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August 14, 2004

Babywise Backlash

Robert Williams shared his observations of how Ezzo's teachings are impacting the families in his church.

Babywise is fairly popular in our church, even among more family-oriented people. One thing I've noticed is that none of the "babywise" kids are cuddly. They don't like to snuggle up to Mom and Dad. Some of the "babywise" moms have said they are a little bit happy when their kids get sick, because then their kids *want* to cuddle up to them. One of them was holding one of our babies once and, since she knew we weren't "babywise", went ahead and indulged herself by rocking him much longer than Ezzo would approve of. Another was actually apologetic because while her daughter was ill, she rocked her to sleep. "I know you're not supposed to do this, but you know, every once in a while it doesn't hurt."

And of course, these parents rarely talk about the horror stories of letting their children scream themselves to sleep. Of finding, after an hour or more, that their son was screaming because his foot was stuck in the crib slats. Of coming in much later to find that their baby had thrown up all over herself from screaming. Of finding the next morning that their daughter had thrown up in bed and fell asleep with her face in it.

It's cool, I guess, that these moms can deposit their wide-awake toddlers in bed in a darkened room and walk out, without being burdened by such things as singing, stories, or rocking them. But it's not a price I'll pay. My sleep and my priorities aren't quite that important. So what if my kids cramp my style.

from comments by Robert Williams

This captures the way Ezzo-thinking impacts families--mothers apologizing for rocking babies to sleep, being fearful of starting "bad habits", being thankful kids are cuddly because they're sick. The problems with Ezzo parenting include a lot of intangibles and subtle attitudes--not simply the breastfeeding or growth issues that are most often discussed.


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Wow, what a great commentary. Thanks for sharing this with us, TulipGirl

Posted by: Anne Basso at August 16, 2004 01:17 AM

I just cannot imagine. Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful resources you find!


Posted by: Dy at August 16, 2004 02:44 AM

"So what if my kids cramp my style?"

I love it. You know, resistance is futile. Even Ezzo babies are going to cramp your style when you're running them to soccer and swimmeets, Awanas and music lessons, dental appointments and youth group fundraisers. You might as well accept that your life IS going to be more child-centered than you ever dreamed you'd survive and rock those babies. At home. In peace.

Enjoy 'em.

Posted by: Kathy at August 17, 2004 09:01 PM


Great words, Kathy!

Posted by: TulipGirl at August 17, 2004 10:35 PM

I know this is slightly OT, but tonight we had such a sweet moment and I thought of you-

Jacob (11.5 mos.) snuggled in to nurse, happily wrapped in a soft quilt, and I settled in to talk with him and read to him. Then he pulled off and I heard "crunch, crunch"- I looked down and Lo! and Behold! He had an animal cracker in his little hand! His eyes were droopy as he munched and smiled up at me, then came back to nurse. Milk 'n cookies- how very cool. (DH got a chuckle out of it, too- he'd forgotten the baby still had a cracker when he handed him to me!)

Posted by: Dy at August 18, 2004 05:42 AM

Is Babywise the latest fad Tulipgirl. when I had my last child who is 3 and a half, controlled crying was all the rage. It never worked on him so I gave it the push. He is pretty good at sleeping the night through now. To be honest thought sleep deprivation can make you quite looony and homicidal. I am so gald that I am past all that.

Posted by: Karnak at August 19, 2004 02:32 PM

Dy, I'm totally laughing at that! (And, tbh, we've had the "milk and cookies" thing happen before, too. The joys of toddler nursing!)

Hi, Karnak! Welcome! I'm glad you could wade through the fads of your baby's time and find what was best for y'all. And I agree--not getting enough sleep isn't good for anyone. (Though I found my sleep deprivation was usually self-inflicted--not baby-caused. *blush*)

I'm not sure that Babywise could be described as the "latest fad," though it does have some earmarks of that. It's the secularized version of the infant materials by Gary Ezzo (who hs written a "christian" parenting program.) It started in the late 80s/early 90s and became very popular in the late 90s. BW has been repackaged and seems to be gaining in popularity again.

The heart of BW is persuading parents that they must have a "parenting philosophy" and an "infant management program." Ezzo teaches that babies do best on an eat/wake/sleep cycle and with this cycle and allowing them to cry, they should be sleeping through the night very early. The book is full of medical misinformation, and following the recommendations often lead to an early milk supply loss for breastfeeding mothers. It's also linked to slowed baby weight gain, failure to thrive, and sometimes results in attachment problems.

For more than you ever wanted to know about Babywise, I recommend http://www.ezzo.info.

Posted by: TulipGirl at August 19, 2004 07:53 PM

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