« Valentine's Day in the Cross Cultural Context | Main | Parenthetical Parenting Thought »


February 15, 2005

What Ezzo Says about Babies and Toddlers. . .

This is the third of a four part series. Thanks to elcollins for compiling these quotes.

These quotes illustrate Gary Ezzo's attitude towards infants, his lack of understanding of normal childhood development, and tendency to turn normal growth and development into "moral" issues.


Uncooperative:
My three-week-old baby starts to cry one hour after his last feeding and appears hungry. I've tried to stretch his time but can't get him to go longer. What's the problem?

If baby is hungry, feed him. Then, spend some time investigating the probable cause of his uncooperative stance. Most often, a baby fails to make the 2 1/2-hour minimum (especially babies over two weeks of age) because the order of daytime activities is reversed. . . . But investigate why he is not reaching the minimum mark and start working toward it. (From the GFI Web Site)


Ezzo on Crying:
"Crying for 15-20 or even 30 minutes is not going to hurt your baby physically or emotionally, especially if the cry is a continual start-stop cry. He will not lose brain cells, experience a drop in IQ, or have feelings of rejection that will leave him manic depressive at age thirty." (See here.)

"When your baby awakens [in the middle of the night] do not rush right in. Any crying will be temporary, lasting from 5-45 minutes." (Speaking of babies 8 weeks and over)


Ezzo on When Not to Let Baby Cry
"When special situations arise, allow context to guide you.... You are on an airplane and your six-month-old begins to fuss loudly. You last fed him only two hours earlier. What should you do?.... The context and ethics involved require that you not let your baby’s routine disturb the flight for everyone else. Failing to act will bring stress both to you and to the rest of the passengers. Although you normally wouldn’t feed him so soon after his last feeding, the context of the situation dictates that you temporarily suspend your normal routine." (The inference here is that it is ethical to feed this hungry baby at two hours and not three hours ONLY because his cries will disturb others and stress out the mom?)

"You and your ten-month-old daughter are staying overnight in the home of a friend. She usually sleeps through the night, but this night she wakes at 3:00 AM. What is the morally correct action to take? Pacify the child and help her return to sleep. Yes, at home she may fall back to sleep in five minutes with a little bit of fussing or crying, but you’re not at home--you are a guest in someone else’s home, and your child is disturbing the sleep of others."

"Your life will be less tense if you consider the context of each situation and respond appropriately for the benefit of everyone." (Babywise II, p 21-22) (Please notice that the only time to tend to your baby before you want to is when it bothers other adults.)


Ezzo on Separation Anxiety:
"If you had a weekly date night with your spouse before the baby was born, continue that practice as soon as you can. . . A child does not go through separation anxiety when his mommy is with his daddy." (Prep p32)


Ezzo on High Chair Manners

"Moral training is a priority discipline. The moral self-control that keeps a child sitting in a highchair without fighting with mom is the same self-control that will later keep him at a desk with a book in his hand. The battle for right highchair manners is moral, not academic." (Babywise II, p10 for 5-15 month olds)

"Even at mealtime, be looking for training opportunities in order to avoid retraining. Don’t allow poor eating habits-- such as fingers in the mouth, playing with food, and spitting out food--to become a normal pattern of your child’s behavior. It only means correcting the child at a later date." (Babywise II, p44 - again for 5-15 month olds)

"It’s possible to train your child not to drop his or her food by giving immediate attention to the offense. First, correct the child verbally. Next, provide an attention- getting squeeze or swat to the hand, if necessary. Finally, isolate him or her in the crib.... If the child persists in the behavior (and some will), mealtime may be over and naptime might begin.... In the past, educators were concerned with parents who pushed their children too fast. Today, we are concerned with parents who don’t push their children enough." (Babywise II, P62)

"Included in the group of common highchair violations are: flipping the plate; dropping and throwing food; playing with food; placing messy hands in the hair; banging on the tray; standing in the highchair; arching the back; spitting 'raspberries'; screaming." (Babywise II, P61)

Four to six months: "He strings together several different sounds (badabadaba), and he blows raspberries." (A developmental action and a highchair violation?) (Babywise II, p 117)


Ezzo on Waking Up Happy
"Your baby’s disposition upon waking can be happy and content when you follow three basic rules.
Rule One: Mom, not baby, decides when the nap starts.
Rule Two: Mom, not baby, decides when the nap ends.
Rule Three: If your baby wakes up crying or cranky, it’s most often because he or she has not had sufficient sleep...If you leave the baby in the crib, even though the baby may fuss or cry, he or she will probably go right back to sleep (within ten minutes) for another rest period that extends thirty to forty minutes." (Babywise II, p 106, Preparation for Parenting, p130-1) (Wake up "happy" or cry. Naps are not based on infant cues or need to sleep, but mother's decision.)
For more information, check out my GFI/Ezzo/Babywise archives and Ezzo.Info. Or join the discussion at AwareParent.Net or the Ezzo Board.


Part I: What Ezzo Says About Me. . .
Part II: What Ezzo Says About My Kids. . .
Part III: What Ezzo Says About Babies and Toddlers. . .
Part IV: What Ezzo Says About Punishment. . .


Update: Related blogging at Yellow Porch, The Prattling Pastor's Wife, Rebbeca Writes, Powers that Blog, Keel the Pot and A Capable Wife. For a differing point of view, see My Three Pennies.

Spacer

Posted by TulipGirl  |  08:38 PM|  TrackBack (0)  |   Words

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.tulipgirl.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/593

Spacer
Comments

Okay, now this is really getting annoying. ACK!!
"A child does not go through separation anxiety when his mommy is with his daddy.
What the????

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, Tulipgirl!!

Posted by: Carol at February 15, 2005 09:48 PM

I am always suspicious that Ezzo uses the word "child" in situations like that to divert attention from the fact that he's actually discussing BABIES.

Posted by: Kathy at February 16, 2005 02:24 AM

I'm not even sure why I'm over here, but since I am (clicked on a link, clicked on a link, then clicked on a link), and since I read the post, I must comment that I didn't see anything amazingly objectionable.

I'm not an Ezzo follower at all, but the above quotes didn't have me squirming in discomfort. In fact, many of the above suggestions, modified to fit our family's personality, are the norm around my place.

Our babies get nursed a lot, snuggled to sleep, etc, but at a certain point, they all learn to go to sleep in a crib...and sometimes they fuss about it... Somehow they've all come through this terrible tragic thing with zesty fun-loving personalities still intact, no seperation anxiety or other strange abnormal side-effects.

Because they don't do the catnap thing (but nap when Mom sees a nap is needed), they usually sleep well and wake up very happy. You quoted Ezzo commenting on this...and I'm trying to figure out what's so wrong with helping mom's have their babies wake up happy? It just shows that the baby got a good nap--and isn't that good for baby?

I don't schedule feed, other than to generally have them go at least 2 hours between nursing (otherwise the annoying habit of 'snacking' starts, and that doesn't do Mom or baby any favors), but for those who find scheduling to fit their family's lifestyle (and their baby's), more power to 'em.

Of the five family's I've known to schedule-feed, all the babies have seemed fat and content. It's not the way I like to do things, but seems like if it fits the "personality" of THAT family, then who am I to grump about it? (Is my way the only way to raise a happy healthy baby? I don't think so)...

We don't let them go nutso in the highchair, either. In reading this post, though, I'm assuming we've done the wrong thing? I should have let my four babies all learn to throw their food off the tray, let them practice the art of arching their backs and yelling at me?

I'm not intending to be rude here...Just kind of surprised at this post. You may have a different parenting style, but come on. The things quoted here aren't "Hitler on Parenting," just a style of parenting obviously different from your own. Doesn't seem like anything terrible is being advocated in the quotes you shared--certainly not abusive. Just different.

Warmly Dissenting,
Molly

Posted by: molly at February 16, 2005 07:27 AM

Grrrrrr....this is getting my motor running this morning!

Okay, let the kid scream for twenty minutes (has Ezzo ever cried for 20 mins? It's exhausting!) at home, but when you're on a plane AND EVERYONE IS LOOKING AT YOU, don't? Is it any wonder Christians can be so performance oriented?

My dd's friend is a GFI kid; her parents taught it. I have never seen a kid so wrapped up with her own performance. I wonder if she knows anything of grace.

Posted by: Kim in ON at February 16, 2005 01:10 PM

Is it any wonder Christians can be so performance oriented? . . . I have never seen a kid so wrapped up with her own performance. I wonder if she knows anything of grace.

Your comment hits me very close to home, because performance orientation is part of my personality.
Looking back at my growing up years, it was NOT something that expected from my parents.
I would have never thought or said that my salvation was by works and not by grace. However, my actions and attitudes of life reflected that assumption that, perhaps not salvation, but being a "good girl" was definitely meriting heavenly brownie points.

God has used my mistakes in parenting, God allowing my sins to surface, and my theological growth have definitely brought me to a place where I understand grace in a way that I didn't before.

And I think this is one of the reasons why I've become more sensitive to and outspoken about Christian parenting ideas that lead parents to becoming more performance focused, rather than reflecting the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their families.

Posted by: TulipGirl at February 16, 2005 06:07 PM

Well, how on earth can a child only a few weeks old have an oppositional stance? I tried the letting my babies cry bit once or twice with my first, then realized it was pointless. However, I am a firm believer in letting them cry if it's a temper tantrum, because that's the only way my kids learned to stop that, but PLEASE, they don't throw those that young! And all of my babies needed to nurse more than every two and a half hours even after 8 weeks (not at night) and I produced tons of milk and none of them got more than they needed (they were active babies.) Books like this fail to take into account the vast differences in developmental patterns children exhibit. My youngest child was never away from me until the age of two and had a blast the first time I left him with someone because he was completely secure in the knowledge that I would come back because I had always taken care of him and had always come back to get his elder sisters when they were left somewhere; he was old enough to understand this by the time I did it with him.

Posted by: Karin at February 16, 2005 08:30 PM

Molly, perhaps you could read what Ezzo writes in it's entirity and not become a "Hitler parent" but many can't.

It strikes me that in this day and age where many parents aren't parenting thier children enough, some parents read the things Ezzo writes and follow it militantly, to the disservice of their babies and children. We want to be good parents, we want to raise good kids. When someone comes along who writes so authoritatively on the subject, it can be easy to fall into a legalistic approach.

Apperantly Ezzo never met my kids, two of whom have always awakened without tears, and one who always awakened with. I just wish there were more parenting experts putting the familial reigns back into parents hands without stripping children of their voice, thier feelings, or thier dignity!

Posted by: Anne Basso at February 16, 2005 10:25 PM

QUOTE: "It strikes me that in this day and age where many parents aren't parenting thier children enough, some parents read the things Ezzo writes and follow it militantly, to the disservice of their babies and children."


Yes, but Anne, the same thing is true of any other "parenting manual."

I started out my parenting by reading a lot of Attachment Parenting books. Then I was given the gift of a SERIOUSLY colicky baby for a firstborn. Because of the "teachings" I'd swallowed about how you can't ever let your baby cry and have to nurse them whenever they want it, yadda yadda yadda, I have nothing but MISERABLE memories of my first 5 months of motherhood.

My daughter nursed 24/7, which probably just contributed to her colic (since she never got any hindmilk) AND never got anything other than a catnap. Ezzo's first book saved my parenting career, let's just put it like that. I never followed his advice to a tee, but just hearing from someone that it wouldn't kill my child to let her cry was what I needed.

When we finally put her in her own crib and made her cry herself to sleep, AND stopped letting her nurse whenever she wanted to (which was ALWAYS), she fell asleep (after a good long cry, which I didn't like anymore than she did) and walla.

Over the next few days, we had a different child altogether. Our whining demanding mess of a daughter turned into a smiling happy darling. Why? She finally had some good long naps under her belt, and was finally getting a good full nursing. Jeff and I just couldn't believe it.

My second daughter would have been the poster-child for Attachment Parenting--her personality was so mellow and agreeable, she would have confirmed all the pro-AP arguments (and I would have thought it was the AP that made her so wonderful. It wasn't--it was just her personality, and we weren't really APing her, anyways).

But my firstborn...she needed structure, she needed MY help in telling her "what she needed when." Her temperment was not of the sort that "knew what was best." All the AP books, which I read and then followed 100% faithfully, were the worst thing for her, and made ME feel so guilty and frazzled.

Switching over to a more Ezzo style was the best thing we ever did--certainly saved my sanity, for one thing, and made her a happy baby (finally!). No longer catering to her every whim was the best thing we ever did for that child! The before-and-after pictures themselves tell the tale--it was so incredible.

I don't follow anyone's book too closely now...just get good ideas, and work them into our family. :o) But when you are just starting out and clueless, you don't know what to do...doesn't matter what book you read, you are likely to follow it. And there are dangers from ANY book on ANY side, whether it's Ezzo or Sears--anytime you follow somebody so closely and try to copy them exactly, you're missing out bigtime on what God has for YOUR particular family, and THAT particular child.

So I know Ezzo has his troubles...but not all of his ideas are so terrible. And letting your baby cry for 20 minutes is a terrible crime? Whew... Boy, what do you guys do when you have to drive somewhere? I've had a few babies who've NOT liked the carseat and cried all the way to town (a 20 minute drive). Did I commit child abuse by keeping them in the carseat and making them come to town with us? I don't think so...

Letting a baby cry all the time is not such a great idea. But sometimes a baby is going to have to cry. The baby can't be the fulcrum of the family--the baby has to fit into his/her place. Our babies get LOTS of loving, don't get me wrong, but we don't drop everything at their every whimper. We learned that lesson with our firstborn...the following three babies have been awesome, btw. Each their own personality, but they've had a mother who was MUCH more able to parent them according to their needs, not according to some book or manual. :o)

Blessings,
Molly

Posted by: Molly at February 17, 2005 01:01 AM

Hi, Molly,

Welcome! Well, you posted quite a bit. *grin* My time online is sporadic these days, so I may reply in bits and pieces.

I must comment that I didn't see anything amazingly objectionable.

What I find primarily disturbing in these posts is the attitude that Gary Ezzo has towards children and mothers. He is quick to attribute malicious motives to infants (uncooperative stance) and slow to recognize the validity of infants' needs.

"Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?..." The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

I get the feeling both from these quotes and from Gary Ezzo's teachings in general that he would read the parable of the sheep and the goats and would be quick to consider the poor and the outcast as worthy of ministry, but would not consider the children in our home to be among "the least of these."

From your writings, I believe that you do NOT share that attitude--but that you do view ministry to your children as very vital. In fact, I think you'd really identify with the ideas about mothering in this essay by Rebecca Lewis, Unto the Least of These.

Along with that, the above quotes illustrate how completely lacking Gary Ezzo is in understanding natural child development. Perhaps you overlooked that, since you have children of a range of ages and respond naturally to where they are in their development.

Just like children need the progression of scooting to crawling to cruising to walking, so is there a natural progression in other areas of child development. Ezzo frequently overlooks this in his parenting advice. Ezzo's hang up on children putting their hands in food, IMO, is just one example of his ignorance in child development. There is nothing morally superior about a child having his hands held under the high chair, compared to a child picking up his cheerios for himself. *shrug* Ezzo makes developmental issues into moral issues.

Furthermore, it is completely inappropriate to inflict pain on a baby for touching food. I say this with much sadness, knowing that I followed Ezzo's "highchair manners" teachings quite closely with my oldest. It was completely inappropriate, completely unnecessary, and while my oldest is a delight--swatting his hand while teaching him "high chair manners" did not make him any less of a sinner in need of a Saviour.


I'm trying to figure out what's so wrong with helping mom's have their babies wake up happy? It just shows that the baby got a good nap--and isn't that good for baby?

Of course a good nap is good for a baby. "Waking up happy" can be, but is not necessarily, an indicator of a good nap. My little ones tended to wake up happy, but a couple of them went through a period when they were toddlers when they woke up slowly and did best having extra cuddle time to completely wake up.

The "mom decides. . ." rules lead new mothers to not look for an infant's cues for sleepiness. When the "mom decides" rules are made in the context of the eat/wake/sleep routine, the routine--not the baby's genuine sleep needs--are the primary indicator of naptime. Again--not healthy. When you factor in the "45 minute intruder" which Ezzo has finally addressed in BW 2001, though barely adequately, and the pattern of babies on the E/W/S routine waking up hungry--perhaps you can see why the "mom decides" nap rules leave much to be desired.

Posted by: TulipGirl at February 18, 2005 07:07 PM

I'm not an Ezzo follower at all. . . .Ezzo's first book saved my parenting career, let's just put it like that. I never followed his advice to a tee. . . .

Thanks for explaining your perspective, and where you are coming from. FWIW, I've never met anyone who said they followed Ezzo "to a tee" or "religiously"--always "with flexibility and common sense." Unfortunately, even those smart mamas using common sense can make good decisions based on poor information and end up with problems.


(otherwise the annoying habit of 'snacking' starts, and that doesn't do Mom or baby any favors)

Well, actually, what you may think is "snacking" in one baby may be what another baby needs to grow. Infants have an amazingly tiny stomach. Some babies have a smaller tummy and smaller capacity for breastmilk intake. Sometimes babies are thirsty. Sometimes babies are going through amazing growth spurts (that don't seem obvious to mama at first) and need frequent feedings. Some mothers' breasts have a smaller milk-storage capacity--and need the frequent empty/fill up to maintain adequate supply. The way Ezzo instills a fear of "snacking" in mothers often is part of what undermines milk supply in Ezzo mamas.

Other babies/mothers biologically "fit" into Ezzo's schedule, and so they don't experience milk supply/growth failures. But, that cannot be predicted beforehand with each mother and baby.


but for those who find scheduling to fit their family's lifestyle (and their baby's), more power to 'em.

There are many ways to incorporate routine into family life (and a baby's life) without scheduling feeding and sleeping times. In fact, that's one of my beefs with Ezzo--he says he's all for routine, but really teaches very little about routine in family life and focuses instead on the cycle of E/W/S.


Of the five family's I've known to schedule-feed, all the babies have seemed fat and content.

Good. You would have said the same about my oldest. He would have fit into that "fat and content" category when he was 3 months old and 16 chubby pounds. Our growth and milk supply problems showed up at 4-6 months--which is quite common among BW babies.

And of the many, many, many scheduling parents I've known both in real life and online, I cannot think of one who was able to breastfeed successfully to a year without modifying the Ezzo routine. Right now, I think of one mother I know online who really likes Babywise and breastfed to a year--even she had a strict "no more than 3 hours between feeds" rule.

You might be interested in reading these case studies, compiled by a Contact Mom who handled a lot of the breastfeeding phone calls that GFI rec'd. Notice that these problems are among families who are satisfied with the program.

Sure, there are some mamas/babies who "fit" the Ezzo routine okay--but that is the exception, because what he teaches undermines God's design for breastfeeding. There's a reason he's finally added into the most recent edition that extended breastfeeding may be incompatible with the routine he teaches.

Posted by: TulipGirl at February 18, 2005 07:29 PM

if it fits the "personality" of THAT family, then who am I to grump about it? (Is my way the only way to raise a happy healthy baby? I don't think so)...

*grin* And here is where we agree wholeheartedly.


I'm not intending to be rude here...Just kind of surprised at this post. You may have a different parenting style, but come on. The things quoted here aren't "Hitler on Parenting," just a style of parenting obviously different from your own.

I've never said Ezzo was "Hitler on Parenting" (but come to think of it, pre-Nazi Germany did have a hyper-controlling parenting philosophy. *eg*)


Doesn't seem like anything terrible is being advocated in the quotes you shared--certainly not abusive. Just different.

Well, different now. As they say, been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

I've talked with lots of former-Ezzo parents, both those who are actively seeking to undo the damage from their Ezzo years and those who have simply grown away from those ideas. A common theme is that one of the things they came away with was an antagonistic parent vs. child attitude. And these are parents who love their kids and wanted only the best for them. Yet, the ideas and the hints and the philosophy tends to slowly lead to us vs. them rather than "We're all on the same team.

Posted by: TulipGirl at February 18, 2005 07:49 PM

"It strikes me that in this day and age where many parents aren't parenting thier children enough, some parents read the things Ezzo writes and follow it militantly, to the disservice of their babies and children."

Isn't it sad? So many kids are "under-"parented. I haven't found that to be the case among Ezzo mamas. In fact, I'm convinced that what Ezzo seems to "work" is because of the love and active involvement of the mothers--not the "philosophy"

But I disagree--it isn't because mamas are following it "militantly" that it is a problem--the ideas themselves are faulty and based on medical and developmental misinformation.


Over the next few days, we had a different child altogether. Our whining demanding mess of a daughter turned into a smiling happy darling. Why? She finally had some good long naps under her belt, and was finally getting a good full nursing. Jeff and I just couldn't believe it.

I'm sorry you had such a rough time with your firstborn. I'm sure you did the best you could with the resources you had.

At this point in my mothering career with what I've learned about infant development and from trial'n'error with my other kids, if I had a baby with the difficulties you described, I still would not cry-to-sleep-train. At this point in your mothering career, I bet you're more able to recognize your baby's hunger and sleep cues and have a better idea of ways to help a colicky or overtired baby get the rest she needs and wouldn't need to rely upon crying to sleep, either.


But my firstborn...she needed structure, she needed MY help in telling her "what she needed when." Her temperment was not of the sort that "knew what was best." All the AP books, which I read and then followed 100% faithfully, were the worst thing for her, and made ME feel so guilty and frazzled.

Too often, as Ezzo has, people frame the debate as "Ezzo vs. AP." That is a false dichotomy. There are many approaches to parenting that don't fall into those two groups.

I'm sorry you felt so guilty and frazzled. I think that is common for mamas--we're all trying to do our very best and are our own worse critics. It's why I've adopted the mantra, God's grace and a mother's love cover a multitude of mistakes.


No longer catering to her every whim was the best thing we ever did for that child! . . . The baby can't be the fulcrum of the family--the baby has to fit into his/her place. . . .but we don't drop everything at their every whimper.

I have a problem with this--not in you necessarily, but in what Ezzo teaches. Gary Ezzo presents children's needs as simply "wants" and portrays infants as little manipulators set out to destroy a parent's life and demand that parents "cater to their every whim." What a sad, twisted view of motherhood and of children.

And reality is, infants are completely dependent upon others in a way that toddlers and older children and adults are not. They have NEEDS that ought to be met, with much care and with a view to minister to these littlest ones in the Body of Christ. An older baby can be encouraged to wait, a toddler can be taught to take turns, an older child can be taught to get for himself, and adults are mature enough to see the needs of others and willingly put aside their own wants and needs to care for others.

It's striking that the image that Paul uses in Thessalonians to describe those caring for the baby believers is . . .as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Isn't that a much healthier--and more Biblical--attitude than the one Ezzo teaches?


"And there are dangers from ANY book on ANY side, whether it's Ezzo or Sears. . ."

Well, I disagree. There are a LOT of parenting books out there, and while there may be occasional errors in them, I'm not aware of any other than Ezzo's that are consistently linked with developmental and medical problems Ezzo's books are. (Well, okay, I have seen a warning about the Baby Whisperer, too.) The AAP has issued a statement warning against the ideas Ezzo teaches because they are medically unsound.

Like I said, I don't think Ezzo vs Sears/AP is a necessary debate. Having said that, the articles I've read from Dr. Sears have all been very much in the line of, "X is good because of Y, but if X doesn't work, try Z--or see what fits your baby best." A completely different attitude than Gary Ezzo's.


"So I know Ezzo has his troubles...but not all of his ideas are so terrible."

I've heard it said, and found it to be true, "What is good in Ezzo isn't unique, and what is unique isn't good."


Posted by: TulipGirl at February 18, 2005 08:09 PM

"And letting your baby cry for 20 minutes is a terrible crime? Whew...

I wouldn't call it a crime, but it is not healthy. The research I've done indicates that uncomforted crying has a negative impact on biochemistry and brain development. My boys that were expected to CIO at naptimes are wonderful and bright. Yet, I believe they would have been better off being gently encouraged to sleep and their cries responded to quickly. And for those times they were inconsolable, I believe it would have been better to keep them near me and comforted them as much as possible.

Gary Ezzo teaches that "5-45 minutes" of crying on a regular basis at naptime should be seen as "normal." He teaches that babies can not be harmed by crying--which is untrue. A friend of mine has a little girl with permanent damage to her vocal cords--yet, following Ezzo's advice about crying. And yes, with flexibility and common sense.


Boy, what do you guys do when you have to drive somewhere? . . . Did I commit child abuse by keeping them in the carseat and making them come to town with us? I don't think so...

I've been using public transportation for the past 3+ years, so it's hard to remember driving 20 minutes to town. . . If you're interested in brainstorming healthier ideas than having a baby cry for 20 minutes while you drive, I'm sure the mamas here would be happy to pitch in ideas that have worked for them.

But I think you're trying to say uncomforted crying is unavoidable and causes no harm. In which case, I disagree but understand that you believe it to be true.


Again, thanks for joining in the conversation, Molly. *grin*


Posted by: TulipGirl at February 18, 2005 08:30 PM

LOL!
Just got around to reading your comments! Lots of 'em! :o)

I linked to you, btw, because the subject got me thinking and I ended up blogging on it. Well, I should say I'll *be* blogging on it for however long it lasts... A

Great comments. I'm not adverse to many of them--actually AGREE with most of them.

We co-sleep at night with our newborns, btw, and nurse till at least age one (whereupon I usually get pregnant again, and my body doesn't seem to like to make milk and be pregnant at the same time, so that's usually the end of nursing).

But we do teach our babies to take naps on their own around 2-3 months of age. Usually it just takes a few days, and I like to use a bassinet and a light blanket swaddle, to help them feel "secure." They have generally adjusted to this quite well...probably because I'm more experienced now, and know when to put them down (right when they're tired out, but not so tired out that they're overstimulated and can't fall asleep). After that 3 day period, they nap quite well. We all love it! :o)

As for me continually putting them to sleep via rocking or nursing or whatevering them, SORRY, not practical. *grin* What do I do with the rest of the young brood--pop on a movie every time baby has to nap, so that I can go upstairs with baby and spend 20-30 minutes trying to get him asleep? I have a full house, and that is not only not practical, but not fair to the family. Baby is PART of the family, not the fulcrum. (That's not Ezzo talking--that's me, and I think it's Scriptural). Mutual submission goes many directions. :o)

And worrying over a baby crying on the way to town? Sorry, we'll have to agree to disagree. I don't think it'll kill 'em, or even hurt 'em. Again, baby is PART of the family, not the center upon which we decide all our activities. Whilst the new babies certainly get LOTS of extra attention and cuddling and whatnot, there are some things the baby just has to deal with! :o) Fussing on a once a week town trip hasn't seemed to do anything harmful to any of my children (well, the two who hated carseats, that is).

What do you think the settler wives did with their babies? What if baby fussed while Mom had to go milk the cow, or kill and pluck the hen? Were entire generations of early Americans all psychologically impaired because their mother didn't revolve all of daily life around them? I have a feeling baby's needs were met and then some, but that sometimes Mom had to go do chores that were vital to the family's needs, and baby just had to learn that that's the way life is.

There are also different types of crying--a "panic" cry gets me RUNNING everytime, as does a newborn cry. My mother instincts tell me, "GET to that baby, pronto, and let it know all is well with the world." Whereas (you'll disagree with me here, but that's ok) older babies have all sorts of different cries..."I'm hungry," to "I'm sleepy," "I'm teething/hurting," and then there's the ol' "I'm ticked off, you big brat, so get over here and serve me NOW!" (we call that one the "queen/king" cry--heehee!), etc... It's good to learn to discern the types of crying, because all require a different response.


So I agree with you in some areas, and disagree in others... Which is probably where we'll end, seeings as we have very differing views of Scriptural interpretation on similar issues anyhow. All the same, I've appreciated the accidental exchange. :o)

Blessings,
Molly

Posted by: Molly at February 19, 2005 04:51 AM

whoa! Tulipgirl! You sure do have major issues with ezzo, don't you? You are obviously very emotional about this - and our emotions can so easily lead us to make sweeping, generalised statements, and judgements based on personal experience and hearsay. if your personal experience had been different, and if you had known a few dozen friends with positive ezzo experiences, would you be so quick to condemn?
I think that you have assumed alot about what ezzo *thinks* based on your interpretation of his books. I read his books, and didn't get any of those opinions about him at all. But then, i saw few dozen friends have postitive experiences with babywise before i had my first. it can work - and it does work for many many parents. all parents (as molly said - great post molly!!), have different personalites, as do their babies (and don't say ezzo doesn't allow for that - HE DOES), and therefore it will look a little different in every household. just because someone doesn't do a militant style of ezzo baby-management doesn't mean they didn't do it the way ezzo wanted them to! every one thinks that their way is the best - I'm sure you think that you've got a handle on baby management, as do I. so does ezzo. so leave the guy alone! if you can't stand him that much, stop obsessing over him and get on with your life - there are more important things in life to stress over! fyi - i used babywise (pfp) 6 times. different babies, slightly different approach each time, but always wonderful! i b/f past 12 months with each, too (exclusively - ie no solids). so it can work!

Posted by: louisa at February 19, 2005 05:39 AM

Welcome, Lousia! Thanks for joining in.


Hi, Molly--I'm glad my posting spree didn't scare you off. *grin* There were a whole slew of points you brought up that I thought deserved a fair response--and I wanted to make sure we were not communicating past each other. (And I wanted to be clear for the other mamas who may be reading. . .) And I want to encourage you to skim through the various things I linked to in the above comments--I think they'll be of interest to you.


Great comments. I'm not adverse to many of them--actually AGREE with most of them.

Molly, while we’ve disagreed on some key points when we’ve interacted online, I believe you and I foundationally have a great deal about which we do agree. (And I think you’ll come to agree with my point of view more in time. *L*)


But we do teach our babies to take naps on their own around 2-3 months of age. . . . After that 3 day period, they nap quite well.

What you’re not saying here, but considering the context of the discussion, is that you use crying-to-sleep-train, right? I disagree that it is necessary for a family to function, for a baby to learn to sleep, or healthy for an infant.


As for me continually putting them to sleep via rocking or nursing or whatevering them, SORRY, not practical. *grin* What do I do with the rest of the young brood--pop on a movie every time baby has to nap, so that I can go upstairs with baby and spend 20-30 minutes trying to get him asleep?

As earlier in the conversation, I don’t think you’re asking “what else can I do?” looking for alternative ideas, but to explain the decisions you’ve made. Many mamas have found they can multitask caring for the needs of the baby and older children, without relying upon crying-to-sleep-train or neglecting the older kids. If you do want ideas for when this new baby comes, I bet you can get a lot of great ones by asking on your blog.


I have a full house, and that is not only not practical, but not fair to the family. Baby is PART of the family . . . Mutual submission goes many directions.

I have a full house, too. I’ve found practical ways to attend to our babies needs while not neglecting the family. Infants wants and needs are intertwined—and yes, as they grow they do learn to delay gratification. But just like I don’t expect my child who awakens with a nightmare to calm himself, I don’t expect my infant to meet his comfort needs himself. That’s part of my Biblical role as mother, meeting the needs of the least of these.


And worrying over a baby crying on the way to town? Sorry, we'll have to agree to disagree. I don't think it'll kill 'em, or even hurt 'em.

Yep, won’t kill ‘em. Harm them? I believe that God has given us the Bible as our guidebook for faith and practice. I believe He has also made Creation in a way that we can study and learn about His designs. The research done on infant development—especially biochemical and brain development—strongly indicates that uncomforted crying does harm babies. You can choose not to believe what people have learned about how God has designed mothers and infants, but denying it doesn’t erase it. Leaving an infant to himself to cry on a routine basis is not a healthy choice. I linked to various studies in the previous comments—I encourage you to skim through them before you again assert crying can not harm infants.


baby is PART of the family, not the center upon which we decide all our activities.

In our home, Christ is the center—not the baby. You’re falling into the same false pattern of thinking Ezzo does—assuming those who disagree believe the baby is the center of the family and everyone falls all over themselves to cater to “every whim.” In our family, babies needs (and yes, while they are small, wants) are cared for without the baby being a "little dictator" or the center of all of our decisions.

What other parents who have formerly used Ezzo have said, is that they were so concerned about not being "child-centered" that over time they became "parent-centered"--which, in my opinion, is even unhealthier. As Rebecca Prewett has said, as adults we are quite experienced at sinning and being selfish and Ezzo's ideas often feed that, even in well-intentioned Christian parents.


What do you think the settler wives did with their babies? . . . I have a feeling baby's needs were met and then some, but that sometimes Mom had to go do chores that were vital to the family's needs, and baby just had to learn that that's the way life is.

A false dichotomy, again. Babies' needs CAN be met while meeting the needs of the rest of the family. Sometimes babies WILL cry—and the baby still deserves to be comforted.

Your “driving to town” story reminds me of when we flew overseas when C4 was 12 months old. He was a champ, didn’t cry a bit during the 17 hour flight. He did cry unconsolably every time we were boarding a plane. (I think it was Providence—other passengers got of our way!) And yes, I met his needs, comforted him, and still was able to deal with our family and the demands of the situation.

As for early settlers. . . Well, here in Ukraine there is a fascinating village museum with homes from all over Ukraine set up over several acres. What struck me the first time I visited were the baby cradles that hung suspended from the ceiling. Not only did it keep babies off of the dirt floors, but they were at eye level able to interact with mama throughout the day. (Reminds me of how I used the bouncy seat on the table as I cleaned house with my first. . .) And the cradles were easy to rock as mother went about her work.
In many cultures, childcare is spread among the generations—that is something that American mamas often don’t have. Perhaps that will change in the next generation or so, at least among the Christian, family-centric sorts. Various modes of babywearing are employed, and baby goes along with mama as she takes care of her work for her family and community. And older children help attend to babies—I know my oldest is super-gentle and attentive to younger ones and I love watching him be a sweet big brother.

Taking care of our family, home, and older children is NOT at odds with taking care of an infant. If mothers believe that is so, perhaps they should rethink having more babies than they can fully care for. . .


There are also different types of crying-- It's good to learn to discern the types of crying, because all require a different response.

You said you thought I’d disagree—but I do agree. *grin* I do believe that a RESPONSE is needed--not ignoring or blocking a baby's cries.


So I agree with you in some areas, and disagree in others... Which is probably where we'll end, seeings as we have very differing views of Scriptural interpretation on similar issues anyhow.

Since you bring up the Scriptural interpretation thing. . . I want to make it very clear that I have an extremely high view of the Bible. In a previous conversation we had on your blog, someone implied I didn’t—I left the discussion at that point.

But as someone else has ably said, The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him. And, The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man. I hold to a strict interpretation of Scripture, and while you may not acknowledge it, I believe that there are many cultural assumptions that are made and read into the Bible by those of us who are within the North American Protestant culture.

And as I’ve said before, I trust that Christian mothers are doing their best to raise their children to the glory of God. May we all daily learn how to apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our family relationships.

Posted by: TulipGirl at February 19, 2005 12:13 PM

There are things I remember about being a little girl. One I especially remember is feeling more secure and happier if my mom would let me borrow her pillow. Hmm... Why do you suppose that would be? Just her smell made me feel secure? And why was I insecure in the first place? Maybe because I was a by-the-book-sleep-in-the-crib baby? I will say that my first born is the one I was most rigid about sleep with and he is the one with the sleep issues today. He has a horrible time getting to sleep. You would never know that--because he has been 'trained' not to complain (he's 11 1/2 now), but I have noticed him still awake 2 hours after bedtime. I don't know how to help him with this and it does make me regret how he was trained to sleep. I have, however, given him permission at this point to do whatever it takes ie turn on a light and read for a while or whatever.

Baby does not have separation anxiety when mom is out with dad? Huh? How does a baby differentiate that? Maybe my baby wouldn't mind, but I'll say I would! As a nursing mom, I've always just felt better if baby is with me and much more relaxed and able to enjoy an evening out with dad! I can't understand why people can't see this time as TEMPORARY!!!! My children (except baby) BEG us to go out now! LOL!

Posted by: Lyn at February 19, 2005 01:51 PM

Louisa-

"whoa! Tulipgirl! You sure do have major issues with ezzo, don't you? You are obviously very emotional about this - and our emotions can so easily lead us to make sweeping, generalised statements, and judgements based on personal experience and hearsay."

I just read all of TulipGirl's lengthy comments, and didn't see a shred of emotionalism. Instead I saw medical evidence referenced (including the AAP), and a very balanced presentation of her views. She wrote with such forethought and dispassion that she even spelled everything correctly. A good example for some on this thread, it would seem.

Your argument isn't one at all. Like all Ezzo supporters, you have nothing to offer except, "it worked for me!" Yee. Ha. That sure negates that whole American Association of Pediatrics warning, doesn't it? I wish I had known it worked for you before, that would have made me feel a LOT better about my failure-to-thrive baby. I'm going to email your post to the mom I know whose kid has Reactive Attachment Disorder. It will be a supreme comfort to her to know there's nothing to worry about now -- it worked for YOU.

The fact that a system only damages a high percentage of the people using it rather than every single one isn't an argument in favor of it. I guess what I can say in response to you is, "Glad you got lucky."

When you can't answer the arguments, it seems you go after the person, accusing them of emotionalism and obsession. Think back to community college and you'll probably remember from logic class that that's considered the cheesiest of all possible arguments. :-) From my experience it's also 100% typical of Ezzo supporters. After all, he sets the example.

Posted by: Discoshaman at February 19, 2005 04:35 PM

Wow Tulipgirl, it's like a forum you've got here! Good job! :)

2 Molly:

My daughter nursed 24/7, which probably just contributed to her colic (since she never got any hindmilk) AND never got anything other than a catnap. Ezzo's first book saved my parenting career, let's just put it like that. I never followed his advice to a tee, but just hearing from someone that it wouldn't kill my child to let her cry was what I needed.

When we finally put her in her own crib and made her cry herself to sleep, AND stopped letting her nurse whenever she wanted to (which was ALWAYS), she fell asleep (after a good long cry, which I didn't like anymore than she did) and walla.

Over the next few days, we had a different child altogether. Our whining demanding mess of a daughter turned into a smiling happy darling. Why? She finally had some good long naps under her belt, and was finally getting a good full nursing. Jeff and I just couldn't believe it.

Interesting - this describes my second son to a T! He cried 24x7, he had stuffed nose, he had colics, he nursed all the time, and he couldn't sleep more than five minutes at a time. I changed my diet, which limited his colics to two hours a day, I carried him everywhere, we coslept, and I set aside the two hours when I knew he'd have the colics, and spend this time rocking him and rubbing his tummy and singing to him, until he fell asleep. He grew up to be a very kind, sweet, compliant kid. He was a very easy toddler, especially considering that he was sick & in the hospital half the time. His older brother on the other hand, was a very difficult toddler, and he was the one I tried to impose the "structure" on. So you can see that different people have different experiences.

Posted by: Goldie at February 19, 2005 07:28 PM

One thing I wanted to add. My biggest beef with Ezzo is not that he tells parents to schedule-feed, or limit the amount of time they're holding the baby, or punish the toddlers for exploring, or some such. My biggest issue is that he presents it all as a matter of principle. Either you do as he says, no questions asked, or your child would grow up dysfunctional and you will have violated God's will. Excuse me, but who died and made Gary king? Who is he to make statements like those? Why is it so bad for a mother to use her God-given brain, that she has to rely on Gary Ezzo to do all the thinking for her?

Posted by: Goldie at February 19, 2005 07:37 PM

Just thought I'd add my 2 cents in a nutshell. I'll save the longer version for my own blog (lol). I think it's important to consider here that a baby is a human person, with human needs. While you of course make allowances for the fact that babies are not verbal, more vulnerable, and need help meeting their basic needs, you never forget that they are people, just like you and me, and should be given the same consideration. If your husband was upset, would you tell him to go cry it out in his room? Or would you try to comfort him and maybe help him figure out a solution to the problem? How about if your best friend calls you up at 3 in the morning with a crisis and needs to talk to someone. Do you tell her "sorry, your routine says you can't wake up until 6:30?" Well, when your baby is upset, you might not know why and baby can't tell you in plain english, but what he's feeling is real and needs the same tender loving attention that any reasonable person would give an adult or older child in that emotional state. I try to give my daughter the dignity and respect she deserves as a little person. I'm not perfect, but I try to let that principle guide me. This principle also has a lot to do with why I've decided not to spank her, but that's another story. If your baby is hungry, feed her; if she's upset comfort her; if she needs to be held, hold her; if you still can't figure out the problem, work it out as best you can, but please, with respect and gentleness.

Posted by: Beautiful Belgian Babe at February 20, 2005 02:07 AM

Coming late to the party but wanted to add a few comments. I'll try not to repeat what's alredy been said.

Molly - I'm not an Ezzo follower at all, but the above quotes didn't have me squirming in discomfort. In fact, many of the above suggestions, modified to fit our family's personality, are the norm around my place.

That little clause about modifying Ezzo's suggestions is very telling. At that point, it ceases to be "Ezzo" and becomes your unique parenting style. Even in the latest BW edition(2001), Ezzo states his principles only bring the desired results when "faithfully applied". He is much more explicit about this in his older materials but the message is still there, hiding beneath the doublespeak, in the newer stuff.

Molly speaking on following parenting manuals militantly - Yes, but Anne, the same thing is true of any other "parenting manual."

I started out my parenting by reading a lot of Attachment Parenting books. Then I was given the gift of a SERIOUSLY colicky baby for a firstborn. Because of the "teachings" I'd swallowed about how you can't ever let your baby cry and have to nurse them whenever they want it, yadda yadda yadda, I have nothing but MISERABLE memories of my first 5 months of motherhood.

First of all, I have never heard any serious AP proponent state that you can never let a baby cry. That sounds like an Ezzo misrepresentation.

But about following parenting manuals militantly - the difference is that if you strictly follow Ezzo(which I would argue is how Ezzo wants you to follow him) you run the risk of FTT in babies, early milk loss in Moms, and worse things than that. What's the worse thing that happens if you strictly follow Sears? Having to buy a King size bed or new sling if your old one wears out? Whatever it is, it's nothing like the dangers of following Ezzo.

Molly - My second daughter would have been the poster-child for Attachment Parenting--her personality was so mellow and agreeable, she would have confirmed all the pro-AP arguments

Actually, if she were so easy going she could have been the poster child for just about any parenting style, especially Ezzo.

Molly - And letting your baby cry for 20 minutes is a terrible crime? Whew... Boy, what do you guys do when you have to drive somewhere? I've had a few babies who've NOT liked the carseat and cried all the way to town (a 20 minute drive). Did I commit child abuse by keeping them in the carseat and making them come to town with us? I don't think so...

You can arguably say that this is a time when the baby had to cry and there is really nothing you can do about it. But Ezzo is talking about intentionally letting a baby cry for up to 45 minutes when you are perfectly capable of comforting them. And all this just because he thinks it best for them to fall asleep without the "prop" of nursing, rocking, etc.

Posted by: sozo at February 20, 2005 09:41 PM

Louisa :

whoa! Tulipgirl! You sure do have major issues with ezzo, don't you? You are obviously very emotional about this - and our emotions can so easily lead us to make sweeping, generalised statements, and judgements based on personal experience and hearsay. if your personal experience had been different, and if you had known a few dozen friends with positive ezzo experiences, would you be so quick to condemn?

Ummmm, it would be awfully convenient if we could dismiss what someone else says simply on the basis of emotion. In fact, I think I'm detecting some emotion in your post so perhaps I should just ignore what you've said. But that wouldn't be fair, would it?

The problem comes in when we start making judgements solely based on emotional reactions. And quite frankly while you've accused TG of doing this you haven't actually shown where she has.

Personal experience is great, but you have to be willing to accept testimonials from both sides of the fence. Are you willing to accept as valid stories from people for whom Ezzo did not work?

And this isn't even getting in to how you determine if something actually "works" or not.

all parents...have different personalites, as do their babies (and don't say ezzo doesn't allow for that - HE DOES), and therefore it will look a little different in every household.

I'd be interetsed seeing where Ezzo explicitly allows for differing personalities. What I see Ezzo saying is stuff like "sure, you can be flexible and feed the baby off schedule if you need to, but try to find out what the problem is and get them back on schedule as soon as possible" (my paraphrase, of course). Not really that flexible, is it?

Posted by: sozo at February 20, 2005 10:36 PM

Molly,

We lived about 35 minutes from town when my youngest went through a period of time when it terrified him to be in his carseat after the sun went down--in the dark, he was simply undone. This was when he was about 4 to 6 months old.

Here is how I handled that situation:

I avoided making the drive on my own during that period of time, especially avoiding allowing the day to drag on to the point where we would have to return home after dark. Occasionally it was completely unavoidable.

When my husband was driving, I would sit in the back seat and attempt to reassure my son with my voice and my touch. We would pull over to calm him down when he went "over the edge" in his crying--into panicky sounding crying. Another coping tip: we would try to time the drive so that he was asleep.

So I'm building on Sozo's comment that an unavoidable carseat situation is different from systematically leaving a young baby alone to cry for a purpose that is either questionable or can be accomplished more supportively.

My conscience does not permit me to leave anyone alone and crying in my home unless they indicate they want that privacy. My eyes are on parenting as a servant and follower of Christ. I know that is where we all are, but I would simply challenge us as followers of Christ to respond to those around us who are in distress.

All the best,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy at February 22, 2005 02:27 AM

Louisa,

i used babywise (pfp) 6 times. different babies, slightly different approach each time, but always wonderful! i b/f past 12 months with each, too (exclusively - ie no solids). so it can work!

Would you mind sharing the ways you modified the routine to help you maintain your milk supply? I'd like to know, so that I have recommendations when I meet mamas who are trying to breastfeed, but are unwilling to discard the Ezzo routine.

The three that I've heard help the most are:
1. eat/wake/eat/sleep routine
2. keeping at least one night feeding, even after baby starts "sleeping through" the night.
3. Cue-feeding the first 8 weeks, then adopting a routine
4. Never going more than 3 hours between feedings, being willing to nurse closer together.

Posted by: TulipGirl at February 23, 2005 01:38 PM

Post a comment




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)


 
In My Garden
Archives
Recently Written
Book Blogging
Friends and Fans
Good Stuff
Blog Goodies
UkrBloggers
Archives