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 my arms. J***** was peacefully sleeping. Tears were streaming down my face, and anxious thoughts raced through my mind. For the first time since he was born, I was watching the video my sister had taken of his birth.

I was reliving the joy of a new life coming into this world. But at the same time I was so fearful this miracle would be taken from me. Something was wrong with my baby. I cried more. The doctor had not yet determined if it was something that could be treated easily, or if my precious first born was facing a terminal illness.


That morning I had taken J***** in for a routine six-month well-baby visit. My pediatrician asked at each visit, "And are you still breastfeeding? Good job, Mom!" I glowed at her praise each time we were in the office. Of course I was breastfeeding-my Mom had modeled it for me when she nursed my younger siblings and I just assumed that's what was done. Only later did I realize there was any "controversy" over breastfeeding or formula feeding. From birth, J***** nursed like a champ. We teasingly called him "Baby Sumo" and could count the chubby wrinkles on his legs. At a well-baby appointment at 3 ½ months he weighed a hefty 16 lbs--the 95% percentile on the baby charts.

That is why the drastic drop to 14 lb 2 oz, caused red flags to go up at the pediatrician's office. I could see the concern on our doctor's face throughout the visit, but she remained calm as she talked to me. Before we left the office, the doctor had scheduled an appointment for us with a specialist in Tampa for the following Monday. We had firm instructions to call her immediately if J***** had certain symptoms before then.
Waiting through that weekend for our appointment was agony. They were some of the longest days of my life. Waiting, worrying, not knowing--scared I was going to lose my baby, my firstborn.

On Monday my husband took off work so we could go see the specialist together. We drove the two hours to All Children's Hospital in Tampa. The specialist was laid back and tried to calm our fears. He reviewed the very serious possibilities we were facing. Likely suspects included a gastrointestinal birth defect, missing enzymes needed for metabolism, and other possibilities that ranged from the more minor to life-threatening. Our doctor recommended we take a conservative diagnostic approach, rather than bombard our son with tests right away. The first step in finding the root of the problem was to measure the calories he was taking in, observe him, and do weight checks. I saw the doctor notate on the medical forms that the diagnosis was "Failure to Thrive."

The doctor suggested that I could pump my breastmilk and notate the amount the baby ate through the bottle, and follow up with super-concentrated formula. Whenever I had tried pumping before, I couldn't get more than an ounce. I was so worried about knowing the exact amount my son was eating that we decided that I would just stop nursing cold-turkey. My baby had his very first bottle of formula on the way home from Tampa. I kept a journal and wrote down exactly how much he ate and when.

J***** was weighed every other day that first week, and then once a week for several months. Follow up appointments with my pediatrician and phone consultations with the specialist led us to forego further testing. It was determined that J*****'s FTT was due to insufficient caloric intake.

I had starved my baby.

"Whatever happened to common sense?"

Often people defend Gary Ezzo's parenting materials with "The materials are great! As long as you use common sense and don't follow the books legalistically. . ." The assumption is that there is no inherent problem with Babywise, just in parents not using common sense.

All I wanted to be when I grew up was a wife and mother. I remember telling people, in part truthfully and in part for shock value, "I want six boys!" From the time I was in high school, I read everything I could get my hands on about educational theories, child development, pregnancy and childbirth, and parenting. In college I volunteered at a Pregnancy Care Center. I read all I could about reproduction, birth, child care. I checked out nursing texts from the library to read the sections related to this, and even considered getting a specialized degree in reproductive studies. Much of it was from libraries, with dated collections of books from the '70s and hippies-flavored natural parenting. I planned on home birthing of course--my mother had home birthed and so would I. Breastfeeding, home schooling, healthing eating--all of these things might be considered part of "Attachment Parenting" today, but at the time had no real name. It seemed right. It was in line with what my mother had modeled for me and it was full of love.

So how did a well-educated, widely-read woman disregard previous information in favor of Ezzo's parenting books? How did the 30+ documented medical misstatements in Babywise fail to raise yellow flags for me?

Within just a few months of marriage, I found out I was pregnant with our first child. From the beginning I had a feeling it was a boy. I tried to be careful what I ate, a la Dr. Brewer and his emphasis on good nutrition in pregnancy. I wanted to do everything right. I contacted a midwife as soon as I could, and began reviewing the books I had collected along the way about pregnancy. It wasn't just something in books anymore! Here I was living it for real.

Then I received a couple of books in the mail from a dear friend of mine. I had been her mother's helper when she was working at home and had two small boys. One of those books was Gary Ezzo's "Babywise." It was interesting, a bit strange--nothing like the other books I had read about infant parenting. But the way in which it was written was persuasive and I found myself skimming over it again.

When another friend, a nurse who had worked in NICU units, called me to congratulate me on my pregnancy, she raved about a parenting program she took at her church. We had known each other during our college activism days. "I'll send you the philosophy section of Preparation for Parenting," she promised. When I read the photocopies she sent comparing the Biblical worldview as it relates to parenting vs. the secular humanist philosophers, I was convinced that I needed to look into this more. After all, I was a Christian. I knew I wanted to do the right thing for our child--no humanistic philosophies for us.

So I read the turquoise-colored Babywise book carefully before my son was born. Right before he was due, I discovered that Ezzo's Preparation for Parenting classes were being sponsored by our church! We began taking them the week after he was born.

In his Preparation for Parenting books and videos Gary Ezzo characterizes attachment parenting as in line with the philosophies of Secular Humanism and extreme permissiveness. He then asserts that his parenting ideas are derived from Biblical principles. With our society filled moral ambiguity and relativism, I wanted to teach my children right from wrong and help them develop the character to make good choices in life. The desire to give my children the best start made me willing to accept what Ezzo taught.

"It seemed to work great!...I was well rested. My baby slept well."

I remember my husband and I looking at what Ezzo was teaching, and looking at the Bible. We could see the principles, but just didn't see how they connected to the Bible. It raised yellow flags, but we didn't look too closely at the time because everything "worked" and seemed to make sense.

And so my pre-parenting theories made a 180 degree turn--from natural parenting ideas to Babywise schedules. Every family we knew at our church was in a Prep or GKGW class.
It seemed to work great! J***** fell into a schedule, for the most part. He latched on right after he was born, and nursed like a champ from the beginning. I was thrilled with the program and encouraged everyone I knew to read the book or go to the class. I would even hand out our church's name and phone number to pregnant women I met at the grocery store! I was a confident mother, as Gary Ezzo said I would be. I was well rested. My baby slept well. We were doing the right thing and I felt so sorry for all the frazzled mothers out there who didn't have their babies on a Babywise schedule.

A whole video session in the Prep class was devoted to breastfeeding. I still remember Anne Marie using a teddy bear to illustrate how a baby should be correctly aligned, stomach to stomach, when breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was covered just enough with just enough facts thrown in to make it all seem accurate. And yet, much of the information is faulty, especially in the context of Ezzo's eat-wake-sleep cycle.

One of the things that influenced me was their explanation of the "demand/supply cycle" of breastfeeding. They emphasized that it was a combination of frequency/duration/intensity of the nursing sessions. Thus, the less frequent feedings that result from an Ezzo schedule seem reasonable because of course the babies would be eating more at that time. Babies "snacking" at the breast was belittled and the emphasis was on encouraging babies to eat full meals at each nursing session. All of this information seemed reasonable, and enough seemed accurate that the things that were contrary to what I had read before in "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" seemed to make them all fit together okay.

However , Ezzo neglected to give a thorough explanation of the physiology of breastfeeding. He neglected to factor in that each mother's capacity for milk storage varies, as does babies' stomach sizes. Those things in conjunction can make for breastfeeding problems.

Add into this that the friend who endorsed Prep was a NICU nurse with children slightly older than mine. With her endorsement and experience, I never imagined that it wouldn't be medically sound. Also, this was mid-1996 when the outrage over Ezzo's teachings were still in their infancy. I was not aware of any legitimate problems with Ezzo's teachings-I was under the impression that the only ones who would oppose what he taught were those with a "humanistic" philosophy of life.

So here I was, still sold on the Ezzo materials even after my firstborn was diagnosed FTT. I quit breastfeeding cold-turkey when the doctor recommend switching to a calorie-dense formula. My fertility returned and our second child was soon on his way. We moved to another state. There were no churches in our area offering Prep classes, so we approached the pastor of the the church we were attending and told him how great the materials were. It was a "seeker" church and wanted to offer more resources to the community, and so was willing for us to facillitate the Prep classes.

Looking back, I wonder how my husband and I had the gall to lead a parenting class! Our oldest child was barely a year and a half old-definitely not the voices of experience! But we were thrilled with our experience with Ezzo (we thought) and wanted to help other young parents.

Modifying the schedule as needed?

But because of J*****'s FTT, we did caution during the two classes we led that it was VERY important to continue to use the "healthy baby growth charts" and to modify the schedule as needed. With our second, we decided to stick to a 2 ½-3 hour schedule religiously-and not go longer than three hours between feedings during the day. I didn't want to have the milk supply problems I had before, and thought this would help.

It was during this time that I was first hearing of objections to the Ezzo materials. I dismissed them pretty easily--they just don't understand the materials, I thought. They must be permissive parents feeling defensive about their parenting. Even though we experienced major problems ourselves, we were blind to the fact that the fault lay with the philosophy of the materials. We thought the problems we had with the materials were because of us, not the basic ideas Ezzo taught.

I thought T*****, our second child, had started sleeping through the night early--as Babywise promised and as J***** had done. It was only because my sister was staying with us for a few months that I found out I had become immune to his nighttime cries. I just didn't hear and register them--she occasionally woke me up to take care of the baby or would ask "Didn't you hear him crying last night?"

Preparation for the Toddler Years (Babywise II)

Meanwhile, with J***** we began implementing the "Preparation for the Toddler Years" program. In essence, it led to me controlling his actions and activities throughout the day. While child development experts agree that routine and rhythm is healthy for young children, the Ezzo material schedule tends to be rooted in control. My parenting at this point was influenced not only by the Ezzo printed materials, but by contact moms both in real life and on the internet. Room time, playpen time, highchair time, blanket time. . . These were to teach the child self-control, but were really a way for me as a parent to control my child. I remember teaching "Come to Mommy" as suggested by Ezzo mothers, and "chastising" him (Ezzo-speak for spanking) when he didn't. My sister was watching and I remember her flinching. Looking back, I see I set up false conflict to teach him this through spanking. We could have taught that same concept in another way, a way that was not setting my child and me up to be adversaries.

Many things were taught this way, and all of it it was me, as a parent, controlling my child in a way that set up an antagonistic relationship.

Still it didn't "click" that something was wrong with Ezzo's programs.

Low supply, early weaning in spite of a modified schedule

T***** didn't have the weight gain problems J***** had, but my breast milk supply was always precarious. Getting the flu led to my sister giving him a few bottles, less nursing, and again and early return of fertility. When I becamed pregnant, it further affected my milk supply and T***** was not satisfied while nursing. I remember him latching on and then crying because he wasn't getting much. Except for those few bottles while I was sick, he hadn't had any formula or solids-we were trying to exclusively breastfeed. When I found out I was pregnant and that was influencing my supply, I began supplementing with formula. He soon completely weaned. He was only 7-8 months.

Still, I thought a schedule was good. With this third baby, though, I was determined to breastfeed successfully. I was (and still am) convinced that our bodies are designed to breastfeed. If what I had been doing with the schedule was undermining that, then it must not really be what we are intended to do. That was the first chink in the armor of my closed mind. For R*****, I thought I would try a eat-wake-eat-sleep cycle. With a move and an extended vacation with relatives, the cycle became less defined.

I felt guilty about not being "on schedule" and still didn't subscribe to cue-feeding. I was worried that I was feeding "on demand" and that would lead to a demanding child. I was afraid I wouldn't get good sleep, that the baby wouldn't get good sleep, and that that would be bad for us. All of these things were fears planted in my mind by Ezzo's false dichotomy set up by his manufactured "biblical" philosophy of parenting vs. the "secular mystics" of parenting.

Ezzo v. science, Ezzo v. doctrine of grace

So what made me see the light?

Online resources, primarily. I read articles that explained more fully the physiology of breastfeeding, including researching on La Leche League's website about hormones and breastmilk production. Funny, in a way, that it was the dry and scientific that helped me cut through the philosophical bullcrap of Ezzo. Also the "Evidence for Cue-Feeding article." Heidi's article.

I visited the Parent's Place Ezzo Debate Board as a closet ezzo supporter. I realized that the critics of Ezzo were intelligent Christian mothers and fathers--not the permissive parents of whiny children Ezzo portrayed them to be. I read the theological concerns on Rebecca Prewett's page, and that made a big impression on me.

My husband has told me the reason he left politics to work in the ministry is that one day he woke up and realized that even if he elected all the godly officials he supported, and they passed the most wonderful legislation, and the citizens of the land all obeyed the laws, his work would have only created better behaved pagans. That is a lot of what I see in Ezzo's materials. In the name of Christianity, parents are taught to have better behaved children. But only God changes the heart.

Concurrent with this, was some spiritual struggles of my own, especially in the area of truly understanding God's grace. I like legalism, I like following the rules and being a good girl. Yet, there is sin in my life that rears its ugly head on a daily basis. How does God deal with me and the sin in my life? I realized that I was not relating to my children the way that God relates to me. I was expecting my children to "Obey, right away, all the way with a happy heart!" I realized that I do not do that. I procrastinate. I complain. I do jobs halfway. I argue with God. Are these good things? No--and I want better for my children. Yet God has dealt with me, an adult, with more understanding and gentleness than I have with my children. God is often described as being "Slow to anger, abounding in love, full of compassion. . ."
When I tried to make my children obey the Ezzo way, I wasn't responding the way I see God respond to me. Of course I loved my children! And some days I was slow to anger. But I wasn't full of compassion and often anger was just under the surface. God allowed me to starkly see my sin, my disobedience, my need for Jesus every day, my need for His grace--and that was really the key for me to see that what Gary Ezzo teaches is not what I see as being in line with Biblical parenting.

Cue-feeding brings breastfeeding success at last

So where am I now?

My third I began to cuddle and nurse in the morning. We cue-fed and I was able to breastfeed him until he was about 19 months old. At that point, I was pretty "touched out" and expecting #4, and we were in the middle of another move.

With our fourth, from the beginning I wanted to focus more on nurturing and less on controlling. He has been cue fed. I got a wonderful mayawrap pouch and dh and I jokingly referred to myself as a "marsupial mom." That title was derisively applied by Gary Ezzo to mothers who use slings frequently, but now it's a badge of honor. I haven't struggled with my milk supply at all and he's still nursing strong at 26 months. He does wake to nurse at night or I rouse him before I go to bed. I am not losing any sleep with it. We co slept-with him in a pack 'n' play in our room or cuddling in our bed until he was about a year. Now he sleeps in his brothers' room.

Our boys co-sleep--piled together like puppies. Some of them come to crawl in bed with me in the middle of the night, and sometimes I welcome that and sometimes I groggily tell them to make a bed on the floor. I'm still wary of the label "attachment parenting" because of the negative connotations it was given by Gary Ezzo. It's hard to change those early impressions. But if you were to look at how I parent now it would probably look like "attachment parenting".

God has been working in my life in many areas, and I am still not the mother I want to be. Yet I am thankful for His grace and that He has used my mistakes and failures in parenting to teach me more about Himself. I trust that even my failures with my children He will use to make them who He wants them to be.

by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

submitted January 2003

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.
    Read More
  • 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
    Read More
  • 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.
    Read More
  • 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
    Read More
  • 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
    Read More
  • 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
    Read More
  • 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.
    Read More
  • 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,
    Read More
  • 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
    Read More
  • 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
    Read More
  • 1