posted with permission
My husband and I faithfully read this book and the full Growing Kids God's Way curriculum. We were excited to be presented with seemingly sound advice and felt prepared to face every part of parenting.
We followed the advice on feeding and sleep schedules very closely, until my 5 week old son began failing to gain weight. Fortunately I am a pediatric nurse and noticed the early signs before his health was severely affected. I visited a lactation consultant and learned that my milk supply was almost gone (pumping only produced less than half and ounce from each side). We formulated a plan to help him catch up and to get my milk supply back to normal. This involved: a supplemental breast feeding system, renting a scale (my idea), medication, and routinely pumping after each feeding. After 7 days my son had regained his weight and then some, but it took 6-8 weeks before my milk supply was restored.
I dismissed the idea that his feeding problems could be related to the Babywise program (I don't know what I was thinking!) and continued with the program. As time passed and I began to really process some of the Ezzo's ideas, I began to have some questions. My husband did too. We studied and prayed, consulted a Christian psychologist, and read other Christian parenting books. Eventually we decided we could no longer follow the program.
Five years have passed and I am now horrified at the very program I once followed. After reading article after article that gave stories of feeding problems nearly identical to mine, I now have no doubt that following the feeding schedule presented in this book led to our breastfeeding difficulties.
I also take issue with many of the parenting techniques presented. However, I find the most damaging result of this program is the divided feelings among Christians, and the elitist attitude of "Ezzo parents" towards those who use other parenting advice. I am worried about the circular reasoning that the book presents:
1. This method will work.
2. If it is not working, it is because you are not applying the method correctly.
This "logic" traps many young parents into three categories:
1. Those who succeed and view anyone who fails or chooses not to follow the Ezzos' teaching as inferior,
2. Those who fail but keep trying the method feel despair and guilt, and
3. Those who fail and choose to look elsewhere for advice and are ostracized by other Ezzo devotees.
You can see the divisive possibilities in churches who use this program.
I would urge parents to read other authors (Sears, for example), pray, and consult trusted mentors; and formulate their own parenting style. God gave each person a loving heart and a beautiful mind, we are given the job of raising our children with love. We should think very carefully before we let any one person dictate our course. If God trusts you with His children, shouldn't you trust His choice?
For more on Babywise, the Ezzos and Growing Kids God's Way methods see:
American Academy of Pediatrics Statement about Babywise
Dr. William Sears on Growing Kids God's Way/Babywise
Confessions of a Failed Babywiser
Adventures in Ezzoland
Ezzo Information Website
Parents Against Babywise Facebook Page
Become Wise to Babywise
The Case for Cue Feeding (rather than PDF - "parent directed feeding")
Taking Down Babywise: A Hero
List of Resources on Baby Sleep
List of Resources on Sleep Training, CIO, controlled crying
List of Resources for Breastfeeding Mothers
List of Resources on Babywearing