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Customer Review

394 of 427 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The theory works, but use common sense!, April 25, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: On Becoming Baby Wise, Book 1: Learn How Over One Million Babies Were Trained to Sleep Through the Night the Natural Way (Paperback)
There is some valid criticism of this book, which is the reason that I only reluctantly give copies to brand new parents--both singing the praises of the methods and warning not to apply everything Ezzo recommends blindly.
The basic premise is that you feed your baby when it first wakes, and wake the baby if it falls asleep before getting a good, complete feeding. Then you try to keep the baby awake--at first this will be only a few minutes, maybe just 2 or 3 minutes in a newborn. Then, while the baby is still awake, lie him or her down to sleep. The main idea is that you don't let the baby depend the breast or nipple to go to sleep--the baby learns to comfort and put herself to sleep. The theory is that babies wake naturally every few hours. With this method they have the skills to get themselves back to sleep without fully waking or waking you once, twice, three times each night.
It REALLY works for most babies. I'm sure there are some babies who just don't have the temperment for this, but it worked like a charm for my baby, and for all of my friends whom I've turned on to the book. I have a five month old who sleeps 12 hours at a stretch without waking and has done so since she was 10 weeks old. Not ONCE since she was 10 weeks old has she awoken in the middle of the night, and she wakes up in the morning so happy and calm it's hard to believe. Often, she'll wake about 1/2 an hour before her usual waking time and "sing" and coo to herself in the crib. When she sees me come into the room, she is grinning from ear to ear. And despite the fact that she has just gone over 12 hours since the last feeding, she is not ravenously hungry in the morning--rarely finishes her very first bottle.
The one drawback to this method is that it's hard for the baby to sleep anywhere but her own crib. We don't go out much, but find that when we do, we can't stay out too long past the baby's bedtime because she won't just fall asleep in the car seat or our arms for more than a few minutes as our older daughter did. She gets very cranky and tired, and seems so releived when we finally get home to her own crib. She's also comfortable in her portacrib, so that she won't go bezerk when we travel--don't forget to factor this in!!!
That said, the critics are right when they say some of Ezzo's advice is stupid and dangerous. Even though he claims his recommendations for a feeding schedule are flexible, they are actually very rigid, and an inexperienced parent who tries to rigidly adhere to them can end up causing dehydration in the baby. I tell people I give the book to that they should try everything they can to make sure the baby takes as much as she can with each feeding, but if she can't go as long as Ezzo recommends between feedings just go ahead and feed sooner. It still works fine.
Also, it's ridiculous to let a newborn "cry it out" for more than just a few minutes. My children have the uncanny knack of just escalating and escalating when any attempts are made in that direction. So just be consistent. If the baby seems to be getting more upset, go in and give comfort, and then start the routine to get the baby to sleep again. I only had to do this for about 2 days to get my newborn to settle down for naps.
Sometimes during the day, my newborn would cry for no apparent reason and be very upset. My attempts to comfort her didn't work, so I'd put her in the crib to give myself a moment to calm down. And the minute she'd hit the crib she'd smile and go right to sleep. She was trying to tell me that she was tired and wanted to be in the place where she sleeps.
Ezzo's idea to place the baby in the playpen or a baby seat in front of a window to amuse herself is pretty ridiculous for a young baby. Baboes aren't awake that much to begin with. PLAY with him or her!!!! As your baby gets older, you can leave her in a safe position to play for a little while--but don't expect 45 minutes as Ezzo recommends. When you're baby starts to express frustration, it's time to give your baby some attention.
However, I don't agree with critics who say this method is incompatible with "attachment parenting". Nothing says you can't be very attached to your baby while letting her sleep in her own space--at least for naps and for most Americans at night too. This baby sleeps so well and seems very secure and serene. She is cuddly and happy to be in our arms, but just as happy to be put in her crib when she's tired. When she's had enough rest, she is positively joyful (and so am I!!!). When she's awake, I am with her, carrying her in a sling or front pack, playing with her on the floor, tickling her on the changing table--everything an "attached" parent would do. But with this method the baby takes great naps so I get things done or a chance to rest myself, and we both have wonderful, restful nights.
If you overlook some of the advice Ezzo gives, I think the basic premise is very good.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 10, 2011 10:41:04 AM PST
nope says:
Thank you for this review and the great advice about how to use this book!

Posted on Jul 13, 2012 3:20:45 PM PDT
lucytoon says:
I second what "nope" said. Yours was a very helpful review.

Posted on Apr 24, 2014 5:38:29 AM PDT
Linda King says:
What I want to know is if you were able to breastfeed with having your child sleep 12 hours a night? It seems like your milk supply will decrease to where you have to use a bottle.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 25, 2014 10:55:40 PM PDT
J.Big says:
I also have the same question...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2015 1:06:33 PM PST
My first child would sleep 12 hours, and I let her, but this did cause a problem with milk production. With my last 3 children I would only let them sleep 10 hrs and it worked great, they just made up a little sleep in naps during the day. You can do babywise and breastfeed, just pay attention to your body and be smart.

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2015 7:48:49 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 19, 2015 7:49:13 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2015 2:55:03 AM PDT
JB says:
I would argue that for breastfeeding & basically humans this approach defies all logic when you apply biology to what is going on with breastfeeding.

Firstly - the most important time to nurse based on body rhythms is between 9pm & 6am when your prolactin naturally peaks. Early avoidance of these feeds times *is* associated with lowered prolactin which lowers production.

Secondly - your body controls ovulation when you nurse on cue. If you look up LAM method you will see that frequent feeds suppresses ovulation & pregnancy at least 6 months. This is biology advantageous to EVERY woman. No women is actually designed to get pregnant right after birth It happens of course, but it also happens that those pregnancies are associated with higher risk factors as a result because the body has not recovered from pregnancy. So biologically, we aren't "supposed to" schedule our babies as doing so increases the chances of short birth interval tremendously. And there are lots & lots of LAM studies out there People constantly like to say "breastfeeding isn't birth control"...that is correct. If you follow things like babywise you will have your cycle in no time & get pregnant. However, in study after study it is well documented that allowing a child to feed on cue is more effective than most hormonal BC options. We just seem to miss that distinction somehow.

Thirdly much of this focuses on keeping baby awake through a feed and after. Breastmilk contains CCK - a digestive enzyme that is designed to make you sleepy. So merely the act of trying to keep a baby awake goes against the biology of how human milk was deigned to operate. Add to that they want you to keep a baby awake after the feed as well & then have baby nap. But breastmilk, according to scans actually digests in 2 hrs or less. Formula more like 3-4. So by design this WHOLE thing is set up to make it much more appealing to formula feed. It is designed to meet how formula fed babies operate...not breastfed ones. If you feed when a baby is hungry, and not train a baby to stretch feeds, you will find that the overwhelming majority prefer to generally eat every 2 hrs or less. It is not because they are trained to eat that way, that happens all over, even in cultures with no clocks to help them schedule this crazy natural phenomenon.

So whether you are a Christian & Ezzo church associations appeal to you or a natural lover or an athiest The fact is this stuff doesn't line up with how human babies have ever naturally operated. And yes, you can in fact mild children to do lots of things, but that is what this promotes. It promotes not trusting your own instincts, not trusting your baby's cues & not parenting from logic, but a set of parameters to try & obtain an atypical human infant response. Is that really what we want?

There is an overwhelming amount of cultural anthropology on parenting, infant behavior, many many studies on normal infant sleep patterns & they nearly universally conclude this is not a normal way for human infants to operate, it is not developmentally desirable & has the potential to be emotionally & psychologically harmful in the long run.

I get wanting sleep. I do for sure. I never want it more than I want what is actually healthiest for my child's development. There are lots of ways to work within the natural rhythms baby's follow and not exhaust yourself nor try to make them perform in a more desirable way that fits your life. There really are - you just have to keep looking.

I have yet to meet one mom IRL who actually kept their supply on this schedule to a year. Not one. I have known no mothers who fed on cue & lost theirs. That alone ought to tell you this isn't how we are designed to operate. We need to stop trying to force ourselves & our children to fit into unnatural paradigms as if we can just ignore the very biology of how we operate & have been since the beginning of time. Our babies do not know if this is 5000BCE or 2015...they have operated the SAME all that time. We need to keep that in mind.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2015 7:28:39 PM PDT
kmhsellers says:
I exclusively breastfed my first baby to fifteen months on a schedule similar to this. When I tried on demand feeding with my second, I struggled to keep my milk supply up, because she slept for such long stretches in between nursing sessions. She was probably dehydrated or something, poor thing. Maybe I didn't demand feed properly, though. Who knows? But I wonder if with our second, feeding on a schedule may have prevented milk supply issues. I really regret trying to find something "better" for the second go when our first baby had done so well on a not-too-rigid routine. Oh well. Just another point of view to consider.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2016 3:52:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 15, 2016 6:58:19 AM PDT
You must know and keep up with the intimate details of a lot of new mothers to make such a bold claim. (That on the basis of your acquaintances' experience, your readers are to draw biological conclusions about how a breast-feeding mom's body operates.)

But now you know a mom who has kept their supply on this schedule for a year. I have done so six times, in fact. (Though, you might want to note that this book is not designed to be guidance for a year, but only the first few months. However, needless to say, if your baby is on a schedule at 4 months, they are likely to be on one at 10 mos. -Not the same one, but an appropriate one.)

I have used Mr. Ezzo's methods for all six of my children. They were all sleeping through the night the 10-12 hours by the time they were 3 months, with the exception of one who has pretty bad allergies that still cause him to lose sleep at 8 yrs old. My milk supply was steady, they all grew and thrived. I NEVER HAD TO LET ANY OF THEM "cry it out" , as I gently employed Ezzo's methods from the first few weeks, and they naturally grew into a schedule. The consistency of this method of feeding and sleeping produces very contented children.
As far as "a baby's natural rhythms", anyone who has parented a newborn knows that there is nothing naturally rhythmic about one. The parent's job is to help the child get into a healthy rhythm, which is what this book is trying to help parents do. It's not about "getting more sleep for mom", though that is a side benefit. It is about developing a healthy child. It isn't healthy to eat sporadically for adults, children, or babies, but to regulate your blood sugar by eating the right things at the right time. Around the clock eating is not healthy for anyone. Why train a baby to demand it? A plan, or schedule is not only useful, but for a new mom, necessary. In a country rampant with obesity and eating-related diseases, it is shocking that people still promote the idea that we should teach children from infancy that they should eat whenever, and if they cry, they should probably be fed. Babies should be fed according to their dietary needs, not their emotional wants. A newborn needs food every 2-3 hours, with the time expanding as they grow. If it is not biologically time for your baby's body to need food, you should not use food to comfort him. Bad habit! There are other ways to comfort a baby and these should be employed if he needs comfort.
Furthermore, psychologically, schedules benefit babies. Check the studies. Children across the board are happier and healthier with boundaries and predictability. They learn better, are more content, and more adventurous.
As far as unnatural paradigms, only in America in this day in age could treating your child as a welcome member of the family -not the center of it, and helping them ease into the routine that most people in the world follow (sleep at night, eat at regular intervals) be considered "unnatural". What is it that you think natural is? That in the name of "attachment" a mom must feed her baby any time the baby is unhappy ?(which is what a new mom would be doing, since she would have no way of knowing if her child is actually physically in need of food. If the baby just ate 30 minutes ago, is he just needing comfort, or did he not get enough? Or is something else wrong? the mother who feeds on a schedule can legitimately rule out hunger, or not, based on what time it is and knowing what behavior is routine. If there is no routine, a mom cannot attribute the baby's behavior to anything for sure, or see patterns develop, and therefore a mom cannot be as knowledgeable of her baby's needs as a mom who is consistent) Do you mean that it is not natural to teach the child to go to sleep on their own because that wouldn't foster a co-dependence? It seems that "natural" to you means that everyone around the child is at the mercy of the infant's whim, even the infant. This does not a happy household make, and the most miserable of the bunch is the infant. (If we are using the experience of our acquaintanceship to make our statements, then I can firmly say that nurturing babies this way produces the most miserable babies -and later children -possible.)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2016 7:06:04 AM PDT
Maria says:
Finally some sense
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