Open Letter about Failure to Thrive

The purpose of this letter is to generate public awareness about yet another child who has surely suffered due to following a Christian parenting program entitled Preparation for Parent-ing/Preparation for the Toddler Years (secular versions marketed in stores as On Becoming BabyWise 1 & 2) by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo . We hope that knowledge of his case can be used to promote existing and future efforts to inform communities of the extremely serious dangers associated with following the Ezzos' program, even in its newest editions [1998 at the time of this letter].

It is our hope that, as awareness grows, popularity for its teachings will diminish to the extent that most churches will no longer promote or choose to be affiliated with them.

Initially, we would like to qualify a couple of points. We are both college graduates from prestigious universities. Michelle has a business degree with an accounting concentration from the University of Washington (a rigorous and highly acclaimed program), and Michael has a me-chanical engineering degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He currently works in international sales in the high-tech industry, while Michelle is currently a full-time mom. We point this out to say that we are not uneducated, fly-by-night, take-whatever-we-hear-as-gospel types of people. In fact, we have always prided ourselves on possessing strong common sense, thinking things through in an analytical manner, and distinguishing between right and wrong. Secondly, we want to stress that the classes we attended were, and still are as of this writing, the most up-to-date versions of the program. For instance, the program's infant feeding schedules have been revised to suggest feeding every two-and-one-half to three hours and to incorporate "flexibility," yet the overall message is indeed the very same as in earlier editions (it was shock-ing to us to learn what they used to recommend!). Major problems still exist with following the Ezzos' parenting program.

Matthew was born March 26, 1998. Just prior to his birth, we took the first parenting class, Preparation for Parenting (Prep), in a series of what was promoted to be the most Christian-based, medically accurate parenting information. We took the second class, Preparation for the Toddler Years, a couple of months later. As first time parents, we were excited about applying the principles, thereby raising our children to be both loving and obedient. The messages were strong and clear, and the boastful claims of thousands of parents correctly applying the principles with only optimum results left little room for debate or need to question the material. A couple of times we remember hearing there was controversy regarding the program, but we were en-couraged to dismiss it as coming from parents not using good judgement or incorrectly applying the principles, or as simply "secular" society's attack due to the program's Christian affiliation.

Other than his first week, Matthew's first two months went rather smoothly. His first week was tough, and, looking back, it should have been our first indication not to follow the feeding schedule we were taught in Prep. We should point out that Matthew was a small newborn. Al-though he was full-term and healthy, he was just under six pounds at birth, possibly due to low amniotic fluid levels, which, although not significantly alarming, prompted the obstetrician to induce labor eleven days early. (Induction is a relatively common practice, and Matthew was still considered full-term.) Matthew was born on a Thursday; we were discharged on Friday, and yet, during that first week of life, we were back at the hospital every day but one. In his third day, he already appeared to be losing a little too much weight too quickly, and he was getting increas-ingly jaundiced. His before/after nursing weights indicated that he was getting adequate amounts of breastmilk, even though he was found to be an extremely efficient eater-normally five min-utes on one side, and he was done. However, telling the lactation consultants and nurses that he was fed every two-and-one-half to three hours gave them the intended message that he was being fed on demand. Yet, "we knew better"-demand feeding was unhealthy, and we were using the Ezzos' parent-directed feeding (PDF) approach.

Tuesday his jaundice was severe enough to require hospitalization, and while there our pe-diatrician also had mother-baby compatibility tests performed to see if his body was rejecting Michelle's milk-tests were normal. We were sent home the following day but continued on home photo-therapy for the following couple of days. This required a daily visit from a nurse. Michelle remembers them telling us 1) to be sure to feed on demand, 2) not to press beyond the two-and-one-half- to three-hour mark, and 3) to monitor (actually document) all feeding times and wet/poopy diapers. Again, we chose to ignore the feeding on demand advice due to our "medically supported training," but we did make sure to feed him in the time frame suggested, as this went right along with PDF.

Ignoring this advice to feed on demand (or cue) was our FIRST BIG MISTAKE. However, despite our scheduled feedings, Matthew's jaundice did clear up, and his wet/poopy diapers met the minimum number, although they did seem fairly "weightless." As new parents having no ex-perience to compare it against, we assumed infants just eliminated very tiny amounts fairly of-ten. Things continued this way through his two month appointment, where his weight registered in the twenty-fifth percentile. Although his nursing continued to be short in length, the milk sup-ply seemed adequate, and Matthew was fairly content.

Things slowly began to change at this point. Matthew became more fussy/irritable and Mi-chelle found herself always questioning her milk supply, wondering if he had colic or excess gas (we tried Mylicon Drops) or was just overtired. She began pumping regularly, hopefully to en-sure sufficient milk supply, and also tried supplementing with a bottle, but he repeatedly and vehemently refused, becoming so upset that he would even refuse the breast at that feeding. Many times Michelle's intuition told her that Matthew was hungry before the scheduled time, yet she chose to ignore those signals and instead comfort him back to sleep, due to the Ezzos' scheduled feeding philosophies, which had been drilled into us. Our training specifically said that regularly feeding him sooner than our schedule would interrupt his hunger, digestive, and sleep/wake cycles, causing him to be a snacker, and this would just be unhealthy for him (and us) overall. We had no reason to argue with this supposed medically-backed advice. On very rare occasions, Michelle would exercise "flexibility" and feed him before "time" due to his uncontrollable cries, but most often he would "submit" to her comforting him to sleep.

It was at Matthew's three-month (possibly between three & four months) check-up that we discovered his weight, in terms of percentiles, had plummeted. He had dropped off the charts altogether. To say the least, we were very alarmed, as he was soon diagnosed as "Failure to Thrive" (FTT). Again, when asked about nursing frequencies, we answered every two-and-one-half to three hours and of the lack of success in getting him to supplement with a bottle. We were told that as long as we had always fed on demand, Michelle's supply should meet his needs. We were told to continue as we were, and to come in for frequent weight checks between well-child appointments. During this time Matthew's temperament had evened out a bit, and once again he seemed fairly content. What we now believe, in fact, to have been the case was that Matthew had become resigned to taking only small amounts of milk-not nearly close to what he needed to "thrive."

We began introducing solid food, which Matthew took to very eagerly. We hoped this would help him to put on some more weight. We again followed the strict suggestions for proper train-ing from our parenting class, and encouraged Matthew to keep his hands down while we spoon fed him. He did NOT like this, but we were encouraged to persevere, as our training had indi-cated that he could and would learn to keep his hands down and out of/away from his food.

This was our SECOND BIG MISTAKE. He did, in fact, learn to submit to keeping his hands down (or our holding them down), but his interest in food was quickly diminishing. At six months, we knew beyond a doubt that he was still getting far below adequate amounts of milk (we rented a highly accurate scale and did before- and after-feeding weights to get his total in-take for twenty-four-hour periods), and felt we had no other choice but to keep feeding him sol-ids as well. His growth had not improved, and he was still off the charts.

More and more, Matthew was losing interest in nursing, while still refusing outside supple-mentation by bottle or cup. It was obvious that nursing was not a "comfort" to him, as Michelle had always read and heard it to be for other babies (a trust issue). It was increasingly common for him to arch his back and display other obvious signs that he did not want to nurse any longer-just a couple of minutes every four hours or so, and he had enough. His back arching was interpreted as a possible sign of acid reflux, so we tried Zantac but experienced no change in behavior.

If we had rigidly been following the Ezzos' advice in this scenario, we would have punished him for his defiant arching. However, Michelle was unwilling to punish Matthew for this, in fear that it would cause him to reject nourishment even more. At this time (still about six months) Michelle was placed on Metaclopramide, a generic form of Reglin, to increase her milk supply. It worked wonders. It was obvious through pumping that she now had plenty of milk. However, Matthew's behavior about nursing did not change. For so long he had resigned himself to small amounts, we believe he had learned to feel full on that insufficient amount of milk.

Things continued like this until Matthew was nine-and-one-half months old. He was learning up through this time to supplement breastfeeding by taking formula from a cup, but again, ex-tremely small amounts of maybe an ounce or two. His spoon-fed and fingerfoods were, however, on the decline to the point where he would refuse to swallow the spoon-fed food we did get in, and wanted nothing to do with fingerfoods. Then, within a two-day period, Matthew stopped nursing altogether (apparently due to Michelle becoming pregnant, which changes breastmilk flavor). Over the next week he became increasingly dehydrated, with a fever above 103-104 de-grees. He would take perhaps eight ounces of formula over the whole day, and, still to his dis-like, we continued to spoon feed him until he would protest too loudly or stop swallowing. We felt we had no choice but to push the baby foods, as we were so concerned with his lack of for-mula intake. With his continued rapid decline in energy/health/weight, he was admitted to Chil-dren's Hospital to begin naso-gastric (NG) tube feedings. He was released from the hospital after 4 days but has remained on the NG tube.

To say the least, these last months with him on the NG tube have been the hardest ever. There were times that he was throwing up so much we didn't know if he would make it. How-ever, with the proper amounts of nourishment, his weight has begun to climb dramatically, along with his energy and disposition. At the beginning of the tube feedings, he was almost ten months old and weighed a mere fourteen pounds, eleven ounces. (If he had continued following the curve he set in his first couple of months, he would've been just shy of 20lbs at this point.) At twelve months, he showed significant progress, weighing in at a wonderful eighteen pounds (still off the charts, but getting closer).

During this time, we spent a lot of time reflecting on what brought a perfectly healthy baby boy to this state of complete food aversion/infant anorexia. He has undergone every test (a gruel-ing process) to rule out medical problems, which left us with an unexplained "behavioral" diag-nosis. It was then that a chance reading of an article warning against Babywise in a local paper led Michelle to do a little more research into the Ezzos' parenting program that we had been so sold on.

What we found was astonishing. Matthew is just one of hundreds who have been diagnosed with improper weight gain or "Failure to Thrive" associated with this program. We were not just looking for somewhere to put the blame. We had complete respect for the Ezzos and their meth-ods. Friends have followed through with the program with only "success." In our hearts, we just knew, as we looked back over his history, analyzed medical reports and other articles, that this program indeed was the significant reason for his problems.

We cannot begin to explain the feelings of anger, guilt, and remorse that accompany the re-alization that due to some very improper and unsound medical advice and child-rearing tech-niques, our son has had to endure so much. "Unpleasant" doesn't even come close to describing how it feels to force this unnatural tube down our son's nose as he is held there screaming, only to have to do it again if he pulls it out or, worse, throws it up. And to think that it has been rec-ommended and is quite probable that we will have to proceed with the invasive surgery for the more permanent stomach tube.

It is our firm opinion that the Ezzos lack the background and, therefore, the authority to be preaching about step-by-step methods for raising an infant into a thriving toddler. They allow no room for individual temperament, size (premies, low birth weight babies, etc.), stomach capacity and digestion speed, along with a variety of other factors. When their program doesn't work just right, or they are notified of cases of low weight gain, the Ezzos immediately seem to attribute it to the parents (a guilt trip) for either not following teachings correctly, or following them too rig-idly, which is contradictory. It has been proven that there is a 300% variation among mothers for storage capacity of breastmilk . Those with larger capacities can more often nurse at longer in-tervals, whereas women with smaller capacities need to nurse much more frequently. Most im-portantly, it was noted that all women in these studies had the ability to produce plenty of milk over twenty-four hours; what varied was the maximum amount they could deliver at one sitting. It is also known that if an infant is fed on demand, more appropriately titled "cue feeding," dur-ing the first couple of months, the mother is much more likely to establish appropriate milk quantities. We were taught to ignore those "cues." Yes, we were told to incorporate some "flexi-bility" when the child was obviously hungry (like crying to be fed), or when it was to suit our own needs. However, the Ezzos' definition of demand feeding as feeding a baby only when it cries is simply wrong. In fact, demand feeding is actually recognizing the child's hunger cues (before crying, as crying is often a late sign of hunger ) and feeding them accordingly. We re-member those cues vividly, and yet ignored them and tried to pacify Matthew in other ways until his "appropriate" feeding time. How very sadly wrong we were.

How obviously wrong we were again to choose to follow the seemingly medical and biblical advice of the Ezzos in Preparation for the Toddler Years. Here we were taught to teach our child appropriate "highchair manners" of holding his hands down while he was being fed, and again it was said all children can learn obedience in this area. Health and medical professionals in the feeding therapy arena would all say this is actually one of the worst things one can do. A child naturally wants to touch, experiment, etc.-this is a developmental stage/activity all children should be allowed to experiment with. Is avoiding a messy floor or table to teach compliance worth the possible costs? Yes, some infants and maybe even most will learn to be happy to let you hold their hands down while spoon feeding and then to let them experiment after with finger foods. But, it can be argued, is this really success? Or, is success worth the possible cost of later food aversion? Let us tell you, it most definitely is not! We remember heartily laughing at a friend who, having not taken the parenting program offered by the Ezzos, often had to give her six-month-old a bath after a feeding. "How do you keep him from exploring with the food and keep it out of his hair?" she would ask. We would simply think how much extra work she was creating for herself by allowing her child to be, as the Ezzos might describe, "out of control and sinful." Her child is now a healthy, well-behaved one-year-old, and that laugh was sadly at our own expense.

So, did we have success with the parenting program? Obviously not. Do others have success? Some think they do, as their children learn to be fed on schedules, sleep through the night, and otherwise be "obedient." However, is there a long term cost of this obedience? Have bond and trust areas been unknowingly damaged? We really wonder. There are plenty of good parenting books and classes, but any one of those that comes across as if theirs is the only good way (for it is God's way, right?), not only has a lot of nerve but should be questioned in other areas as well. If readers take the time to do this, we are confident that they will find not only that many of the Ezzos' ideas on parenting are being widely questioned as unreliable and outright wrong, but that deeper issues of integrity, accountability, and honesty are also in question. And, contrary to what we were told about "secular" criticism, much of the questioning has come from within the Chris-tian community.

Please, don't just take our word for it. Do your own research. When you are finished, we be-lieve you will draw the same conclusions we have. We thought we were following sound parent-ing information and doing what was proclaimed to be in the best interest of our son. We could not have been more wrong, and we will always live with that knowledge. We now believe nurs-ing on demand, especially in the early months of life, is among the most critical things one can do for the long-term health and well-being of their child. The harm that has been associated with the Ezzos' parent-directed feeding schedules is not always easily undone, and is simply not worth the potential risks. No other child or parents deserve to endure what we have suffered.

It is our sincere prayer that as awareness of the controversies and problems with the Ezzos' Preparation for Parenting and Preparation for the Toddler Years (On Becoming BabyWise, books 1 & 2) programs increases, the followers will decrease.

 Matthew Hsieh's history as described by his parents, Michael & Michelle Hsieh, April 1999.

Stories of Former Users and Supporters

  • On Becoming Wise to Ezzo's Information +

    Ezzo's book, Babywise, was suggested to me through some really great friends at church.  They had a picture perfect daughter who napped well, seemed to go with the flow, and seemed pretty independent.  I praised my friends for such great parenting and they told me to read this book and apply it as soon as possible. When we were pregnant, we read this book over and over.  I was thrilled my husband agreed to go through with this type of parenting.
    Read More
  • Follow Jesus, Not Methods +

    I read Babywise while pregnant with my first son.  At that time, I was a proud, over-achieving, controlling, perfectionist of a mother who was thrilled that I had stumbled upon the "perfect" and "godly" parenting method.  I felt that by having control over my baby's schedule, I was setting them up for a solid relationship with Jesus Christ because they would naturally bow to authority. Everything went according to plan with my son.  He was on the schedule and sleeping through the night at nine weeks.  I glowed beneath the
    Read More
  • Our un-Wise Baby Experience +

    Encouragement for Christian Parents Before having our first baby, I thought I had the whole ‘rearing children’ thing sorted.  I had watched my older siblings raise their children, done plenty of babysitting, and even helped mothers with post natal depression for a while.  I thought fussy babies were created by fussy mothers, and was convinced I would have an easy child who would sleep through the night by the six weeks.  I certainly wouldn’t be one of ‘those’ mothers still getting up during the night for their six month old!
    Read More
  • Naïve Young Parents in Chicago +

    My husband and I were newlyweds in the Chicago area, and about to have our first child. We wanted to learn more about parenting from a Christian perspective so we went to a GFI parenting class at church where we could get together with new parents-to-be. My frustration is that it seems the Ezzos never took into consideration the moms who suffer from PPD. My depression was pretty debilitating and when my son wasn't "following the program" so to speak, it created a lot of additional stress.
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  • Failure to Thrive +

    I was given Babywise (the 2001 edition) and being an uninformed, naive mother the book's goal sounded good to me. I was so thrilled when my daughter suddenly started sleeping 8-10, even 12 hours overnight! She never cried herself to sleep so I really thought everything was okay. She was responding just as the book had said she would. I had, by Ezzo's description, the "perfect" child: the one who easily fell into her feeding schedule and who was sleeping 10+ hours at night. It was picture perfect. She just
    Read More
  • Nourishing and Nurturing +

    I am a first time mom. My son is now 6 months old. Before he was born, I was referred to the Babywise books by Ezzo. I thought, "Wow, what a practical and perfectly logical way to manage feedings." So, I tried it. When my baby was 2 weeks old, I began the Babywise recommended feeding routine. It seemed to be working great. He was really rarely fussy. He was just a happy baby. But at around 3 months of age he was beginning to get a little fussier. I
    Read More
  • Baby Loves Routine +

    Before my son was born I really hadn't given much thought as to "how" to feed a baby; I knew that I wanted to breastfeed and all of the mainstream parenting books I had read made it seem so easy. I figured it would be as easy as Baby Cries, Baby Latches On, Baby Eats. I was in for a rude awakening once he was born. I had a very hard time getting the hang of breastfeeding, and had very little support. I only had one friend who breastfed, and
    Read More
  • Read the Baby, Not the Book +

    I'm thankful my Babywise experience was a short one. At the recommendation of friends, I was planning to use the Babywise method to get my baby on a schedule right away. It was especially attractive to me since I was recovering from a c-section and desperate for sleep and structure. I had a fairly long hospital stay because of the surgery, and it was a rough time both for me and for the baby. At first, it was easy to get him to eat or sleep when I wanted him
    Read More
  • Pediatric Nurse and ex-Ezzo Parent +

    My husband and I faithfully read this book and the full Growing Kids God's Way curriculum. We were excited to be presented with seemingly sound advice and felt prepared to face every part of parenting. We followed the advice on feeding and sleep schedules very closely, until my 5 week old son began failing to gain weight. Fortunately I am a pediatric nurse and noticed the early signs before his health was severely affected. I visited a lactation consultant and learned that my milk supply was almost gone (pumping only
    Read More
  • Our Journey to Freedom +

    I was only ten weeks pregnant when my husband and I signed up to take Prep for Parenting [now called "Along the Infant Way" and also known as Babywise in its secular form] at a reputable church. Family members and friends recommended the course. We wanted to be the best parents we could possibly be for our first child. My husband didn't really want to take the classes, not due to lack of interest in fatherhood, but rather, he thought the idea of taking a class to prepare you for
    Read More
  • GKGW Myths and Misconceptions +

    A former GFI Contact Mom and pastor's wife speaks from the heart I would first like to dispel some of the myths about people who speak out against Growing Kids God's Way. Myth: People who don't like GKGW have never read or used GKGW. I was a contact mom for 2 years, and not only followed the materials myself but counseled hundreds of other moms in their use. In fact, there are still ideas contained in GKGW (ideas which can also be found elsewhere) that I use today. Myth: People
    Read More
  • Just in Time +

    My son is 11 months old and is healthy and happy and still nursing like a pro. If I were still schedule feeding him, I think he would be formula fed, sad and distant. I read Baby Whisperer and Babywise before J. was born, but I didn't really come to any decision on whether to put him on a schedule or not. I knew that the AAP, the health unit and my doctor advocated feeding on demand, but the scheduling seemed to make more sense. I mean, after all, who
    Read More
  • A Pastor's Wife's Experience and Observations +

    When my first baby was about 6 weeks old I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I had no friends with babies and my family lived 5 hours away.  I was very isolated. I didn't know what was normal and what wasn't.  I got most of my support from my mom which was great except she never breastfed a baby.  I was very committed to breastfeeding for financial reasons: my husband was a pastor and we were on a very strict budget. Formula just wasn't an option. A young mother in my
    Read More
  • Frazzled and Uptight No More +

    I was totally convinced that Ezzo was the way to go. In fact, before my daughter was born, nobody could convince me that Ezzo was bad. I was very determined to have a "good" kid. However, I was an extremely uptight, frazzled Babywiser. I was always aware of what time it was, when the last feeding was, when the next one was due. I had a huge notebook and I took tons of notes, trying to figure out what worked to minimize the crying.
    Read More
  • Learning to Trust my Instincts +

    I'm a mom of 5, including a pair of twins. We took the Prep for Parenting class while pregnant with my oldest. I knew absolutely nothing about kids or babies, so I believed everything they told me--except I had a nagging uneasiness in the back of my mind because I felt they misused the Bible. I did not enjoy my first daughter's babyhood. I was miserable when she was crying alone in her room, yet felt that she would be 'spoiled' if I went in to her, and she would
    Read More
  • It's One or the Other +

    [and other Babywise myths that hooked us.] "Of COURSE you can rock your baby to sleep! Just don't make it a habit." Before I had my baby, this actually made sense. After I had her, I remember thinking: "How much is a habit? I did it once yesterday ... can I do it again today? What if I did it twice in one day?" Not to mention that if a newborn baby is crying and you comfort it by rocking or nursing, it will almost surely fall asleep. So, basically, "Don't
    Read More
  • Mothering with Babywise: My Secret Pain +

    It started innocently enough. I was visiting a friend who recently gave birth to a baby girl. Sitting on her couch, sipping tea, I asked her, "So…how often do you feed your daughter?" It was then that I was introduced to the principles of Babywise. Being pregnant myself for the first time, I was intrigued. A couple of days later, I bought the book. I read it within days, and knew it was for me. Being an organized person, I feared chaos in my home once a baby was born.
    Read More
  • From Babywise to Enjoying my Baby +

    From hearing my friends talk, I thought Babywise was the only way to raise your baby, so there was no question that I would use it too. I read the book before my daughter was born and re-read it again after she was born. I felt like I had to really work hard to get her on a schedule or she would be a brat and never sleep through the night. So, the first week I immediately tried getting her on a three hour schedule. I always felt guilty when
    Read More
  • Less Stressed Without Babywise +

    I would have said that we were happy following Ezzo, but I can honestly say that we are much happier now. I am so much less stressed out! I didn't realize how much stress Babywising put on me until I quit. So many people had told me how wonderful a program Babywise was to get babies to sleep through the night and get order into your day. I think that was a large part of the appeal, not so much the sleeping through the night, but the orderly day. I
    Read More
  • 10 Years of GKGW +

    I want to share our story in the hope that it may perhaps help to warn others who are heading down the Growing Kids God's Way path. We still ask ourselves, how could we have been deceived for so long? In 1992, dear friends of ours, who had found Preparation For Parenting [PFP] the previous year, recommended Growing Kids God's Way [GKGW] to my husband and me. Our eldest son was 2 ½ years old. We had come from a cue feeding/attachment parenting background, but we were very young, immature Christians,
    Read More
  • Deep Regrets, New Mercies +

    Our family was involved with Gary Ezzo’s teachings from the winter of 1991 when I was pregnant with our first child until almost two years ago. When we were first exposed to his teachings, I was only two years out of university where I had completed a broad social sciences degree. If you had asked me about infant feeding routines I would have said they were NOT the way to go - that is, before I listened to the Preparation for Parenting tapes with my husband and another couple we were
    Read More
  • Relaxing into a Routine +

    More and more since we've distanced ourselves from the GFI materials, I realize how deeply influenced we were. I didn't have some of the discipline or milk supply problems that I've heard about, but we've had other problems--mainly a deep misunderstanding of what is child-appropriate behavior, and consequently, we stressed out over things that we never should have been upset about (from the infant stage to now at the primary aged child). I've had to re-learn how to relax about certain things, and create an atmosphere of trust and understanding
    Read More
  • If I Could Turn Back the Clock +

    I would give anything in the world to be able to turn back the clock and learn about the concerns and controversy surrounding Ezzo's methods before my dear daughter was born. I was not aware of any of the problems with his teachings; I had only heard positive things about his books and knew friends who were using or had used his books when I started following Babywise with my own daughter (when she was about 2 weeks old). I am a very by-the-book, black-and-white type person. I'm also a
    Read More
  • Coping with Attachment Disorder +

    We were introduced to Ezzo materials in 1995 through our church group of young adults. By the time we were pregnant (Sept 95) many families had been through the course. Everyone kept telling us how we HAD to do the program--it's the best, it works, it's incredible, you won't be sorry, you'll feel so much better about being a parent. The positive statements never ended. We took it early in 96, and finished a few weeks before I was due. My son was born, and had a very traumatic birth.
    Read More
  • The "Y" Family's Experience +

    In writing this testimony, we have seen arguments that people who fail with Ezzo's materials are unintelligent or inconsistent with the materials. My husband and I are well-educated people. My husband graduated from Emory University and had an additional four years of graduate school (total of eight years of education) to become a doctor of optometry. I have a degree in special education and had a few years of teaching experience under my belt when we encountered the Ezzo's materials. We are also Christians, wholly devoted to Christ and rearing
    Read More
  • The "H" Family's Experience +

    An In-depth Case History My husband and I were introduced to the Growing Kids God's Way (GKGW) programs through a pastor friend after we discovered we were expecting our first child, and our son was one month old when we began using Preparation for Parenting. This was the first book we had ever read about baby care that seemed to come from a decidedly Christian perspective, with scripture all over the place, and it pointed out that basically all the typical feeding, baby care, and parenting information being taught today
    Read More
  • Open Letter about Failure to Thrive +

    The purpose of this letter is to generate public awareness about yet another child who has surely suffered due to following a Christian parenting program entitled Preparation for Parent-ing/Preparation for the Toddler Years (secular versions marketed in stores as On Becoming BabyWise 1 & 2) by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo . We hope that knowledge of his case can be used to promote existing and future efforts to inform communities of the extremely serious dangers associated with following the Ezzos' program, even in its newest editions [1998 at the time
    Read More
  • Confessions of a Failed Babywiser +

    This essay is written both as catharsis and restitution. I regret that I encouraged many parents to use the Ezzo materials and feel compelled to warn against it. I also want to share how level-headed parents can be allured by this program. There are many other resources online that outline the medical, Biblical and character problems associated with Gary Ezzo and his parenting programs. With this, I hope to offer a personal view of how these materials can negatively effect a family. I cradled my six month old son in
    Read More
  • Failed Babywiser - Russian Version +

    Confessions of a Failed Babywiser - Russian Translation
    Read More
  • An Ex-Contact Mom Speaks Out +

    While I was a contact mom for GFI (for a year and a half), I never once met a mom who breastfed long-term (at least a year or longer) without modifying the materials. I did see babies who appeared listless and in a depressed state, who were smaller than average or scrawny. I met scores of moms who struggled with milk supply to a point that it completely removed the enjoyment of nursing their babies. I met babies who went one or two months without gaining any weight at all
    Read More
  • Thoughts from a Former Contact Mom +

    I used Ezzo stuff because it really fit my personality. I'm very structured and don't handle lots of chaos very well. I started with Preparation for Parenting when my youngest was a newborn. He is 12-1/2 now. My other kids are 11, 8, 5, and 7 months. I was also a "contact mom" for GFI for several years. We used Preparation for the Toddler Years (back before it was even an "official" program), and GKGW, also. We read through Reflections of Moral Innocence and ended up not using that. Having
    Read More
  • Former GFI Leadership Couple, Eric and Julie Abel +

    The Abels helped found GFI and were featured on GKGW curriculum video tapes resigned over ethical concerns. Here they share their thoughts on how some aspects of the GKGW principles were detrimental to their family.   This is the Internet archive of that FAQ
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  • A Group of Case Studies +

    This group of case histories was compiled by Laurie Moody, an ex-contact mom with GFI. Unlike most contact moms, this one was a certified lactation counselor.
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  • More Stories from around the Web +

    7/20/1997 Link to post "...the church's youth pastor invited me into his office and told me about the Ezzo's programs and how important they were to effective Christian and biblical parenting. ...I took the book right home and read it straight through. I immediately felt immensly guilty that I had been demand-feeding my baby and sat down to scratch out a schedule for him. But even as I was doing it I had a very uneasy feeling in my gut, so I prayed and asked God for wisdom regarding accepting
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  • Babywise Stole Precious Weeks +

    BabyWise stole many precious weeks from me in the beginning of my son's life. I wish I could have just loved on him without all the fear that Ezzo put into me about creating a spoiled baby. When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I sought the advice out of women that I knew and respected who had children. My own mom died when I was 19, and I felt truly lost as I searched for the "right" way to be a mom. One of the friends
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  • Ezzo Lived in My Brain +

    I heard a lot about how awesome GKGW and Babywise are so naturally I bought Babywise when I was pregnant with my first. But my baby was teeny (6.5) and jaundiced, so the lactation consultant adamantly emphasized feeding on cue and even suggested co-sleeping.  My husband brought her in our bedroom the first night home from the hospital and said, "we can't just put her away". He can't stand to hear a baby cry. We did not end up actively using Babywise.  Even so, having read the book, Ezzo lived
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  • Young, Naive, Pregnant with First Child +

    The year was 2008. A young, naive woman is pregnant with her first child. She is unsure, lacks confidence and wants to be certain she does the best job for her unborn child. Yet there are a great deal of books, resources and information - which ones to start with? Which ones to trust? So she turns to older, more experienced mothers who all but thrust this book into her hands and begin making the promises.
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  • A note of appreciation from an older parent +

    Let me start by saying that 14 or 15 years ago, I was in the unhappy position of having to do everything in my power to force two sets of new parents to drive their babies to the emergency room because, after following the Ezzo’s advice, these babies were severely dehydrated and lethargic.  The parents were not bad parents.  In fact, they were trying really hard to be good parents, according to guidelines which had been sanctioned by their church.  The fact that both contacted me for a home visit,
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  • Confessions of a Former Babywise Advocate +

    This story comes via the blog "Banned from Baby Showers".   The blog owner shares a mother's account of how she used Babywise successfully -- as far as she knew -- until her baby was 7 months old, and then her milk supply began to peter out.  Confessions of a Former Babywise Advocate
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  • A Forgiven Mama +

    Our first child was born in the summer of 09, and I promptly began trying to apply the Babywise method. The book had been highly recommended by a distant relative, and promised structure and sanity amidst the exhaustion and upheaval I felt as a new mother. However, our baby did not respond the way the book promised he would if we followed the schedule. All my attempts to adhere to the book led to deep frustration, arguments with my husband (who knew better than to let a book dictate our newborn's schedule), feeling like a
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