These first hand accounts of experiences using the Ezzos' materials are written by former supporters and users.
The Ezzos and their followers tend to believe that former users and former supporters must have misused or misunderstood his material. But when so many well-intentioned, intelligent parents "misunderstand" instructions in exactly the same way with similar results, it suggests there is a problem with the instructions.
Several of the following stories were written by former volunteers who taught Ezzo's materials in church class settings or who served as "contact moms" with the Ezzos' organization.
- On Becoming Wise to Ezzo's Useless Information (4/10)
"What saddens me about the birth of my daughter was that I was not focused on how wonderful it was to have such a tremendous blessing added to our family, but on how soon can she be put on a schedule? How quickly can she pick it up?"
- What We Learned: Follow Jesus, Not a Method (1/10)
"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 array of praise we received for our contented child."
- Our Un-wise Baby Experience: Encouragement to Christian Parents (4/09)
"I would go back to the book for advice and found nothing that seemed to fit my situation or my baby. Because my supply was dropping so badly I knew I needed to try something else."
- Scheduling Babies: Trust Your Instincts (1/09)
"I, being a first-time mom, terribly unconfident, and eager for something structured and quantifiable, bought into [the book], wholeheartedly. It was a disaster. The first three months of my firstborn's life were filled with frustration"
- Naive Young Parents in Chicago (5/08)
"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."
- Failure to Thrive (9/07)
"I took her to the hospital where she was diagnosed as FTT ("failure-to-thrive"). She spent three days in hospital. I was told to burn Babywise and that babies should be fed on demand, that breastfeeding was a supply and demand process."
- Nourishing and Nurturing (6/07)
"After the first 2 weeks of life 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..."
- Baby Loves Routine; but not the Babywise Routine (11/06)
"In my mind, I knew that I should call La Leche League for help, but after reading the warnings in [Babywise], there was no way I wanted to get mixed up with those "attachment-parenting types," so I chose to give up and exclusively formula feed."
- Read the Baby, Not the Book (8/ 06)
"The doctor asked me why I thought he was crying. "Well, it's not time to eat yet. I think maybe he doesn't like this summer heat." "No," she replied, "this is a hunger cry. You need to feed him."
"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."
This family's baby was hospitalized for severe dehydration and failure-to-thrive after implementing Along the Infant Way (also known as Preparation for Parenting or Babywise)
"When J. was about 3 and a half months old, I started thinking he looked a little skinny."
"I remember laying on the couch listening to her cry and cry thinking motherhood wasn't supposed to be like this."
This mother recounts that by the time she stopped using Ezzo's methods, her baby had stopped smiling at her, did not like to be held, and refused to make eye contact.
This mother of 5 (including twins) took a Preparation for Parenting class while pregnant with her oldest child.
This mother offers some insightful observations on conflicting messages and myths that make Babywise hard to follow -- and hard to drop even when it's not working.
"I called my Babywise friend, and she encouraged me to "bite the bullet" and let my daughter learn to fall asleep unassisted. My stomach churned, but I wanted my daughter to be able to fall asleep without me."
"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..."
- (March 2003)
"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?..."
"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..."
"More and more since we've distanced ourselves from the GFI materials, I realize how deeply influenced we were..."
"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..."
"...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..."
- (Summer 2002)
"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..."
"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..."
- (April 1999)
"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..."
- (1/03) Russian translation
This family coped with failure to thrive and other problems following the use of Ezzo's material.
"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 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 PFP when my youngest was a newborn. He is 12-1/2 now. My other kids are 11, 8, 5, and 7 months..."
- A Group of Case studies
by Laurie Moody, lactation counselor and former GFI contact mom...
Around the Web
Blogs of Experience...
the book that made me feel incredibly guilty and sent me into post-partum depression....Tim and I both read it and felt like it was the way we had to parent, in order to be good Christian parents with godly kids. So when I absolutely hated it and every instinct within my body and heart and mind screamed at me to just cuddle with and comfort my baby when he cried (no matter what point in the “schedule” we were at), I felt like a bad mom and a failure....I have amazing, happy, pretty much well-behaved kids that always sleep through the night and have not been raised by babywise parenting...I am SO GLAD I threw the book away.
- What Did Not Work for Me: Ezzo Parenting
It laid a lot of guilt on me, as a young mom who couldn't let my infant cry for a long period of time. Yes, I watched the "Preparation For Parenting video", I read their book, I tried to follow it, but in the end my mother instinct told me to nurture my child and not be stressed out by wanting to follow what the Ezzo is teaching.
- Commented on What Did Not Work for Me
This book basically put me under an already performance-laden mountain of guilt and nearly crippled me when I tried and failed their method with our second child who was having none of their method of scheduling. Great to get the word out before other mommies are confused and guilt-ridden by "God's Way". God's way is found in His Word, not Gary Ezzo's books.
- Unsolicited Book Review
[Our pediatrician] bless his heart, disagreed with everything the book had told us. Telling us that Chase is too young, still adjusting to life outside the womb, and still confused and overwhelmed by his surroundings for us to expect him to get himself to sleep, let alone to expect him to do it on a schedule. Some babies may be able to do it, but some just aren't....Last night, when I tried to follow some of the BabyWise advice, I ended up with a very upset little baby who refused to go back to sleep. If I'd just followed my own instincts, he would have gone back to sleep right away. It's only been two and a half months, but I do feel like I know the little guy, at least better than Ezzo and Bucknam.
- Current Babywise Thoughts
I found myself constantly in tears, fearful that I would "ruin him" by taking him off of the schedule, frustrated and angry that he wasn't napping like the book said he should, tired by all his cries (because he wasn't "supposed" to be crying), not knowing what he needed and feeling trapped about feeding him when I wasn't even sure if he was hungry...[and I was battling the thought] that his spiritual training started right now, so if I didn't have my act together at every moment of every day, he would be disobedient and whiny when he was 5, rebellious as a teenager, and walking away from the Church when he was in his twenties....why did it take me so long to realize that it was just a freaking nap?
- An Aussie Mom Comments
I am an Australian mum and ...I followed Prep. for Parenting to the T with my first - not a minute sooner or later and my child would not sleep through the night. I would shut the door on his room when it was sleep "time" and cry outside it. Every time I mentioned lack of sleep I was faced with comments that I musn't be doing it right until I demand fed at 4 months or so and he slept through soon after (at that I was told that the Ezzo routine must have instigated it!). Even today I was lectured on routine feeding being the smart choice. I asked where in the Bible did it say that?
- Because, After All I Do Have Two Children
I suffered tremendous amounts of guilt and frustration when we were not able to maintain the schedule...The biggest regret I have about Babywise is the advice to feed on a 3-4 hour schedule. I had a terrible time with my milk production and I'll always wonder (assume, really) that if I had fed on demand, my milk supply would've been better. And I would've alleviated the major, major stress of feeling like I was not supplying enough nutrition for this most important little being that I was now responsible for. That was one of the first things I decided about nursing my son- I nursed on demand pretty much for the first several months. And I've never worried about having adequate milk for him.
- I Know Everything There is to Know About Being a Parent
A father of a 9 month old recommends Babywise and relates that his baby was allowed to cry for 90 minutes two nights in a row and has slept through the night since then.
- How Gary Ezzo Made Me a Better Parent
It is 3:00 AM, and 4-week old Peter cries. It isn't a cry, exactly, but a fussy sound of a child who is hungry but not quite wide enough awake to communicate it. I consider rolling over and waiting till he wails, but then I remember Ezzo, and I make myself cheerful about sliding off my bed and picking up my precious baby. My baby is talking to me, and I have the privilege of being one of the people who gets to teach him that big people listen and understand when he communicates. I have the privilege of being the one God chose to make milk and feed it to him. And he, being exactly the way God made him, communicates well.
- Cry It Out Bootcamp
A mother of a toddler and a baby recommends Babywise: "BW says some crying is normal, but I don't think they really give an honest picture of what to expect. It is harder than they make it seem." Also from a different entry on the same blog: "Should you do CIO? My answer is yes. Most people who do BW intend to do CIO, but many wonder what age to start. BW says to start at 1 week. That is so young! Yes, it is. That is the age I started [my newborn]..."
...the book added extra layers of fear and anxiety to what was already an extremely trying season.
- Things I Wish I Had Done Differently as a First Time Parent.
I wish I ... could take those years back....I honestly believe that Babywise is the equivalent of raising a child at an arm’s length; cold, heartless, and wrong.
...at the end of our experience with Ezzo parenting material, we had a rather adversarial relationship with our children.
- Sleep Training Blues
This time around, I am trying to use more of a modified version of the Baby Wise system....Brayden isn't a crazy crier like Bryce was, but he still cries...a lot.
"It was eight years ago. We met this cute little suburban couple at a college alumni thingy. I was obviously pregnant - with our first child. They jumped all over us, telling us about this great "Bible study" at their home ... "
"...However upon applying it, I have a feeling of near horror, like that when you stand at the open door of an airplane and realize you paid id="mce_marker"00 to jump and now you have to do it even though it now feels close to torture."</li> <li><a href="http://www.batesline.com/archives/002462.html"> Two nights ago our 10-week-old boy slept 7 hours straight. Last night he slept for 6 1/2 hours....I have some really sweet pictures of my wife snoozing in the nursing chair with the baby asleep in her arms.
- Breakthrough Day
A mother following Babywise's method celebrates that her 7-8 week old baby has fallen asleep by herself after three weeks of continuous crying at least an hour at every nap.
- In no uncertain terms, I want to make it painfully clear that following that program caused great problems for Harrison and for me.
- Newborns are in charge of the clock. That’s just how it is. Before you argue with me, rest assured, I read Babywise and tried it with Dear Daughter. It didn’t work.
- Let's Start at the Very Beginning
...how miserable I was those first months -- constantly questioning my every decision -- should I have not rocked her to sleep? Did I let her cry too long?...I cried almost every day. I was so disappointed. Disappointed in myself for not being strong enough to let her cry. Disappointed in Dacey for not acting the way the books all but promised she would. And I was scared. Was my “indulgence” of her going to turn her into the fussy, miserable, demanding baby that BW used as the example for “what not to do”???
- Blog Comment: Used it once, won't use it again
I used Babywise with my son. He is 2 and a half and he is a wonderful child - bright smart, funny, loving, etc.
Would I use it again? - NO
Would I reccommend it to friends - NO
I think it is dangerous. I agree with what [blogger] said, "What I found was that it really preys on your fears - fears that your child will be spoiled, they'll be one of "those kids" that makes restaurants unbearable, etc." It is written in a way that makes you think this is THE way. For example I remember at 6 months I was concerned about getting DS down to 4 feeds a day per ezzo (which I now know is wrong). At 8 months I was concerned because he hadn't dropped his third nap and Ezzo said he should have....
The thing is that it became easier to listen to Ezzo rather than my child.
...Ezzo is very convincing. I actually visited Ezzo.info while I was doing Ezzo material with DS and yes it created a lot of doubts but it on its own wasn't enough - I stuck with the line "apply those bits that work" and didn't realise there were much more helpful books out there containing those good bits.