11 August 2011
Breaking Down Babywise ~ Part I
The first time I heard of Babywise was when I was pregnant with Aedyn. The former pastor of our church at the time and his wife swore by the method. Most of my friends were dead set on using it. If the pastors were doing it and recommending it, it must be the right thing!
It didn't sound right to me then, but I didn't stir the pot. I stuck very much to "Well, if it feels right for your family, then that's your choice." Now I feel quite a bit different. Now I hope that EVERY SINGLE ONE of my friends reads this and stops using this method of parenting; and I'm not going to keep my mouth shut anymore if I hear someone considering it.
For those of you who haven't heard of the Ezzos, they are a "Christian" couple who conduct classes on parenting. Among the books that they have written or co-written are: Let the Children Come: Along the Infant Way and On Becoming Babywise (Commonly called just "Babywise"). These are the two that I'll be referencing the most. Babywise is essentially Along the Infant Way with all the church words taken out. Neither have had any training in child development, pediatric medicine, breastfeeding, or psychology. Gary Ezzo has no associate's or bachelor's degree, but somehow has a M.A. in Christian Ministry (credited due to "life experience"). Anne Marie Ezzo worked as a RN many years ago and to my knowledge has not kept her credentials up to date.
For the first 3 parts of this series I'm going to leave out all of the Christian principles and guidelines. They wrote Babywise for a non-religious group, so we're going to handle it that way. Depending on how I feel and the response I get I'll tackle things from a Biblical standpoint next week in the possible part 4.
A few weeks ago I came across an article that opened up a whole new section of the internet to me. I don't remember if it was tweeted, shared, liked, or posted, but somehow I found out that I wasn't the only one not drinking the Ezzo kool-aid. Not only was I not drinking the kool-aid, my gut feelings about Babywise were backed by quite a large population, including the American Association of Pediatrics.
Much of what moved me from quiet disagreement to outright condemnation was not their inaccurate breastfeeding information or questionable sleep strategies. It was what I found out about the author. Gary Ezzo has been asked to leave two different churches and positions of leadership. Grace Community Church, where he served under John MacArthur, and Living Hope Evangelical Fellowship. Further, Grace Community and MacArthur have formally withdrawn any support and affiliation with the Ezzos and their parenting program, they have also issued a waring to their congregation and others about the Ezzos and their teaching. Living Hope not only asked them to leave but excommunicated the couple. Both churches cited lack of truthfulness and refusal to be held accountable. (You can find more details about that here and here.)
If you read the second article all the way through, you'll also notice that the Ezzo's daughters and their families cut ties and remain estranged from the couple. Ummm, if their parenting philosophy has resulted in that, do you really want to try and do things their way?
To my knowledge, the Ezzo's have never answered any of these issues directly. Instead they play the politician's game of dancing around the question and painting themselves as victims. They try to throw dirt on a laundry list of respected Christian leaders, Lactation Consultants, and Pediatricians, plus they attack their accounting firm (who dropped them due to "ethical concerns") and their publisher (who could not verify medical claims made in their books). And while MR. Gary Ezzo maintains that he doesn't call himself "Dr." he hasn't corrected others who do call him that, even when the error occurs on public, national television. Hmmm, maybe they should run for government office! They'd fit right in...
If their character and professional history hasn't been enough for you to question the credibility of Babywise, then maybe tomorrow's post will give you a bit more to think about. Find Part II here and Part III here.
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