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: http://www.primalspirit.com/pr2_1solter_tears.htm]
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Here Ezzo claims that attachment parenting is the same old outdated, erroneous Birth Trauma Theory revisited.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.