fan of being told what to do.
These routines are detailed, REALLY detailed, literally telling you when to eat and drink, and man are they strict! There is no room for movement, at all. Granted, she does say that the book is designed for people who like a more structured life, but Jeeees! This is like army strict! Don't get me wrong I like a routine, and agree with Gina when she says children thrive on it, but lord have mercy if you so much as need a wee at the wrong time!
This book preys on you when you are at your most vulnerable. When you have your first baby you are all kinds of upside down. You are sleep deprived, you have no idea what you are doing, or what you should be doing, you daren't ask anyone, or let on that you are struggling to cope, and you will go to almost any lengths to find a solution. In these desperate times, something like this book, will seem like a beacon of hope. 'This is it' you will think, 'this is what I need, a book to tell me how to look after this screaming, constantly hungry, bundle of pinkness, so that I can get back to my life! Praise the LORD!' Because lets face it, that's what we want isn't it. We want our life back. We love the baby more than life itself, but come on now, enough is enough. Maternity leave is about laying on the sofa watching daytime TV, drinking hot cups of tea, and baking batches of muffins, while our baby sleeps angelically in the moses basket by the log fire..... isn't it? ISN'T IT??
No... I'm afraid it isn't. I'm afraid when it comes to babies, there are no quick fixes, no one size fits all, and no baby manuals that will solve all your problems. Its a game of trial and error. Not a very fun game at times admittedly, but a game all the same.
It makes you think this is your only hope. Last chance saloon. This book tells you that you MUST follow this routine word for word, in order for your baby (and you) to be happy and contented and you MUST follow the routine in order for them to start sleeping through the night. As I said, I didn't read the whole book, and made one pretty much half arsed attempt at following a routine, and gave up. Tutted at the book, slammed it shut and branded it nonsense.
However.... it had got in my head. Any time the 'R' word was mentioned around me my heart skipped a beat and I had a little panic. Later that day I would skulk back to the book.... read a bit more, and vow that tomorrow I would give it another go. I felt that if I didn't use this book, my baby would never sleep through night, EVER, they would never settle into a routine and my life would be this upside down hell... FOREVER!
Again... not true.
The final reason I am not a fan of this book is that it makes parenting sound easy. It makes babies sound controllable. It makes you question that what the hell is wrong with you and your child if you can't follow this simple routine. Every time I moaned about how hard it was or how tired I was, I felt like Gina was in the room, holding her book, and shaking her head, as if to say, 'told you so'.
If you read this book pre-babies you would absolutely think that this was it. Follow the book, easy peasy, can't go wrong. Forgetting about the most important element in all this.... THE BABY! They didn't read the book, they don't know when they are supposed to feed, or sleep.... they don't even know night from day! Babies do what they like, when they like, and to me, trying to fit them into a routine sounds like a hell of a lot of work.
Lets just take a few examples from the book.
'Do not feed baby after 07.45 as this will put him off his next feed'
Hmmmm!You can bet your life that at 07:46 your baby will think 'screw you Gina' and decide, with full force that it wants feeding.... NOW! Anyone ever tried to withhold food from a hungry baby???? It doesn't end well on your ear drums believe me.
'Settle baby in his bed, he should have a nap of no longer than 45 minutes'
HA HA! If getting the baby to have a nap during the day was as simple as settling them in their bed, I think I would be currently cooking baby number 3! As it happens neither of my children slept in the day without being held, rocked, or fed to sleep. Good one Gina! Clearly never heard the saying 'Never wake a sleeping baby' either. If your baby has slept longer than 45 minutes would you really wake them? Would you??
11.45 Regardless of what baby has done earlier, he should now be winding down for a nap.
I love this 'Regardless of what baby has done earlier'. Its like she is saying, I don't give a shit if your baby has literally just woke from a nap in the car because you HAD to make a mad dash to the supermarket for more nipple pads, or if they were swinging from the lampshades. Get that baby in bed Solider.... NOW!!
Now, this book wasn't for me. That much is clear. However I don't think I would go as far as to say 'BURN IT'. There are elements of the book that are really useful, and I know people who have used it and loved it. For me its not the book per se that's the issue here, its parenting manuals in general I think I don't like.
In my opinion, new mums don't need that extra pressure. Your first baby is a learning curve, and the one thing I did learn, is that routines come with time. It is very difficult to get a baby, who isn't on solids, into a routine. I found that once we started weaning things got a whole lot easier, and all of a sudden at 6 months she was going to bed at 7pm, and sleeping through the night. This was WITHOUT following the contented little baby routine.
Ask yourself, does it really matter? What have you got planed for the next 6 months other than looking after your baby. If the answer is nothing, then just chill out. Go with the flow. Don't panic about routines. They will come.
So what I think this book lacks is just a massive disclaimer.
If this doesn't work for you, you are not doomed to a life of sleepless nights. Just try something else.
Probably wouldn't have been a best seller though!