Wednesday, December 16, 2009

‘Babywise’ Linked to Babies' Dehydration, Failure to Thrive


By Matthew Aney, M.D.

THE OFFICIAL NEWS MAGAZINE OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS
Volume 14 Number 4


Expectant parents often fear the changes a new baby will bring, especially sleepless nights. What new parent wouldn’t want a how-to book that promises their baby will be sleeping through the night by three to eight weeks?

One such book, On Becoming Babywise, has raised concern among pediatricians because it outlines an infant feeding program that has been associated with failure to thrive (FTT), poor weight gain, dehydration, breast milk supply failure, and involuntary early weaning. A Forsyth Medical Hospital Review Committee, in Winston-Salem N.C., has listed 11 areas in which the program is inadequately supported by conventional medical practice. The Child Abuse Prevention Council Of Orange County, Calif., stated its concern after physicians called them with reports of dehydration, slow growth and development, and FTT associated with the program. And on Feb. 8, AAP District IV passed a resolution asking the Academy to investigate “Babywise,” determine the extent of its effects on infant health and alert its members, other organizations and parents of its findings.

I have reviewed numerous accounts of low weight gain and FTT associated with “Babywise” and discussed them with several pediatricians and lactation consultants involved.

The book’s feeding schedule, called Parent Directed Feeding (PDF), consists of feeding newborns at intervals of three to three and one-half hours (described as two and one-half to three hours from the end of the last 30- minute feeding) beginning at birth. Nighttime feedings are eliminated at eight weeks.

This advice is in direct opposition to the latest AAP recommendations on newborn feeding (AAP Policy Statement, “Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk,” Pediatrics, Dec. 1997): “Newborns should be nursed whenever they show signs of hunger, such as increased alertness or activity, mouthing, or rooting. Crying is a late indicator of hunger. Newborns should be nursed approximately eight to 12 times every 24 hours until satiety...”

Although demand feeding is endorsed by the Academy, WHO, and La Leche League among others, “Babywise” claims that demand feeding may he harmful and outlines a feeding schedule in contrast to it. The book makes numerous medical statements without references or research, despite that many are the antitheses of well-known medical research findings. In 190 pages, only two pediatric journals are referenced with citations dated 1982 and 1986.

Many parents are unaware of problems because the book is marketed as medically supported. It is co-authored by pediatrician Robert Bucknam, M.D., who not only states in the book that the “Babywise” principles are medically sound,” but also writes, “Babywise” has brought a needed reformation to pediatric counsel given to new parents.” Obstetrician Sharon Nelson, M.D., also warns: “Not following the principles of “Babywise” is a potential health concern.”

The book’s other author is Gary Ezzo, a pastor with no medical background. Ezzo’s company, Growing Families International (GFI), markets the book as “ideally written” for “obstetricians, pediatricians, or health-care providers to distribute to their patients.” (GFI promotes the same program under the title “Preparation for Parenting,” a virtual duplicate with added religious material).

Though “Babywise” does say, “With PDF a mother feeds her baby when the baby is hungry,” it also instructs parents to do otherwise. In a question-and-answer section, parents of a 2-week-old baby, who did not get a full feeding at the last scheduled time and wants to eat again, are instructed that babies learn quickly from the laws of natural consequences. “If your daughter doesn’t eat at one feeding, then make her wait until the next one.”

Unfortunately, the schedule in “Babywise” does not take into account differences among breastfeeding women and babies. According to one report, differences of up to 300 percent in the maximum milk storage capacity of women’s breasts mean that, although women have the capability of producing the same amount of milk over a 24-hour period for their infants, some will have to breastfeed far more frequently than others to maintain that supply. Babies must feed when they need to, with intervals and duration determined according to a variety of factors in temperament, environment, and physiological makeup. Averages may fit into a bell-shaped curve, but some babies will require shorter intervals. (Daly S., Hartmann P. “Infant demand and milk supply, Part 2. The short-term control of milk synthesis in lactating women.” Journal of Human Lactation; 11; (1):27-37).

Examples of the many other un- substantiated medical claims in “Babywise” include:

• “Lack of regularity [in feeding intervals] sends a negative signal to the baby’s body, creating metabolic confusion that negatively affects his or her hunger, digestive, and sleep/wake cycles.”

• “Demand-fed babies don’t sleep through the night.”

• “A mother who takes her baby to her breast 12, 15, or 20 times a day will not produce any more milk than the mom who takes her baby to breast six to seven times a day.”

• “Mothers following PDF have little or no problem with the let down reflex, compared to those who demand-feed.”

• “Colic, which basically is a spasm in the baby’s intestinal tract that causes pain, is very rare in PDF babies but is intensified in demand-fed babies.”

• “In our opinion, much more developmental damage is done to a child by holding him or her constantly than by putting the baby down. In terms of biomechanics alone, carrying a baby in a sling can increase neck and back problems, or even create them.”

• “Some researchers suggest that putting a baby on his or her back for sleep, rather than on the baby’s tummy, will reduce the chance of crib death. That research is not conclusive, and the method of gathering supportive data is questionable.”

My review of the low weight gain and FTT accounts associated with “Babywise” revealed several disturbing trends. Parents were often adamant about continuing with the feeding schedule, even when advised otherwise by health care professionals. They were hesitant to tell their physicians about the schedule, making it difficult to pinpoint the cause for the weight gain problems. Many elected to supplement or wean to formula rather than continue breastfeeding at the expense of the schedule. The parents’ commitment call be especially strong when they are using the program for religious reasons, even though numerous leaders within the same religious communities have publicly expressed concerns.

Pediatricians need to know about “Babywise” and recognize its potential dangers. History taking should include questions to determine if parents are using a feeding schedule, especially before advising formula supplement to breastfeeding mothers or when faced with a low-gaining or possible failure to thrive baby. Lactation consultants also should be instructed to probe this area.
Efforts should be made to inform parents of the AAP recommended policies for breastfeeding and the potentially harmful consequences of not following them.

Dr. Matthew Aney is an AAP candidate fellow based in Lancaster, California.


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For more on Babywise, the Ezzos and Growing Kids God's Way methods see:





The Case for Cue Feeding (rather than PDF - "parent directed feeding")



Parents Against Babywise (Facebook page)

Moms Against Babywise (Facebook group)









61 comments:

  1. Babywise/Growing Kids God's Way is dangerous. I cannot tell you how many babies I've seen who've had failure to thrive because of it. Very very scary. I've known apathetic infants and children very drone-like due to this philosophy. Typically a mother using GKGW will not breastfeed long and will often get pregnant again very soon.

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  2. Oh my! How scary!
    Can you imagine being a newborn, growing and changing so rapidly and only being allowed to eat every 3/3.5 hours!

    What is wrong with people!

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  3. I tend to think that we are animals first, and as such, I follow my instinct mostly. Turns out, my instinct agrees with atachment parenting. It is instinctual to feed a hungry baby. When I think back on the early weeks, if my son cried, it physically hurt not to nurse him or soothe him. It is saddening and frightening that these alleged experts are convincing mothers to forcably ignore their maternal instincts to the detriment of their children. Honestly, in each casr of failure to thrive amongst babywise method children, the authors should be charged with cintributing to the abuse of an infant.

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  4. Thank you for this warning, I'm spreading it around. I recently bought the book unknowing, and while the author can sound rather convincing I saw that he contradicted himself alot and I was not comfortable with a sugar-coated cry it out at 8 weeks, or ever!

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  5. Someone gave an Ezzo book and I tossed it, LOL! In the days I thought I had no back-bone. What really struck me against "babywise" was the sleep issues it said babies "inherently had". I lucked out on a lactation consultant at the hospital who encouraged co-sleeping. She said it would help with breastfeeding. "Sleep when the baby sleeps. Feed on Demand. Bring your baby to bed with you." were the things she said and it resonated well with my instincts. Totally contradicted "babywise".

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  6. LOL the best thing to do when someone gives you an Ezzo book is to toss or burn it, that way no-one else will get it passed onto them!!!

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  7. Ugh, I didn't know that about churches! I have heard of BW, but never knew anything about it! SICK!

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  8. the main following is in Christian churches (especially in the South) where it is pushed as being 'Biblical' (a lot of Ezzo's teachings are those he 'supports' with verses from the Bible - that he takes out of context and skews drastically to fit his agenda).

    have you read these other 2 articles on Babywise?

    http://drmomma.blogspot.com/2009/10/babywise.html

    http://www.midwestoutreach.org/02-Information/02-OnlineReference/04-Etc/01-TheJournal/Volume8/No2-AdventureInEzzoland.html

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  9. I 100% agree - if someone gives you a book, or you find one in a used book store, destroy it. Then it will not harm another baby somewhere. Someone told me she and a friend 'hide' the Babywise books they find in a library.

    I am all about free speech... but THIS is pure destruction aimed at the naivety of tired parents wanting to do what is 'right' for their little ones and not knowing any better.

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  10. I'm not embarrassed to say that in my previous local library, I found a copy of the Babywise toddler book and "accidentally" tossed it in the trash. I hope it was never found.

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  11. I am not sure why anyone thinks its ok to leave a child to cry until the vomit???? That is neglect. PERIOD. I have a hard time with moms who treat their babies like an accessory that needs to FIT in their lives... Babies are PEOPLE.. UGH WTF

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  12. Nauseating!!!!

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  13. Ugggghhhh babywise makes my stomach turn :(

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  14. I had never even heard of such a horrible thing! What are they talking about babies learning feeding/natural consequences? Baby does not reason like that, they only grieve that they are not receiving the compassionate care of their mamas or care givers. How can you deny your baby your breast because you want a schedule? Sickening!!!

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  15. Kate- Because they shouldn't be parents. They are still self centered. UGH

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  16. How horrible I just read that one mother fallowed the book and her child was so dehydrated from neglect that it couldn't cry at his checkup. God puts a certain motherly gauge in us a little voice that tells us to NOT do things that would harm our children. I don't understand how a book could be so convincing or powerful to lead parents to harm children! They should be asking their own doctor about concerns not some idiotic writer even if he claims to be "Christian".

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  17. I have taken to buying up copies of Babywise and related books at yard sales, thrift stores, etc. when I see them and have the extra cash. They make fine kindling. I hope folks will join me in this effort to keep copies from being handed on to unsuspecting folks. If you have a copy, please do not recycle.

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  18. I also buy and burn Babywise books. I try not to even read the pages as i tear them... it makes me want to throw up.

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  19. I was already familiar with this "method" before reading your post, but still I found tears in my eyes reading about this and thinking of the babies who eventually give up on crying b/c their needs aren't met. Then thinking about the mothers that are using these "principles" because they want to be "good mothers" and are so unsure of their own instincts they trust anyone who claims to have THE answer.

    I think most moms eventually find the truth- there is no ONE answer. Attachment parenting helps children thrive because it encourages moms to respond to changing needs of individual children. Whether it's feeding, sleeping, in-arms time, growing, etc. children are different -daily (sometimes hourly!)

    A co-worker suggested this book to me when I was pregnant with my first. I'm SOOOO glad I asked my doula about it and she suggested something else (and even went so far as to tell me NOT to buy it!) I cry for the moms who don't have the support to follow their hearts, to learn they have everything they need inside already to mother intuitively.

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  20. The only problem with buying up the books and burning them is when the books are getting bought up it is telling the companies to print up more copies cause the demand is there. Last thing we need is them printing up more to stock the shelves with. I can't believe this garbage would not have landed them with a lawsuit yet. Disgusting and disturbing.

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  21. I know a few mothers who have followed the book and all of them lost their breast milk by 6 months. Also two of the mothers had children with delayed speech where both children had to be helped by a speech pathologist. I wonder, depending on the child's personality and temperament, if leaving your baby to cry would eventually cause it to give up trying to communicate altogether even into the toddler years.

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  22. Thank you, thank you for posting this -- I'm currently gestating twins and had no idea about Babywise (I haven't read any books yet, but I'll surely stay away from any like this). How dangerous and sad. I'll be sure to feed on demand to avoid placing my babies in this terrible situation.

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  23. my partner at Natural Mothering- Helen- and I destroy every copy we come across second hand. Usually i'll tear it up right there at the cash out and then explain to all the mortified (book lovers) WHY I'm destroying it! You'd be suprize how much support I've gotten from complete strangers on this topic, and how many people have said that they will 'Join the band wagon".... I consider it my good deed for the day!!!

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  24. Jen congrats on having twins! :)

    Here is a great book I recommend for pregnant women having twins: http://astore.amazon.com/asnatureintended-20/detail/0618138730

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  25. Thanks so much for posting! Thank goodness I never read this stuff when I was pregnant, though I doubt it would have done much for me... my instincts to the contrary are too strong. How anyone could write something like Babywise and try to pass off BLATANTLY false information as science is disgusting!!!

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  26. UUgh. I hide these books in bookstores in sections where they're not likely to be discovered, just so they aren't inventoried as bought. I know several women who've used this system and ended up with no milk supply, very low weight growth. Only one has had a "successful" experience. I'm just astonished that the church so avidly supports a method that is opposed to all things natural and "god-given."

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  27. Im so glad people are realizing Babywise is a crock. Thanks for posting this on your blog. Awesome job!

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  28. Thank you for this extremely valuable post.

    It is so critical that EVERYONE understands how a baby's brain develops best. Loving interaction and meeting the expressed needs of a baby are the most critical for healthy early wiring. Often people do not realize the long term results of these early experiences. Sharing information like this helps to create awareness!

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  29. Oh yes, I've heard of this. I don't understand how parents can listen to their babies cry in hunger or because they want the comfort of their mother's breast and just ignore it because they are trying to train their baby to only be hungry at certain times for the sake of convenience!

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  30. Ugh...and to think that I read this book, and thought about going along with it...Thank God I listened to myself and not this stupid Babywise book. My sister-in-law swears by it...I do not. Her child 'weaned' at around 7 months...my son will be 2 years old in a few months, and we're still nursing. I think I'm doing the right thing. I want to burn this book...I have it in my 'to get rid of' pile, but I don't even want to think that someone else might pick up this garbage and actually read it because of me.

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  31. Why is this book still on bookshelves??? Shouldn't it be removed from circulation??

    I breastfeed my baby on demand and he feeds a long time before bed and he sleeps through the night maybe waking me early morning.

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  32. I read the book and followed parts of it when my oldest was 4 months. It helped us in ways. One, it allowed me to realize that I could put him on somewhat of a schedule and not hold him ALL day. He was happier, being one that fussed a little before going to sleep, but when he woke up he was a happy guy. That started a great routine that he still follows at 5 years old; being one that needs naps. I never really did schedule his eating though. I kinda took what I liked out of the book and mixed it with my own feelings and intuitions. I feel like people that follow this to a 'T', to the point where they are harming their children and then blaming a book they read is really just blame-shifting. These parents are most likely not bright and not great parents to begin with. Think about it, how could you ignore your instincts so much due to a measly book? Good grief. Theres lots and lots and lots of crappy parenting advice . . . quit blaming a dumb book and look at the parents!!

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  33. I apologize if you already received my comment. My computer had a small issue.

    What you have said about Babywise is untrue. The middle of the night feeding is not "eliminated" at 8 weeks. The baby naturally drops the feeding which CAN OCCUR AS EARLY AS 8 WEEKS. It should happen by 15 weeks.

    Also, you don't put the baby on a "schedule." It is a "routine." There's a big difference.

    The parents who had issues with dehydration must not have fully read the book. The authors clearly state that if your baby is hungry, then feed him. They also say not to be too rigid. Be flexible. It gives plenty of scenerios where you might want to deviate from the routine.

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  34. April - a baby should be eating in the night for at least his/her first year of life (first 12 months).

    It is *not normal* or natural or beneficial for a baby to night-wean until the age of about 18-24 months, (sometimes later).

    For the first 12-18 months, this is not only important for nutritional reasons (the body/brain develop more rapidly at night) but it is vital to milk supply regulation in mother (hormones are powerfully impacted at night for both mother and baby, more so than during the day). Early night weaning significantly impacts milk supply and the ability for a mother to feed her child for a normal duration of nursing.

    In addition, night nursing is an important protector against SIDS - regulating baby's respiration, sleep, cardio, blood pressure, hormones, etc. by being close to mother during sleeping hours and nursing through the night.

    For additional information on the many reasons night nursing is vital to healthy, normal development and forced night weaning is detrimental especially in the first 12-18 months of life, see resources here:

    http://www.drmomma.org/2009/06/truth-about-co-sleeping-how-stats.html

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  35. Thank you, Dr. Momma, for your efforts on this issue.

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  36. My daughter is almost 4 months and has been sleeping 7-11 1/2 hours straight at night the past 2 weeks now. She is exclusively breast fed and I go to her when she cries, anytime, night or day. She is basically night weaning herself. Is this ok? My supply obviously is not as great, but I have began pumping before I go to bed and in the morning if needed. Should I be waking her to feed at night, even though she sleeping through?

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  37. Dr Momma, I agree Babywise is cruel and unnatural, night-weaning can happen naturally before 18 months. My exclusively breastfed baby slept 8+ hrs between 2-5 months and I have never let him cry it out. He nursed, grew and thrived those months. He's usually up now (at 8 mths) once a night to nurse and I've accepted this as "normal", too.
    My advice to new mums, esp BFers, is avoid dogmatic "systems" that profess to fix your baby rather than encourage you to listen to his cues.

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  38. I find it absolutely DISGUSTING that anyone would tell parents to REFUSE to feed their child because they "need to learn a schedule". Absolutely obsurd.

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  39. This was the first parenting book I read as recommended by our pediatrician. As a Christian mom to two sets of twins, I just don't understand where this Christian preference for a firm hand of letting a tiny baby cry himself to sleep and feed in a restrictive manner comes from. It is not true discipline and is certainly not reflective of the love and mercy our Heavenly Father has shown us through Jesus Christ and certainly does not keep the command of Matthew 7:12 to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    It should be a legalistic remnant of the past.

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    1. Nanner, I agree with you. I wonder if the authors of this book asked this one question - What Would Jesus Do? Because Jesus would NOT let a baby cry it out and would NOT let a baby go hungry. That's not in His loving and compassionate nature, and He didn't create us mothers with a cold unloving nature either. This book makes me sick.

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  40. One of the most profound arguments I use with babywisers is that the children of the authors of the book no longer speak to them. How great could this child-rearing be if their own adult children want nothing to do with them? Gives you food for thought.

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  41. I came on here to research the method because I'm so firmly against it (our old small group at one point wanted to use Gary Ezzo's "Growing Kid's God's Way" as a Bible Study. YIKES!)

    I've seen the effect of CIO, both my nephews are not normal. The oldest responded to it by becoming a people pleaser, closer with a stranger than his own family. He values things above people and is incredibly sneaky and manipulative. My younger nephew is a zombie. He just watches the world go by. He was a much needier baby and I think it just shut him down.

    I've been telling my husband and Mom for a few years now that sometime in the future we'll look back at Ferber/Ezzo, etc and recall it as child abuse. Thanks for the article.

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  42. What's amazing is that there are so many people out there who actually follow the advice! This "method" is obviously so un-Christian. Is this what Jesus would've said? (I think Jesus was a great guy, the ultimate hippie - but I'm not a Christian.)

    I know a little girl who is now 6 and has the worst voice I've ever heard. She can barely croak out anything when she tries to speak, forget singing, and guess what, she was left to cry as a baby until she was about two because the parents were following some advice about feeding-every-4-hours crap. The father actually collapsed at one point and was hospitalised due to exhaustion (baby crying at night) and the baby had a horrible start in life being hungry and unhappy all the time, add to that has totally ruined her voice. I really wonder if she will ever recover her voice, highly doubtful.

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  43. A comment to the anonymous person who posted: "I feel like people that follow this to a 'T', to the point where they are harming their children and then blaming a book they read is really just blame-shifting. These parents are most likely not bright and not great parents to begin with."

    I strongly disagree with your comment and find it very inaccurate and hurtful. I have common sense. I have a degree in child development. But common sense did not help me when I was a new mother of a baby who slept little and cried incessantly. When this book was recommended to me, I was a desperate, sleepless new mother of a baby who cried hours and hours a day. He had no known medical problems such as reflux, etc. Everything I had expected motherhood to be, it was not. Whatever common sense I had thought I had when my son was born, had disappeared because nothing I did to comfort him/make him sleep worked. I had no one to relate to about this problem. So when given a book by a Christian I respected, I was ready to follow it to the "T" because I was desperate for something to work. Had I been able to stick with it, I think I could have been like one of the moms in the article who "starved" her baby because of following the schedule. That sounds crazy but my first months/years as a mom were not good, and I'm thankful God's grace protected my child from my inabilities and other peoples advice.

    Also, at the age of 3.5, my son was diagnosed with mild Autism. I believe his autism could have been made much more severe had I left him for hours and hours in his crib crying, as this book recommends. I also believe that attachment parenting and the constant attention and engaging we did with my son prevented him from turning within himself more. It is impossible to diagnose a 2 week old, or a 4 month old with autism, yet Ezzo would have you leave your baby to CIO, not taking into account that there could be developmental issues that you do not know at the point of sleep training.

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  44. I did not read BabyWise, but I read literature when I had my baby that followed a similar feeding schedule, so naturally I thought that was the way to do it. My son was miserable and started losing weight, and I could not figure out what I was doingn wrong. One of my friends said to feed my baby every time he cried, and at LEAST 2 to 3 hours from the START of the last feeding. I thought this seemed excessive, because that wasn't at all what the literature I had gotten from the hospital had said to do. I scheduled a meeting with a lactation consultant and she cleared everything up for me, and I felt so guilty and angry for following that other literature I had read. It's no wonder my milk supply had dropped and I ended up having to use a supplemental lactation system, borrowing breast milk from a trusted friend and using a little formula for a little while till we got back on track. Not to mention how exhausted we all were from the endless hours of crying. My son is healthy and thriving now but is also very fussy and clingy at times, and I can't help wondering if this is in some way due to how hungry he was for the first few weeks of his life. I wish I'd called an LC right away rather than waiting. I wish I'd done a lot differently. Mostly I wish I hadn't read that misinformation to begin with!

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  45. I can't remember where I saw the article, but I was reading somewhere that babies ages 9-24 months, brains grow WHILE THEY ARE SLEEPING!! And the milk your body produces at night, is almost twice as high in content with omega 3's and DHA (which brains need for proper development) then in the daytime.. at 20 months.. my daughter still wakes up in the night for a feeding... and I have no problem letting her because I know that that late night feeding is helping her brain develop! Research everything Moms.. Don't take ANYONE's word for being correct unless you have proof to back it up! And follow your instincts.. every mom has them! If it doesn't feel right.. it most likely isn't!!

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  46. I too was told to read the book with my first child. After about 4-5 months of HELL too, I followed my instincts and throw my first book ever into the trash one night. Talk about a freeing moment!!! It was like I just got free from a demon! I too went on to nurse my little girl until she was 14 months old. With my second child did not read any books as well and we are still nursing after 25 months and my third child is on the way in about 3 more weeks! I'm so glad Laura did what she did at that book store. Makes me want to do the same every time I go into a book store. The Babywise book for sure should be a banned book! Cause it causes a woman to go crazy.... and a baby to loose what he or she really needs, our care and protection over them.

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  47. Kim in Australia...

    I was given this book with my first child. :-( gosh I wish I hadn't lay eyes on it!!! Thankfully after a few months of HELL, including my anxiety/depression, I woke up to using my instincts. I BF my baby girl until she was 17 months old - Yay. I have since had two more babies - both boys and didn't read any books....just went with my instinct and abundance of love for my babies. Babywise is still on my bookshelf however it won't be making it out of my house without being torn to shreds and recycled. At least someone somewhere can make something positive out of it :-)

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  48. This book sounds terrible. :( And the so-called advice sounds downright dangerous! :o You wouldn't treat an adult this way so why would you do this to a baby?? Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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  49. i have a close acquaintance who did babywise. I had already been through the infant stuff with my babies and it seemed so unnatural to watch the clock rather than the baby for cues. I absoutely could not stand to listen to this baby crying for hours because she was hungry or because it is nap time and she "should" be sleeping.
    The thing is that as this baby got older, she didn't make eye contact. She wanted to be independent (not in a good way).
    Now, she's 8. she's a nightmare. She completely lacks empathy for others. she has actually hurt her younger siblings on many occassions. She's sneaky and self centered.
    i blame babywise techniques for this.
    You leave a baby crying without consoling them or (changing diaper, feeding, holding) then, you're developing a human who doesn't trust you. babies take work! This program is so irrational and illogical....

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  50. I live with someone who was left to cry a lot as a baby and wasn't cuddled much. He's now in his 50s. I consider the way he was raised to be child abuse. His parents loved him and they were quite affluent, but agree now that they knew nothing about raising kids. They were taking advice from old-fashioned, upper-class European parents who had relied on nannies to raise their kids.

    Psychologically, he is like someone who was abused. When he is "down", he has very low self esteem, feels guilty about everything - even existing, and startles easily. He has experienced a lot of depression. He has episodes of anxiety and panic. He is working hard at overcoming this debilitating mindset. It is very hard for him, but he is making progress.

    From the point of view of a powerless infant, being left alone in a room crying feels life-threatening. It would have been life-threatening for a paleolithic baby to be left alone in a cave. Our brains have not evolved that much since then. Being hungry as a helpless infant is life-threatening too. The message that YOU don't matter and that life is full of fear gets embedded very early.

    Some people are effectively living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for their entire lives, based on how they were treated as babies.

    Perhaps some people are more sensitive than others, and therefore more adversely affected by this kind of parenting. However, I wouldn't take a chance. If the baby is crying, pick him or her up!

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  51. What a breath of fresh air!! When my daughter was born, Babywise was recommended to me. Since I had never heard of it, I did a google search and QUICKLY decided the book was NOT for me. It was selfish of me to think that my 4 week old could be on MY schedule and not her own. If she cried, it was for a reason. My job is to try and figure it out. Maybe she's hungry, wants help, needs to be changed, etc.

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  52. We entered "Ezzoland" in 2005 when our oldest was born. The first class seemed innocent enough. I did experience some anxiety when the informationa and advice of my lactation consultant clashed vividly with the GFI ways. Being a new mother I figured that it was my fault for not understanding. I ended up using a little of both philosophies and we had a thriving baby who was quite happy. Let's cut to two years later when I became a full time stay at home mom who was trying to follow the "Ezzo way" to the letter of the law (ironic, because they always instruct against legalism...which they are!) The common theme in our house from then on was frustration. Frustration for me, for my daughter, and for my husband. The Ezzos are great at telling you what you should be doing with your child, but they give no real-world application. It was incredibly confusing and many things were contradictory. I was involved in the mother's "ministry" that went along with it, GEMS. Rather than feeling like an empowered parent, I felt like a bad parent who couldn't do anything correctly. My husband and I strongly feel that many of the Ezzo ways has contributed to an older child who fills with anxiety and frustration more easily than she might have had we not shoved down her throat, blanket time, immediate first time obedience, and all the other craziness.

    With our second daughter we have pretty much broken every Ezzo cardinal rule. She co-slept with us until she was 9 months old, she was demand fed at night, she is carried in a carrier everywhere. She is easy going, happy, and not anxious.

    I am so glad that my instincts were correct about GFI. "Couch time" is not the answer for everything under the sun with your kids. They aren't rebelling because you are failing to have couch time. Your child isn't a terrible 5 year old because they interrupt you without putting their hand on you and waiting until you are ready. They are 5!!!

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  53. I found this great craft to use a paperback book to upcycle into a super cute Christmas tree. I was really not wanting to cut apart any of my books so I decided to use my remaining Paperbackswap.com credits to get all the copies of Babywise left in the system for swap to make my project :)

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  54. This is the book my mother-in-law reccomended to us, because her neice used it and had such "well- behaved children", supposedly, because of it. SOOOOOOO glad I didn't fall for that crap, and listened to myself instead!

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  55. I have to say that i had twins born 8 wks early & NICU had them on a every 3 hr feeding tube schedule & once they came home on bottle feeds we were told to continue that every 3 hr feeding. So whether they were awake or asleep they were fed every 3 hrs Around the clock & they did end up sleeping through the night by 3 mos. My babies were really content babies, which made being a new mom
    to twins seem like a piece of cake. They never "starved" or dehydrated or screamed btwn feeding
    times. The every 3 hrs worked for them. I say that
    to emphasize the "every child is different" rule. BC the 3 hr feeds met my childrens needs doesnt mean
    that will work for someone elses baby who may require more attention & more feeds more often.
    Your God given intuition is all you really need in caring for your baby. I dont really think any book can
    give you the proper do's & don'ts. You just have to
    follow your heart & listen to your baby as they do
    come into this world w/ their own way of
    communicating & if u are in tune w/ your baby
    he/she will never be without. :)

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    Replies
    1. Erika, you may never see this, but the difference is you were not breastfeeding your babies for one. Secondly, just because they told you to keep with their schedule doesn't mean you had to. I know it was probably very convienent to have someone else do the hard work and put your babies on a schedule, I've had 2 babies in NICU, but when we came home, one we were breastfeeding as quickly as possible, and have always listened to my own instincts about feeding my babies.

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  56. I have to say - I read Babywise with my first child and I loved it. I did not find it that rigid. It seems like everyone read the first point and skipped the end of the point where it conceded that nothing happens perfectly. And I found it did not encourage tossing your kid and crib and ignoring him/her. I remember comforting my first child every couple of minutes until she fell asleep. And creating a "restful" routine for her to recognize was helpful. I think baby #1 was 4 months old when she finally had a long stretch at night (6 hours) without nursing. My twins were a year old and weaned before they slept more than 3 hours. My 4th baby started giving me a long stretch (6 hours for me was "all night" in my book) at 2 months. Now - all my kids go to bed at bed time quietly without any problems unless something is wrong (e.g. sick, teething).

    It really helped me feel better about the nursing issue I had with my first. She was a lazy nurser. Wouldn't nurse for more than a minute and got maybe a 0.5 oz. And she wanted to do that every half hour. She STILL wasn't getting enough food and my milk supply was waning. My Lactation RN wanted her to eat more and she should be going longer without eating. But it was hard because she would eat, sleep for 20 minutes and wake and fuss. I did what I had to to keep her awake while nursing and failed, but making her wait a little longer each time (mind you - not chucked in her crib to scream - being held, cuddled, and distracted) helped her really focus when the time came and get the job done. Once she got to 2 hours she FINALLY started gaining back the weight she had lost and was actually working and getting several ounces a feeding. As a first time parent it was hard to hear my baby cry and not give her what she wanted. But if we hadn't - I would have had to give up nursing after only a couple weeks. I am glad I was able to make it the full year. She is a healthy, confident kid today.

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  57. I never really understood why people read books on these kind of things. I'm a first time mom so I did not have experience when my son was born , but hey that's how everyone starts and started ever since the first baby was born on this planet! It's simple, baby is hungry: feed it. Dirty: clean it. Fussy: hug&kiss it :-) etc.. We don't have to over-complicate parenting! Sure it's tiring and we don't get much sleep with a newborn, so what? It's normal! And it will pass so soon..

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