|Born||c. 1960 (age 58–59)|
|Occupation||Author, former maternity nurse|
|Notable works||The Contented Little Baby Book|
Gina Ford (born c. 1960) is the bestselling author of childcare books in the United Kingdom and a former maternity nurse who has cared for over 300 babies during her career. Ford's 1999 book The Contented Little Baby Book advocates a daily routine for both the baby and the parents, with the day divided up into very precise slots.
Praise and criticism
Criticism of Ford's approach has included that her methods are like "training animals". Some criticism centres around the fact that she herself has no children and however much she learns about and cares for the children of others, having never experienced this as a parent means she lacks some fundamental first-hand experience of maternal brain chemistry changes. The maternal brain chemistry changes involve hormones that allow the mother to be more sensitive to her own infant's wants.
There is a common criticism among people who are not familiar with her works that Ford’s approach towards sleep training babies encourages parents to practice a form of cry it out. In fact, to help babies into her routine she advocates 'Assisting to sleep'; "one parent should stay in a quiet room with (the baby) and cuddle him throughout the whole of the sleep-time" (The New Contented Little Baby Book, ISBN 978-0-0919-1269-7) for the duration of all naps and early evening sleep, for a period of at least three days. Then begins a process of settling the baby to the bed, first holding both his hands on his chest until asleep, then just one hand, and so on.
In answer to criticism about her methods she writes, "I would never advise that young babies should be left to cry for lengthy periods of time to get themselves to sleep. I do stress that some overtired babies will fight sleep and they should be allowed 5-10 minutes' 'crying down' period." Ford writes further on this subject in her book The New Contented Little Baby Book ISBN 978-0-0919-1269-7.
In response to criticism levied against her, Ford suggests that the 25% market share of parenting books that her publications enjoy is proof that her methods do not harm children.
In 2004, the BBC commissioned a series from Outline Productions called Gina Ford's Baby School, using Big Brother-style methods to oversee the progress of newborn babies. In January 2005, Ford had a meeting with BBC and Outline Productions, and refused to agree to certain reality-style aspects of the format. With only a few weeks before filming, Ford pulled out and was replaced by Dr Tanya Byron.
Ford has threatened legal action against online child and parenting forum mumsnet.com, claiming that users have made "defamatory" comments about her, and has demanded that the whole site be taken down. In May 2007, this dispute was resolved with Mumsnet paying some of Ford's legal costs, but Mumsnet remaining open.
In 2007, she wrote to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and accused child-care expert Claire Verity of “child abuse” for methods used in a Channel 4 series called Bringing Up Baby.
- Mother knows best — but does Gina Ford know better?, The Times, June 29, 2009
- Asthana, Anushka (4 March 2007). "Baby guru's method 'like dog training'". The Guardian. London.
- Kim, Pilyoung; Leckman, James F.; Mayes, Linda C.; Newman, Michal-Ann; Feldman, Ruth; Swain, James E. (30 September 2009). "Perceived quality of maternal care in childhood and structure and function of mothers' brain". Developmental Science. 13 (4): 662–673. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00923.x. PMC 3974609. PMID 20590729.
- Daddy knows best, Nick Clegg tells Gina Ford, The Sunday Times, January 10, 2010
- Queen of Routine lashes out at her liberal childcare critics, The Guardian, February 26, 2007
- BBC's "Big Brother" show for babies ends in tears, Independent on Sunday, February 13, 2005
- Five Life Commissions Gina Ford Documentary Easier.com
- Babycare guru demands closure of 'defamatory' site, The Register, 9 August 2006
- Mumsnet settles with Gina Ford over defamation claims
- TV nanny Claire Verity criticised by rival, The Daily Telegraph, 08 Oct 2007