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November 15, 2004

Investigative Reporting: Gary Ezzo


The report is up, Baby Care Controversy.

"It is dangerous to do it the way he describes," Pediatrician Dr. Rosemary Shy says of Ezzo's technique. "It puts these babies at risk for jaundice, at risk for dehydration, and at risk for failing to thrive, all of which we’ve seen."

"Alleged Baby Expert Investigated"

Gary Ezzo has built a big business telling parents he's a baby expert. But his controversial advice has put some infants in the hospital. Chief Investigator Steve Wilson goes after the facts in this man's world of books and videos. A 7 On Your Side Investigation Monday at 6:00PM on 7 Action News.

Detroit's ABC affiliate, WXYZ Channel 7, will be airing an investigative report on "alleged baby expert" Gary Ezzo. Those in the Detroit area can catch it at 6 pm, Monday, November 15th.

For the rest of us, the clip will be available from the WXYZ website after the program airs.

For more information about Ezzo parenting, I recommend visiting the Ezzo Controversy Timeline or the AwareParent.Net discussion board.


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I have seen a link to your blog on Soli Deo Gloria, Quiet Life, Rebecca Writes, Classic Adventures and Good Soil, and I have finally taken a moment to come and visit.

Thanks for mentioning the story re Gary Ezzo. We live in southern Ontario, so we get the Detroit station, and can watch this broadcast.

Have a blessed weekend.

Posted by: Kim in ON at November 13, 2004 03:16 AM

Thanks for writing to me! I answered you, and I just wanted to be sure that you check your messages. We've mostly come through our sleep problems (at least we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel), and I'm continuing my search for how to co-sleep and actually sleep. Obviously, it's not Ezzo. :-)

Posted by: Phyllis at November 14, 2004 07:31 AM

Tulip Girl,
Just wanted to let you know that I've read a lot of your stuff on the Ezzos and I think you're fighting a good fight! I'm the Minister of Family life at a church in West Texas, and I've had to fight tooth and nail against the Ezzos stuff. Came across it about 7 years ago at another church and tried to talk some sense into some die-hard Ezzo fans -- big mess! Now I'm at another church and when the Ezzos are mentioned I just smile and kindly say "we're going a different direction with our parent education."

Anyway, just wanted to let you know you're on the right track as far as I'm concerned. Peace.

Posted by: chris at November 15, 2004 04:03 PM

Hi, Chris!

Thanks so much for the encouragement. *grin* So, you're in Lubbock? I love your reply, "we're going a different direction. . ." What a gracious answer to a LOT of things.

Did you get my e-mail?

Hi, Kim! Did you get to see the broadcast? What do you think?

Posted by: TulipGirl at November 15, 2004 10:26 PM

I was looking for the Ezzo story on Channel 7, and Google led me to your journal. Thanks for linking to it.

I read Babywise (first edition), a friend loaned it to me. My first observation was that the author was a poor writer. My second observation was that he heavily distorted Attachment Parenting (can you say "straw man"?). Aside from that, his approach didn't bother me too much since he talked about paying attention to the baby's cues in addition to having a schedule. I quit reading when I got to the actual sample schedules since I have no frame of refrence yet.

What are these parents doing? Abanondoing the baby's cues alltogether and just following a chart? DUMB!

Posted by: Jennifer at November 16, 2004 03:38 AM

hello from the mountain where there was snow on the sabbath providing perfect weather for rest, recuperation and spiritual reflection in general. blessings. mmk

Posted by: mtmamma'smamma at November 16, 2004 07:04 AM

hello from the mountain where there was snow on the sabbath providing perfect weather for rest, recuperation and spiritual reflection in general. blessings. mmk

Posted by: mtmamma'smamma at November 16, 2004 07:04 AM

I was not able to see the broadcast last night due to other commitments, but I did see the other links. I hoped to view the clip, but have been unable to.

A very good friend of mine used Babywise, and at 8 mos old, her baby looked like she was about 4 mos old. The couple at our church who were teaching the GFI material told her it was likely due to a latent urinary infection but when my friend took her baby to the doctor, he said the baby was undernourished. She has since had two other children, but she has abandoned the Babywise books.

Posted by: Kim in ON at November 16, 2004 07:44 PM


One of the things that concerns me is that even when babies aren't diagnosed "Failure to Thrive" or "Delayed Growth", I have seen a pattern of very small babies among Ezzo users and the Ezzo moms see it as normal.

Yes, there is a wide range of baby sizes (someone has to be in the 5 percentile on the charts!) But it is all too common to hear Ezzo moms reassuring each other, "Oh, yes--mine was a little peanut, too." I think many Ezzo babies are systematically denied the calories they need for optimum growth, even when they may be within normal growth ranges.

The more I learn about infant brain development in the first year, the more this low-grade insufficient calorie pattern concerns me.

I see in my oldest son (Ezzo'd, FTT, CIO, the works) a very intelligent, sweet boy. And I can't help but wondering what his *full* development would have been if we had followed his hunger cues more closely and parented him to sleep gently.

Posted by: TulipGirl at November 17, 2004 12:25 AM

Hi, Jennifer!

You hit on a key way Gary Ezzo persuades parents to use his materials--scare tactics and strawman arguments.

You wrote, his approach didn't bother me too much since he talked about paying attention to the baby's cues in addition to having a schedule.

This is one of the things that is more murky in Babywise. Great emphasis is placed on the importance of the routine, especially the eat/wake/sleep cycle. And then a reminder to "follow cues" in inserted. What I've observed is that mothers who accept the Ezzo "philosophy" are in a poor position to interpret baby's cues. Hunger cues are very, very frequently misinterpreted as sleep cues. If it isn't the "right" time in the routine, then hunger cues are often overlooked. The right wording is there "follow cues" but the context of understanding those cues is very off. Personally, I was very convinced that my baby was tired and cranky at times that I can now look back and see--no, he was hungry. Really hungry!

And such fear is instilled in parents about deviating from the "routine" and setting a new norm, that advice to "be flexible" is actually pretty rigid. Be flexible about feeding "early" once--but then find out why baby wants to eat early and "fix" it. (Rather than accepting that baby may, as a normal thing, need increased calories and eat "early".)

You also wrote, What are these parents doing? Abanondoing the baby's cues alltogether and just following a chart? DUMB!

Yeah, on some levels it is dumb. On the other hand, most parents who use Babywise (and especially the religious materials, Prep and Along the Infant Way) are thoroughly convinced that this routine is needed by their baby and the absolute best thing they can do for their infant. They have been persuaded that it is best for baby, and they only want to do the right thing. So, they are evaluating cues within that framework, truly desiring to care for baby the best they can. The "cues" are misinterpreted or simply not seen as hunger cues. They think they are using flexiblity and common sense, but they are making loving decisions based on very flawed medical information.

Often, it's only in retrospect that mothers understand the mistakes they made with Babywise or the flaws in the program. I know many mamas who loved it with their first baby, and then discarded it with subsequent children and wonder *why* they thought it was so great with their first!

Posted by: TulipGirl at November 17, 2004 12:45 AM


Did you get my e-mail?

Enjoy the peace on the mountain. Miss you.

Posted by: TulipGirl at November 17, 2004 12:46 AM

Btw, I noticed in my referral links that there are mamas visiting from a Yahoo group that is for Babywise/Ezzo parenting.

I'ld like to invite you to join the discussion at http://www.awareparent.net.

Grace and blessings,

Posted by: TulipGirl at November 17, 2004 03:49 AM

I'm not familiar with any of the other Ezzo materials or church programs that are often used with it. Also, I've read way more on Attachment Parenting than I have of Babywise so when I read to "follow cues" I might respond with totally different behavior than a Babywise follower. I didn't know how messed up it was.

I plan to go totally "on demand" when my baby is born and I HOPE to fall into a routine by 4 months, but I'm not going to be militant about it.

Posted by: Jennifer (again) at November 17, 2004 01:20 PM

Jennifer, sometime along in there, you'll know your baby so well that you'll recognize her general daily pattern. But fast-growing babies do change their patterns pretty often, so you'll find that knowing your baby well and reading her cues helps you adapt to her evolving patterns.

Congratulations on your baby!

Posted by: Kathy at November 17, 2004 05:33 PM

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