Nick Clegg vs Gina Ford – I know who I’d rather have putting me to bed

As many of you know, I have something of a soft spot for Lib Dem politicians… if you haven’t already, you can read about my Clegg-crush here at Mookychick.

Clegg’s appeal increased further today then when he openly scoffed childcare guru Gina Ford and her controversial childcare routines.  Talking about his experience of using Ford’s ‘Contented Little Baby Book’, Clegg is quoted in the Times as saying “With our first one, like all new parents, we religiously followed Gina Ford. Instructions like, stick him in a broom cupboard at 7.46am. At 7.48am, take him out, do not look at him . . . Absolute nonsense.”

I couldn’t agree more! Although millions of parents swear by Ford’s strict regimes, I have always been shocked by her attitude to raising children – not just because of the trauma I believe her harsh routines can expose babies to, but also the pressure it puts on parents. How can it feel good to have someone tell you to just sit and listen to your baby cry??

Books like Ford’s take the power away from parents, making them question their own judgement and instincts. As a species, we have managed to survive for thousands of years without parenting manuals like these – as women, we are designed to bear and nurture our children. We don’t need anyone to tell us how to do it.

Ford hit back at Clegg, warning him that his outburst could cost him much-needed support at the general election. I think she’s wrong – anybody who is prepared to stand up to Gina gets my vote.



  1. 10 January, 2010 / 5:20 pm

    I sort of followed Gina Ford for my girls when they were babies. I liked the idea of a routine, and just didn’t follow all that make sure you put them to bed in a dark room stuff.

  2. 10 January, 2010 / 5:27 pm

    I’m sure it’s fine if you are just looking for inspiration and happy to pick out the bits that suit you. My concern is that there are loads of parents who feel anxious and insecure and think they have to do exactly as she says – setting themselves up to feel like a failure if it doesn’t work.

  3. 11 January, 2010 / 9:19 am

    I only followed Gina on the days when I didn’t know my own name. Then it was nice to have a bossy big sister type tell me exactly what to do. Otherwise, Clegg’s yer man. I wonder though what Mrs C thought about it all.

    • 11 January, 2010 / 9:32 am

      Wow – you mean some days you knew your name?? Good going :-)

  4. 11 January, 2010 / 11:46 pm

    I never liked the idea of Gina Ford’s techniques – perhaps because I have a pathological fear of set routines!! I completely agree that babies thrive on order and established patterns, but I also think that teaching children to be flexible, and able to adapt to different situations (within reason) has benefits too. Each to their own.

    • 12 January, 2010 / 9:29 am

      I know what you mean Jacqui – someone tells me what to do and I immediately want to do the opposite :-)

    • 12 January, 2010 / 9:33 am

      Hi Helen,

      I read your post – very interesting! I like the quote from Dr Christopher Green. I’d love to see Gina Ford have her own children and struggle to implement her own harsh routines!

  5. ectopist
    12 January, 2010 / 10:36 am

    Also totally agree. Long live attachment parenting.

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