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Gina Ford - One to One Help

If you wish further details of how a personal one-to-one telephone consultation with Gina Ford works, we would request that in the first instance that you send a detailed feeding and sleeping diary for 48 hours, along with a concise summary of what you think your problem is, using this form. If Gina thinks she is able to help you we will contact you with details of the type of consultation Gina feels would be best for you, along with the cost of consultation.

Recent cases Gina has solved


Alex, 16 weeks - erratic sleep pattern
My son is 16 weeks old and has never slept all the way through the night and his sleep pattern is getting more and more erratic. We are breast-feeding at all feeds, bar the 10.30pm which is 210ml of formula. He has been steadily gaining weight since birth and now weighs 16 lbs.

From about 8-12 weeks he was only waking once in the night at about 4/5 am for a full 20 minute feed, then would drop straight back to sleep. In the last four weeks he has been waking at least twice a night, sometimes three times and he is now waking up in the stretch of sleep from 6.45pm to 10.30pm, which he used to sleep soundly through. Up until the last week he slept through until 10.30pm when we would have to wake him for his feed. He has now started waking at 9.30/10pm. We give him a 210ml bottle of formula and he goes back to sleep by 11pm. This is when it gets totally unpredictable. The last two nights, and several nights last week, he has woken at 1am. I have been able to settle him quickly back to sleep but he wakes again at 2.30/3am. I feed him at this time and he takes a full 20 minute feed from one breast but usually falls asleep and I cannot rouse him to take the second breast so I can put him straight back in the cot. Usually, he would sleep through from here till 7am but the last week or so he has been waking at 5.30am and has been very difficult to settle. The day routine is pretty good and he knows when his feed and sleeps are coming but the night is getting more and more difficult to predict and he is certainly not getting any closer to sleeping through the night.

I have tried splitting the 10.30pm feed but he is usually asleep by the time I try to give him the second half of the feed. I am not sure where to go from here as I feel I am feeding him enough in the day and am not sure how to get more milk into him. I have considered that it may be teething but it has been almost two weeks now that he has been waking at different times and even before that, he never made it through to 7am. I don't know whether he is a hungry baby and I should consider weaning him? Some advice would be really welcome.

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Ethan, aged 6 months, night time waking
I am writing to ask for your support and assistance in getting my six-month-old sleeping better. Ethan is 6 1/2 months old and he is currently on your daily routine for his age, with weaning going well. The problem we have is night time waking. Ethan was diagnosed with reflux when he was two days old and it has caused many problems. He has been prescribed ranitidine, domperidone and gaviscon in maximum doses. In turn, he didn't sleep well. At six weeks, we saw a cranial osteopath and within three treatments, Ethan was off all medicine, with much improvement, although he still has 'sicky' moments.

I am currently weaning him off breast-feeding (he only has one breast-feed a day). We started the bedtime routine at four weeks (bath, feed, bed) and he has a dream feed at 10pm. 99% of the time, he settles straight away at 7 for bed, and after the dream feed, but when he wakes in the night, he doesn't settle for 1-3 hours unless has the dummy. We don't believe he can be hungry, because when he wakes in morning, he never screams for food and is quite happy to wait up to 1/2 hour from waking for food. We would really appreciate your help in getting Ethan sleeping from 10-7 and eventually 7-7 without the dream feed.

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Freddie, eight months, feeding problems
I am so worried about my son's eating. He is eight and a half months old. He was eating four teaspoons of Ready Brek or 3/4 Weetabix with two cubes fruit puree and whole milk, six cubes of either chicken casserole, lentil savory or lamb hotpot with a 90g yoghurt, six cubes of leek and potato or corn chowder or root medley followed by three cubes sweet potato with one cube pear and one cube apple. He was also having three breast-feeds a day and was always a good sleeper. I have followed Contented Baby and Contented Weaning from day one.

I noticed similarities between him and one of the case studies (Daniel) as he was fussy over everything after having a sickness bug two weeks ago and it was getting worse and worse. So I started following the suggestions given for Daniel yesterday and stopped giving him breakfast, but unlike the case study, he didn't really want lunch (chicken casserole mashed) at 11:00am although he seemed really hungry. I tried again at 11:30 and he ate nearly everything, so I didn't give him anything else as he hadn't quite finished it. He would normally have a yoghurt. I'm now on the second day and trying to feed him lunch. He didn't get hungry until 11:50, he's eaten a few spoons of lentil savory (mashed consistency) and then didn't want any more (I would have normally mixed his food with yoghurt at this point in the past which may have added to problems). I think we've got the following issues: protein, wanting to feed himself, a sweet tooth and not liking mashed food. I need help urgently please.

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Holly, 22 months, feeding problems
I would be very grateful if you would help me with my toddler (Hollly, 22 months) who has feeding problems. Holly has been a Gina baby since she was four days old. She is 13kg and 90cm tall. She is generally a healthy toddler and has eaten well until independence and self feeding started. She refuses to let me feed her most of the time. She is good with a spoon and fork and finger foods.

We have the same routine every day, and the food changes in that if she doesn't eat much protein or any protein at lunch I offer fish fingers at night with vegetables and/or soup, which she always eats. Her favourites are fish pie, fish fingers, green vegetables, my Gina soups like sweet potato and carrot to which I add red lentils into for protein, leek and potato soup and minestrone soup. I am not a confident cook, but I have 10 recipe books including all of Gina's books for guidance. But now I wonder whether there's any point in cooking all this food when it just gets refused anyhow...

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Jack, 19 months, sleep problems due to being woken by baby
I have a toddler aged 19 months who was a great sleeper from three months as I followed the CLB routine. He has over the last week been scared to go to sleep and I'm trying to get him trained again which is going well apart from an issue with my six-month-old who is also on CLB routine but is still waking for milk and cries for up to two hours each night till I give in and give him milk which results in him throwing up most of the day as he is over fed. I try settling him with water and leave him for 10 minutes at a time but I am getting nowhere. Both my babies are on CLB and have followed the weaning guide by Gina. They both settle well for naps and sleep as I have trained them to settle themselves without a bottle or pacifier.

The six-month-old is now waking my toddler and at the moment it has been difficult as the toddler is trying to learn to be comfortable again. For the past week, I have been up from 2 am with no sleep as I am with either with the toddler as he has been woken by the baby or dealing with baby for up to two hours as he won't settle!

The six-month-old is following each step well and I am following the feeding plan as directed as I did this with my toddler and it worked. He is quite big for his age and taking full feeds at meal times and I have just reduced his 11am milk as I have increased the solids. However even before decreasing the milk he still ate his solids but didn't drink much of his 2:30pm milk.

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Lily, 16 weeks, feeding difficulties
My daughter Lily is 16 weeks and has been on the routine since the sixth week. We are currently experiencing feeding difficulties after a series of complications due to silent reflux, ear ache, and overactive let down reflex, which have resulted in me having a very low milk supply.

After a couple of months of difficulty breast feeding and disrupted sleeping pattern, Lily was diagnosed with 'silent' reflux at 10 weeks and the paediatrician suggested I thickened feeds by giving a gel made from rice starch before and after feeds. We also changed formula for the 10.30 feed and used an Anti-reflux type. Thickening the feed does not seem to help much and caused constipation, so I have tried giving only one breast per feed and concentrated on positioning (holding up during and after feed, slanted mattress, slanted surface for playing). These all seem to help a lot and reflux crying is now kept at bay.

However, at 12 weeks Lily was vaccinated, then one week later we both got a very bad cold and she stopped eating properly. Since then she also had an ear infection. She was given antibiotics and recovered quickly. Meanwhile I thought my milk supply had gone down a lot, due to Lily not being hungry while ill, so I went to a breast-feeding consultant, who said she thought my supply was fine. She claimed that my problem was an overactive let down reflex, which explained why Lily pulled off the breast and got so upset at feeds. She suggested I tried to feed from the same breast for several feeds. I then wrote to the CLB forum for advice and a couple of mothers have suggested I feed lying down, which I have tried in the morning feed. I also make the feed a very quiet time and dim the lights or cover Lily with a blanket.

However, after noticing Lily's slow weight gain (80-100 grams per week), I have started the plan in the CLB book to help increase it. My supply must be very low since I can hardly express the amounts suggested, which makes me think the consultant was wrong, or at least only partly right. Over the past week Lily has had trouble settling for naps, and in the evening. She only sleeps properly after the 10.30 feed, and I think this is very likely to be due to hunger.

I would like some advice on how to increase my milk supply, if it is possible at this stage. Once the supply improves I would like suggestions on how to structure a feeding routine in order to minimise silent reflux and overactive let-down reflex. I would like to carry on breastfeeding throughout the weaning process, however if it was not possible I would still like some advice on how to structure the day once I have weaned from the breast to the bottle. I would like to solve the feeding problems so that I can correct the sleeping problems due to wrong sleeping associations linked to reflux (holding up asleep after feeds) and low milk supply (feeding near sleep time).

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Katie, five and a half months, night time waking
I am writing to you in the hope that you can help. I am getting more and
more tired and have put off writing this in the hope that I could find a solution myself but unfortunately I have failed to do so.

My daughter Katie is five and a half months old and over the last few weeks has started waking several times in the night. We have been following the CLB routine successfully since week one. Although Katie hasn't slept through consistently, she has managed to sleep through after being resettled with either water or a cuddle. I really don't know what to do. I thought she might be hungry but the amount she feeds in the day seems good and when I try and offer more, she won't take it. Generally throughout the day she is a happy little girl with very few upsets.

I have run out of ideas and the more tired I am getting the less I can
seem to deal with the problem. I feel like it is now becoming a vicious
circle which is spiralling only downwards. Please help.

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Lucy, aged four and a half months, daytime sleep problems
I am looking for help with my four-and-a-half month old daughter's daytime sleep. She was exclusively breast-fed for two weeks then I introduced a bottle of formula at 7am. This was because she took a long time to feed and with having the school run to manage, I thought it would make morning easier if she had a quicker feed from a bottle. Over the past four months the bottles have very gradually increased, so that her typical daily feeding and sleeping schedule is described below.

I have been trying for the past 5-6 weeks to get her to sleep in the cot, particularly for the lunchtime nap. She was sleeping in the cot as much as I could get her to from a very young age but she started only sleeping for 20 minutes then crying, and she got harder and harder to get down for a nap.

At the time this started going wrong my older daughter was on six weeks holiday from school and I was spending an awful lot of time trying to get the baby down to sleep, or back to sleep and felt guilty for leaving my older daughter downstairs, alone for long periods of time. So I decided to wait until she was back at school (when we would have a new routine anyway) before trying to get the baby sleeping in the cot again. She would sleep in the Moses basket downstairs or in the pushchair for about the right amount of time so we got by for these six weeks this way.

When I started trying to get her sleeping in the cot during the day, it went better than I had anticipated in that she didn't get upset at going down in it, it's just that she won't sleep for anywhere near as long as she needs, particularly at the lunchtime nap. In the morning, if she has slept in the cot, she will wake after 30-40 minutes which is OK as she shouldn't need any more than that anyway. But at the lunchtime nap she just will not go back to sleep. I have scoured the Contented Baby forums and success threads looking for other members who have had the same problem and tried some of the things that have worked for them. I have tried topping her up before she goes down. Sometime she would take a little more milk, sometimes refuse it, but the result wasn't any better anyway. I have tried offering half of the 2.30 feed when she wakes, also to no avail. I have tried leaving her to resettle, but this does not work. She will cry for as long as I leave her (the longest I have been able to stand is an hour, by which time she is so upset that there is no way she is relaxed enough to go back to sleep). I thought maybe checking her at progressively longer periods might work, but that made matters worse. She just got more and more upset at me being in the room.

I honestly do not know what else to try. I have spoken with my health
visitor recently and she could only suggest giving her more food. As for
the daytime sleeping issues she hasn't got any ideas. She just said be grateful that she will sleep at all during the day, albeit for short periods. One of the most frustrating things about this is that she will go down in the cot and settle herself to sleep but will not resettle after waking. At night she goes down well, and if she wakes in the night, resettles with the minimum of fuss. We can see her on the video monitor waking sometimes and just going back to sleep. In the night if I hear her surface, sometimes she will just murmur, and sometimes actually cry out, but it's very infrequent that I have had to go in and check her (especially since night feeds have stopped). So I know that she is capable of resettling - she just won't do it during the day! If I sit in the room and hold her after she has woken, she will go to sleep in a matter of a few minutes, so she clearly needs more sleep.

Other things you will need to know about her are that her room is completely blacked out. She sleeps in a Grobag and is very firmly tucked in with a sheet.
She drinks Aptamil stage 1 & 2 milk. I started to give her the stage 2 milk (half and half in a bottle) as before starting weaning, she didn't always seem satisfied by the milk, but didn't want any more than 7oz. She has only managed 8oz once. Seven ounces seems to be her limit and after that she just pushes the teat around her mouth. I hoped that the introduction of the more satisfying milk might mean that although she couldn't manage any more quantity at a time, the feed itself would satisfy her hunger. The 6oz she has at bed time is full stage 2 though.

Another thing is that she seems to get more hungry as the day goes on. She always takes 3-4 goes at her morning bottle before finishing it. The next bottle is normally always drunk in two goes, and the same for the rest of the bottles. With her being hungrier as the day progresses I found I couldn't drop the split feed before her bath. If I did she would not enjoy her bath and we would end up rushing as she was getting upset, which was not then a calm and relaxing end to the day. So when starting with the baby rice I thought I may as well give it at 5pm as at six months tea is at 5pm anyway. Perhaps this was the wrong thing to do, I don't know.

I desperately need help from someone with this. I have no one to turn to. My health visitor can't help with specific things such as this and friends and family don't seem to understand either. It is beginning to take its toll on my well being and ability to be the mother I want to be. At times I feel like such a failure and feel that I don't understand my own baby. The knock-on effect on the other people in my immediate family is also apparent. I dread lunchtime at home with her as I know what's coming. Please help.

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Sacha, aged four weeks, sleeping problems
I am writing about my second child. Sacha is four weeks old. My first child followed a 'Gina' routine from about six weeks and it worked well for us. I was keen to start earlier with my second child, in part because my husband is due to have a major operation in the next month or so and I am keen to have a child who is as predictable and content as possible so that when the disruption occurs from the operation at least the baby would be settled into a routine. It is also very important that both of us get as much sleep as possible in the run up to this time.

The first week we breast-fed every three hours and tried to follow a sleep, feed, wake pattern. Once we had seen the Health Visitor at 10 days and we knew she had gained weight, we moved on to the Gina pattern for 1 - 2 weeks which went well for the first couple of days. The main problem is what happens at her late night feed. During the day she eats and sleeps at the right times. The only main difference I can think of is that I have a very good milk supply, so generally only need to feed from one side at each feed.  Sacha goes down well at 7pm and generally sleep soundly till either she is woken or wakes himself sometime between 10 and 11. As you suggest we have introduced a bottle at this feed. However she just will not settle after this feed. We tried this for six nights but had to try various things to settle her, then put her in her cot. She is often quiet for a few minutes before starting to cry again. We have tried giving expressed milk instead of formula milk, to make sure that she is not struggling with formula. I'm pretty certain that my milk supply is not an issue and that she is getting full feeds during the day as I had her weighed yesterday and she has continued to gain weight well - putting on over a 1lb in 10 days! We then tried two nights of just a breast-feed and she settled well both nights. Last night we tried half expressed milk in a bottle and topped off with a breast-feed. She took 3 oz in 25 minutes then another 15 minutes from the breast. She initially went down well, but 45 minutes later was awake and crying. The only thing that works is letting her lie on me but then I get no sleep. I can't ask my husband to help at this point in the evening. He really needs to get at least 7 hours sleep otherwise he will be in no fit state to have the operation that he needs.

The other thing to mention is that we suspect that Sacha has reflux (silent as she is not very sick, but is fretful when feeding and after feeds). The doctor has prescribed infant Gaviscon, which we have been using for a week now. It does seem to be helping during the day, but I'm not sure if this could be causing her pain at this point. It is difficult to get her to take the infant Gaviscon as she really hates the taste - and she won't suck on anything so I can't get her to suck and then squirt it in with a syringe as I did with my older son. It is just a case of squirting into the cheek and hoping that she swallows some of it. We have worked hard at making sure she is in the right position when being bottle fed as suggested by your web site from a similar FAQ, and we make sure she drinks slowly. She is not in distress straight after the feed. We have tilted the bed as often suggested.

I don't know what else to try and I'm really starting to lose all perspective on it. I'm desperate to get some more sleep because then I know I would be able to be more rational. Although I try to nap when I can and go to bed early, it's not sustainable as I have no help and no way to afford any.

Another problem I am becoming increasingly worried about is that because I spend most of the first part of the night (till 3ish) awake with her, when she does settle after that feed I fall into a sound sleep, often not hearing my alarm at 7 and then the day ends up starting late, sometimes not until 8 (my toddler stays asleep till then) and then I worry that the whole CLB routine goes out the window.

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Toby, aged 12 months, eating and sleeping problems
We desperately need help with our son who is sleeping very badly, drinking far too much milk and not eating his solids. We have tried different strategies but it seems to be a downward spiral and we really need help.

I desperately need guidance and help to get him to eat a good amount and sleep through the night. We have followed the Gina Ford routines from birth until six months but things have fallen apart since then with his eating and thus his sleeping. I'm at the point now that I'm terrified that I am either starving him or giving him too much milk. He is very active and does not stop crawling around at a run. He has managed to sleep through less than 10 times.

When he was six months he refused repeatedly (for almost a couple of
weeks) to be spoon fed so he went straight to finger foods. I do try and
spoon now and then but he will take one spoonful about once a week from
me. He is determined to feed himself, either through fingers or using a
spoon himself. I have tried to use food choices advised by Gina (e.g. a protein lunch, carbohydrate tea) and adapt some of the Gina recipes to finger foods, so Bolognese is made with mince in big lumps. Toby doesn't eat a lot compared to his friends who are spoon fed. Some meals he will not eat anything. He also has too much milk during the day and night which must be having an impact but I don't know how to break the cycle.

I did not try to get him to sleep through from an early age as my husband
gets up in the morning at 5.30am and it was important for him to get some
sleep so I would feed Toby rather than let him cry. At present he is waking
at around midnight for a feed and often at 3am, followed by a short feed
at 5.30am. He sleeps very well during the day, with 15-20 minutes at the morning nap and two hours 10 minutes lunchtime nap. He won't however go down two and half hours after the morning nap (he cries for up to an hour). I now put him down three hours which is very successful but messes up the afternoon. I am worried about starting sleep training without guidance as I'm not sure if he is truly hungry or not. Please could you help as we are not coping?

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Ruby, 8 months, unsettled nights
I truly believe that Gina rescued me after my first baby was born with her books and routines, and am delighted to say I now have a 2.5 year old son who is happy and well-adjusted and follows all Gina's routines perfectly.

I now also have an eight-month-old daughter and am really hoping you can help again. I have tried just about everything suggested in your books, forums and FAQ advice. At 12 weeks, my baby was following the routine with no problems but then she caught chickenpox, followed by a lung infection which resulted in dummy use and night feeding. After her lung infection, she started to have significant vomiting - 2/3 times a day - but after seeing a consultant, we have ruled out anything serious and through careful structuring of feeds (not overfeeding and not going too long between meals) and keeping upright, the vomiting is now only once every 2/3 days.

As a result of all of the above, we have very unsettled nights. I have removed the dummy but the night feeding continues. She is waking 2/3 times a night at no consistent time (sometimes as early as 9.30pm or as late as 5am) and each time, the only way to settle her is with milk (I've tried water/juice/less milk). After she's had a feed (at least 5oz), she will settle immediately and go straight back to sleep. On top of this, she wakes most mornings at 5.30/6 and even after a full feed, she will not settle back.

I have tried controlled crying/rocking/singing/sleeping in the same room and nothing is working. I'm worried that I've tried too many different things and not been consistent - we've seen countless doctors, nurses, consultants and health visitors over the last few months (due to the various health problems) and each has a different opinion on what needs to be done in helping her sleep through the night. I need help now from someone I trust (i.e. Gina) in knowing the right approach and then sticking to it. I do not accept that just because she is a big and active girl that she is unable to sleep through the night without food.

Everyone that sees my baby agrees that she is a happy natured, well
behaved little girl with no underlying health issues. My friends would also tell you that I'm quite a strict mother who follows routines at all times with my children. However, something has gone wrong for us - and I desperately need the help of someone I trust to get us back on track.

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Polly, 3 weeks, problems establishing a routine
I am writing to you as I need advice on how to establish good routines
for my three-week-old daughter. I appreciate she might be too young but it
seems she is going from bad to worse. My two-year-old thrived on your routine and immediately adapted well to it. I only heard of your books when he was five weeks old and by eight weeks he was sleeping through the night and was indeed a contented baby! Your advice was life saving for all of us.

I have followed your book and advice with my daughter as I did with my son, but she doesn't seem to adapt to it. I can't for keep her awake during the day for more than two hours, which obviously results to her being awake for ever at night. The other problem is that we don't have a room for her - I tried putting her to sleep with her brother, but every time she cried her brother cried too and became very distressed as to why the baby was crying. My son goes to nursery four times a week in the afternoons and is back home at 6pm. By that time I give my daughter her split feed and bath and get her ready for bed - she is in bed by 6:45ish and goes down well only to wake up at around 7:30pm wanting more milk and being unsettled. The result is that she won't go back to sleep until almost 10pm. She is having milk all this time - a little at a time, dozing off only to wake up screaming for more 20 minutes later. The fact that she doesn't have a room means that I keep moving her around the house in order to find the quietest spot in the house until her brother's bath time and bed time is over. That can't be good for her but I do not know what to do.

As you can see it's all over the place - at the times that she feeds every one or two hours I have tried to either put her to sleep or take her for a walk so she can last longer but she is clearly hungry and won't settle without a feed. I also forgot to mention that she is bottle-fed.

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