The Bliss of Babywise – Pro-Ezzo Info

In our scrutiny of Babywise, we have decided to include the alternative point of view so that our readers can judge for themselves whether they accept Ezzo’s parent-directed feeding (PDF) methods. Let’s start with a video promo from Down Under called Babywise Bliss.






Erin, a Babywise enthusiast, posted this two minute YouTube video in which she gives HUGE accolades for the techniques described in On Becoming Babywise.




And finally, here is a video of a mom who describes in great detail how the Babywise system works. She, too, is a true believer.



Ezzo Truth is a website that endorses Gary Ezzo and his Babywise method. You can find it here.

We would also like to direct you to the Ezzo FAQ page so that you can hear the Ezzo’s side of the story. You may want to read Gary Ezzo’s responses to the following questions which can be found here:


  • "Have the Ezzos caused trouble in past churches or been excommunicated from a church?

  • Is Gary Ezzo characterized by not allowing people to approach him or call him on his sin?

  • Did Multnomah Publishers drop Ezzo following an investigation of medical and character concerns?”

There are quite a few testimonials at this website, so be sure to take a look.



And finally, the Ezzo’s business, Growing Families International, has a website, which you can find here.


Also, after initially being told, several times, that Talbot School of Theology did not have a Gary Ezzo as a graduate, we just received an email from Talbot School of Theology  that indeed he did receive a degree from a program that no longer exists at Talbot. We apologize for any confusion.





Lydia's Corner: Deuteronomy 5:1-6:25 Luke 7:11-35 Psalm 68:19-35 Proverbs 11:29-3



The Bliss of Babywise – Pro-Ezzo Info — 53 Comments

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    Bliss? Anybody here watch “V”????

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    will someone please, please tell these people that babies are all different? Even from birth, some babies sleep more than others, some feed more than others some want more stimulation than others, som need more comfort than others. Any system in the universe will work wonderfully for some kids and be a disaster for others. A system like Ezzo’s, not based on sound physiology or psychology will still work fantastically for some.

    I wonder if they’ll all be so keen in 10-15 years when their kids are growing up? Don’t mean to be snarky, but I’ve known some Ezzo-evangelists first hand (in a former church), and have very negative feelings about it

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    We hope this post demonstrates that Dee and I are open-minded enough to share the other side.

    Personally, if I had to choose between hearing my baby cry for extended periods of time or get less sleep at night, I’d choose the latter. We’re not talking about endless sleepless nights here unless a couple chooses to have a quiverfull. Do these blissfull Babywise moms not know how to take naps during the day with their infants? I never hear that mentioned in these testimonies.

    Crying babies make me feel AWFUL!!! Chances are they are crying because they are hungry. I don’t know how these Babywise moms stand it.

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    I really admire you for posting this without any editorializing. I hope people recognize how rare you are in the blogosphere.

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    Thanks for your compliment, and welcome to TWW. We hope you will stick around and chime in whenever you want.


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    Excellent points! I do wonder how these Babywise children will turn out.

    I must confess that we have always had a child-centered home, and my husband and I have been blessed through the years to have a wonderful, loving relationship. Our daughters have never been a threat to our marriage. Based on what I have heard and read about Babywise, I think that FEAR is a motivating factor, specifically, fear that the marriage will suffer when the baby comes along. Children are a gift from God, and they should enhance, not threaten, their parents’ relationship.

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    Dee, if you feel that this comment is contrary to the spirit of your post, please do not post it. I am not trying to be argumentative, just responding to what I am hearing in these videos.

    Some off the cuff observations on these video clips:

    “Millions of grateful parents around the world” – right away I question the message. Many people using something does not mean that it is right. But it is a good hook for someone selling any product. “If lots of people use it, it must be good!”?

    Babies are “supposed to cry” – no, they are not. Crying causes physiological changes in a baby

    “8-10 hours sleep at 6 wks old” – a “miracle” (brought to you by Babywise)? – Not a miracle, some babies do this without Babywise, some don’t, even with it.

    “amazing work it (Babywise) did in our child ” – when would your child have slept through the night without it? A week or two later? A month or two – without being left to cry by herself? Maybe even the same or better without Babywise – but who defines “better”?

    “keep them up for 45 mins, (after eating and before sleeping) it is really hard” – Well! Yes, of course it is! Human milk has sleep inducing proteins. And it is a wonderful thing to have a satisfied baby fall asleep in your arms! And to learn how to carefully lay them down, letting them peacefully sleep! Instead of walking away from their cries, steeling yourself to get with the program!

    “the book has been out for a lot time” – so has *** ****** and a lot of drivel. Being a long time in publication is not a proof of accuracy or truth.

    “and when people ask you” you can say “great”! – This is one of the big draws of Babywise – peer pressure – just don’t ask the baby!

    “on demand, on demand, on demand ” repetition belittles the concept – without describing why she thinks that is a problem. The more appropriate term is “cue-feeding” rather than “demand” – more the way that adults feed themselves – when they are hungry, not when the clock strikes the hour. Unless they choose to do it that way. But then, they are adults!

    “if the baby is “obviously hungry” – isn’t that “demand feeding”? Isn’t that taking the cue from the child that they are hungry?

    “things that are right for one family aren’t necessarily right for another” – that is NOT Ezzo – there is HIS way – not many ways – there are always caveats in his books, but the underlying message is the same – “do it right and it will work, if it isn’t working, you are not doing it right”.

    “Half an hour of flexibility!” I have watched an Ezzo-trained mother watch the clock until the minute hand struck the hour before she would feed her wailing baby. The caveats say “be flexible” but peer pressure, even in this video, keeps repeating “three hours”! Dear parents, do you hear it?

    A “sense of flexibility” because the time frame is going to be the same every day? No, flexibility is NOT having to be stuck in front of a clock all day! It is being able to read your baby’s cues and feed him when he is hungry and take him anywhere and have him fall asleep where you are!

    “Every three hours” is often not enough to maintain breastfeeding – hence many Ezzoers lose their milk and can’t figure out why!


    I will stop there. I didn’t listen to all of the last video. Too much for one night!


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    We wanted our readers to hear the pro-Ezzo testimonies for themselves, and you got it loud and clear!

    One thing I should have mentioned before is that breast milk is quickly digested, so the tiny infant must be fed more often that three hours.

    IMHO, there is NO WAY a mom can continue produing milk if her infant sleeps through the night on a consistent basis. She will quickly dry up.

    There is another YouTube video of the mom in the last clip, and she says something to the effect that her infant cried for an hour. Then at the end of that video (not the one we embedded) she said this time he cried for 45 minutes. Sorry, that’s cruel…

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    The first lesson a baby learns is to trust. Trust-vs-mistrust is the foundation upon which everything else (including love) is built.

    We are called to trust God, it is our first act of faith,

    Human babies are born into this world helpless because we must be born before our big heads grow too big to make the journey through the birth canal but human babies are just barely able to live outside the womb as a consequence.

    A baby’s cry is actually a late stage sign of distress. A newborn baby gives off non-crying cues that a responsive mother quickly learns without even thinking about it. Well, if she hasn’t been conditioned by meddlesome fearmongering outsiders to worry about such things as being manipulated or spawning the next Hitler. Also, generally everything a baby needs is provided by the mother through breastmilk. A newborn can see the distance between the breast and the mother’s eyes. Breastmilk is digested quickly as Deb noted. Breastfeeding on cue with night feedings (that are normal in the first year of life,) postpones the return of fertility for most women. The first milk, colostrum, is filled with immunoglobulins that establish the immune system in the digestive tract.

    Most of our physiological systems are governed by feedback loops and with breastfeeding, it is a stimulus-response negative feedback loop. When the baby is ready to have a growth spurt, he will start to increase nursing to stimulate the breast to produce more milk. This works with cue feeding but is difficult to impossible to achieve when on a schedule.

    Also, all of Ezzo’s parent directed or parent directed this and that seem darn right selfish. Ezzo teaches parents to teach a baby or young child to be other-centered but the methods used involve adults modeling selfish behavior to the child in order to get the child to become unselfish. Ironically, children learn through what we model more than what we say and these children are getting mixed messages at best.

    Sorry for the length.

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    Thanks for your insightful information. Why do we never hear from the Babywise experts or blissful Babywise moms about “engorgement”?

    I can remember my breasts becoming engorged (sorry to our male readers for being so graphic, but it’s a reality of breastfeeding), and it was EXTREMELY PAINFUL! When that happened, breastfeeding my baby was a physical relief! It you’ve never experienced it, you can’t possibly understand what I’m talking about.

    So what’s the remedy?

    “Suggestions for Preventing/Handling Engorgement: Nurse frequently. Try to nurse at least 10-12 times in 24 hours – every 1 ½ – 2 hours during the day, with no more than a 3 hour stretch at night.”

    Quite a different strategy than Babywise.

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    I’m doing the math with what the mom in the third video recommended. She said their “routine” begins at 8:30 a.m. and that she and her husband go to bed around 10:30. That means her baby is sleeping 10 hours a night. Since there are 24 hours in a day, that means her feeding routine spans 14 hours. Let’s round it up to 15 for simple math. She feeds her baby first thing in the morning and then every three hours after that. 15 divided by 3 is 5. Adding the first feeding to the five subsequent ones means she is feeding her baby only 6 times per day. No wonder the AAP was concerned about dehydration and malnourishment.

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    I remember being painfully engorged after I had my first baby.

    Nursing helped a lot but if you need more relief, taking a warm shower is soothing.

    I also apologize to the male audience and you may want to skip the rest of this post but I was a young first time mom standing in the shower with huge rock hard breasts with a very strong let down thinking I was ruined for life but the shower helped and the engorgement abated quickly.

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    Yes, I can definitely relate… Why don’t these “blissful” Babywise moms EVER talk about the downside of NOT breastfeeding every few hours?

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    Teaching babies to be other centered? How about teaching some grownups to be other centered?

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    Perhaps Babywise is just a by-product of the “Me” generation.

    “it’s all about ME ME ME! The world revolves around ME. The baby needs to cater to MY schedule. I need MY sleep!!!

    What selfishness!

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    I look at the pro Ezzo material and see an unabashed appeal to the self.

    And the notion that not having the feel of a baby in the house is a blessing? Seriously? Having a baby in the house is a tremendous blessing.

    And with respect to teaching grownups to be other centered, my husband says that people don’t grow up until they have a child *because* for the first time, you must put the self aside and take care of a helpless child.

    Part of what happened to us in our (SGM) church is have one of the pastors predict our marriage wouldn’t last ten years because we weren’t parent-centered and refused to put our relationship in a heirarchy above our relationship with our children.

    Last April, we celebrated our 30th year and our intense years with littles is part of our past. My baby is turning twelve this weekend and we get to have a lot of couple time but not at the expense of a young child.

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    Congratulations on 30 years of marriage, DB!

    You should be writing a book on wedded bliss and baby bliss.

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    I am working on a Master’s thesis and a completely unrelated book (fiction.)

    Not sure I could squeeze in another writing assignment (or are qualified to write, for that matter.)

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    You are an inspiration to me! Looking forward to reading your book(s).

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    Can anyone say “repressed”?

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    OK, I can’t keep to myself any longer.

    Blissful? Is there anyone picking up ANY bliss in these people’s expressions? How about robotic?

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    Continuing the thread here. I received a response from Dr. Heldzinger (well, from his wife!)

    Derek-Elma Heldzinger March 11 at 11:52am Report
    Dr. Heldzinger is extremely busy. If you go to, under testimonials, look under physicians, you will find many physicians, OBGYN, Pediatritians, etc. telling about the effectiveness of the Ezzo method for them, their families and patients. Thanks so much, Elma Heldzinger

    I read the site suggested, more testimonials. I then did a little research of my own. This is what I have found so far (this is a summary of the web page, the link to the complete article follows).

    From: Parenting Science – evidence based information for the thinking parent

    Survey the world of mammalian infant care, and you’ll discover two major feeding strategies: the spaced feeders and the continual feeders.

    Spaced feeders “park” their young in nests and leave them there—unattended—for hours at time. Spaced feeders have evolved high-fat, high-protein milk and the babies are designed to suck fast and furious when they get the chance. A good example is the rabbit, which produces milk that is 18.3% fat and 13.9% protein (Jenness 1974).

    By contrast, continual feeders stay with their babies at all times. They get fed more frequently and they tend to initiate feedings. Consistent with their high-frequency feeding schedule, they suck at a more leisurely rate. Their milk is less caloric, more dilute. Cow milk is typically 3.7% fat and 3.4% protein (Jenness 1974).

    So what about humans?

    In some modern industrial societies, humans act like spaced feeders. Babies are “parked” in cribs or cradles and get fed after intervals of 3-4 hours. But were we designed for this strategy? The answer is no and the proof is in our milk: compared to the milk of spaced feeders, human milk is relatively low in fat (3.8%) and protein (1%), and human infants suck slowly when they feed.

    Humans belong to the order Primates, a group that includes prosimians, monkeys and apes. Most—including our closest living relatives, the gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos—-are continual feeders and the composition of our milk gives us away. We’re meant to be continual feeders.

    But though human milk is comparatively dilute, this doesn’t mean that human milk is everywhere and always the same. Breast milk composition may vary significantly among individual women, and the same woman may experience significant fluctuations in her milk quality over time and most interesting is that the fat content of human milk increases when babies feed more frequently.

    Skeptics might argue that milk fat concentrations and hunter-gatherer practices are irrelevant as long as babies thrive. And it’s true that normal, healthy infants can adapt to a variety of feeding styles. For instance, in a retrospective study of 1-year-olds who had been fed either “on schedule” or “on demand,” researchers detected no difference in growth rates (Saxon et al 2002).

    However, most infants in the “on demand” feeding group were fed with formula, not breast milk, so the timing of feedings could have no effect on fat content. Moreover, babies can drain bottles more rapidly than they can drain breasts. These points suggest that a formula-fed baby subjected to an infrequent infant feeding schedule can “make up for lost time” by taking in large quantities of formula at each feed.

    But breastfed babies face different constraints. The fat content of their milk supply varies, and tends to diminish the longer the interval between feeds. And milk flows from a breast more slowly than it does from a bottle, so breast-fed babies subjected to an infrequent infant feeding schedule may have more trouble getting the calories they need and this is particularly important for newborns.

    International studies show that the more frequently a woman breastfeeds, the higher the fat content of her milk (Prentice and Prentice 1988; Prentice et al 1981; Jackson et al 1988; Daly et al 1993).

    Other factors associated with higher fat content include the volume of intake at previous feed (how much milk the baby ingested at the last feeding) and volume of intake at the current feed (Woolridge 1995).

    Volume of intake is important because the highest fat milk comes from soft, apparently empty breasts. When a baby begins feeding from a full breast, the milk she receives (“foremilk”) is relatively low in fat. Fat content increases as the breast empties. For this reason, it’s important not to force babies to switch breasts before they’ve had their fill.

    Premature switching can rob the baby of the higher-fat hindmilk associated with the latter part of a feed (Woolridge and Fisher 1988).

    These discoveries suggest that women can improve the quality of their breast milk by feeding frequently and on demand.

    And quality matters. When milk quality is low, babies need to consume more of it to get the same caloric benefit. Babies vary in their ability to suck quickly and efficiently. If access to the breast is limited—as it is on a regimented infant feeding schedule—some babies may not get enough to eat (Woolridge 1995).

    Low-quality milk can cause other problems as well. As breastfeeding expert Michael Woolridge (MD and PhD) has pointed out, low-fat milk can contribute to colic, vomiting, diarrhea, and flatulence in infants (Woolridge 1995).

    So—-from the standpoint of our evolutionary heritage and the quirks of human milk production-—it appears that frequent feedings are better for babies. The regimented, once-every-four-hours infant feeding schedule isn’t well-suited to the human infant’s needs.

    Full Article with references can be found here for those interested.

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    Note: rabbits are “spaced” feeders because they are prey animals. A mother rabbit is keeping a *very* close eye on her kits – but not staying with them at all times – in order to keep predators from going after the kits in their nest.

    (Similarly, even domestic rabbits who are happy indoor companions will hide signs of pain and illness because… they are prey animals. It’s instinctive behavior – and bun people have got to keep a very close eye on their pets to make sure they are OK… it’s an innate part of the “job description,” so to speak.)

    Apologies for the threadjack!

    The Ezzos: man. Just painful to read this stuff.

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    That was incredible information! This information is worthy of a post.

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    One other thing: while I understand the point made above re. parenthood and learning to be unselfish… not everyone is able to have children.

    I think there are lots of us who would have liked to have families, but… we have had to learn unselfishness in other ways. That often comes through caring for a family member who is ill, or through caring for aging parents, or…

    I think it’s not an intentionally unfair comment, but it is an example of… well. Discrimination by those who are married + kids against those who are childless, for whatever reason. (I am one of those folks, btw.)

    Just sayin’… (and no hard feelings!)

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    Warning, this may be TMI time for some of you. If so, skip this post.

    Babies are all so different. I was encouraged to put my first born on a four hour feeding schedule. I was bracing for his tears. Turns out my little boy only wanted to eat every 3 1/2 or 4 hours naturally. I never did much of anything to make it so. He just came out that way. Due to great amounts of stress in my life (my baby was the least stressful thing in my life- how awesome is someone’s life that the MOST stressful thing is their precious little one?!?!? I want their lives!)… where was I? Yes, due to other stressors my milk dried up at 3 or 4 months.

    When my son was 19 months, God blessed me with another child, a little girl. She needed milk much more often so I fed her more. The poor thing cried constantly for five months until the day my (now) ex husband kicked us out of our apartment. That day my children and I moved into my parent’s home and my precious little girl stopped crying. Right away. But she still needed her food more often than my son did. My milk stayed healthy for a good 16 months at least.

    I don’t think we can make up rules for how everyone should eat as a baby just like we can’t make up rules for what every marriage should look like or what every church should look like. (Though sometimes it’s pretty easy to spot some things that SHOULDN’T be- like abuse.)

    If I could go back and be a mommy again or if I could give advice to new mommies, I’d tell them to go easier on themselves than I did. I’d tell them to not worry so darned much about their kids. I’d tell them to ENJOY their children more. They will be gone in the blink of an eye, the snap of a finger. I would tell them relax and follow their guts a bit more. I would tell them to go take a nap if they needed a nap or go hang with friends if they need that or go take a walk if they needed that. But for crying out loud, don’t let some idiot tell you how to raise your kids if it goes against all of your instincts. Trust your gut. God did a pretty good job when He made it and I don’t think He appreciates it when we let it go to waste.


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    numo, A-MEN! Yes, it was not intentional at all, but it is definitely a belief based on one person’s experience. (“I was not mature until such and such a thing therefore this thing is what makes people mature.”)

    My older sister moved overseas when she was in her mid twenties. Three years later, in all her great wisdom, she told me that one can not be truly mature until they have lived in a different culture. (All I could think of was our lovely grandmothers who have never lived more than one state from where they grew up. Was she saying these women were not as mature as she?) Of course not. What she meant was that she learned some lovely, unique things and that in her mind she could not have imagined learning them had she not lived overseas. Unfortunately, her logic was faulty enough to assume that the path she took was the only one which could lead one to this place.

    I appreciate your pointing out our faulty logic and biases. (If that is the correct word.)


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    Stunned – heehee; I was kind of like your sister when I was (more or less) the same age. 😉 (Not that I’m a font of wisdom now, x decades later…)

    My pov is that of someone who has been single all of their adult life. I think a lot of churches are actually quite discriminatory toward unmarried people (includes widows/widowers and those who are divorced) without realizing it… very sad.

    I don’t enjoy being treated like a superannuated teenager, and have felt *much* better about my state in life since leaving the evangelical/charismatic world. Nobody is lecturing from the pulpit (or elsewhere) about how the highest goal in life is to be a parent, or… [fill in the blanks].

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    I really appreciate your sharing your heart. The highest goal in life is not to be married or be a parent. It’s such a shame that some singles feel marginalized in some Christian circles. How hypocritical!

    Please know that you are loved here at TWW!!!

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    numo, keep preaching it. Seriously, if you don’t mind, I will need your reminders from time to time.

    Thank you.

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    @ Deb and Stunned (and everyone else): thanks so much!!!

    One thing about this blog: people are welcome here; you folks aren’t inclined to put commenters into boxes or discount others’ views when they don’t square with yours, which is orders of magnitude better than what happens on most supposedly “Christian” blogs. (where comments get censored or deleted as a rule.)

    I really appreciate that.

    and hey… I don’t want to sound like I’m still hacked off, or that I have a chip on my shoulder. It’s not as if I was shunned because I was single – more that many evangelical/charismatic churches are *so* oriented toward young couples with little kids that they tend to “forget” about the elderly, those who are widowed/divorced (who might or might not be elderly), etc.

    I also must confess that I have a deep-seated dislike of the word “single” as it is often used in church circles – “the singles,” for instance. Nobody refers to married couples as “the marrieds.” Instead, we say “he’s married or “she’s married,” right?
    That kind of usage emphasizes the fact that we’re speaking of a person, and I think that’s more important that most of us realize… Maybe I’m splitting hairs over usage, but I think it’s important to allow people to have some dignity, instead of making them sound like dollar bills. 😉 (I worked in retail for a long time and “single” = 1 dollar bill. “I need singles” is something you’ll hear all cashiers say if you hang out by the counter long enough…)


    On the Ezzo stuff: I can’t imagine trying to force an infant onto a feeding schedule, let alone all of the rest of the things he claims – it’s scary stuff! (My mom is 87 now, and I mentioned it to her. Suffice it to say that her reply was pretty salty, and not at all favorable to Gary Ezzo.)

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    oh, and: I need reminders, too, Stunned.

    am very open to hearing them when need be, from all of you.

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    “will someone please, please tell these people that babies are all different?”

    Thank you, Lynne.

    I would have gone nuts. Mine never wanted to sleep because she might miss something. She was a wonderful baby…very alert and happy but did not sleep much compared to other babies.

    “Also, all of Ezzo’s parent directed or parent directed this and that seem darn right selfish. Ezzo teaches parents to teach a baby or young child to be other-centered but the methods used involve adults modeling selfish behavior to the child in order to get the child to become unselfish. Ironically, children learn through what we model more than what we say and these children are getting mixed messages at best.”

    I am so glad you pointed this out! the irony is chilling. Seems like the Ezzo’s daughters are modeling exactly what they were taught.

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    Do you have any problem with me posting this over the weekend. the information is fascinating. I still think it is amusing that you help us out in this venue. You are my first, true blue atheist friend if friendship can be defined as occurring over the Internet.

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    Thanks for adding to the discussion. This info is so helpful.

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    I believe the church has done a poor job in including the single population in its theology. I find it amusing that the oh so serious comps pontificate about the man being the head of the family. What happens to those who are not married? Must they run around looking for someone to be their head? Or have the theologians got it wrong? Jesus is the Head of all. Man is adding a man made layer that smells an awful lot like the old teaching of the RCC that the priest is the intercessory between man and God. Once again, for some, it is a control thing that some men and a few women, in particular, really, really like because it appeals to their fragile egos.

    Nope singles are guided as much as any married person, perhaps even more. Why do I say that? Does anyone remember Paul saying that he wished more people could remain single as he did. Why would that be the case if he knew that all women must have a man to be her head?

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    Well stated, as usual.

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    Some would claim that one could not be mature unless one married or had kids. Paul thought it would be good to be single. Maturity is not measured by specific life experiences. It is measured in the depth of understanding of one’s life and the ability to share the Good News of the Gospel.

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    I would love to hear your mom’s exact “salty” words.

    I have a question. Are there any good resources out there regarding how to integrate a single person into the leadership of the church? Shouldn’t their be more deacons and elders who are single? And don’t anyone make the mistake of quoting the Titus thing to me-if it were so, Paul would have been excluded from leadership.

    There is this woman that I have read about who is beloved in a certain group of churches who is single. She says that she cannot have any opinion on leadership because she is a woman. And I guess that means if her pastor is preaching heresy she need to keep her mouth shut because she is female. What a pile of codswallop.

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    I find it amusing that the oh so serious comps pontificate about the man being the head of the family. What happens to those who are not married? Must they run around looking for someone to be their head?

    In my personal experience among some of the more hardline Ft. Lauderdale Five-type discipleship churches, well… the PASTORS are supposed to be the “covering” for single women.

    Which all reminds me of Pandora opening the lid of the box that contained all the evils, you know?

    As for resources, I haven’t seen any, but surely there are some out there – though more than likely, none under the names of publishing houses that sell mainly to the evangelical and charismatic crowds. (Of course, there *are* women out there who claim to be both apostles and prophets within the Third Wave crowd, but I don’t especially want to go there, either…)

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    Oops, forgot to close a tag above!

    I would *love* to see some emphasis on churches understanding the resources they’ve got in widows/widowers, the elderly, the handicapped, the people who never seem to be quite “with the program” (etc. etc. etc.). But I think most stuff that’s related to membership is about how to be a good churchgoer (in general).

    That makes it more of a club than anything else, i think, and I remember my shock at reading “The Peacemaker” (highly recommended to me some years back by an SGM member who’s an old friend) and seeing that pastors seem to be held completely sacrosanct… no, there could/should *never* be any conflict with a “pastor” in that writer’s views.


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    No book or method can tell you 100% how to feed your baby. That is the emphasis in Babywise. It is parent-directed feeding. You as a loving mother take suggestions from a parenting method, but apply it to your individual baby and individual situation. The onus is on you. You need the common sense to apply any parenting method in a loving compassionate way to YOUR baby. I take offense that we are compared to all the animals, some of which will desert, or consume their young, or in the case of hyenas, where the young consume each other. We are a unique creation in the image of God, to raise our children with a moral conscience, which no animal has. I loved Babywise, it gave me more motivation to do what is best for my baby, and if the baby is lonely, cuddle him, if he is bored, entertain him, if he has tummy pain, hold him in a way that puts pressure on a tummy full of gas, if he is tired, rock him to sleep, and if he is hungry, feed him. However, DO NOT just assume that because the baby is crying that he is hungry. That teaches a toddler that the answer to all problems in life is food! We can see that 64% of Americans are overweight or obese, and myself and my husband believe that the demand feeding methods taught to new mothers definitely plays a role in that. Demand fed babies become demand fed toddlers, children and teenagers. If they whine, give them food. No, that is not the answer, but clock feeding is also not the answer. You as a parent have a regular feeding time in mind, but you feed the child if you can see that he is hungry at any time, if you have first explored the possibility that he might be lonely, bored, frustrated about something, tired, etc. As an adult, this also should be our first line of action when we see ourselves heading for the refridgerator when it is not a meal time. Emotional eating is a big problem. Eat at regular times. Find other things to do when lonely, tired, bored, frustrated. We found that children raised in this way were much less whiney! So: be the parent, and at the end of the day, it is your responsibility that your baby is greatly loved, cuddled, and fed when YOU can see that he is truly hungry.

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    I believe that the link between demand feeding and childhood obesity does not exist. In fact, it is the lack of exercise and parents who are too busy to provide healthy dining options for the children that provides the most direct correlation. Emotional eating comes out of experiences in childhood, where, once again, parents are too busy with their own lives to provide emotional support for the children.

    I find Ezzo’s correlation of infant demand feeding to childhood obesity ridiculous and a false parallel.The American Academy of Pediatrics would concur. Listen to experts not someone with no relevant training.

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    I would agree that cue feeding is inversely related to obesity because the baby is trusted to listen to his or her own internal hunger and satiety cues rather than the external direction of the parents. This is one reason a breast fed baby has a reduced risk of obesity; because the baby stops when he or she is filled and the mother doesn’t have two ounces of formula to coax into the baby’s stomach.

    Appetite and satiety are very complex issues and I do not belileve Gary Ezzo is qualified to intelligently opine on the subject.

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    Dear Elma, thanks for sharing. I have never met a parent who fed their baby every single time the baby cried without checking to see if the baby had other needs. Have youpersonally ever known anyone who has done that?

    It seems as if you have set up a dilema that has never existed in a reality that anyone has ever encountered.

    You discuss American parents though obesity is on thee rise in China and in regions around the works. I believe your husband was raised in South Africa

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    Sorry About that. I got cut off. I was going to ask if you were born and raised in the US or had ever done any formal studying on the US culture in relation t to obesity. Not that your thoughts would be invalid if you were born and raised elsewhere. Heck, I have lots of Safer friends.

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    I have read your testimony over at the Ezzo Truth website.

    Your husband wrote the following at the above link:

    “These parent-contolled feeding principles improve people’s lifestyles and makes having a baby in the family an enjoyable experience. My wife breastfed our youngest until he was 3 years old, and he never tugged and begged to be breastfed. He always knew we would feed him when the time was right.”

    Elma, I have a very sincere question for you. Since your husband stated that you breastfed your youngest until he was three, how were you able to sleep through the night and continue to maintain your supply of breast milk for that long?

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    “I find Ezzo’s correlation of infant demand feeding to childhood obesity ridiculous and a false parallel.The American Academy of Pediatrics would concur. Listen to experts not someone with no relevant training.”

    Now, through research, Bariatric doctors are recommending that obese people eat small amounts, 5-6x a day. Why? Because the body eventually learns not to store excess fat because it becomes used to the fact that you will feed it.

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    You may take offense that we are compared to animals, but like it or not, we ARE animals, even if you believe we are created. Looking at our natural milk supply, it’s fat content and how other animals behave is a valid comparison, in the same way that we know from looking at our teeth and digestive tracts and comparing with other animals helps us to understand that we are omnivores and not herbivores or carnivores exclusively.

    You refer frequently to “common sense” an oxymoron if ever there was one. I think what most of the people here where looking for was actual evidence which gives support to on demand feeding, especially in the light of many authoritative sources which are saying that it is not the best way to approach the issue.


    Publish anything of mine you’d like…I’d be honored.

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    Mea culpa, I meant to say looking for evidence in support of parent directed feeding (not on demand feeding)…see what happens as you age 🙂

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    I would like to see addressed some of the following items which I’ve come across as well. All of these are comments, concerns and resources are to be found on the web, they represent only a fraction of the negative resources out there. Lest anyone think this is a small scale operation, GFI programs are reportedly used in 93 countries, 17 languages, and over a million homes. (Information derived from 12 November 1997 printout from Leader to Leader on GFI Forum, GFI brochure, and GFI 16 February 1998 website response to the 9 February 1998 Christianity Today article.) Seventy thousand parents attend GFI classes at local churches around the world every week.23 These classes are led by volunteers from within the churches, using GFI’s videotapes. Leaders are instructed on how to set up and lead a class in accordance with GFI rules and principles through a leader’s guide, leadership tapes, and leadership conferences. GFI has also developed an optional leader certification program to further educate and train volunteer class leaders.

    1. Most troubling of all, when approached with these concerns by parents and professionals alike, the Ezzos have responded in an inappropriate manner. Rather than addressing head-on the valid concerns that have been raised about their materials, the Ezzos routinely attack their critics and dismiss their concerns as “anti-Christian. –Focus on the Family statement, Sept. 2004

    2. On July 25, 2000, John MacArthur of Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship wrote a letter that he would like to be publicly available to those researching Gary Ezzo and his parenting materials:

    The following is the 9-14-2000 revision of that statement and has been approved of by Grace’s board of elders.

    Gary Ezzo and GFI

    Almost three years ago, the elders of Grace Community Church issued a public statement about Growing Families International (GFI) and Gary Ezzo. In addition to several concerns about the extra-biblical content of GFI materials and divisive tendencies in the GFI program, we also initially voiced some rather significant concerns about Mr. Ezzo’s personal character. Specifically, we reported that he had shown a pattern of resisting accountability, and that he was not always truthful. (We had become aware of several instances in which Mr. Ezzo twisted the truth, ranging from a false claim that he held a degree he had never really earned, to the spreading of false reports about our church in a manner that appeared to be deliberately divisive.)

    Mr. Ezzo subsequently met with one of our elders and expressed a desire to rectify our major concerns about his character. He assured us that he was making himself accountable to a group of men he trusted–the pastor and elders of Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship (LHEF).

    In the interest of seeking peace, we issued a revised and abbreviated version of our public statement. In that revised statement, the concerns we had raised about Mr. Ezzo’s integrity and accountability were no longer expressly mentioned, pending further action on Mr. Ezzo’s part to mitigate or allay those concerns. After the revised statement was issued, however, Mr. Ezzo made no further attempt to address the larger concerns we had raised about his personal character.

    Recent events have greatly troubled us and reminded us of the difficult and often painful duty that is ours as overseers who must warn the flock about divisive influences (cf. Acts 20:28-32). Recently, we learned that Mr. Ezzo has been excommunicated from LHEF.

    Only the barest details about what led to LHEF’s discipline against Mr. Ezzo have been made known. We have nonetheless been able to verify that LHEF’s discipline of Mr. Ezzo involves the very same issues we raised in our initial public statement: Gary Ezzo’s lack of truthfulness and his refusal to be held accountable. It is not without significance that the men who have excommunicated him are the same men to whom he claimed to be making himself accountable. This has clearly become a pattern of behavior with Mr. Ezzo. LHEF is at least the third church Mr. Ezzo has left with questions pending about his character.

    It appears rather obvious on biblical grounds that Mr. Ezzo’s refusal to heed his own church’s discipline disqualifies him from Christian leadership or public ministry in any context. After all, the first and most important qualification for those who would lead the church is that they be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2, 10; Titus 1:6).

    We believe Scripture demands that unrepentant sin in cases such as this should not be covered up or handled in secret (cf. Matthew 18:17; 1 Timothy 5:20). Regretfully, therefore, we also need to state that the concerns we initially raised about Mr. Ezzo’s character were never satisfactorily addressed by him.

    We are deeply saddened to have to make such a statement, but because Mr. Ezzo was once an elder in our church, we believe we have a particular duty to sound a clear warning to the church at large about an influence that continues to be divisive.

    Board of Elders
    Grace Community Church
    Sun Valley, CA”

    3. Snippets an article by From Kathleen Terner, M.B.A., a research associate of the Christian Research Institute and who has been researching GFI’s materials for two years:

    Parenting programs authored by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo and promoted by Growing Families International (GFI), including Preparation for Parenting and Growing Kids God’s Way, are both wildly popular and highly controversial. The programs mix sound parenting advice with highly disputable ideas, but this does not fully account for the controversy. GFI has provoked unprecedented public censure from Christian leaders because, although it is not a cult, it has consistently exhibited a pattern of cultic behavior, including Scripture twisting, authoritarianism, exclusivism, isolationism, and physical and emotional endangerment.

    To say that Growing Families International (GFI) is controversial within the Christian community is an understatement.

    The controversy surrounding GFI, which publishes parenting programs authored by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo, has been reported in Christianity Today, World, The Wall Street Journal and ABC World News Tonight, as well as numerous smaller media outlets.

    GFI has been criticized by a multitude of Christian leaders as well as secular child development authorities. For example, according to a public statement, Focus on the Family (Focus) has received numerous reports of “failure-to-thrive in infants subjected to” the Ezzos’ program Preparation for Parenting (PFP). and does “not recommend the Ezzos’ material.” Grace Ketterman, M.D., a nationally recognized Christian pediatrician, child psychiatrist, and author, believes the program will lead to “a lot more rebellion, a lot more hurt and angry children,” and says “the lack of trust that emerges” from the program “is a foundation for family problems.” John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church (Grace), where the programs got their start, affirms in a public statement that the Ezzos’ teachings demonstrate “a lack of clarity on certain fundamental doctrinal issues,” “confusion between biblical standards and matters of personal preference,” and “insufficient attention to the child’s need for regeneration,” as well as a “tendency to isolationism.”

    A child abuse prevention council’s religious task force (including evangelical Christian pastors) investigating GFI programs found that they were not developmentally and age appropriate. It further concluded that the programs did not consider individual temperament, have a balance of loving guidance and discipline, or foster parental discernment.

    GFI programs have repeatedly produced division among Christians. Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship, where the Ezzos now attend, took form essentially as a splinter group from Grace — because of controversy regarding Gary Ezzo. Grace has expressed concern over an “elitist attitude” associated with GFI “which has proved to be a threat to unity in several churches — including our own.” They publicly rebuked Gary Ezzo on several points “for the sake of other churches that are…also in danger of being divided.”

    Debra and Pat Baker were involuntarily “released from membership” and even barred from unofficial church functions after voicing concerns about PFP at Covenant Fellowship of Philadelphia. Meanwhile, parents can’t baptize their infants at Christ Episcopal Church in Plano, Texas, unless they commit to attending the GFI program Growing Kids God’s Way (GKGW) as part of their baptismal covenant. Other parents can’t send their children to the Country Oaks Baptist Church school in Tehachapi, California, unless they have completed the course.

    All three original key GFI leadership couples who worked with the Ezzos to develop, teach, and promote GFI’s programs (Eric and Julie Abel, Dirk and Cheryl Williams, and one other couple who asked not to be named) have decided to leave GFI at different points in time. The reason expressed by them all: strong concerns about the issue of integrity and the content and impact of the programs.

    4. A number of health care professionals have also raised serious concerns with Reflections of Moral Innocence, the Ezzos’ tape and video series that discusses how and what sexual information should be passed on to children. The Ezzos advise parents not to use exact or descriptive words for genitalia. Children are not to be told the details of sexual intercourse, even the night before the wedding, but instead are to be instructed in sex education using the diagram of a flower.109 The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Orange County describes how such teaching will not only “encourage children to seek answers to their questions from outside the home” but also limit children’s ability to “protect themselves from sexual abuse or exploitation.”

    5. The Ezzos speak to the felt need of Christians in our permissive society to raise disciplined, godly children. They stress the importance of training children to honor their parents’ authority by observing a standard of first-time, immediate, and complete obedience to parental directives. In cases where children deliberately disobey the standard, discipline must consistently follow, and the Ezzos dogmatically affirm that spanking is the appropriate form of discipline.

    6. While GFI takes Scripture out of context to prove that some of its teachings are from God, it does not shy away from according a similar divine status to other teachings that clearly have no biblical support whatsoever. On the one hand, GFI materials acknowledge that “God is silent on the topic of infant feeding” and that “the Bible is not specific” on how to “produce a morally responsible child.” On the other hand, their infant care book is subtitled “God’s Order for your Baby’s Day” and their child-rearing book is titled “Growing Kids God’s Way.” Contrary views — even those advanced by Christians — are labeled non-Christian. The overriding tone of the books is dogmatic and authoritative. They are full of feeding, sleeping, and playtime schedules and rules and “non-negotiable mandates” for parents to follow. Issues that the Bible is silent on and that Christians generally consider matters of convenience or personal or cultural preference become matters of Christian morality: how well a child sleeps is discussed in terms of the parents’ spirituality; directing a pretoddler’s behavior in the high chair is called “moral training”; an appendix in Growing Kids God’s Way teaches that a child’s behavior at the table is “an extension of Christian character.”

    7. GFI parents tend to insulate their children from other children — including Christian children — who are not part of the GFI ‘community.’…GFI parents have been known to sever all relationships with non-GFI families. To some degree, GFI teaching is directly responsible for encouraging this attitude.

    In fact, GFI even advises parents of newborns to delay the timing of visiting grandparents, saying such a visit “can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on your relationship and just how like-minded you are…A husband can help by shielding his wife, protecting her from unwelcome intrusions.” This advice may predispose the new parents to distrust the opinions of those who suggest an alternative viewpoint to that of GFI — even the baby’s own grandparents.”

    8. Another controversial aspect of GFI is an emphasis on parental control from infancy on — control that has been associated with infant failure to thrive cases and has raised concerns about the potential for hurt and angry children. A number of experts and professional organizations in the fields of medicine, child development, and lactation have taken the unprecedented action of publicly warning parents about the potential dangers of GFI programs.

    A committee from the Division of Pediatrics at Forsyth Memorial Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, alarmed by a problem case in their hospital, outlined 11 areas in PFP that are inadequately supported by conventional medical practice and warned the local church teaching it. The Santa Clara Valley Breastfeeding Task Force (affiliated with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department) issued a letter to local Christian leaders voicing concern about GFI’s infant feeding program after becoming aware of several infants on the program who were experiencing problems associated with poor weight gain. Pediatricians from seven states and Puerto Rico recently endorsed an AAP resolution that outlined concerns with PFP and BW, cited reports of failure-to-thrive, and asked the Academy to investigate PFP and BW and “alert its members, other organizations, and parents of its findings.”

    9. A Statement Regarding Gary Ezzo and Growing Families International:

    Grace Community Church is no longer affiliated in any way with Growing Families International (GFI). For several years we have had growing concerns about GFI’s undue stress on non-biblical matters. For example, we see no biblical basis for the stance GFI takes on infant feeding methods.

    A corresponding effect of the stress on non-biblical issues is that important biblical issues, particularly the doctrine of depravity and the child’s need for regeneration, do not, in our opinion, receive sufficient emphasis. When the doctrine of human depravity is dealt with, it is sometimes handled in a confusing fashion.

    We are also troubled about a divisive tendency we have seen associated with GFI, beginning with parents who isolate their children from others not trained in GFI principles. That can lead to an elitist attitude, which has proved to be a threat to unity in several churches–including our own.

    We have shared these and other concerns with Gary Ezzo, and do not believe it would be helpful for us to make any further public statements about these matters. ”

    10. LONDON — Dr. Penelope Leach, child-rearing guru and advocate of unlimited affection for children, appears ready to administer a spanking. The British psychologist and author of the parental advice bible “Your Baby and Child” will not, however, be putting any kiddies over her knee. Instead, her sights are set on American Gary Ezzo, an evangelical Christian minister and competing child-care expert who, with his wife, Anne Marie, advocates a “tough love” approach to child-raising. That approach includes spanking as well as scheduled feedings, scheduled potty training and a rule that infants be left to cry themselves to sleep at the age of 8 weeks.

    I believe their programs incite child abuse and should carry a government health warning,” says Leach, poised with a great deal of tension on a couch in her Hampstead home office. “We don’t allow pediatric pornography, so we should not allow this.

    That which should not be allowed is a visit to England by the Ezzos, who plan to invade Leach’s territory this week to give a series of lectures (the largest is set to take place at London’s Westminster Chapel on Saturday). Leach, backed by an alliance of 200 organizations called Children Are Unbeatable, has condemned the Ezzos as “dangerous” and has attempted to ban them from any advocacy on British soil. (The British government has not yet responded to her demand.)

    11. Ezzo himself holds neither a 2-year nor 4-year college degree. He does hold a Master of Ministry degree granted by a program that accepted life experience in lieu of an earned college diploma but has no medical or lactation credentials

    and lastly….

    Dr. Barbara Francis, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Southern California and a member of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, has written an extensive critique of GFI, much of which details the Ezzos’ lack of appreciation for normal child development. “In all areas, babies are taught to obey at levels that are not consistent with their capabilities. This skewed perspective results in what could be dangerous interpretations of a child’s behavior.”

    Dr. Francis sums up her assessment of GFI: “Babies are taught from the day of birth not to be demanding, and yet the parents are encouraged to be extremely demanding of their child’s behavior. Children are not allowed immediate gratification (even as newborns), yet parents are given the right to have immediate gratification of every request. (“first time, every time”)…Time after time, babies and children are expected to behave in ways that are inconsistent with their God-designed level of development in order to satisfy the (often-arbitrary) comfort of the parents…The GFI model contains a myriad of specific and detailed instructions for raising children. Within those instructions are gross distortions, blatant misrepresentations, and dogmatic assertions that are at best unsubstantiated, and at worst duplicitous…Age-appropriate, God-given needs are labeled as sinful…The knowledge of Christian medical and child development experts is being replaced by unsubstantiated opinion.”

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    Quote: “Perhaps Babywise is just a by-product of the “Me” generation. “it’s all about ME ME ME! The world revolves around ME. The baby needs to cater to MY schedule. I need MY sleep!!!
    What selfishness!”

    I was a Babywise/Prep for Parenting mom with my first 2+ babies (#3 was my transition baby, by #4 I had rejected it.)

    The appeal of BW at the time was NOT selfish in any way–oh, no–I only wanted to do what was best for my baby. BW plays both sides of the coin — both that it will make your life easier… and also you as the parent are choosing a more narrow and difficult path because you love your child.

    While the appeal of BW was not selfish, the attitudes and “conveniences” of scheduling and sleeping DID play into my innate selfishness and brought out a more “me-centered” way of thinking in me, all the while I thought I was better serving my babies and family.

    I was a textbook BW mom, losing my milk supply at about 4 months (see this article on the endocrine/autocrine supply theory). With our first, we had the whole rigmarole of failure to thrive and everything that goes with it.

    AND, I really WAS using flexibility and common sense (or at least I thought so.) But when mothers are using faulty information as the framework for decision making, bad decisions will be made. I was even lucky(?) enough to have a real life support network of “Growing Moms” including the Southeast US GFI rep. I was getting “good advice” and still — did any of them (or me) see the onset of a lowered milk supply? The skinnier baby was simply looking longer and taller. . . Crying? He must be sleepy (couldn’t be hungry — he “just” ate in the eat/wake/sleep routine, even though that was 2 hours ago.)

    Again I will say, even flexibility, common sense, and a mother knowing her baby is not sufficient when medical and developmental misinformation is providing the framework for decision making.

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    The whole reason I started to comment is that the so-called “Ezzotruth” site is ostensibly not run by Gary Ezzo, but by those who are so invested in what he teaches that are unwilling to have it questioned.

    I have been in communication with some of those involved and know that several people and incidents on the “Ezzotruth” site are misrepresented (myself included, though I am not the only one.)

    But, that misrepresentation is the same pattern that has characterized Gary Ezzo and the promotion of his ideas since the early 90s.

    I’m simply stating this for those who follow the link. . . remember, caveat emptor.