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Customer Review

771 of 951 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't work for us, September 18, 2007
This review is from: On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep (Paperback)
I would like to respond to the reviewers that suggest those of us who disliked babywise didn't read it, or didn't apply its principles properly. I read, re-read and highlighted the book after a friend of mine recommended it. And for a solid month I faithfully attempted to place my newborn on the babywise schedule, but it just did not work for my son. For example, my son often awoke earlier from his nap than the schedule would allow. Sometimes he would wake crying, sometimes happy. If he was crying, I would allow him to cry because the book suggests if your baby awakes crying he did not get enough sleep. But, he never fell back asleep. So then I would feed him only to find he was starving. But how was I to know he was hungry...babwise never once discusses reading your baby's cues, only "mom, not baby, decides when nap begins, and mom, not baby, decides when nap ends." If he woke happy, then I really was in a bind. He would play awake in his crib (even if I didn't go to him) so now he was having activity before eating (a babywise no-no). But if I fed him, he would be fed before 2 ½ hours (another babywise no-no). I tried putting him to bed for naps earlier, because the book states that if your child awakes early he probably was overtired and needed less activity, but my son would still awake after 45-60 minutes. I was constantly stressed out.

After one month on babywise, my son was still not back to his birth weight. I quit using the system and my son started rapidly gaining weight. We both became happier. I can't say I disagree with the overall concepts of the book...promoting full feedings instead of snacking, frequent daytime feedings to help baby distinguish day from night, teaching a baby to fall asleep on his/her own, and the importance of sleep to both a baby and his/her parents. I just disagree with the presentation. Babywise assumes all babies fit into its schedule, and in truth, they just don't.

This is obviously a very controversial book. I do not think you have to have an MD/PhD after your name to know something about raising a baby, but the fact that the author has absolutely no medical/childcare background concerns me, especially when the concepts are so radically different from what most pediatricians/child psychologists recommend. Just because something works (i.e. gets you baby to sleep through the night), doesn't make it the best thing for your child.

As a side note, I never co-slept or wore my baby in a sling all day long (though I feel if this works for you and your baby then great...this just isn't my style of parenting). I definitely feel babies need parental guidance, but I think parents must take their baby's temperaments into account. Once I started reading other books, I learned how to better read my babies cues, and I no longer had to fight him to sleep, eat or stay awake. I used a combination of several other books (No Cry Sleep Solution, Sleep Lady's Gentle Guide and Baby Whisperer) and am happy to report I have a 9 month old who sleeps 11 hours per night and takes 2 good naps a day...oh and has been sleeping 10 hrs/night since 3 months of age. He is an absolute joy and everywhere I take him people comment on how happy and content he church, restaurants and shopping. It can be done without babywise!
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Showing 1-10 of 39 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 2, 2008 12:19:16 AM PST
A. Hanson says:
I must disagree with the comment of
"But how was I to know he was hungry...babwise never once discusses reading your baby's cues, only "mom, not baby, decides when nap begins, and mom, not baby, decides when nap ends."
I just re-read the book being very critical of it to pick up anything controversial and it stated in there several times that you need to read your baby's cues.

Also that there will be times they are not in their normal routine because they need more food, comfort, are teething or going through a growth spurt, etc. Chapters 1-6 deal entirely with feeding and I had a very big baby boy and he needed lots of good milk. I also would feed him when he was hungry, but I fed him until he was full and he got on his own routine. I will state it could have been easier for me because he was a bigger baby (9 lbs 14 oz) that he could eat better initially in the first few weeks than smaller babies perhaps. But there is NOT this "schedule" that they proport like the hyperscheduling advocates (they are out there - only feed your baby every 4 hours NO MATTER WHAT - how ridiculous! How can a baby a week old only get fed every 4 hours on the dot). The BW authors state that you can use the clock as a guide - I believe after 2 weeks and beyond - but only because you are helping yourself to know - oh yea - he ate at such-and-such-a-time and is probably going to be hungry about now. Parent Directed Feeding is what they call it. You look at baby, he is giving you hunger cues, you feed him! How simple! He gave you the cue - you used your parental assessment to assess he is hungry! The book mentions this at least twice!

Also to some of the other comments - it does not say that your baby should be sleeping through the night before 3 months (I think it says 8-12+ weeks). I am not sure where these people are getting that your baby should be sleeping through the night without nursing/bottle at 2 weeks, 1 mo., etc. The authors in no way state this in Babywse.

Posted on Feb 14, 2008 1:47:35 PM PST
D. Botill says:
The problem is obvious right off. In the begining of your comments you mentioned the "schedule." This method is not a schedule. It is to help get you and your baby in a rythmn of eat, wake, sleep. Every baby is different and accomidations need to be made for each difference. It is not one-size-fits-all and it never claimed to be.

Posted on Feb 21, 2009 6:58:39 AM PST
emaleth says:
I had the same problem as "new mom." This is my second son, and I have been trying since 6 weeks to get this method to work for us. He is now 5 months old and has never slept through the night, and his naps are all over the place, despite my trying to guide him into some kind of a routine. My first child developed a routine very early on and slept better too. Sometimes kids are just different. I beat myself up about this until I talked to my pediatrician about this book and he said the office was not a big fan of Babywise and not to take it too seriously. If it works for you, great, but sometimes it just won't work no matter what.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2009 7:34:33 PM PST
I agree with the is the presentation of the material in the book that doesn't work. All babies are different, and like the reviewer, my little boy developed his own routine, was sleeping through the night at 2 months, and is commented on frequently as such a happy little boy. Sometimes, babies just don't sleep well. Neither do toddlers, older kids, or adults, for that matter.

Posted on Mar 4, 2009 7:49:57 PM PST
I read the book and I do not ever remember it saying that if a baby woke up crying that he needed to sleep more and not eat. Most days my son may or may not wake up crying that doesn't mean that he isn't hungry. My son may wake up fine and I don't know it because until he cries, I don't know that he is awake if I am asleep. For example, my son woke at 7am and was feed. Then he will play and I know that he will be getting sleeping around 9am and I should put him down for a nap. He may sleep longer than 1 hour and so he has gone longer than 3 hours since his last meal, so I feed him when he wakes up. There are a few times that he may get off his schedule and he may not eat immediately after he wakes up, but typically he would. Sometimes his nap was only 45 minutes, but other times it would have been 2 hours. If he only napped for 45 minutes, sometimes he was sleepier sooner, but sometimes he wasn't. So I watched his cues and responded appropriately. But I don't have to soothe my son to sleep, he goes to sleep on his own. He occassionally cries but that is only during the day for his nap, as he really likes it very dark in the room. So I am glad that you were able to find something that worked for you, but to say that Babywise had these strict guidelines regarding when to feed or play is just simply not true.

Posted on Jun 10, 2009 12:42:34 PM PDT
Mom from TX says:
I love Baby Wise and while I can't say it will work for every child this reviewer definitely misrespresents Babywise principles. Rule number 1, if your baby is hungry then feed him! And the book has several sections that tell you to listen to your child's cues. And everything the book said was exactly right!! Love it!

Posted on Nov 2, 2009 12:18:08 PM PST
N. Mckenzie says:
I appreciate you giving the other books you used. I didn't like Baby Wise just for the fact it was not well written and not organized very well. Based on this review, I picked up Baby Whisperer at the library and used it for my 10 week old. She started sleeping through the night by the end of the first week on that "routine". I didn't follow it to a "T" (i.e. I don't swaddle because she found her hands at 11 weeks and uses them to self-soothe), but the basic concepts worked and it helped me to identify my daughter's uniqueness (she is a "Spirited" baby, and therefore, needs to suck more often but is also more active during her awake time). I get the same comments about what a happy baby she is - THANKS!!!!

Posted on Jan 8, 2010 8:23:23 AM PST
M. Johnson says:
I'm a mom who turned to my church for help with parenting and was given Ezzo's "first-time obedience" as the "Biblical" solution to disobedient toddlers. My relationship with my child was significantly harmed by applying Ezzo principles.

I'm taking a moment today to thank everyone who took the time to write a negative review of this book. You're doing your best to warn others, and I applaud all of you!

P.S. For anyone who would like a conservative Christian perspective on what is wrong with Ezzo parenting programs, I encourage you to visit the website,

Posted on Feb 27, 2010 4:52:15 AM PST
A. Agarwal says:
I am a huge fan of this book because it provides useful guidelines, not a hard and fast rigid set of rules, and I am not a hard and fast rule-based kind of person. If one of my babies (I have used this book three times) woke up prematurely from a nap (meaning much shorter than their normal naptime) I would try to let them go back to sleep. If the the crying escalated and lasted more than 5-10 minutes that to me meant "hungry" and I fed them. If the crying was light crying I would wait to see if they would go back to sleep and often they did and then they would wake up later well-rested and happy: if not I would feed them. I would never have interpreted anything in the book to suggest that you would let your baby cry and cry for the sake of sticking to a rigid sleep or feeding schedule. They never say that this approach is a hard and fast guideline...only a loose system to get into a rhythm and flow with your baby. They many times say "if your baby is hungry, feed him."

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2010 6:04:33 PM PDT
Momof3! says:
I know it has been a while since my original post, but I am now the mom of 2 toddlers and 1 more baby on the way and I have a lot more perspective. I actually like this book less and less the more I learn and grow as a parent. And to respond to those who stated that the book says to feed a hungry child, yes it does, but the authors never really help you learn how to read your baby's cues. As a first time mom, I was clueless because I let my maternal instinct be over-ruled by the babywise plan. I didn't know how to read my baby's cues yet b/c I was trying to force him into the babywise routine before I learned how to read his cues. With my second child I didn't even start thinking about a routine until she was 3 months of age and I felt really comfortable reading her cues...and we were all much happier this way!
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