Monday, April 12, 2010

Growing Husbands God's Way

~A Parody~

Because every philosophy of marriage has a corresponding pathology, we invite newlyweds to consider, evaluate, and decide for themselves which philosophy is most consistent with biblical thought and what they want their family to be like.
One of the biggest mistakes that couples make when they get married is forgetting that they are individuals first. This should still be your priority. After all, you weren't born married. God did not make both sexes together. He made Adam first, then Eve. God said it was not good for man to be alone, and so he created Eve. This tells us that Eve, who was made for a man knows what is good for a man. This takes great wisdom.

Your new husband should be welcomed in your life, but not the centre of it. You have an obligation to God first, and that relationship should be your first priority.
1. Life doesn't stop when you become a wife. Maintain the relationships you had before you got married.
2. If you had a weekly girl's night before marriage, continue to enjoy that. Your husband will not suffer from being alone one night a week.
3. Continue to be good to yourself. If you bought yourself new clothes or treated yourself to dinner on occasion, continue to do so. You need not lose a sense of who YOU are.
4. Invite some of your best girlfriends over for a meal. Times of hospitality force you to plan your day around serving others as you work to prepare for guests.
5. At the end of each day, spend fifteen minutes talking with God about the day's events. This special ”God and me” time takes place when your husband is home, as a visual expression of your love for God, but he should not join you in this. Tell him, "No. This is my special time with God. I'll spend time with you later, but God comes first." Seeing your love for God will make him feel more secure.

Husbands and Sex
In the last few decades, there have been tremendous changes in our perception of sexual relations. What was once a private matter, rarely mentioned, is now an act that is discussed openly and televised for the world to witness. We have witnessed the degradation of women, the rise in sexual diseases, and teenage pregnancies caused by this trend.

Our marriage management system is the mid-point between overly sexualized marriages, and the tendency of too many couples with busy lives to allow the intimate life to get lost in space. Having marital relations on a regular basis benefits both partners. When husbands have their needs met with regularity it builds confidence in the blossoming relationship with his bride. Everyone wins.

With a Biblical mindset we can confidently set a regular routine for marital relations. Couples following the Wife-Directed-Intimacy routine [WDI] don't have the problem of the secularists, who place far too much emphasis on their sexuality, and not enough on the long-term relationship. The marriage management system offers enough stability to keep the marriage strong through the bonds of intimacy, and yet enough flexibility to occasionally allow for you to respond to your husband’s needs at unscheduled time. This is true connectedness, when you meet his physical needs and he learns to co-operate with you.

God is a God of order, not disorder. If you start out having intercourse every time your husband wants it, what then? What will happen when you aren’t available? What about the future? We’ve seen the devastating effects of such thinking. Better to start from day one with a routine that establishes a natural order in the relationship.

While the bible is silent on the issue, we can certainly glean enough from the scriptures to get an understanding of Biblical ethics regarding our marital relations. In Leviticus we see the rule was to abstain from intercourse during the menstrual cycle and for a week afterward. Since most women's menses lasts 4-7 days, God clearly indicates a pattern for intercourse 11-14 days from the first day of the cycle. This establishes for us a biblical routine for marital relations.

Initially, begin having relations every 11 days, gradually stretching that time to two weeks. Occasionally you may offer intercourse sooner, but keep to an 11 day minimum.
Some husbands find this difficult, but as a newlywed he has never experienced such desire before, and may not realize that his libido is not a national emergency. Teach him these life skills. How? By not physically responding to him.
If he fails to make the 11 day minimum, find out why he is taking such an uncooperative stance. Are you forgetting your daily "God and me" time?
Your husband has to learn to cope with frustration on his own, as these are life-long skills. The bible tells us that God gave woman to man as a suitable helper. Your job is to guide him through meeting his needs regularly to a state of metabolic stability.
A woman knows what a man needs, that's why God made Woman. Remember, there was no intercourse until after Eve arrived.
Remember the rules:
Woman, not man decides when it's time for sex.
Woman, not man, decides when sex will begin.
Woman, not man, decides when it will end.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Truth About Child Centred Parenting

It's strange that Gary Ezzo Criticizes Child - Centred parenting as being a dangerous thing for marriage. Isn't parenting all ABOUT having a child? Nobody wants to spoil a child by giving them everything they want, but we must remember the book is about newborn infants, who DO require a lot of time and energy for the first while.
With a profound fear of children ruining parents lives,  Babywise  author Gary Ezzo uses two fictional characters, Chelsea and Marissa, to portray what he sees as the two main types of parenting philosophies and their results.

Chelsea's family follows Ezzo's Infant Management System.
Chelsea's parents:

-welcome children into the family

- are committed to each other. Every day Chelsea observes her mom and dad relating to one another, confirming their love relationship in the way they talk together, spend time together, and touch.

- work to integrate Chelsea into the existing family structure, so that she learns from the start that giving is equally as important as receiving. She is a joy to have around. She understands she is a member of a family team. She has a sense of belonging and purpose for her life.

- spend many hours each day loving and nurturing her

- they understand that virtues must be nurtured into her tiny heart

- their “we-ism” approach teaches Chelsea to foster close and loving relationships which endure the test of time.

- they govern and monitor her until she bears the self-control and moral awareness needed to govern herself. Freedoms come gradually so Chelsea achieves a sense of affirmation with herself. Those around her find joy in her presence, further enhancing her well-being.

- Understand that wisdom, self-control and experiences earned over time must be trained into a child as prerequisites for building friendship. A beautiful friendship will begin to blossom by the end of Chelsea’s teen years.

- set the pace in Chelsea’s life and insist on compliance, giving her a sense that she belongs to something bigger than herself. She belongs to a family with predetermined guidelines and established order that gives family relationships meaning and purpose.

 Marisa's parents practice Attachment-Style Parenting (AP)
In Ezzo's portrayal, Attachment-style parents:

- treat children as center of the family universe.

- When a child enters a family [parents] leave their first love: each other. The spotlight shifts to illuminate the children, and the marriage gets lost in space.

- Pursue the child’s happiness, taking great pains to avoid distress of emotional discomfort in the child’s life.

- Never make her wait for anything. If she wants something, it is given to her on demand.

- Never have an evening out alone together because babysitters make Marisa nervous.

- Cater to her likes and dislikes, stocking their shelves with foods the child prefers

- [are]unaware of the disabling impact their attitude has on their daughter. Instead of building Marisa into a self-assured adult, they are fostering the emotionally crippling attitude of me-ism. Her self-centered feeling will carry over into every relationship. Other people will not matter to her. She will be ill-prepared for the give-and-take necessary for any healthy, enduring relationship. Given her demeanor, no one may care to help her at all. Her life will be shaped by an endless string of frustrating circumstances.

- Strive for buddy status and yearn for friendship elevating Marisa to the level of peer because “they pondered a considerable lack of friendship with their own parents.” They reduce the parental role to the child’s level or raise the child to the status of peer.

Since both of Gary Ezzo's conclusions come from fictional characters, this blogger also has her own conclusions regarding the ill effects of an Infant Management System on the family:

From Day One Chelsea's well-intentioned parents "trained" her in what they thought was the "skill of sleep." By ignoring her cries, Chelsea learned crying was useless, so she gave up. She now sleeps long stretches in order to cope with feelings of hopelessness and despair, from never knowing when or if her parents would come when she cried. She feels secure in her bed, the one consistent thing in her life. Her parents are proud, being told that this is the result of "right parenting." 

The problem is that now she won't sleep anywhere else. Not in her car seat on long drives, not in a hotel, and not at Grandma's house. Chelsea's mother must schedule her entire day around Chelsea's napping and feeding schedule, or deal with a tired, screaming baby in public. Welcome to the circus. Chelsea ruined their attempt at a family camping trip because she was inconsolable when they tried to get her to sleep in the tent.

Because Marisa's security is in trusting her mother to meet her needs, she is content to sleep anywhere. Marisa's mom is free to visit friends, or hang out all day at the art gallery with Marisa sleeping contentedly in a carrier, or go on a train trip. She doesn't have to be home for Marisa's sake. When she want to nurse, Marisa signals, her mother responds. At night, she nurses once or twice but since she sleeps next to her mother, nobody gets out of bed. Marisa's father doesn't even notice when the baby nurses and they've all enjoyed restful nights from Marisa's first week of life. Everyone wins.

Marisa thrives on the routine and  what is predictable in her life. When she is hungry, her mother feeds her, when she is tired, she sleeps, knowing all is well in her world. Throughout the day she learns about life from her favorite spot on mom's hip, watching everything her mother does. She hears her mother's conversations. She watches her chop vegetables for dinner and when Daddy comes home, they share a group hug.  Her world is interesting and she is content. Trusting and secure in her mother's doting affection and nearly constant presence, Marisa is ready to explore her world.

Chelsea's world is not so secure. Chelsea's mother places her in the crib and walks away. She spends many hours a day in loneliness and isolation. Sometimes when Chelsea cries, her mother comes, sometimes she doesn't. Chelsea is confused by this because she doesn't know that mom's responds according to the time on a clock. While Marisa is happily watching her mother peel carrots from her carrier, Chelsea's day is spent on short, timed teaching sessions such as "blanket training" and "room training" and "playpen time." Even her "Mommy-and-me" time is cut short by the timer.

Chelsea's mother discovered she was expecting another baby much sooner than they had hoped.  She was a little worried, after all, she had just managed to get Chelsea sleeping through the night and was finally starting to feel better, no longer getting out of her warm bed at night.

Nobody was getting out of bed during the night at Marisa's house either. Marisa always slept close to her mother at night. Because he was gone all day, Marisa's daddy appreciated having both his wife and child close at night. Marisa's continued night nursing had protected her mom from another pregnancy the natural way. Marisa's mom remained infertile for over 14 months, the average for North American women who nurse on demand.

Marisa's mother is always full of energy, and takes her baby everywhere she goes. The more she nurses her baby, the more her body releases prolactin, the mothering hormone, making her feel so much more patient, calm, and loving toward her baby daughter than she otherwise would. What a wonderful natural system for making infant care feel less burdensome and more rewarding!

Marisa's dad is so proud of his family. His intimate times with his wife are more exciting than ever! With Marisa to consider, their lovemaking happens in different places and times than before, keeping it always fresh and interesting! When he goes to sleep at night, Marisa's father loves to put his protective arm around both his wife and his baby, feeling all is right in his world, too.

Chelsea's mom didn't realize until they had houseguests that Chelsea was not actually sleeping all night. The overnight guests reported that Chelsea's crying woke them twice. Chelsea's mom found it hard to believe because they never hear her cry at night. Chelsea's parents had simply trained their ears not to listen any more, in the same way people  can tune out a chiming clock, or the sound of passing trains.

When  Marisa reaches her difficult teen years, all the hard work of the early years have paid off! Marisa has a close connection with her parents and security in their unconditional love. She trusts that they accept her no matter what and that solid foundation is what gives her strength to make good decisions. She's not tempted by illicit drugs or alcohol because she would never want to hurt her parents.

When Chelsea is in her teens she understands that her parents' approval is based upon her performance and compliance. Never having been allowed the simplest of choices, she easily falls prey to her peers when they pressure her to use drugs. She doesn't think about her parents - they'll never find out.

Chelsea's parents are worried about their daughter, and waiting for the late teens when a budding friendship will blossom. (BW page 26)
Marisa and her parents have enjoyed buddy status since she was tiny. (pg 25)


On Becoming BABYWISE  by Gary Ezzo 1998

Of the many Lies in this book, today's blog entry takes a deeper look at Lie number 12: the lie that the Gary Ezzo's Parent-Directed Feeding (PDF) plan offers a healthy balance between "Hyperscheduling" and Attachment Parenting.

In the book, the author claims that Attachment Parenting is exhausting for the mother, chaotic for the family, and confusing for the child.  On the other hand, a too-tight schedule offers no regard for the baby's or mother's needs. (pg 31)

Finally, on page 37 Ezzo reassures the reader with the following statement:

PDF is the center point between hyperscheduling on one extreme and attachment parenting at the other. It has enough structure to bring security and order to your baby’s world, yet enough flexibility to give mom freedom to respond to any need at any time.

What do we know about "hyperscheduling"? From the above statement, we learn that it is extreme. We also learn, according to page 30:

In the early years, the first theory was introduced by a group of scientists called behaviorists. Their belief was that a child was molded by his or her environment. The infant’s developing emotions and feelings went unrecognized, over-ruled by specific and controlled care. Such outward structure, behaviorists believed, produced in the child controlled emotions. This was considered desirable.
Based on this theory, American mothers in the 1920’s were introduced to a feeding practice called hyperscheduling or clock feeding the baby. 

From this paragraph we learn three factors:
1. The infant’s developing emotions were not recognized. Behaviorists did not believe that babies were capable of having feelings or emotions. As a result, many of our grandparents were told that babies cried simply to exercise their lungs.
2. The baby’s care was very specific and controlled. Schedules were essential to the new science of baby care, along with sterilization techniques and formula. (Formula was just that: a scientific formulation calculated to meet an infants nutritional requirements, based on the knowledge at the time.)
3. A firmly structured environment would theoretically control behavior. Presumably if life were a predictable regime of order, then the child would naturally become orderly.

How does the Babywise program avoid the identified problem with hyperscheduling?

1. The infant’s developing emotions and feelings went unrecognized” 
What does Babywise have to say regarding to an infant’s developing emotions and feelings? Does Gary Ezzo recognize an infant might cry for reasons other than physical needs?
If so, how is the parent to meet these needs?

child-centered beliefs have encouraged exaggerated concerns about a child’s momentary feelings and emotional well-being pg 35
likely, newborns have zero memory of birth, let alone the ability to recall anxiety pg 35
• …he is not as emotionally fragile as attachment theorists believe.. pg 38
On an airplane your infant daughter begins to fuss. You fed her just two hours earlier. Yet failure to act will stress you, not to mention the entire jet full of people. Your solution is simple: consider others. pg 116 [No mention of the baby’s stress!]
When your baby awakens, don’t rush right in to him or her. Any crying will be temporary, lasting from five to forty-five minutes. pg 123
Some parents fear that failing to respond right away will make their baby feel unloved or insecure. On the contrary, it’s cruel not to help your child gain the skill of sleeping through the night. pg 123
When settling for a nap, crying for 15 to 20 minutes is not going to hurt your baby physically or emotionally. Your baby will not… have feelings of rejection... pg 131
Crying… simply because that is what normal, healthy babies do. pg 137
We can assure you of this truth: you will not take pleasure in hearing that [crying]sound, especially if you are first–time parents. (Inferring that more experienced (ie 'better') parents can ignore crying) With a bit of help, you can [know what to do]. pg 138 (He then tells you what to do - which amounts to nothing more than listening to the crying to familiarize yourself with it)
Does the lack of immediate, ten-second response time create irreversible latent effects on personality development which surface years later, according to attachment theorists? We believe the answer to this question is no. 
Will blocking baby’s cry be good for him? The answer to this question also is no. [In AP] greater value is placed on suppressing a child’s cry than teaching good sleep habits. pg 139 [Note use of the words "blocking" and "suppressing" used to describe a parent's loving desire to console.]
Yes, you can hurt a baby by picking him or her up too much. …There is no evidence proving that crying fosters insecurity. pg 141
“Trainable” cry periods such as those times when you put your baby down for a nap… [don’t] come about due to legitimate need. pg 143 (crying at naptime represents an “illegitimate” {ie. emotional} need, so is disregarded in order to “train” the child)
Identifying and knowing your baby’s cry patterns and disposition will help you learn to discern real needs. pg 146 [Here he says to simply listen to the cry so that you get to know what is typical for your baby - but don’t respond! He gives examples from his own grandchildren as follows]
Our grandchild, Ashley… just five minutes of crying by four weeks of age. Whitney, Ashley’s sister… would wail ten minutes, stop… and wail ten minutes more, then whimper, then sleep. That lasted twelve weeks. pg 146 [Crying occurs every day for several weeks and all he does about it is note how she cries, not why.]
Whitney didn’t have any more or less nutritional or love needs in her life, but she did have by nature a greater disposition for crying. pg 146 [No attempt was made to adapt to a different baby who cried a lot more, nor was any effort made to find out what might help soothe her. Crying was shrugged off as simply her disposition.]
Some children have a greater propensity to cry. This is not necessarily a signal that their basic needs are not being met. [What about a child's emotional need to feel loved and accepted? Isn't that a basic need?]
• Katelyn…would climb rapidly from a whimper to a wail, like an F-16 heading into the stratosphere…. Her cry times averaged ten minutes in length at naptime for the first month.
• After three months, crying at naptime was rare for all three grandchildren. [Three months of crying at naptime was not considered harmful or unusual]
With the goal of teaching good sleep habits, some temporary crying is preferable over long-term poor sleep skills.
• Some children cry fifteen minutes before falling asleep. Others vary… from five minutes at one naptime to …thirty-five
pg 147
Remember, you aren’t training your child not to cry, but training him or her in the skill of sleep. This may be the only time in your baby’s day that the practice of non-intervention is best. pg 148
Mother’s decision without assessment can be dangerous… They should not be driven by their emotions. pg 150
Blocking your child’s cry because you can’t handle it should not be up for consideration. pg 152
Normally it takes three nights before the [middle-of-the-night feeding] habit is broken and is usually accompanied by some crying. Be assured your baby will not remember those nights. pg 179
Be prepared for some crying. In moments of parental stress be comforted in knowing your baby won’t feel abandoned because you have decided that the best thing for him is learning how to fall asleep on his own. pg 210

Read that last statement again.
He claims that because YOU have made a decision, your 9 week old baby somehow comprehends this and won’t feel abandoned.

In Conclusion:  
 1."The baby’s feelings and emotions are unrecognized" in the Babywise method, just as in hyperscheduling.

The second part of the statement on hyperscheduling says “…feelings went unrecognized, over-ruled by specific and controlled care.” 

Ezzo believes that AP families lack any kind of structure, with parents "in bondage" to the baby’s demands.  Hyperscheduling is the opposite extreme, being overruled by specific and controlled care.

Is Babywise really “the center point” between these two extremes?
Or does Ezzo advocate specific and controlled care?

Day one. There’s no better time to begin thinking about your baby’s routine. pg 107
Since most babies do not have the ability to organize their own sleep into healthy patterns, parents must take the lead. pg 107
[Babies] are not capable of regulating their hunger patterns. They need parents to do this for them. Babies also know when they are tired, but they are not capable of establishing stable sleep/wake cycles on their own. Here the parent asserts guidance in place of an infant’s inability to establish his or her own order. pg 47
With the Babywise method a mother is … proactively leading and directing his wake times, nap times, and the rest of his little life. pg 65
If you feel your baby has a need for non-nutritive sucking, a pacifier can meet the need without compromising your 76
What is flexibility? ...think of something with a particular shape that can bend and then return to its original shape. Returning is perhaps the most crucial element of flexing. During the critical first weeks of stabilization, you are giving your baby’s routine its shape. Too much “flexibility” in these weeks is viewed by a baby as inconsistency. pg 109
For baby, the stabilization of hunger metabolism as well as stabilized sleep/wake cycles are primary goals. pg 111
Parental intervention is necessary to help stabilize the baby’s digestive metabolism pg 112
… baby is awake and crying. Another thirty minutes are left before his next scheduled feeding. What should you dopg 116
In following your feeding, wake, and sleep routine for your newborn, you should plan that the last 1- to 1½ hours of your 2½ hour cycle will be for a nap. When moving to a 3-, 3 ½ -, and in time, a 4-hour routine, your baby’s naps will range anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours. pg 130
• Page 117 gives a sample schedule to fill out. He even calls it a schedule, though he uses the word “routine” throughout the rest of the book.
Your baby’s first year is divided into four basic phases… In this chapter our focus is confined to feeding times and activities related to feeding. In the next chapter we will focus on waketime activities and naptime. pg 110
Start at one month of age with the playpen. pg 130
Once parents have their infant’s eating and sleeping under control, it’s time to do the same with waketime activities. This goal is best accomplished by using the playpen, an invaluable piece of equipment…. pg 190
Playpen time may begin as soon as the baby has alert waketimes of fifteen to thirty minutes. At least one of those waketimes each day can be spent in the playpen. By two months of age, the playpen should be a well-established part of your baby’s routine. pg191
Rule 1: Mom, not baby, decides when the nap starts. Rule 2: Mom, not baby, decides when the nap ends. pg 133

Conclusion 2: Specific, controlled care and parental control rule the day in Babywise, just as in Hyperscheduling.

3. A final look at Mr. Ezzo’s comment about Hyperscheduling… Behaviorists… Their belief was that a child was molded by his or her environment. The infant’s developing emotions and feelings went unrecognized, over-ruled by specific and controlled care. Such outward structure, behaviorists believed, produced in the child controlled emotions.”

Unfortunately, we have already seen that Ezzo’s program: a) does not recognize emotions and feelings because
b) emotions are over-ruled by specific and controlled care. Now we will see how Ezzo, like the behaviorists he criticizes as being too rigid, also believes that 
c) “this outward structure will produce in the child controlled emotions”.

One day people will stop you on the street, at the grocery store, and in the church nursery to comment, “Your baby is so content.” Then they will insult you with the following statement: “You are so lucky to have such an easy baby.” Luck has nothing to do with [it] – right parenting does. - From the book’s Preface, page 16.
Chelsea learns from the start that giving is equally as important as receiving… She is a joy to have around… understands she is a member of a family team… has a sense of belonging and purpose for her life… a sense that she belongs to something bigger than herself fosters close and loving relationships which endure the test of time… bears the self-control and moral awareness need to govern herself… achieves a sense of affirmation with herself. Those around her find joy in her presence, further enhancing her well-being… wisdom, self-control… are trained into her as prerequisites for building friendship…. From established order that gives family relationships meaning and purpose. – From Chapter 2’s comparison to Marisa.
Children with healthy sleep patterns clearly had higher IQ’s than children who did not sleep well.. pg 53 Nobody would argue this. Except that the book does not deal with school aged children, it deals with infancy. Ezzo does not differentiate between them.
Children who have healthy sleep habits are optimally awake and optimally alert to interact with their environment. These children are self-assured and happy, less demanding, and more sociable; they have longer attention spans, and as a result, become faster learners. pg 53 (Where's the data to back this statement?)
Healthy sleep positively effects neurologic[sic] development and appears to be the right medicine for the prevention of many learning and behavioral deficiencies pg 54
With parent-directed feeding, your baby wins the ribbon of confidence knowing that you indeed are in 108
PDF babies move naturally from dependence to independence because the nature of the program fosters relational security. pg 139
We are not trying to express an inevitable cause-and-effect relationship between a fat baby and a fat adolescent later on. However, poor eating habits in infancy may result in eventual obesity. Overfeeding or disregarding healthy eating patterns early on could be to blame. pg 140
Infants on a routine grow confident and secure in that routine. Their lives have order, and they learn the lesson of flexibility early in life. Babies who settle into regular and predictable rhythms of activity develop greater tolerance to frustration and learn to use modes of communication other than crying. pg 141

CONCLUSION: Gary Ezzo, despite his promise of offering a perfect compromise between two extremes, actually promotes the type of hyperscheduling he criticizes as being too rigid and controlling, with little regard for the infant’s emotional health.

Babies’ physical health has suffered from the Babywise method, too. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement warning parents of the dangers of strict scheduling resulting in poor weight gain. The policy statement issued in 1997 when Babywise was gaining popularity says,

"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.”

Unfortunately for the Babywise babies, Ezzo’s program

  • Does not allow any more than 9 feedings in 24 hours.
  • Teaches that crying is mainly indicative of tiredness. Tired babies are put to bed, not fed, and certainly never allowed to nurse to sleep.
  • Makes it difficult to see those signs of hunger such as increased alertness, mouthing, rooting, because these behaviors are most likely to show up during the "sleep" portion of the eat/play/sleep cycle, when baby is being ignored. 
How does this happen?
Baby is supposed to be learning how to fall asleep and stay asleep. Parents are supposed to be "teaching the skill of sleep." This is accomplished by ignoring the crying and letting baby exhaust himself. Baby eventually tires and falls asleep.
Suppose baby wakes during his scheduled "Sleep-time" because he is HUNGRY from the energy expended while crying himself to sleep?  
Remember, if baby is waking up cranky or crying, he is most likely not getting enough sleep. Even though he may cry, your baby will probably go right back to sleep in ten minutes for another thirty to forty minutes of rest.  pg 134
Parents are ignoring crying because it's naptime. Baby is rooting and mouthing and active and crying but parents will not SEE this behavior because it's naptime and they are "teaching the skill of sleep" by ignoring this fussing. Hunger signs are missed, baby falls asleep again, and must wait until feeding time.
After feeding, he is awake for a short time, then put down for a nap. He cries. Crying uses up calories and exhausts him; he falls asleep.
But wakes up an hour later because he's hungry!
Only, it's still naptime. So he gets ignored.


Chapter 4 Baby Lies (Lies #15 - #22)

Chapter 4 – Facts on Feeding

In this chapter, Ezzo explains the way he sees different parenting philosophies - namely Attachment Parenting vs. his own Parent-Directed Feeding Method- affect the success of breastfeeding.

Lie #15; Page 63, Babywise
"Quite possibly the decision to quit breastfeeding actually is a disturbing necessity for distraught and fatigued moms unable to cope with endless demands created by a faulty parenting philosophy".

Quite possibly the faulty philosophy is one in which the clock, rather than compassion, determines a parent's response to her baby!

It was during the days of strict scheduling set up by doctors in the 40's that breastfeeding rates declined, but Ezzo promotes this same philosophy. "Distraught and fatigued" moms are unable to cope with listening to a baby cry when you can't do anything about it. With the PDF schedule, nursing freely is not an option. I say "nursing" as opposed to 'breastfeeding' because 'nursing' also means caregiving. And nursing a baby soothes the mother as much as it soothes a baby because it produces calming hormones such as Prolactin, Oxytocin and CCK in both. It wasn't until there was an alternative to the breast, that the we used the word breastfeeding to differentiate from the more popular alternative.

Possible Lie # 16; Page 63
And while the national average was 21.6% of mothers breast-feeding into the fifth month, a full 70% of PDF mothers continued into the fifth and sixth month. On the average, PDF moms breast-feed 33.2 weeks.
Ezzo makes it appear that PDF is more likely to lead to longer breastfeeding by comparing the national average (no references are given), to his own survey of PDF mothers. In online parenting forums for PDF parents, former Babywise parents, and lactation consultants, there appears to be few PDF mothers who are able to maintain an adequate milk supply beyond 4-5 months. He also fails to mention that the AP mothers he so strongly criticizes, have a 98% breastfeeding rate at one year of age.

Frequent lactation in the early weeks optimizes production for the long term. In “Counseling the Nursing Mother,” under the heading “Adequate Milk Supply” it says:

When a baby nurses frequently, there is greater nipple stimulation and consequently greater milk production. Mothers need to know that suckling makes milk. Specifically, then, what can a mother do to ensure that she has a sufficient supply of breast milk for her baby? She can nurse her baby frequently, offering both breasts at a feeding and keeping her baby on each breast long enough to empty it and assure that more milk will be produced. She can avoid missed feedings, especially in the early months when she is still establishing her milk supply.

Under the heading “Frequency of Nursings” the same book states:
During the first month, nursing frequency for a healthy fully developed baby may range from 8-14 feedings daily, with most babies requiring 10 or 12. …A mother should not be alarmed, however, if her baby wants to nurse as often as every hour or hour and a half during the day or several times during the night. Every baby’s needs are different and the mother should remain flexible to meet her own baby’s requirements.

Ezzo’s minimum spacing on the PDF routine is 2½ hours between feedings, which only allows for a maximum of 9 feedings a day. On page 118 he provides a sample schedule you can personalize. “This work sheet is based on eight feedings in a 24-hour period,” he says, “and is a guide for your first six to eight weeks.

Lie #17; Page 64
The routine for these [PDF] moms provides greater understanding of their babies’ needs and helps them connect with their baby sooner.
It is not a routine that helps you connect with another human being, it is communication. The mother who pays attention to her baby’s nonverbal communication is the one who connects sooner, not the mother who is paying attention to the time on the clock!

Lie # 18; Page 64
Responding promptly to a newborn’s hunger cues is also a central part of Parent directed Feeding.
Lie # 19; Page 65
Demand feedings more standard, moderate approach… instructs parents to feed their babies every two to three hours based on the baby’s hunger cues … PDF parents will feed their babies on a flexible routine every two to three hours based on the same cues. In terms of nutrition and response, both methods are the same…

These statements attempt to prove that Ezzo’s PDF method is responsive to baby’s cues and offers frequent feeds to the baby, similar to Demand-Feeding. Unfortunately however, this is not the case. The PDF method does not allow feeding routinely every 2 hours, nor does it allow opportunity for mothers to recognize many of the baby’s hunger cues. (See my HUNGER CUES post.)

Possible Lie # 20; page 65
Weak and sickly babies may not have the energy to cry let alone signal a need for food. That is why exclusive cue-response feeding can lead to infant dehydration, low weight gain, and frustration and fatigue for both mother and baby.

This is more of a misleading comment than a lie, in order to scare mothers away from response-feeding. There have been cases where sickly babies have been underfed because they have not demanded to nurse often enough, which is why the AAP statement says “In the early weeks after birth, nondemanding babies should be aroused to feed if 4 hours have elapsed since the last nursing.”

Part of the problem is that new mothers may not realize that the nursing cue is not crying, as Ezzo suggests, but mouthing, rooting, increased restlessness, etc., as stated by the AAP.
Ezzo’s statement that “the baby may not have energy to cry, let alone signal a need for food,” shows that he doesn't understand or agree with the AAP that crying is a late signal of hunger.

Lie # 21 Page 66
Babies provide parents two sets of response cues—those that are immediate need… and those that represent a parenting style.

In this paragraph Ezzo says that some nighttime cues are legitimate “need for food” cues, but if a baby continues to nurse during the night at three months, it’s the result of poor parenting. “A baby nursing for comfort so many times during the night is a cue that your parenting style during the day may be causing too much discomfort.” It is unclear what exactly parents do to cause discomfort, but it is implied that nursing on demand is the problem. He says that when babies sleep through the night on his program, “This is a healthy response signaling that their tummies are content and their hearts are secure in mom and dad’s parenting.” It is also unclear how babies are more secure in their parents by not being fed during the night.

Parents must learn how to distinguish between immediate need cues and parenting style cues. Both are important. One is for short-term benefit and one is for long-term goal.”
AP parents would agree with that. Getting your baby to sleep through the night by eight weeks is a short-term goal. The long-term goal is a relationship with your child based on communication, love, and security, which is more important than achieving uninterrupted sleep if it means someone gets hurt in the process.

Since no further instruction is given regarding the “parenting-style cues,” the reader will assume that hunger cues occurring outside of feeding times must be indicative of poor parenting.

Milk Production, page 67:
The following excerpts indicate a very poor understanding of the mechanics of lactation.

Certainly a mother who takes her baby to breast seven times a day will produce more milk than the one who offers only two feedings. However, there are limits. A mother who takes her baby to her breast twelve, fifteen, or twenty times a day will not necessarily produce any more milk than the mom who takes her baby to breast eight or nine times a day.
It’s true that the mother may be able to produce enough milk nursing eight or nine times a day. Many women do. But just as many women need to nurse much more often to produce the same amount of milk. Lactating women can have a 300% difference in the amount of milk they store in the breast. This doesn’t mean they were unable to produce sufficient milk, only that they needed to nurse more frequently – fill their tanks more often, so to speak - than their larger-capacity sisters. This is not a supply problem - unless she is trying to follow the Babywise schedule. Tall or short, black or white, blonde or redhead, women are different but they are all capable of nursing their babies, provided they nurse as much as they need to. The baby is the best guide as to how often this needs to be.

The problem isn’t the amount of milk overall, but the quality of the milk taken in by baby. First, babies on a routine of fewer feedings will take in more calories at each of those set feedings than babies who feed ad lib. The difference here is qualitative feeding, as with a baby on a routine; versus quantitative feeding, meaning more feedings at lesser quality.
Here Ezzo implies that the quality of breastmilk is improved by withholding it until 3 hours have passed. Most nutritionists will tell their clients that snacking is a healthy practice as long as the food is nutritious – referring to adults who are no longer growing! Babies are growing at a rapid rate and like teenagers, often need extra snacks when going through a growth spurt.

With qualitative feeding, you eliminate the need for continual snacking. Many feedings become exactly that. Baby feels like a little something to tide her over. No meal is desired. Such snack feeding provides baby only a partial meal consisting of the lower-calorie foremilk and not the higher-calorie hindmilk essential for growth. Mom thinks she’s doing more for baby through endless breast availability. In actuality, she’s delivering less than her best. Baby often quits suckling before optimum nourishment is offered. How disheartening for both.

Baby may indeed need more than a little something to tide her over. She may be thirsty, and the lower-calorie foremilk is exactly what she needs. This is not a “partial meal” but an important way of meeting the baby’s fluid requirements as well as assuring an ample milk supply. The mother is not "delivering less than her best;" she is delivering exactly what her baby needs. If the baby quits suckling it’s because he or she doesn’t need any hindmilk at that time.

Lie #22
Too many snack feedings, with two little time in between, may reduce proper stimulation.

The best way to insure an ample milk supply is by more frequent nursing. The breasts produce milk in response to nipple stimulation, which has nothing to do with a time lapse between feedings. Women can nurse twins or triplets because there is two or three times as much suckling at the breast.
If “too little time” between feedings can “reduce proper stimulation” it makes no sense that he tells mothers to add an extra feeding when the supply is low, on page 102.

Chapter 3 Baby Lies - 2 more lies

Chapter 3 – Babies and Sleep

Lie #13 a, b, c; Page 44
These PDF babies are characterized by contentment, healthy growth, and optimal alertness.

Presumably this is statement makes a comparison to non-PDF babies.
a)Contentment? If you subtract all the time the baby cries from the equation, then yes, the rest of the time the baby would presumably be content. Since Ezzo says it is normal to cry at naptime (for up to 40 minutes), and before feedings (eight times a day), as well as the late afternoon/early evening period (Page 145), it’s no wonder he has to admit on page 139 that AP babies cry less.

b)Healthy growth? If growth is not a problem, why does Babywise include several recommendations for formula supplements when breastfeeding isn’t going well? He includes growth charts in the book so parents can keep track of baby’s weight. So many pediatricians had seen babies suffering from poor weight gain due to scheduled feeding programs that in 1998 the American Academy of Pediatrics had to issue a public statement against this type of feeding program.

c)Optimal alertness? Presumably this is an implication that babies fed on demand are not optimally alert. It is interesting though, that the first thing he mentions in Chapter 11 “Parenting Potpourri” is a PDF child’s achievement levels. “There is no cause for alarm if your child seems to develop skills more slowly than you believe he or she should, nor should you constantly compare your child’s development with your neighbor’s child.”

He also discusses at length the benefits of using a playpen, claiming that using one develops “mental focusing skills, a sustained attention span, creativity, the ability to entertain him/herself, and orderliness” One wonders why he feels this is such a necessity for the PDF baby, when millions of children around the world and throughout history have developed these skills without ever having seen a playpen.

Lie #14 a, b; Page 57
Sharing sleep with children puts them at risk both physically and emotionally. Also Page 58 …early co-sleeping fosters long-term problems.

Most children around the world and throughout history have slept with their parents without long-term problems and physical or emotional health risks. The World Health Organization recognizes this and distributes an information sheet to teach parents how to maintain a safe co-sleeping arrangement.

Chapter 2 Baby Lies - 8 more lies.

Chapter Two – Feeding Philosophies

Lie #4; Page 30
Prior to this century… mothers nursed babies when they were hungry, having pre-established guidelines for babies’ hunger patterns.
These “pre-established guidelines for babies hunger patterns” are not explained. As human beings, all babies are different. How does one pre-establish a new person’s hunger patterns?

Lie #5; Page 31
The neoprimitivistic school of child care… postulates that the separation at birth momentarily interrupts the mother-child in utero harmony. Therefore, the goal of early parenting is to re-establish that harmony.
The Birth Trauma theory to which Gary refers here is a parenting philosophy which he claims influences most of parenting practices in Western Society. The theory is not about “a momentary interruption of in-utero harmony,” it is about infants who may have been traumatized by a difficult birth. Due to increasing medical intervention, birth has indeed become more traumatic for many infants. (Drugs, internal fetal monitor, forceps, vacuum extraction, bright lights, rough handling, eye drops, heel pricks, and separation from the mother to name a few.)

The Birth Trauma theory did not “have a goal of re-establishing harmony” but of understanding a possible cause of excessive crying in infants, and thereby avoid the potential for child abuse. [Reference:]

Lie #6; Page 32
By 1949, the birth-trauma theory, lacking objective verifiable data was dismissed. But that was not the end of it. Twenty five years later, it resurfaced. Bearing slight modification, the birth-trauma theory now carries a revised banner—attachment parenting.
Here Ezzo claims that attachment parenting is the same old outdated, erroneous Birth Trauma Theory revisited. Attachment Parenting — a term coined by Dr. William Sears —is a style of parenting that focuses on helping parents gain an understanding of their child: looking at the child for information instead of the childcare books. Established in an era when most parents trusted experts to have all the answers, Attachment Parenting helped parents regain confidence in own their parenting ability. Knowing and understanding their child better than any expert, parents can guide and train their child in a manner that respects the child’s individuality, personality and feelings. It has nothing to do with “birth trauma.”

Lie #7; Page 33
For the purpose of this book…When attachment parenting [AP] is noted, we are implying that the baby’s cry is the primary signal for nursing.

It is difficult to say whether Mr. Ezzo is lying here or whether he simply knows nothing about the Attachment Parenting philosophies he has so extensively criticized.

Crying is NOT the primary signal for nursing! Attachment Parents agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics that “Crying is a late signal of hunger.” This means that the mother has missed the cues that the baby has been using to communicate his need to nurse, and has had to resort to crying to get her attention.

Lie #8; Page 34-5
[T]he devout “attachment” mother will respond to the baby’s cry with the breast even if it is the third time in an hour. She is acting on the conviction that her child is signaling her with an unpleasant emotion. If it is not dealt with immediately, attachment may not occur.

The devout attachment mother is not afraid that attachment won’t occur. Again this statement shows lack of understanding of Attachment Parenting. If the baby fusses for the third time in an hour, she offers the breast simply because suckling soothes a fussy baby, regardless of whether it is an emotional or physical need. Furthermore, frequent nursing benefits the mother at the same time, because the hormones released during nursing help reduce anxiety.

Lie #9; Page 35
When his mother offers [a three-year-old] the breast, if even for a minute, she is acting on the belief that he still has an attachment need. To tell him no, say the theorists, would be to deny him the love that he needs.

Since there is no reference from the “theorists” given to support this comment, nor is there even a quote from a nursing mother, this is speculation.

Lie #10; Page 36
Most likely, newborns have zero memory of birth, let alone the ability to recall anxiety that is specific to the experience. Memory function and synapse development depend on the brain receiving highly oxygenated blood which comes from breathing.
No medical reference is given to prove this statement. Babies receive oxygen before birth through the umbilical cord. If newborns have zero memory at birth, how does he explain their ability to recognize the sound of their mother’s voice immediately after birth? And how does he figure a baby with zero memory can understand his parents love for each other as he said in the first chapter?

Lie #11; Page 37
Parent-directed feeding is a twenty-four hour infant management strategy designed to help moms connect with their babies and their babies connect with them. [emphasis added]

Human connection is fostered by communication, but in this book, baby’s attempts at communication are largely ignored, as Chapter Eight will show. [see Hyperscheduling]

The “infant management strategy” focuses on training babies to fall asleep alone and sleep all night which is accomplished by avoiding connection with their mothers at scheduled nap times.

Recently this question from a mother was posted online to an internet support group for those following the Babywise/Preparation for Parenthood program:

How exactly does PDF's design strategy help us connect with our babies? I feel quite disconnected - from the inside out - listening to my baby cry at naptime, especially when I see my AP friends nursing their babies to sleep without a peep.

Of the 200+ members in the group, she got only 6 replies.
 Two of them said just to do her best.
 Two of them said it helps the mothers schedule time for themselves and time for their other kids. No mention of how this helps her connect with her baby as the book states.
 Only one mother responded in a way that could somewhat answer the question of how PDF actually helps mothers connect with their babies. She said that feedings were scheduled for when the older children were otherwise occupied so she could focus on the baby alone.
 A man replied, “Modern theories of parenting seem based on the "feelings" of the parent. It is normal to not feel "in love" with your newborn for some time. Parent for the future.”
It’s interesting that a man answered in this manner. To generalize, it appears that women put more emphasis on the emotional relationship with the baby while men tend to disregard this and think in terms of an “infant management system.” This generalization agrees with studies on gender differences.

Lie #12; Page 37
PDF is the centre point between hyperscheduling on one extreme and attachment parenting at the other. It has enough structure to bring security and order to your baby’s world, yet enough flexibility to give mom freedom to respond to any need at any time.
Note that the “flexibility” in this statement is only to give mom freedom – freedom to respond to “needs.” Baby is offered no flexibility for his needs - or desires.

The purpose of this comment “PDF is the centre point between hyperscheduling… and attachment parenting” is to prove that PDF is nothing like clock feeding. However, the remaining chapters make it clear that this is not true. See my blog post on HYPERSCHEDULING for an in-depth look at this lie.

Chapter 1 the first 3 Lies

A list of some of the many lies in the book Babywise
Chapter 1 – Your Baby Needs a Family

In the first chapter, Gary Ezzo establishes his foundational belief, namely that

A healthy husband-wife relationship is essential to the emotional health of children in the home. When there is harmony in the marriage, there is an infused stability within the family. (Page 20)

Marriage, he says, “transcends all other relationships.” (Page 20)

However, in warning parents not to forget their love for each other, he goes as far as to imply that unless they proactively take control, having children join the family will ruin the marriage. Getting along well with each other is not good enough to prevent disaster.

Be warned, insecurity is fostered by what is not taking place between couples as much as what is taking place.”

What is not taking place, according to Ezzo, is a demonstration of affection for the child’s benefit. This display is to be scheduled into the baby’s daily routine as a “visual expression of your togetherness.” At this prearranged “couch time” father informs baby, “Daddy will play with you after, but Mommy comes first.” Ezzo claims that overt demonstrations such as this will “create a world of confidence” in your child (page 21).

Lie #1; Page 19
Being professionals who provide health and educational services to families
Also page 37, “As professionals we believe…”

Mr. Ezzo is not a physician, child psychologist, or lactation professional. He was a lay minister who taught parenting classes in his church, including the class for expectant couples he called “Preparation for Parenting.” The book “On Becoming Babywise” was essentially a secularized version of the same material. It was first self-published in 1993, adding Dr. Robert Buckman as co-author, though there were no substantial changes to the material with the doctor’s addition. Unfortunately, despite being co-authored by a physician, there are several false medical statements in the book. A list of 35 unsubstantiated medical claims in the improved and updated 1995 version is available at the following website: .

Lie #2; Page 22
Of all of Chelsea’s emotional needs, her most basic is knowing mom and dad love each other

An infant’s most basic emotional need is security in knowing that someone will care for her physical needs, since she is totally helpless. Security in knowing her parents love each other is certainly important to the child as she grows up. However, because this book is about infancy, this statement misleads the reader. A newborn infant will not feel secure by seeing expressions of love in others until she experiences love herself first.

Lie #3; Page 22
To Chelsea, [her parents] commitment to one another is clear. It is not an unanswered question in her tiny heart.
Again, this comment confuses infancy with childhood. Chelsea’s tiny heart has no life experience yet and cannot comprehend the meaning of marital commitment. The newborn is not questioning whether or not mom and dad love each other. Only when she is assured of her own security, can she begin to look outward.

For Chelsea to be satisfied beyond her own understanding, she needs simply to watch her parents enjoying each other’s company. (Page 22)

Ezzo believes that having a baby should not change your relationship: “To be a good mom or dad, all you need is to continue as before. That’s it.” (Page 21) Welcome him …to the family, but never place your child at its center. (Page 27)
The problem with that attitude is that since helpless little babies need a lot of attention, they do have to come first and they often are the centre of attention. For grownups to put their own needs ahead of the newborn baby is immature and irresponsible.

Using extreme examples Ezzo portrays two opposing parenting philosophies so it appears to the reader that there are only two all-or-nothing options in parenting. If you do not place your marriage first in importance like the fictional Chelsea’s parents, then you will accidentally fall into what he calls “child-centered parenting” – catering to the child’s every whim, becoming slaves to a spoiled brat like the fictional Marisa. See Child-Centered Parenting

Ezzo says it’s up to the parents to train virtues - kindness, gentleness, charity, honesty, and respect for others - into the baby’s heart (page 24), but he does not encourage parents to model that behavior in their daily care of the baby as we shall see.

The ultimate goal of Babywise is “a beautiful friendship that will blossom in the child’s late teen years.”
Time and experience are prerequisites for building any friendship,” he says on page 25, “Children enter this world with neither.”
Many parents have experienced a wonderful friendship with their children blossoming in the toddler years. Gary believes that this is a result of “reducing the parental role to the child’s level or raising the child to the status of peer.” How very sad, for parents to have to wait and hope for a good relationship years in the future when they could enjoy each other's company from the beginning.

On page 26 the reader is further warned that they could become child-centered by accident if they don’t take charge. “No one plans to be child-centered,” says Ezzo, “Since infants are entirely dependant on parental care, their dependency creates for new parents a heightened gratification.”

Many parents consider this heightened gratification to be a natural reward for the demands of caring for an infant. Gary Ezzo, however, claims that this pleasure is “a child-centered pitfall.” You need to have a strategy, he says, to avoid the “pitfall” of finding baby care gratifying. He follows with a list of things you should do on a daily and weekly basis – things that do not involve your children – to enhance family unity.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sleep Training the Natural Way?

On Becoming Babywise” by Gary Ezzo is an extremely popular sleep-training book. It is subtitled

Learn how over 500,000 babies were trained to sleep through the night the natural way”.

After reading the 1998 version of this book, I considered that the subtitle begs two important questions:
1. Is the Babywise baby really "trained to sleep"?
2. Is this method really the "natural way"?


In Babywise, author Gary Ezzo uses terms such as “parental guidance,” “teaching” or “helping”  the infant to sleep. An infant, he says, needs to “learn the skill” of sleeping.

The Skill?
Webster defines skill as an ‘ability to use one’s knowledge effectively in doing something.’ Sleep, however, happens quite naturally and effectively, without any training and even in the least knowledgeable of creatures!

Webster’s definition of training indicates there is some form of instruction, education, or discipline involved. Unfortunately for the Babywise trainee, however, the baby is expected to accomplish this “skill” without instruction, education, or assistance. Here are some examples of "Training," Ezzo-style:

“When naptime comes, baby goes down. It is that simple.” (Page130)
“This is one time when non-intervention is best.” (Page 148)
“Also bear in mind that at naptime some crying is not unusual. Napping is a skill. It needs to be learned. Avoid the myth that your baby is signaling a need to be held and rocked every time he cries.” (Page 178)

Another example of Ezzo’s “parental guidance” says:
“When your baby awakens, don’t rush right in to him or her. Any crying will be temporary, lasting from five to forty-five minutes. Remember, this will be temporary!”

Most parents help their babies fall asleep. They rock the baby, talk softly or sing lullabies to calm them. Some dance or sway or use similar rhythmic movement to help the baby relax. They use a pacifier or breastfeed to encourage the baby toward sleep. Some lie down next to the baby or bring the baby to bed with them, modeling the desired behavior. This isn't generally considered "training" but are merely common methods used to help babies adapt to their parent's world.

What Should I Do When My Baby Cries?
Babywise has an entire chapter on crying, and describes the proper response for the Babywise mother:
“She listens, she thinks, and then she acts on her assessment.”
She Listens:
She is told to simply listen to the baby cry,  observing  how long it continues. Thus she  can establish the typical pattern of crying as "normal" for her child.
She Thinks:
As she ponders the "typical"cry she is strictly warned against reacting to her natural feelings of compassion:
“Mother’s decisions without assessment can be dangerous.” and“Emotional mothering can set the stage for child abuse”(Pg 150) [emphasis added]
She Acts:
In this section there is no mention of any action taken. No instruction, education, or encouragement is offered during this “training” period. In fact, the mother is warned against responding to a crying infant, or else she will be guilty of “digging for yourself that big black hole of endless sleepless nights into the toddler years.”

The book claims most babies stop night waking by eight weeks. However, it turns out that whether baby has learned the 'skill' or not is irrelevant: When the baby reaches the age of eight weeks, mother is instructed to withdraw all attention to the baby at nighttime, period.
“Any crying will be temporary, lasting from five to 45 minutes… Generally, it takes three nights.” (Page 123)
“Most of this takes place over a three-day period and the crying bouts average between five and thirty-five minutes… it takes three to five nights for a nine-week-old” (Page 132)

CONCLUSION: The "training" Babywise recommends is rather like "training" a person to swim by throwing him overboard!

Is the Babywise method the "natural" way

1. In the Preface of the book, Ezzo twice calls this program “an infant management system” which sounds more like a factory engineered product than a natural way to nurture a growing family.

2. Ezzo himself admits the training doesn’t occur naturally.
“Expecting babies and young children to sleep through the night is very realistic. But this all-important life skill is rarely achieved apart from parental guidance.” (Page 43) [emphasis added]

3. The eat-play-sleep schedule Ezzo promotes is not “natural.”

  • a) Babies commonly and naturally fall asleep while feeding,

... i. because of a full tummy,
... ii. because of the sleep-inducing hormone cholecystokinin, [CCK] released during nursing.

  • b) When the baby does naturally fall asleep at the breast, Ezzo says parents must not permit it: 

“The parents must keep him awake until the feeding is over. Rub his toes, change his diaper…” (Page 111) “… undress her; rub her head or feet with a cool, damp washcloth. Do what you must to keep her awake.” (Pg.175)
... i. This is odd, since Ezzo himself suggests sleep deprivation could be dangerous to baby’s still-developing central nervous system?
  "Imagine your spouse getting no more than three hours sleep at a stretch for one week…. Now consider an infant whose central nervous system is still developing. Even more is at stake. To what extent, then, does sleep deprivation negatively impact an infant’s developing central nervous system?" (Page 55)
... ii. Not only are babies kept awake during feeding and after feeding, they are woken from naps.
"Do not let your baby sleep longer than three hours during week one." (Pg 172)
"If you need to awaken your baby during the day to prevent him or her from sleeping longer than the 3-hour cycle, do so! Such parental intervention is necessary to help stabilize the baby’s digestive metabolism.”(Page 112)
“Wake your baby and feed her at three-hour intervals during the day …start with a preset time for the first morning feeding. From there, wake your baby and feed her.” (Pg 173)
Rule 1. Mom, not baby, decides when the nap starts.
Rule 2. Mom, not baby, decides when the nap ends.
Rule 3. If baby wakes up crying… she has not had sufficient sleep
. (Page 133)

4. The program relies heavily on watching the clock to tell you when the baby must eat, sleep and play. Adjustments of 15 minute increments are suggested. Is this "natural" parenting?

5.  It is NOT natural to ignore a baby’s cry.

  • a)This is especially true for new mothers with their surging maternal hormones. A baby’s cry is 20 decibels louder than speech, ensuring the baby is heard. Ezzo devotes an entire chapter to convince the reader that the mother must deny her natural God-given hormone-driven motherly desire to care for her crying baby.
  •     b.) It IS natural for parents to try to soothe a crying baby and quite natural to rock the baby to sleep. Ezzo calls these loving actions “negative sleep props.” (Page 56) That is an interesting choice of words: a “prop” implies an unnatural, artificial add-on used to support a structure.

“Carefully consider the long-term negative effects of sleep props.”( Page 58)

Again on page 158 we find another interesting choice of words:
“Why choose a prop? Instead, confidently establish a basic routine to naturally and beautifully enhance restful sleep.”
i.Why choose a prop?” This implies conscious decision-making, as if parents have chosen to go against nature to add an unnatural “extra” to the baby’s life. But nursing, rocking, cuddling or sleeping with baby - the so-called "props" - are the things parents around the world do naturally to soothe babies – quite instinctively.
ii.Establish a basic routine” This schedule does not naturally occur. A daily routine may occur but the decision to regulate the baby’s feeding time, wake time, and sleeping times in a specific order and according to the clock takes planning ahead.
iii. Finally he says the routine will “naturally and beautifully enhance restful sleep.” Notice that the things parents naturally do are called “props,” and the schedule imposed on the baby is labeled “Natural and beautiful.”!

It appears that you CAN actually "train" babies the "natural" way; the secret is to alter the meaning of words to suit your purposes!!!
"Ignoring" is the new "teaching a skill" or "training your child."
"Clock-watching" is now "natural and beautiful"
Rocking your baby is a "sleep prop."
A mother showing love and compassion for her baby is now "emotional parenting," "dangerous," and "potential child abuse!"

Good Luck!

Sheila Stubbs