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January 13, 2006

Babywise "Trade-Offs"

Ezzo discusses "trade-offs" with Babywise:

"We wish everything in this book worked perfectly for each mom/baby combination when it comes to lactation.

"...in parenting there will always be tradeoffs...while most moms can [breastfeed longterm*] with Babywise, we recognize not all moms can because no philosophy comes without trade-offs."

-- Babywise, pp. 63, 64

* while "longterm" is not defined, Babywise says mothers using the program breastfeed for just over 8 months on average.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a minimum of one year of breastfeeding.

(Via Ezzo.Info)

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**To all who publish comments on reading materials that they did not read in its entirety...**

Original comment on my blog: "FWIW, the author of Babywise has no medical or child development background/experience. The American Association of Pediatrics has warned against the ideas presented in it. And it's led to a lot of moms losing their breastmilk supply prematurely. Some babies are even diagnosed 'Failure to Thrive' and hospitalized when their parents make decisions for their care based on the faulty information in Babywise. I encourage you to keep reading, keep researching, keep studying--you still have lots of time before your baby arrives! Oh, and http://www.ezzo.info is a good resource on some of the problems with Babywise."

Although I can respect that people are entitled to their own opinions and are free to publish them, I find it rude and ridiculous to go to a person's personal blog and publish a comment about a book that they have not read. In fact, the comment on this page about 'On Becoming BabyWise' was simply copied and pasted from the home page of ezzo.info! I have seen many negative comments posted about the 'On Becoming BabyWise' book. Although some may be factual, many are from small passages in the book that were taken out of context. I have read the entire book and have also witnessed new parents from my church that have used this method faithfully and their child is the most healthy, well-adjusted, happy baby I have ever seen! I have never once heard her cry! Many of the comments and websites drag out the myth that Babywise is trying to create a feeding schedule, however, the focus of the book is on making sure that the baby is getting full feedings at each 'meal'. They say that when the mother makes sure that the baby is getting full feedings, the baby's metabolism tends to cause the baby to fall into a pattern of feeding times, which usually run 2.5 - 3 hours apart. They say that if the baby seems hungry earlier than usual, then by all means you should feed him/her! They also comment that watching the clock is primarily for the instance where the hunger cues aren't present, such as when the baby is sick or having a growth spurt. In that case the parent would realize that the baby may have gone too long without feeding and initiate feeding. The parent is to distingish when to use the clock and when not to.

On the comments about 'Failure to Thrive' and the mothers who were prematurely losing their milk: While the BabyWise book does address this, they do not say that PDF parents (Parent directed feeding, as outline by BabyWise) suffer from this. To the contrary, they say that most 'demand fed' (babies who are fed every time they cry) often are diagnosed 'Failure to Thrive' because they are eating so often that they are not getting the nutrient rich 'hindmilk' that they would get if they would feed longer and have a full 'meal'. Mothers are encouraged to watch their milk supply and are shown how to make sure their babies are progressing properly in BabyWise. When BabyWise addresses the instance where mothers prematurely lose their milk supply it is also in reference to 'demand fed' children. They say that many mothers are unable to supply enough milk to feed as often as they are when they demand feed, and that they often give up breastfeeding sooner than PDF parents because demand feeding causes them to become exhausted. Children who are fed using the PDF method are also proven to sleep through the night sooner.

**For more information about these statements, read 'On Becoming BabyWise' by Gary Ezzo, M.A., and Robert Bucknam, M.D.**

I conceed that not all parents will like or agree with the concepts in 'On Becoming BabyWise'. You just can't please everyone; we all have our own parenting methods. My suggestion: Please read the whole book before you make a judgement or post comments about it...

Posted by: Jennifer Evraets at January 15, 2006 07:58 PM

Hi, Jennifer!

Welcome to my website. I'm thankful that you feel free to comment here--and welcome you to do so anytime you wish in the future. *grin* You may also enjoy the interaction related to Babywise/Ezzo parenting at http://www.awareparent.net.

You wrote, "**To all who publish comments on reading materials that they did not read in its entirety...**" and seemed to imply that you believe that I have not read Babywise/Ezzo's writings.

Actually, I have. In fact, Hubby and I led the Prep for Parenting class twice. I've listened to the Ezzos on lots of teaching tapes. I've read BW 1 and 2, Prep for Parenting/Prep for Toddler Years, skimmed the latest version of BW (quoted in this post) and even have on my shelf a copy of Along the Infant Way.

(Confused by all these titles? They are the different names Gary Ezzo has chosen for his secular vs. "Christian" materials and his older versions vs. his newer releases. Gets complicated. I think he likes it that way. . .)

Again, I just wanted to welcome you and let you know I'm well aware of the materials on which I post. It's important for you to understand that, especially if you go looking through the GFI / Ezzo / Babywise archives.

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 15, 2006 08:27 PM

"Although I can respect that people are entitled to their own opinions and are free to publish them, I find it rude and ridiculous to go to a person's personal blog and publish a comment about a book that they have not read."

First, I hope we have established that I have, in fact, MORE than read the book--considering I followed it with 2.5 kids and even taught the materials.

Secondly, in the online world it is usually not considered "rude and ridiculous" to comment on other people's blogs. *shrug* I'm sorry you feel offended by online interaction. If you really don't want people to read your words, think about them, comment on them--perhaps you'd rather make your site password protected and only give it to close family and friends?

General nettiquette implies anything published online publicaly is open to discussion. I wasn't rude--I simply offered some information that is not found in the book your referenced, namely the author's lack of credentials and a resource for further research.

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 15, 2006 08:33 PM

"In fact, the comment on this page about 'On Becoming BabyWise' was simply copied and pasted from the home page of ezzo.info! "

Are you talking about my comment on your blog or the quote in this particular post?

Because the comment on your blog was all my own words, though I've written similar sentiments elsewhere from time to time.

This post, yes, is a direct quote from the Ezzo.Info page. Which is why I gave attribution. And the quote from Ezzo.Info is from Gary Ezzo, author of Babywise, himself. He is finally acknowledging that his artificial eating/sleeping schedules can undermine breastfeeding. Something that has been brought to his attention by many different mothers/lactation experts for years and years. It is blog-worthy to note he is finally acknowleding it.

If you are interested in reading more, here are a collection of case studies of BW mamas who had milk supply struggles. Please note that these are PRO-BW mamas struggling, and it was documented by a lactation counselor who at that time was also pro-BW. Many of the changes seen between the earlier editions of BW and the most recent one are due to her bringing to Ezzo's attention the problems BFing mamas were having when implementing his ideas. Unfortunately, even the revised edition of BW often undermines milk supply and the breastfeeding relationship.

In the collection of case studies, you'll find that it is very common for mamas to lose their milk supply around 4-6 months. This can be explained when basic breastfeeding physiology is understood. I encourage you to read these articles on breastfeeding for more information.

How Does Milk Production Work?
by By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC

Examining the Evidence for the Cue-feeding of Breastfed Infants
by Lisa Marasco, BA, IBCLC and Jan Barger, MA, RN, IBCLC

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 15, 2006 08:43 PM

About the moms you know who use Babywise. . . I am sure they are wonderful, loving, devoted parents. I know I was. But the reality is, when a parent is making loving decisions based on faulty information, there can still be negative outcomes.

This is played out with Babywise, in that Gary Ezzo lacks the education and experience in the field on which he is writing. Namely, he has very little education in infant growth, development, attachment, and breastfeeding. His book was written by him, before Dr. Robert Bucknam signed on. In other words--it wasn't Dr. Bucknam's years of experience that informed the Babywise book. Simply his name on the cover lends credibility to the ideas that Gary Ezzo had already written.

All this to say, way too many parents have lovingly chosen to use the ideas in BW to the detriment of their babies--Failure to Thrive, milk supply loss, attachment disorders. These are sadly too common. I have friends who have experienced each of these.

In fact, our oldest son was dx'd FTT when he was 6 months old, after seemingly "thriving" on the BW routine. Here's our story:

Confessions of a Failed Babywiser

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 15, 2006 08:50 PM

Again, Jennifer, welcome to TulipGirl. And please know you are welcome here. I have little respect for Gary Ezzo, but much respect for all mothers who are striving to raise their little ones to the glory of God--regardless of whether they follow BW or not.

Grace and peace,

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 15, 2006 08:52 PM

Hmmmm. . . Jennifer? It seems as if you have banned me from commenting on your site and deleted my very short post welcoming you over here? Is that so?

Please know you are still very welcome to continue the dialogue here, and my intention has never been to upset you.

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 16, 2006 07:54 AM


Thanks for the kind 'congrats' on my blog - Isabelle is certainly awesome! And glad to see you let us "in" a little more in your about page.

If you don't mind (and if you do I will be glad not to comment further) I thought I would join the conversation a little on your blog as my wife are currently engaged in helping little Isabelle figure this world out and are using Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo's books as one of our guides...

I have not commented in the past (except to defend Gary personally) as I thought that it was rather dumb for a non-parent to defend a parenting class...but now I would like to join in :)

To be fair...I know Gary and Anne Marie personally and am a Pastor at the church that they attend...
We have many, many friends that have used Growing Kids God's Way and have had unbelievable sucess...

However - we are starting with OUR child now and we would never put any relationship with the Ezzo's or our freinds success sway us away from the absolute best for our child.

Here is my comittment - I will tell the truth of our journey. I will tell what we have learned that works and what does not.

I know that you and many of your readers have had bad experiences, I do not discount that - but I hope that maybe my journey will bring some balance to the character of two people who though you may disgaree with 100% are great people and brothers and sisters in Christ who really do love God and the children that they serve...

Looking forward to commenting!



Posted by: Shawn Wood at January 18, 2006 09:08 PM


It's wonderful you're so open. It warms my heart! One of my biggest burdens for the whole Ezzo "controversy" has been the inability of people to reach out past their "camps", and you have just done so.

I have a question regarding parenting styles and Seacoast. I know it's a big church so I assume that even though the church offers Ezzo classes as their ministry to parents, probably in reality there are other parenting styles reflected in the church community--in fact if it's like my own church, there'll be nearly as many "parenting styles" as families in the church!

That being the probable case, I'm curious as to whether Seacoast has seen a problem with, or taken steps to prevent, the Ezzo material creating unnecessary offense or division, and if so, can you describe them?

Posted by: Kathy at January 19, 2006 05:03 PM

Well written, TulipGirl. Truth and grace. We're all trying to raise our children well, and it's unfortunate that so many judge a parent's intentions by her methods. How many of us latched onto the first book/parenting method/friend's advice that we were exposed to as new parents?

Posted by: serina at January 20, 2006 11:21 PM

Stopping by from home, as usual... This is an interesting post. I cannot believe GE has actually acknowledged the possible bf'ing problems that using his method may cause.

I admire the way you handled the situation with Jennifer. I confess I would've lost it. Great job! Anyone that wonders whether you have read the books to the end, can just go to ezzo.info and read your story... and you have even provided the link here in the comments. I am sure this will explain a lot and hopefully the dialogue will resume.

Posted by: Goldie at January 21, 2006 12:01 PM

The issue that I have with the Ezzo's is that the focus is all about how pleasing the children will be for other people.

What about how pleasant the child rearing experience can be for the parents or for the child?

Posted by: Rae at January 22, 2006 01:15 PM

You know, Rae, that's a very good point. And being involved with a very pro-Ezzo church in the beginning, I found a lot of pressure to "measure up." And I think that, by extension, parents put pressure on children to perform. And in the midst of that, all involved lose sight of the joy of family, and the joy of living for the Lord.

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 22, 2006 02:25 PM

Kathy, great question. As everyone can probably tell by my title - I am not very involved in the childrens ministry as far as its inner workings. I do know a couple of things...

1. We offer GFI curriculum as small groups and classes.
2. We offer non GFI small groups and parenting classes.
3. I am sure that in a church of 7000 in weekly attendance I could find people to disagree with just about any program we offer - so I think I can safely say we have people who would disagree with GFI. To my knowledge there has been no 'division' over it though.

Posted by: Shawn Wood at January 24, 2006 07:33 PM


I've been thinking about what you wrote this week, and felt it important to give you some feedback--expecially on two points.

Here is my comittment - I will tell the truth of our journey. I will tell what we have learned that works and what does not.

I believe you. I believe you will be as honest as you can with yourself and with others. Yet. . . For most of the people I have known who have used and then rejected the Ezzo ideas because they were not good for their family, it wasn't something that was immediately obvious. Even our family, with milk supply issues and failure to thrive--the causal factors are pretty clear in retrospect but were not at all clear as we went through it. That's why we implemented the infant/toddler materials with 2.5 of our kids before seeing the harm that was coming from them. You'll find that to be true of many families--used and praised the Ezzo materials for 5, 10, 15 years and then realized that the materials were harmful for their families and what was good was simply the love, commitment and involvement with their children.

So, with your little Isabelle, whom I know you love and I know you are commited to raising in a loving, secure home--you may not see problems right away. You may interpret some things as "normal" that in retrospect you'll view as not healthy. Sooo. . . please be cautious. . .

". . .bring some balance to the character of two people who though you may disgaree with 100% are great people and brothers and sisters in Christ who really do love God and the children that they serve...

I don't have anything against Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo personally. . . From many accounts they can be very kind, charming, and hospitable. Mrs. Ezzo and I have had some very pleasant e-mail exchanges in the past. (Until I shared our personal struggles and journey.)

However, I do have serious concerns about Gary Ezzo's character and qualifications as a teacher in the Church. Instead of repeating them in the comments here, I would ask, Shawn, that you read these previous posts and especially the links they contain.

Evaluating Ezzo's Leadership, Part 1: Why Bother?
Evaluating Ezzo's Leadership, Part 2: Church Discipline
Evaluating Ezzo's Leadership, Part 3: Other Concerning Patterns

These are not personal attacks. Again, I repeat, not personal attacks. These are important questions to raise about an influential teacher in the Church, with documented, factual history.

And, to be honest, I wonder how Seacoast has reconciled its endorsement of Gary Ezzo and his teachings, with the still unresolved issues of church discipline with former churches and elders.

Historically, church discipline has been considered one of the marks of the church (along with sound teaching and administering the sacraments.) It concerns me that it appears that one local body would not take seriously the church discipline by the elders of another local body of the Church.

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 29, 2006 03:13 AM

I don't know whether Shawn saw that I posted this here as well as on his blog. So, if you are interested in the ongoing dialogue, please check out:


(And note--the full version of my comments are recorded here, but have been modified at Shawn's. Any questions are welcome.)

Posted by: TulipGirl at January 29, 2006 08:37 PM

We offer non GFI small groups and parenting classes.

I wasn't aware of the non-GFI parenting classes. Oh good, I think a variety of offerings is a good idea. The Seacoast website only lists GFI classes, so I wasn't aware there were others.

Division has been widely reported so I would watch for it if I were leading a church that sponsered the classes.

Years ago I was in a dialogue with a woman who had happily used Prep for Parenting (the 3rd edition, which her church offered in a class format) with her first child and was planning to use it again. She was active in the women's ministry in her church (or leading it, I can't quite recall the details.) Her husband was in seminary.

We were discussing the alleged divisiveness of the material, and she allowed that she could see how it could be divisive but that it hadn't been in her church. I asked her how she knew that, and she said she hadn't picked up any vibes like that. I accepted that. Women are good at sensing stuff like that.

Later, though, she decided to cross-check her assessment by asking an older woman in the congregation who was close with some of the women who had not attended the Prep classes. Was there division, from her perspective?

And to her surprise, the older woman said there was! and that she had been praying about how and with whom to raise the issue. Together they realized God had arranged for this conversation and they brainstormed on how to heal the division that had unintentionally been promoted.

So, I guess the moral of the story is that it can pay to reach across the aisle, so to speak, and make sure everyone's ok.

Posted by: Kathy at February 1, 2006 10:23 AM

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