my final thoughts on babywise, ever to be posted, ever

I hadn't realized blogging could be so controversial and such a debate. This is the last thing I will ever say about Babywise on here, from now on all my opinions will have to be put on private myspace I guess so I can just air my opinions more freely. And because I made this more for friends and family to know what's going on in our household than to debate. I thought I could just post some opinions on there without randomness...

Here's my thing: I never put Kian on a schedule. I never forced feedings or naps. I didn't have to. Around 8 weeks, after doing the same thing daily (ie: me showering, eating around the same times, daily housekeeping, etc.) I realized he was already putting himself on a routine. In the first month I'd say he was up about 3 times a night to eat, and by three months he was going about 8-10 hours before needing to eat. I don't know what is so horrible about that? He was and still does able to go about 3-more like-4 hours between feedings. At his 4 month appt asked about when/how he eats, it was about 6 times a day. Babywise would be telling me to get rid of that 1 or 2 extra feedings. What happened to nursing as a bonding experience, instead of just for food? I do not ever feel guilty for my baby falling asleep while nursing, I never feel guilty for rocking my child to sleep if he needs it. And my son is thriving, he's ahead developmentally. He's the happiest baby I've known, and he's brought us so much joy.

And Gasp! I'm a Christian! I believe in discipline, I believe in the Bible, I believe in it's commandments. However, this does not, to me, spew biblical discipline and wisdom. Tell me again how Mary had baby Jesus on a strict eat, sleep, play schedule? Tell me again how Mary made baby Jesus wait for his meal, and forced him to take naps at times convenient to her? Wait, Ezzo would say that Mary didn't have time to sit around in her bathrobe and be waited on, so things were more his way. Oh, but guess what, in that day and age, as in many countries still today--those babies were worn, like in a sling! That's against the 'rules' too...right? And my other headache? This Ezzo 'foundation' is for-profit. In 1997, approximately 100 health-care providers, including nationally
known experts and 20 fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics, sent a
"letter of concern" to the AAP regarding Ezzo's child-care advice. Wall Street Journal reported on the growing controversy, the AAP's own District IV Chapter Convention passed a resolution calling on the AAP to investigate "Babywise" and its effects on infant health.

The great controversy stems in large part from the fact that the "Babywise" approach represents a harsh throwback to decades-old and widely discredited child-care manuals in which mothers were advised to watch the clock rather than their babies' signals in determining when breast or bottle should be offered. Today, in response to extensive research into infant nutrition and growth, experts strongly advise against "scheduling" and in favor of feeding, preferably breast-feeding, according to a baby's cues. American Academy of Pediatrics emphatically "reaffirms its stance that the best feeding schedules for babies are the ones babies design themselves." The alert went on to say that "scheduled feedings designed by parents may put babies at risk for poor weight gain and dehydration."
"Babies' feeding needs are extremely variable. You should nurse your baby when she's hungry or shows signs of being hungry, no matter when she last ate."
Ezzo disagrees. With a self-coined term, "Parent Directed Feeding (PDF)," Ezzo continues to advocate feeding-by-the-clock, suggesting, among many other things, that infants breast-fed in the manner advocated by Dr. Baker are "confused," "uncomfortable" and insecure." Further, Ezzo recommends that night feeds should generally be phased out by approximately 8 weeks of age, as infants of this age should be sleeping seven or more hours at a stretch if his program has been implemented properly. Ezzo writes that "Between seven and nine weeks, parents [who have followed "Babywise" recommendations from birth] can expect [baby's] nighttime sleep cycles to be a continuous 7-8 hours. After three months of age, that time is extended to 9-11 hours each night. This nighttime sleep is in addition to ... regular nap times during the day. This means bliss for everyone. Mother. Baby. Father. Siblings. Perhaps even the family pet."

For example, babies who resist the prescribed napping and bedtime components of the "Babywise" regimen are left to wail alone in their cribs for up to an hour at a stretch in order to "train" them. Play time is highly structured, with ever-increasing portions of a baby's day spent in solitary "roomtime" or "playpen time." According to Ezzo, skills such as "creativity," "mental focusing" and a "sustained attention span" may be "seriously delayed if your child misses out on structured playpen time."
"Once parents have their infant's eating and sleeping patterns under control, it's time to do the same with waketime activities," writes Ezzo. "Playpens are necessary to help parents optimize a child's development."
After babies reach only 6 months of age, parents are instructed to begin punitive disciplinary measures such as "squeezing or swatting" of the child's hands or "isolation" in the crib for "rebellious" infractions including "foolishness," "malicious defiance" or even playing with food on the highchair tray. Ezzo explains to parents that the use of "pain" and "discomfort" can be essential disciplinary tools. After age 2 and a half, children who have a toileting accident are required to clean themselves up.

As one example, GFI parenting classes disallow any debate concerning the course materials. Some parents who have taken the courses say that they were instructed by GFI representatives not to discuss what they learned in class with anyone who has not themselves completed GFI parenting training. GFI's Web site message boards are similarly intolerant of any disagreement. Those who are not deemed to be "like-minded" have had their Web access permanently blocked from what GFI calls its Internet "Family Room." (In my own case, after I requested an interview with the Ezzos and registered to log on to the forum in order to research this article, GFI's Web site forum administrator informed me via e-mail that she had "checked me out" at the request of Anne Marie Ezzo. She wrote that she had made the determination from information found on my family's personal home page that I am "not in agreement with [GFI's] beliefs and so I have denied you access." This is despite the fact that I had never posted or attempted to post to GFI's message boards. The forum administrator further cited privacy concerns. Not surprisingly, I was also denied an interview with the Ezzos.)


Why you little... said...

So where's my credit for doing research for you? And just think, that only took 5 minutes.

Rachel said...

Wow. I've never heard of Babywise but it sounds like some similar methods used in the UK. That can be pretty horrifying! At least you have the common sense to check out some different methods and realize that God gave us parenting instincts for a purpose.

Did you get a number of comments about this?

TulipGirl said...

We've btdt with BW and the Ezzos. And really regret it. Glad other mamas aren't falling for the common-sense-sounding-crud that Babywise really is. . .