There is nothing natural about Ezzo's suggestions for parenting. Nothing natural about witholding food and nutrition from an infant when they need it most for growth, and nothing natural about forcing a helpless infant to cry themselves to sleep on their own and witholding the comfort they need. Infants are not manipulative, they are dependant on their parents for all their needs. They are not accessories to be dealt with, they are helpless people reliant on their parents to show them love and compassion to help them grow.
Ezzo and his CIO methods may seem like a godsend to parents who just want to get some sleep but remember that your hours of unconsciousness are being paid for by your baby or toddler. Young children need to have their emotional and physical needs met - they need to be sure that someone in the world is looking out for them when they can't . This is not accomplished by abandoning them in monitored increments until they give up calling for you.
Dana C. (DLC) reviewed On Becoming Baby Wise: Learn How over 500,000 Babies Were Trained to Sleep Through the Night the Natural Way on
Helpful Score: 8
There is a reason that dozens of copies of this book are languishing here at PBS - it's horrid! There is something *un*natural about a parent who can sit idly by while their baby screams itself to exhaustion. Please read Attachment Parenting by William and Martha Sears - they are on the waitlist here, but it's because people hang on to these excellent books.
There is nothing natural about the methods recommended in this book. Wild animals don't even treat their young this cruelly, so humans certainly shouldn't. If you see your crying baby as a problem to be dealt with, this book may be of some use to you. If, however, you see your crying baby as a responsiblity to take care of, avoid it completely. Babies cry for reasons, those reasons need to be addressed, and a babies cannot do that themselves, alone in the dark. Pick your baby up, let him hear your soothing heartbeat, smell your comforting scent and be cocooned in your calming warmth. Read any of the parenting books by Dr. William Sears and you will truly understand how to parent naturally.
Rachelle S. (rachelle-a-tron) reviewed On Becoming Baby Wise: Learn How over 500,000 Babies Were Trained to Sleep Through the Night the Natural Way on
Helpful Score: 4
Whenever I see this book at garage sales or thrift stores I buy it & immediately rip it up & toss it in the garbage. This is the most awful & cruel advice for any parent & sweet innocent baby. It borders on child abuse as far as I am concerned.
I sometimes wonder if there's a connection between the things we do to infants and the state of society today ... How can it be right to isolate a tiny infant who is only trying to have its needs met in the only way in which it can communicate - by crying? If I were immobile and helpless and cried out for help - how would I feel if no one came? I guess I would fall asleep from the exhaustion of trying to get help, too. Just a thought about this method ....
How many of us as grown ups have "routines" that are set in stone and don't vary from day to day? I know I surely don't! Why do we think infants need that much routine? Why do we think WE need that much routine?
Alyssa N. (lys) - reviewed On Becoming Baby Wise: Learn How over 500,000 Babies Were Trained to Sleep Through the Night the Natural Way on
Helpful Score: 2
It's common for mothers following this method to lose their milk supply because it is not natural for babies to be sleeping through the night at such a young age as the book encourages. True, many parents have what they think is immediate success, but it is short-term. Infants need to learn that when they cry, their needs will be met; crying is their only way to communicate. By ignoring their cries parents teach their babies to give up, that nobody will help them. These children grow up lacking trust in their parents, and trust in general. I was given this book as a gift when I was pregnant and was so horrified after reading it - it sounded like child abuse to me - that I went online to find alternatives. I was thrilled to find Attachment Parenting (in addition to websites and books available on this topic, many communities have local chapters with playgroups and support meetings; I've met some of my best friends through my local group!). Parenting is a joy when you avoid methods that promise you "convenience", and instead help you build a strong bond with your children.
This book was very helpful to me as a new Mom who was very nervous about having a child since I had not really even babysat children while growing up. I felt my "motherly instinct" was absent. For me, the message in this book was like following a recipe. It was definitely not the easy way nor did it seem natural at times. However, just because something isn't easy and natural doesn't mean that it is necessarily wrong. If I had not had this book I think my children (now 14, 12, and 6) would have suffered greatly as a result of having a sleep-depraved bitter Mom! as well as being sleep deprived themselves. Sleep is very important not only for physical health, and development, but for emotional, and mental as well. I also highly agree with the idea they suggest in later books for toddlers regarding freedoms and responsibilities. Don't give out freedoms before they are able to handle them, it is much easier to withhold them until a later date than take them away if given too soon. No baby proofing- try training instead.
I loved this book! It really helped me. By using the guidelines in the book, my baby was sleeping through the night (10 pm - 5 am) at six weeks! I nursed my baby and it was so great to get those uninturrupted hours of sleep again. The book recommends using a routine to get your baby used to eating, playing, then sleeping, in that order. You teach your baby how to go to sleep on their own, when it's time to go to sleep. My baby woke up happy and contented when it was time to wake up. It does take time and effort to use the principles in this book, but I think it was well worth it and I highly recommend it.
I am a pediatric nurse with 10 years of experience both in hospital and primary care peds, a breastfeeding mom of a 6 month old,and a Christian. I say this because qualifications on advice matter. Gary Ezzo, the author of this book, has none besides one degree in theology, and the "co-author," Robert Bucknam, apparently only wrote the forward, and that while he was still in training. The information in this book is opinion, pure and simple, and the advice is benignly wrong in some places and dangerously wrong in others.
All quotes and references come from the 2006 edition of the book.
The book is built around 2 main logical fallacies. The "straw man" fallacy of 2 fictional babies that drive the text (pg. 18), and the either-or fallacy of Ezzo vs. everyone else. The language is extreme (Ezzo's way gives "bliss," while ignoring his advice brings "chaos"), and the supposed consequences of not following his advice are designed to promote fear (ADHD- pg.54, loss of milk supply- pg. 58, ruined marriage- pg. 22, obesity- pg. 140, academic failure- pg. 141... the list goes on.). Most of the claims have no citations, those that do often cite things like 20/20 specials, and the few actual research studies referenced are often out of date, made up by the author himself and unpublished, or misinterpreted to fit the claims of the book.
The underlying concept of the book is that parents must teach their children from day one that they are not the center of the universe, doing so by "shaping their hunger cycles" (pg. 30) and teaching them "delayed gratification" in the form of leaving them to cry, especially at nap time (pg. 140, for example). Healthy indicators of infant development are misinterpreted as pathological, the most obvious example of which is teaching that the behavior associated with a normal "separation anxiety" phase is a sign of unhealthy attachment.
While Ezzo does say to feed the baby if he is hungry sooner than the book's 2 1/2 hour minimum, he also repeats frequent warnings such as "do not deviate so often as to establish a new routine" (pg. 116). His breastfeeding advice on foremilk vs. hindmilk and "snacking" is completely incorrect physiologically. He clearly knows that educated, certified lactation consultants will disagree with him, because he issues a warning to boycott and warn others away from a consultant who tells you differently from his book (pg. 100-101). His pronouncement that NICUs are on a 3-hour feeding schedule, thust preventing Failure to Thrive (pg. 97)is so wrong that it's scary.
Most of his advice is bad, in large part, because it is developmentally inappropriate. Infants aren't capable of learning delayed gratification, but they are capable of learning that their cries go unanswered. Many infants who give up crying on this system, "flexible" though it says it is, have gone on to refuse feeds altogether, having given up hope that their cries will be answered. Hundreds of cases of Failure to Thrive have been reported around the country, where parents were following Ezzo's advice. Unsurprisingly, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued warnings regarding scheduled feedings in general and dehydration associated with "Babywise" specifically since they organized a review board in 1998 to address the concerns of pediatricians.
I could go on. This book scares me as a nurse, and it scares me as a parent. Do your research. Look at what experts have to say. Think critically in terms of who is telling you something and what kind of education they have. Just because a book is popular doesn't make it a good resource.
This book has received much criticism for its supposed link to failure-to-thrive babies and slow weight gain. However, the ideas presented in this book are sensible and if parents who choose to employ the methods of BabyWise will do so with common sense and use their God-given intuition as parents, then they will be just fine. My husband and I are applying some of the methods talked about in the book with our daughter. She's three months old and was premature. She is now doing just fine; is on a very regular eating schedule and is starting to sleep through the night. I tell people that I "demand feed on a schedule." I feed her when she's hungry but I also take into account the amount of time that has gone by and the other possible reasons she could be crying other than hunger. I repeat, you MUST use COMMON SENSE with this as with any other book. I recommend this book to anyone who wants an alternative to sleep deprivation. :)The only reason I'm posting it here is because I have two copies!
While you might not agree with everything in this book, the idea of putting your child on a routine is perfect. As a new mother I had NO idea what to do - every time my son cried I fed him - this book helped me to realize that he needed structure during his day.
The order of eat, plan and then sleep also helped my son take better naps and sleep through the night much earlier than expected.
Remember, you can still follow these guidelines even if you don't want ot let your child "cry it out."
Carrie M. reviewed On Becoming Baby Wise: Learn How over 500,000 Babies Were Trained to Sleep Through the Night the Natural Way on
The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that the methods in this book are dangerous for babies. Leaving an infant to cry it out is absolutely uncalled for. This book will try to convince you that if you do not let your baby cry it out, or if you feed the child when he or she is hungry, that you are both doomed and you will have a terror of a child on your hands. This man is evil.
The philosophy behind this book is harmful to both parents and baby. The more attached and bonded children are as infants and toddlers, the more independent they can become as they grow older. I'm speaking as the mother of 3 children, now aged 21, 16 and 12 - and very mature and independent individuals who had the security they needed during those formative years of birth through age 3. I recommend reading Tine Thevenin's book, The Family Bed, and any book by Dr. William Sears. Remember - think for yourselves - what do your instincts tell you?
What books changed my life? This is one of the three I would say are at the top of the list. A helpful book about getting your and your baby's on a schedule - so everybody knows what happens next. Result? Mom & Baby are both rested and happy! Great book.
Rhonnie C. (Rhonnie) reviewed On Becoming Baby Wise: Learn How over 500,000 Babies Were Trained to Sleep Through the Night the Natural Way on
As a mother of five children of varying ages I feel that this book incorporates a lot of common sense things that unfortunately many have forgotten in this day and age of child centered families. Not everything in this book is perfect but not every book is a perfect fit for every child. Children differ and as part of that we as parents need to take that into account with each child. Overall though this book gives a lot of good advice and definitely lots to think about.
Lynn B. reviewed On Becoming Baby Wise: Learn How over 500,000 Babies Were Trained to Sleep Through the Night the Natural Way on
Although this book is controversial, I found it to be very helpful as a new mom. It helps to establish routines in the life of your baby. They seem to just fall into the pattern as you begin to establish the routine of feeding-playtime-sleeping. It keeps you from the rut of your child needing to be fed and rocked to get to sleep. My babies started sleeping through the night by about 9 - 12 weeks. My children thrived with a flexible schedule. I made wonderful bonds with my babies and we were all better off with it.
This book is invaluable to new parents - and if it's been awhile since you've had an infant in your home; I read it with both of my kids who are five years apart and both were sleeping through the night by 6 weeks - just in time for me to get a full nights sleep when I was returning to work!
Colette C. reviewed On Becoming Baby Wise: Learn How over 500,000 Babies Were Trained to Sleep Through the Night the Natural Way on
I followed this book after bringing home my newborn and we have never really dealt with any sleep issues. Offers excellent advise on how to get your baby to sleep through the night and, in later years, how to deal with other sleep problems. Excellent!
Terri W. (HandsOnHomeschooling) reviewed On Becoming Baby Wise: Learn How over 500,000 Babies Were Trained to Sleep Through the Night the Natural Way on
Although no parenting book is going to suit any one person 100% of the time, this book offered great tips for common sense parenting. Using the methods given, we had all 3 kids sleeping through the night by 3 months of age. All 3 were very different personalities, but all did well with the methods described and are now happy and healthy growing children.
I have never actually read this book because I was warned to stay away. There are very unhealthy suggestions in this book---I must advise to use Baby411 as it is THE golden book for everything a new parent should know. Try that one instead.