What is the Babywise method?
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Sarah - posted on 03/10/2009
Babywise, according to the promo on the back cover of On Becoming Babywise, states: “Scientists can put a man on the moon but they can not answer the most basic question of early parenting: how to have a happy and contented baby who sleeps continually through the night like the rest of the family and a mother who is not in a perpetual state of exhaustion.”
Open the front cover of the 2001 edition and the reader can find almost seven full pages, from both health care professionals and parents, exclaiming the brilliance of the Babywise parenting style.
Go a bit further into the introduction and read the first paragraph:
Yes, one day people will stop you on the street, at the grocery store, and in the church nursery to comment, ‘Your baby is so content.’ Then they will insult you with the following statement, ‘You’re so lucky to have an easy baby. What? Sleeping through the night already? How old is he? You’re really lucky!’
Reading these words makes the thought of having an “easy baby” extremely appealing, and the reader senses that employing the Baby Wise techniques will result in this wondrous child.
Babywise follows a PDF format, otherwise known as Parent Directed Feeding. This is written out in equation form:
Hunger Cue + Clock + PA (Parental Assessment) = Feeding Time
This is as scheduled as it sounds. Babywise believes that the parents know best what the baby needs and when (s)he needs it. This includes sleep times, feeding times, and awake times. The book goes on to share, step-by-step, a desirable schedule to follow with your baby, complete with what time to wake your baby, what point to feed him or her throughout their day, and a bedtime routine to follow.
Babywise argues that scheduled babies feel safe and secure because they know what each day will contain. Because the baby feels secure in the expected, he or she will begin sleeping through the night sooner and more consistently than babies who are not scheduled.
Although this style depends heavily on scheduling, the authors do leave room for flexibility, throwing in the PA clause. They encourage parents to have a flexible schedule, and not go by strict minutes on the clock. Instead, they teach the parent to help baby get into a schedule while at the same time assessing what it is the baby needs.
For instance, they state that if you have determined that 10:00 a.m. is a feeding time but your baby is screaming her hunger cry at 9:30, it is ok to stop and feed her, based on her need.
At the same time, this method cautions to not let baby determine their schedule, but to always be based on the parents’ assessment of what the baby needs most at any particular time.
Jenny - posted on 03/11/2009
I have two children, and they were both Babywise babies. The technique worked for us. It's a quick, good read, and I recommend it. My oldest is 5 yrs and the baby is 7 mos. The loose scheduling techniques of Babywise help you to better plan your day, figure out what it is your baby needs, and I truly believe it helps them sleep thru the night faster. Just my opinion.
The biggest beef people seem to have with Babywise center around the 3-hr schedule (for breast-fed babies). The book states and restates that while you are working toward a schedule, don't keep it a strict schedule. Listen to your baby. If she's really hungry, don't make her wait. I think that's where people misconstrue what Gary Ezzo is saying. They stick to this rigid 3 or 4 hr schedule and their babies are hungry.
I encourage you to read it. It really helped me!
Sarah - posted on 03/10/2009
here is the link:
Babywise is the popular moniker for the book "On Becoming Babywise," a book and parenting program designed to get babies "sleeping through the night" at a young age. It is authored and currently self-published by Gary Ezzo.
Babywise was self-published in 1993, intended as the secular counterpart to Gary Ezzo's religious materials for infants, Preparation for Parenting. Ezzo describes it as an exciting, new "infant management program" centered on scheduling an infant's eating and sleeping times. Dr. Robert Bucknam listed as co-author of the 1993 Babywise, which was nearly identical to Prepartion for Parenting (which Bucknam did not co-author) with the exception of explicit religious language being removed.
Since the original publication of Babywise in 1993 and of Preparation for Parenting in approximately 1987, there have been numerous revisions of both. The most current issue at this writing is one published in 2006. The church marketed version was renamed Along the Infant Way, however, the title has reverted back to Preparation for Parenting. These infant parenting materials by Gary Ezzo have become quite controversial in parenting circles.
"Babywise" was picked up by Multnomah Publishing in the mid-1990s, and dropped in 2001.
Chief concerns of critics include Gary Ezzo's lack of credentials in the areas of child health and development and advice that is contrary to the Myths and Misconceptions - Babywise Authors Set the Record Straight.)
Anecdotally, delayed growth, lowered milk supply when 
Ezzo openly critizies La Leche League International in Babywise. Most of the philosophies advocated in his books are in direct opposition to Attachment Parenting philosophies (i.e. Demand Feeding, co-sleeping, use of baby slings).
Advocates of Babywise point to the many compliments they get about how "good" their babies are and the tendency for Babywise infants to "sleep through the night" at an early age. Of course, these are anecdotal accounts and no studies have been done on whether the "Babywise" method actually produces the results its supporters claim. And, obviously, many non-users of "Babywise" materials (including so-called "AP" parents) receive many compliments on how delightful their children are and have children that sleep through the night at early ages. "Sleeping through the night" is a misnomer. It is a controversial and subjective term as used in popular culture. Experts on child development and breastfeeding define it as a 4-6 hour stretch of sleep, which may be from midnight to 5 am.
Babywise is likely the most well-known of Gary Ezzo's parenting materials. Other materials include Toddlerwise, Preschoolerwise, Childwise, and Teenwise. These are the "secular" versions of materials Gary Ezzo originally wrote for a church-based audience. The original materials were titled Preparation for Parenting, Preparation for the Toddler Years, Growing Kids God's Way, and Reflections of Moral Innocence. These church-based materials have recently been renamed under the "Let the Children Come" banner. Let the Children Come Along the Infant Way, Along the Toddler Way, Along the Virtuous Way, etc.
Parents in churches and religious communities were the primary demographic of Gary Ezzo's teachings initially. Religious leaders and parents have been the most vocal supporters and critics of Ezzo's teachings. Two churches which initially supported Gary Ezzo and his parenting teachings, Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship have issued public statements of non-support.
Hope this helps
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