Baby Sleep: Gina Ford vs. Baby Whisperer
What should you do when your baby starts to cry? Simply let them cry it out, or nurse them until they fall back to sleep? This has been an ongoing debate for decades, yet, but is there a correct strategy as to how to go about the bedtime routine?
Gina Ford argues that new parents should follow a strict routine to get their babies to sleep. She suggests that there are nine different routines to follow, that match your baby’s rhythms, which could prevent tears when they are hungry or tired.
Ford added that your baby should be woken at approximately 7am to be fed – which should always take place in the nursery and in no other room of the home. Feeding should occur every four hours, with the last feed taking place at around 6.15pm. Ford states that during feeds, no eye contact should be given to prevent exciting them before sleep; nor should too much affection be shown – only when the baby needs it. She also claims that babies can become exhausted if there is too much interaction, as they need to keep up their energy levels during the growing stage.
It can be difficult to reach your baby each time they cry, but Ford recommends that leaving the baby to cry would be a good idea for around 1 hour per day. She states that doing so should train your little one to sleep through the night in around an 8-10 weeks period. This method is also put in place, so parents have some structure back into their day; knowing the exact time feed and naps are set to occur.
Within this routine, Ford states that babies should be put to sleep in their own bedroom as soon as possible, which is both dark and quiet for optimum relaxation. She also adds that just one parent should be doing the bedroom routine and once a baby is put down to sleep, they should stay there for the duration of the night, rather than alternating between a pram and their cot for example.
On the other hand, the Baby Whisperer has a completely different perspective on the sleep method. Tracy Hogg balances the ‘cry it out’ and ‘giving attention’ method, giving them an even playing field as neither one or the other are healthy for the baby’s development.
She also does not agree with the method known as ‘accidental parenting’, in which a baby is bottle-fed, nursed or walked around to fall asleep, as ultimately, the baby relies on props, rather than falling asleep naturally. She claims that certain methods should be adapted to the child’s age, but no routine should be used before the baby is three-months of age, as newborns tend to sleep throughout the day and have no desire for play or any form of interaction.
Instead, Hogg has come up with the E.A.S.Y theory which is made up of E (Eat), A (Activity) S (Sleep) and finally, Y (You). Firstly, the baby should be fed when they first wake up, secondly, they should have some time to play; which is of course, dependant on the child’s age. After a bit of play time, the infant should become sleepy, meaning they may be ready for a nap without any aids such as feeding or nursing.
Hogg doesn’t agree with the strict schedule that Ford would implement; but instead, focuses on a routine that is more flexible in terms of time. She believes that the Put-Down Pick-Up method is a successful way of getting the baby to sleep. Simply, place the baby down in the cot and pick them up should they unsettle. This method should be carried out as many times as it takes until they eventually nod off.
After picking the baby up, Hogg states that the parent should try the ‘Four S’ method; which consists of:
- Setting the stage: This is a simple procedure to let the baby know that bedtime is looming. You may decide to use one simple tactic to do this; for example, changing their nappy, closing the curtains or switching off the light.
- Swaddle: Next, you may decide to swaddle the baby. It must be noted that not all babies liked to be swaddled.
- Sitting quietly.
- Shush-pat: If your baby is crying, the shush-pat is a great way of calming them down. Simply pat your baby at the centre of their back and make a loud ‘shh’ sound to distract them from their own crying.
Both Ford and Hogg’s theories are extremely different and of course, are based on a matter of opinion. What works for some may not work for others and vice versa; however, if you are struggling to get your baby to sleep, it is interesting to see which method works best for you.
What method have you followed, if any? We believe in doing what is best for yourself and your baby, which means you don’t always have to follow “methods” and “guidelines”.
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