Book review: The New Contented Little Baby Book

Contented Little Baby

The New Contented Little Baby Book was recommended to me by one of the mothers in my mothers group. Her baby was sleeping through the night and I asked her what her secret was. Turns out she’d be following the routines in this book since her son’s birth and the results were enough to make me read the book immediately!

As some of you know, getting your baby to sleep through the night is the holy grail for many new parents, myself included. Routines for babies however, are somewhat controversial. Some people are passionately against them and prefer to follow their baby’s queues for eating and sleeping. It’s probably pretty obvious though that I’m pro routine. I didn’t have any kind of routine for the first 8 weeks of my daughter’s life and it was starting to get to me. It was hard to plan anything, as I was never sure when she would nap during the day (or for how long) or what time I’d finally manage to get her to sleep at night.

“…Gina comes to the rescue with her hour-by-hour, week-by-week guide on how to get a baby into a sensible routine. A series of clear guides chart the changes in the needs of baby and parents, so that at a glance you can see how to cope with this new way of life, one day at a time, from week to week.”

So I read the book. It contains 10 routines to use in your baby’s first year, which change depending on their age. It’s not as rigid as some other routines out there however and recommends finding the routine that works for your baby, not necessarily changing it just to keep up with the suggested ages.

The author, Gina Ford, makes some big claims, namely that she can get your baby sleeping 12 hours a night (with a ‘sleepy feed’ at 10pm) by the time they’re 3-4 months old. But, you know what? For us at least, her claims are pretty justified. While we haven’t quite got that magic 12 hours yet (although we’ve had 11 ¼ hours twice!) we are getting at least 8 ½ each night, which is much better than it was before. My daughter will also go straight back to sleep after her 4.30am feed and not wake again until 7am.

It’s not easy initially, Gina herself admits “establishing a routine is often very hard work and requires a lot of sacrifices on the part of the parent.” While I think we perhaps had an easier time than many trying to get our daughter on the routine, the hardest part for me was actually having to set my alarm for 7am every morning for about two weeks to wake my daughter up and get her day started on schedule. I just hated the idea of setting an alarm when I wasn’t working! After about 2 weeks of doing this though, she naturally wakes between 6.45am – 7.30am, so no more alarm!

I haven’t applied everything outlined in this book, mostly when it comes to feeding. I don’t follow her pumping schedule; I don’t time feeds; and I don’t agree with offering water. I entirely skipped the sections on nursery decoration and clothing. I follow Lola’s tired queues rather than keeping her awake to the prescribed times. However, I’ve taken the parts that work for me, which is enough to make me believe the book is valuable.

It’s not often that I want a book in hard copy any more – I’m a bit of a Kindle addict. However I refer back to this book a lot, and a physical copy would make it easier to flick to the right section.

I’m hesitant to recommend parenting books to anyone. Every baby is different and through my mothers group I’ve learnt that what works for one baby absolutely does not for another. However this book has worked for us and may work for you too.

While establishing a routine is often very hard work and requires a lot of sacrifices on the part of the parent, hundreds of thousands of parents around the world will testify that it is worth it because they quickly learn how to meet the needs of their babies so that any distress is kept to a minimum.

Have you read The Contented Little Baby? Do you love it or hate it? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

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  1. Good review Mel! :) I got a copy and agree with most of the parts which you’ve modified! We don’t give the cool boiled water either and I don’t stretch her out if she’s tired. But it’s a good framework to work off. We’re still not really on the routine – but at least I’m trying to get some ‘fixed points’ in her day so there’s a little bit more consistency for both of us! x

    • Thanks Viv! I’m so glad that it’s helping you. I’m completely off routine at the moment (the 4 month sleep regression has hit – don’t google that!) but the one part that has been consistent is her bedtime routine, which I think is helping us with night sleeps at least! x

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