Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2011
The Babywise method of parenting is very out-of-date and has been criticized by hundreds of professionals in pediatric medicine, human lactation, psychology, anthropology, child development, and theology. Problems have
been associated with these programs--cases of slow weight gain, failure to thrive, depressed babies, hospitalization and even death from starvation. These precepts are unhealthy and dangerous for the child, and leave parents focused on the clock, the rules, and the book, rather than on what their individual baby needs in order to grow and develop physically and emotionally. The primary authors of the materials, Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo, self-proclaimed experts in parenting, have no training in child development, psychology, breastfeeding, or pediatric medicine.
Breastfeeding your baby on a schedule may reduce your milk supply and contradicts the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP), which has stated, "The best feeding schedules are the ones babies design themselves. Scheduled feedings designed by parents may put babies at risk for poor weight gain and dehydration." The AAP recommends that newborns "be nursed whenever they show signs of hunger....approximately 8 to 12 times every 24 hours..." and states, "Crying is a late indicator of hunger." Babies also need to go to the breast when they are thirsty, are in need of comfort, or don't feel well. Clearly Babywise's and Prep's recommendations are not compatible with the AAP's guidelines, despite claims that they are.
Stress & Low Weight Gain:
Allowing your baby to "cry it out" increases his levels of cortisol, a hormone that indicates stress--which
affects the baby's ability to self calm. Excessive crying in the newborn interferes with normal bodily functions
in every way, including gut tensing, heart pounding, increase in blood pressure, labored breathing, and disorientation. It can also affect weight gain through burning too many calories or becoming too fatigued to nurse effectively.
Crying & Colic:
Babies do not have the cognitive ability to understand why they are left alone to cry during scheduled sleep times or before feedings. Some may actually "shut down" and stop attempting to communicate even basic needs such as hunger, because they feel it is hopeless. On the surface, these may seem like "good" babies; in fact, they may be undernourished and/or depressed, with potential long-term negative effects on the relationship between parent and child. Crying babies who are consistently responded to within ninety seconds end up crying 70% less than babies whose parents allow them to cry for longer periods of time. This can certainly impact whether or not your baby develops "colic."
Healthy, mature parenting is responding to your baby, meeting your baby's needs, in a way your intuition tells you is right. A high-touch, attentive approach to parenting is enjoyable because it builds both confident parents and loving, sensitive, and connected kids. These babies are likely to become more securely attached to their parents and appropriately independent at the right developmental stage. There may be good points to be gleaned from Babywise. However, these good things can also be found in other, medically sound sources. The things that are unique to Babywise are not good--for either parents or babies.
-Focus on the Family, The Complete Book of Baby and Child Care
-Leman, Kevin, Ph.D. Becoming the Parent God Wants You to Be
-Sears, William, M.D. & Martha, R.N., The Baby Book, The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Child
Care, Nighttime Parenting, The Fussy Baby, The Discipline Book
For more information and research please see:
renowned Breastfeeding support and parenting
[...] - Attachment Parenting International
Gentle Christian Mothers
Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths
La Leche League International
Ask Dr. Sears
Attachment Parenting International