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June 22, 2004

Just in Time

Another new story at Voices of Experience:

"When J. was about 3 and a half months old, I started thinking he looked a little skinny. Everybody told me I was silly. Then he started fighting when I wanted him to nurse. And sometimes he would wake up half an hour into his nap crying. I, being a "mother in charge", let him cry himself back to sleep. It only took a few minutes usually. But I was concerned. What was going on?

We went to his 4-month appointment and he weighed in at 11 pounds, 6 ounces. He had lost nearly a pound in 2 months, where he should have gained at least 3.

I was horrified."


It was hard for me to read K.M.'s story, because it was so similar to what we lived through when applying the principles from Ezzo's Babywise* book. Thankfully, K.M. quickly connected the cause of Ezzo's misinformation with the effect of her son's weight loss, sleep problems, and milk supply loss and had a wonderful outcome when she tossed out Babywise with the bathwater.


*Babywise is the secular version of Let the Children Come Along the Infant Way, formerly known as Preparation for Parenting.


Update: Tim at Challies.com has some interesting things to add about Ezzo. Konkadoo, Rasita, and Shane are also blogging about Ezzo this week.

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Babywise & Other Ezzo Nonsense from Challies Dot Com
Just a few weeks ago I had no idea who Garry Ezzo was and how controversial his childraising programs are. I had looked over his book "Growing Kids God's Way" but had never really read it. Then Matt Hall posted about Babywise and a little bit about the... [Read More]

Tracked on June 24, 2004 03:57 PM

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Comments

I was just searching for pro-life materials for our Right to Life booth this summer, and came across some great stuff - UNTIL I clicked the parenting section recommending "cry it out" materials. I didn't recognize the other "discipline" titles, and I'm scared to find out what they advocate. :-(

We are such sheep. And we so easily follow the wrong shepherd, not even recognizing right from wrong.

Posted by: Carol at June 22, 2004 11:51 PM

"We are such sheep. And we so easily follow the wrong shepherd, not even recognizing right from wrong."

That's one of the things that was hardest for me--realizing that I had been so gullible, that I had fallen for something that was not Biblical, because it "sounded" right. It's been humbling and hard.

Posted by: TulipGirl at June 24, 2004 06:40 AM

I never tried the Babywise stuff, despite being given two books by my mother-in-law. I read the first chapter and was turned off it. My gut instinct was that this was not right. My kids are happy, healthy, mature and immature, sleep through the night and I was able to feed up till I was ready to wean.
My husband put me onto the Challies dot com article which lead me to you.

Posted by: Judith at June 26, 2004 06:19 AM

I was given two babywise books, by the mother-in-law, but never got past reading the first chapter. It just didn't feel right to me. My kids are healthy, happy, well behaved, mature and immature.

Posted by: Judith at June 26, 2004 06:21 AM

Hi TulipGirl, your family is adorable! I have 3 girls and one mystery baby on the way! I didn't have a bad Ezzo experience, but I agree that a mama has to go with her gut. My third born wasn't gaining when I was nursing her. I never had a problem before, but her weight and fussiness didn't lie. My doctor told me to keep mursing and not to suppliment, but I finally had to feed her something else. She was happier and chubbier soon after. : )

Posted by: rebecca at July 3, 2004 11:21 PM

Hi, Judith! Welcome!


Hi, Rebecca. I'm a little confused. When you say, "I didn't have a bad Ezzo experience," does that mean you used Ezzo materials but view your experience as good, or do you mean you didn't use Ezzo at all? Thanks for the clarification!

Posted by: TulipGirl at July 4, 2004 08:21 AM

Well, I listened to GKGW on audio tape about 7 years ago. I had checked it out from our church library. At that time I felt some of the material was a bit legalistic so in my mind I chucked the bad and attempted to glean what I could from the rest. I don't remember too many specifics because it was so long ago. Following that I was given Babywise and the schedule worked for my family. I had big happy babies the first 2 times. I have recommended it in the past. Is there more that I should know? It has not been until recently that I have heard so much negative discussion regarding the Ezzos. I have read that they twist Scripture, but I haven't read any specific examples. I would be open to that before I recommend their resources to anyone else.
Thanks : )
Rebecca

Posted by: rebecca at July 9, 2004 07:32 AM

Hi, Rebecca! Thanks for clarifying.

"Following that I was given Babywise and the schedule worked for my family. I had big happy babies the first 2 times."

I'm glad it was a good "fit" for your babies. A lot of that depends upon the mother's milk storage capacity and the baby's metabolism/calorie needs. If you're interested in reading more about this, check out this article.


"I have recommended it in the past. Is there more that I should know?"

Really, I can't in good conscience recommend Babywise, based on the science info as explained in the above article. Yes, some babies "fit" the eat/wake/sleep routine okay--but many don't. And most babies fall into a routine with no problem in time (usually around 3 or 4 months old.) I've come to advise a new mother to respond to her baby's cues for feeding and sleeping, and then wait and see what routine develops from there.

"It has not been until recently that I have heard so much negative discussion regarding the Ezzos."

You've probably found that the criticism falls into four categories:

1. Medical:
In all of the Ezzo books I've read, I've seen a consistent lack of knowledge of basic child development. (And of course, the baby-related books are full of breastfeeding/infant health misinformation.)

2. Moral:
The Ezzo's proclaim a "higher moral standard," yet personally don't live up to the same standard they require of others. Gary Ezzo has plagiarized (and only given credit after it was pointed out publically.) He's used threatened and actual legal action to intimidate those who are critical of his teachings. There is evidence of misuse of GFI funds. He's been subject to church discipline repeatedly and has a pattern of leaving churches rather than dealing honorably with it. The elders who know him very intimately have declared him "unfit for public ministry" at this time. You may be interested in Adventures in Ezzoland.

3. Christian Issues:
You may not have experienced this, but there are cultish actions, attitudes and control related to the Ezzo materials. If you haven't read CRI's article, I recommend it. Especially evident in churches/communities that promote Ezzo parenting are problems with authoritarianism, exclusivism, and isolationism. We saw this very clearly at the Calvary Chapel church where we took Prep.

4. Misuse of Scripture:
As you mentioned, Ezzo's materials are based more on his opinions than on "Biblical princple" as he likes to claim. A good summary of this is available from Pastor Kent McClain. Also, I recommend this series related to Biblical Hermeneutics (using specific examples from Ezzo.) At the very least, Gary Ezzo is very sloppy in his use of Scripture.


To be completely honest, I know that there are some great Ezzo families! However, I am convinced it's because those parents love their children dearly and are deeply committed to being active and involved in their children's lives--not because of the "principles" taught by Gary Ezzo. It's interesting that many "Contact Moms" have come to similar conclusions and left the Ezzo ideas far behind. . .

I hope this is helpful and encouraging to you, Rebecca!

Posted by: TulipGirl at July 9, 2004 07:13 PM

Thanks so much for these links. I read several other things from your site already, but I will read these things as well. I never got into the later materials by the Ezzos, but I read in one of your on-line articles something about their being anti attachment and setting up a schedule with crib time etc. for older children. I do know a family that has done that- the kids are required to stay in their beds until their mom comes to get them, they have specific play time, specific mom time, etc. It is very orderly, but the kids definately don't seem attached. Is this where she got those ideas?

Posted by: rebecca at July 10, 2004 09:01 AM

Is this where she got those ideas?

Maybe. Ezzo's materials for toddlers is very big into different "times" as a continuation of the infant schedule. Playpen time, highchair time, etc. However, it's not exclusive to Ezzo. Popular in some Ezzo circles is the book "Creative Family Times" which very strongly promotes different "times". Also, moms who use the MOTH method of scheduling often have various "times."

I am all for routine and rhythm in life. But I have seen the artificial scheduling promoted by Ezzo and the natural extension of that in some families result in a very controlling mindset. I've seen mothers say, "Oh, my schedule gives me freedom" when objectively you and I might see how uptight and tense she is.

I know that with my first two I very much had the feeling that I needed to be controlling so much. At the time I didn't think I was tense, in retrospect I see I was always wound tight.


but the kids definately don't seem attached.

Attachment issues range from the mild to the severe, and the things that cause/impact attachment vary. One of the things that has been hard for me to learn about is how infants' brains develop and how the chemical patterns are set early in life. You may be interested in reading about the Chemicals of Attachment.

Attachment issues in Ezzo kids are often related to the non-responsiveness of the mother to infant crying, and the high cortisol levels that result. (It made sense at the time that after evaluating a cry, a non-response was a response. Now, I wish I had always comforted my babies physically when they were crying instead of thinking that everything was fine, and they just needed to get their energy out. . .)

Along with the infant-related causes, the toddler years materials set parents up for a very adversial relationship with their little ones. Even though a mother may be staying home with her toddler, planning her day and activities with her child, loving on him, etc--when using the Ezzo ideas, she often develops a "me vs. him" attitude that does come across--even if she isn't yelling or being harsh. I think that contributes to some of the disconnectedness that is sometimes seen in Ezzo families (and others who have adopted a very parenting mindset that is controlling and punitive.)

All that to say, I don't know whether what you observe in your friend and her children is Ezzo-related or not. But it is possible.

Posted by: TulipGirl at July 10, 2004 09:55 AM

Oh my goodness. I had no idea about that. It makes me want to do some things over. It also shows the why behind so many different attached and unattached examples I've seen.

Posted by: rebecca at July 10, 2004 06:40 PM

It makes me want to do some things over.

I -totally- understand. *hug*

Some days my "mantra" is "God's grace and a mother's love cover a multitude of mess ups. . ."

And I trust in God's sovereignty, that He has used even the mistakes and consequences of those mistakes to help from both my kids and myself into the people He has created us to be.

Posted by: TulipGirl at July 10, 2004 08:00 PM

I cannot understand the Babywise thing and why anyone would even consider using the methods. Any other baby care book and most pediatricians recommend just the opposite. Human instint and nature goes against it.
Moms who use this method should not be moms!!! What if you were defenseless and could not speak, walk or do anything for yourself, yet you cried because you needed something and the able bodied person in the house ignored you?
What if you were hungry and although there was a house full of food, someone else made decisions about when you were going to finally eat?
Babies need love, nurturing and attention. They need to trust that their parents will respond to their needs. Babies who are weeks old cannot manipulate.
I witnessed first hand a relative using this method. Her baby was obviously hungry, was literally sucking her fingers off and in such a tither. My sister in law looked at her watch, decided it wasn't time to feed her and let that baby cry for nearly an hour. That is wrong and honestly, in my opinion is on the line of neglect and abuse.
Babies will make a schedule for themselves. They will naturally learn when to be asleep and when to be awake. If you cannot fit a baby into your schedule, DONT HAVE ONE!!!!!!

Posted by: mommy89 at January 3, 2005 03:50 PM

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