Gina Ford — so-called “parenting guru” — has lashed out at UK Lib Dem party leader Nick Clegg after he hit out at her parenting manual. Ford, an unqualified former maternity nurse questioned Clegg’s maturity (ironic, given her lawsuit against mumsnet after mums shared a few views of their own) because of his comparison of The Contented Little Baby Book to “
a sort of Ikea assembly instruction manual“.
My favourite part of her retort is her misguided idea that because the book has sold 1 million copies, that there are 2 million British parents following her advice. I don’t know what planet Ford is on, but this is as barmy as me suggesting that every one of my thousands of visitors over the years are loyal readers. In actual fact, my following is smaller by yards, and I imagine much of the sales of Ford’s book are by well-meaning and probably child-free friends and relatives who read the blurb and think it sounds amazing.
Back here on planet Earth we know that her advice to breastfeeding mothers is potentially detrimental to supply (babies suckle at the boob to encourage production of milk; her suggestion to top baby’s up with formula interferes with that) and her enthusiasm for cry it out/controlled crying techniques chills me to the bone. Her book and its followers are symptomatic of several generations of parents who think raising a child involves shoving a bottle in a baby’s gob and posting in front of the TV so as not to be an inconvenience to mummy and daddy.
As for Clegg… far from losing voters, I have a feeling this revelation of his choice of parenting method is likely to connect him to a lot of mums up and down the country.