Gina Ford grew up within an extended family on a farm in the Scottish Borders where, even as a child, she loved looking after younger cousins and neighbours. On moving to Edinburgh to study Hotel and Catering, she joined a premier babysitting agency, and was hugely popular with parents of young babies.
Gina’s work took her first to London and then overseas but, wherever she was, she still found herself drawn to families and called upon to baby-sit or take on the role of temporary nanny. After several years Gina returned to England and, given her skill and passion for working with children, decided to pursue a new career in childcare.
Gina’s first appointment was to help a mother whose baby had sleeping problems and Gina’s years of hands-on experience led her to solve this particular family’s problems within a few weeks. On the strength of this gift with babies, and her proven practical ability, she was recommended to other families and her reputation escalated. For years she was one of the most sought-after maternity nurses, specialising in caring for newborn babies and toddlers with serious sleeping and feeding problems. She would live with families for anything from two weeks to six months, and was on duty 24 hours a day, six days a week. During this period Gina was nominated by Harpers & Queen as one of the top ten maternity nurses in the country. She worked in many parts of the world with hundreds of different families, from leading lawyers and high-flying bankers to newspaper editors and other media personalities.
Gina believed passionately in not only nurturing the child, for which she had a particular talent, but also ensuring that the mother was well cared for too.
As Gina’s reputation grew, she was approached by a number of publishers, and in 1999 she wrote her first book, The Contented Little Baby Book. It was a runaway success, largely due to enthusiastic personal recommendation, its matter-of-fact style and practical approach appealing to fathers and mothers alike. With a new edition of the book published in 2006, it continues to be the bestselling parenting book in the UK, with sales of over half a million copies to date. It has also been published in the US and in several foreign language editions including Spanish, Hebrew, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish, Russian and Chinese. Since the success of her first book, Gina has gone on to write a further nine books and co-written two others, covering subjects such as Weaning, Feeding, Sleeping, Potty Training and Twins, as well as the popular Ella and Tom series of children’s books.
In 2000 Gina retired from maternity nursing, but for the next four years ran a successful consultancy service, helping and supporting many thousands of parents by telephone and email.
In 2004 Gina recognised that, despite the wealth of parenting information available, many mothers still felt isolated. In an effort to fill the gap, Gina launched ContentedBaby.com and, in the process, created a wonderful, supportive and dynamic on-line community.
Contented Little Baby is now a lifestyle choice for millions of people around the world. But part of this success is down to the fact that Gina still makes a point of talking directly to many mothers every week.
In two recent surveys the Daily Mail listed Gina as one of the most influential women in the field of health in Britain today and The Times listed her as one of the top fifty people who influence the way we eat, exercise and think about ourselves. The Independent newspaper, in the feature ‘Power of one’, describes her determination to change attitudes of parenting this century. She is still as hands-on as ever, which allows her to have a unique and sympathetic understanding of the problems parents face and, more importantly, how they might solve them.
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