The secret to Calm and Confident Parenting. An official Gina Ford website

Response to Critics

Gina has always made it clear that her books are intended for parents who want to establish a routine for their babies, and need some help to do so. The books are not aimed at parents who choose other methods to look after their babies, and she would never try to convince anyone to change their views. Parents must choose what suits them and their baby best, and Gina respects everyone's right to make their own decisions.
Differences of opinion are normal and appropriate; but what is difficult is when her methods are misrepresented and attacked unfairly. When this occurs, her critics are also attacking the thousands of parents who have successfully used her books and who have happy babies to show for it. When Gina has chosen to respond to such criticism, it has often been to correct errors and distortions that have arisen because commentators have not read her books properly.

September 27th 2003 - The Times

Gina's response: "I wrote The Contented Little Baby Book for women who wanted a routine for their babies because there was no other advice given. I didn't write it to convert the world to my methods."

"Most critics don't read the book properly. It's not about starving your baby or leaving them to cry. Penelope Leach (the child psychologist and author) said that my books were bestsellers because they allowed women to put themselves first. I was very saddened. My routines are all about putting baby first."

May 9th 2004 - The Times

Penelope Leach, the author and child psychologist, has launched a scathing attack on the theories of fellow expert Gina Ford, claiming they could undermine a child's development and even cause psychological damage. Ford... said last week that she was disappointed by the article and disputed its conclusions.

Gina's response: "I'm a great admirer of Penelope Leach and there will always be different schools of thought, but what I find totally ridiculous is implying the parents who follow my books are damaging children"

"My book is strict on the parent, but it's not strict on the baby because they baby's needs are being met. I say in my book that I would be horrified if any of my babies cried for more than five or 10 minutes a day. This isn't about denying a baby food or love."

December 2005

Sheila Kitzinger attacked the 'disciplinarian' parenting approach favoured by her rival, Gina Ford.

Gina's response: "Sheila's methods work well for many parents, just as mine do. Parents should be allowed to follow a style of parenting that suits them, without being criticised about the choice they have made."

24 February 2007 - Daily Mail

Gina Ford's detractors, who include the childcare experts Miriam Stoppard and Penelope Leach, complain that such rigid adherence to routines is prescriptive and unloving. In 2003, the child psychologist Penelope Leach had entered the fray. "If they kept waking somebody in an Iraqi jail, we'd call it torture", she said, referring to Gina's philosophy. Sheila Kitzinger, says that Gina's methods "treat the baby as if they are the enemy, as if they are feral wild animals who have to be civilised".

Gina's response: "I can't sit around and get upset when a load of rubbish is written about me. When I get insulted, it's an insult to the parents (who follow the guidelines)".

September 2008

Desmond Morris criticises babycare books advocating routines as 'unnatural' and 'prescriptive'.

Gina's response: In a letter to the Daily Mail

Dear Sirs,

I've been asked to respond to your email regarding the comments made by Desmond Morris: "that baby books have recently begun repeating the unnatural dictates from so-called childcare "experts" of the past, who ordered mothers never to hug or kiss their babies and ignore them if they cry". Whilst I feel sympathetic that Desmond Morris is still affected by the harsh treatment he received from his mother nearly eighty years ago, I don't believe that the majority of parents today would advocate this outdated practice. I was as shocked as Desmond Morris by the sensationalist television programme last year that portrayed the methods of the 1920's childcare author Truby King, and expressed my serious concerns in a letter to the NSPCC at the time. However there have been no books advocating a return to such methods published recently in the UK. Also, given the public outcry to the programme, it is clear that there is no demand for this type of book.What is clear is that, after nearly 30 years of many childcare experts advocating baby-led practices, there is now a demand by many parents for an alternative choice on how to bring up their babies. My series of The Contented Little Baby books, of which three accounted for nearly twenty-five percent of the parenting book market last year, is proof of this. My books, along with those written by other authors who also advocate a routine-based approach to parenting, recognise that the old-fashioned approach to routines of strict four-hourly feeding and leaving the baby alone outside in the pram for hours are not in the baby's best interest and do not work.I have always respected that there are different approaches to bringing up a baby, and believe that parents should be encouraged to make an informed decision based on truthful facts about the different methods. My belief has always been that the mother's and baby's physical and emotional health are inseparable. I take a holistic approach in the advice that I give, and I know that, even after birth, the mother and baby are so uniquely intertwined, that for their mutual happiness it is essential that both their needs are met.
Yours faithfully,

Gina Ford

17 January 2010 - The Times

Nick Clegg has launched a scathing attack on Britain's best-known child-rearing guru, likening her methods to "sticking babies in broom cupboards" and as "absolute nonsense".

Gina's response: "We live in a democracy, and parents are entitled to choose whatever style of parenting they wish."

"What is sad about this statement is that it comes from a supposedly intelligent man who would have us believe that he is capable of running Great Britain, Clegg may think his comments are funny - and indeed in one way they are, as he has just insulted the parenting choice of more than 2m British voters."

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