Critiques, Reviews & Professional Analyses of Babywise and Preparation for Parenting

Medical Concerns

AAP Media Alert | PDF version
American Academy of Pediatrics Statement on Parent Directed Feeding Schedules

Examining the Evidence for Cue Feeding (PDF file)
by Jan Barger, RN, MS, IBCLC and Lisa Marasco, MA, IBCLC

Getting Wise to Babies (PDF file, 2004)
by Dr. Ian Harrison, MB, BS, FRANZCP (Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists)

Conflicting Messages--A Review of Babywise 2001 | Printer-friendly version
by Kathy Thile

What to Make of Babywise -- (PDF file)
Childbirth Instructor Journal, Nov/Dec 1999, Patty Donohue-Carey, BS, LCCE, CLE

BabyWise? BeWary! Who is Gary Ezzo and why... (PDF file)
Tulsa Kids, part one, by Cindy Webb, B.S.

BabyWise? BeWary! What Ezzo Doesn't Know About Child Development... (PDF file)
Tulsa Kids, part two, by Cindy Webb, B.S.

Scheduled Feedings
Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC, explains how babies' feedings fit into real life

Parenting Experiment
by Mary Ann Griffin, RN, CNM and Jan Barger, RN, MA, IBCLC

Thirty-five unsubstantiated and/or false medical statements in Babywise '95
by Matthew Aney, M.D.

Religious Parenting Programs: Their Relationship to Child Abuse Prevention
The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Orange County
Parenting Program Committee Report, Preparation for Parenting portion, May 14 1996

Problems with the 45-minute intruder portions of the 2001 Babywise
by Laurie Moody, lactation counselor and former GFI volunteer "contact mom"

Sheila Kitzinger's Letter from Europe: Boot Camps for Babies
BIRTH: Issues in Perinatal Care, March 2006

Whats the Fuss over Babywise and Preparation for Parenting?
by Tyler Horner, Ph. D.

Analysis of GFI's information on co-sleeping and SIDS
from 1997, an analysis of a then-current GFI article may still be useful

Babywise--Not So Wise
by Moire Porter, article first appeared in The Early Childhood Educator, Winter 2001

Dangers of "Crying it Out"
by Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., professor of psychology at University of Notre Dame, writing in Psychology Today, Dec 2011 (This is an indirect critique that amasses research-based information about crying in babies from a secular perspective.)

Theological Concerns

More than a Parenting Ministry
by Kathleen Terner and Elliot Miller, Christian Research Journal

The Ethics of Ezzo
by Tony Payne, Matthias Media (despite the title, the article is about how Ezzo uses the Bible in his presentation.)

An Evaluation of Ezzo Parenting Programs  | PDF file
by Dr. Kent McClain

On Becoming Childwise: A Critique
by Laurie Moody

Growing Kids the Ezzo Way
by Dr. Philip Ryken, 10th Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia

Growing Kids God's Way -- Not Ezzo's
On the Cultic Mindset, Ezzoism, and Sleeping Through the Night
by Dr. Bob Bixby, Morningstar Baptist Church

A Critique of Growing Kids God's Way
Biblical Discernment Ministries

Religious Parenting Programs: Their Relationship to Child Abuse Prevention
The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Orange County
Parenting Program Committee Report, theological section May 14 1996

Letter to the Elders about Preparation for Parenting Class
Steve Rein's letter to his church elders after attending this class

Mothering in the Shadow of the Cross
by Rebecca Prewett

Scheduling, Routine, Flexibility, and Responsiveness: Muddling through the Maze of Conflicting Baby Advice
by Rebecca Prewett

Woman to Woman
by Helen Aardsma

Whose Way, After All?
by Barbara Curtis

Unto the Least of These
booklet by Rebecca Lewis

Preparation for Behavioral Pediatrics
by Rebecca Prewett

Some Concerns about the Ezzo Method
by Rebecca Prewett

In Response
by Rebecca Prewett (responds to Ezzo's rebuttal of above article--unfortunately no longer available on-line)

Strict Parenting Schedules
from the Couple to Couple league

Neo-Evangelizing the Catholic Parent with an Alien Gospel
by Dr. Thomas and Jacintha Mezzetti
(Protestant parents may find much of value in this critique as well.)

  • Professionals Say
  • Signs of Hunger
  • Recent Research
  • A Mom Says

Rosemary Shy, MD , FAAP
Director, Children's Choice of Michigan Ambulatory Pediatrics
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Wayne State University, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, Mich

"It is dangerous to do it the way he describes," Pediatrician Dr. Rosemary Shy says of Ezzo's technique. "It puts these babies at risk for jaundice, at risk for dehydration, and at risk for failing to thrive, all of which we’ve seen." -- Wilson, Steve, "Baby Care Controversy," WXYZ-Detroit, November 14, 2004


Arnold Tanis, MD, FAAP
1999 recipient, John H. Whitcomb Outstanding Pediatrician Award, presented by the Florida Pediatric Society and the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

"There is no scientific basis whatsoever in their philosophy....It is contrary to what nature intended.

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Watch Your Baby's Signs of Hunger

Although Babywise says to feed a hungry baby, it usually instructs parents to observe a time interval between feedings, or a certain order of events, such as only feeding the baby after she wakes up. There's another way to tell that your baby is hungry. You can watch your baby for her own signs of hunger.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends watching for the following early signs or cues by which your baby lets you know when she's hungry.

  • Small movements as she starts to awaken
  • Whimpering or lip-smacking
  • Pulling up arms or legs toward her middle
  • Stretching or yawning
  • Waking and looking alert
  • Putting hands toward her mouth
  • Making sucking motions
  • Moving
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Maternal use of parent led routines associated with short breastfeeding duration.

Published Feb 12, 2014
Brown A, Arnott B (2014) Breastfeeding Duration and Early Parenting Behaviour: The Importance of an Infant-Led, Responsive Style. PLoS ONE 9(2): e83893. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083893

"Results: Formula use at birth or short breastfeeding duration were significantly associated with low levels of nurturance, high levels of reported anxiety and increased maternal use of Parent-led routines . Conversely an infant-led approach characterised by responding to and following infant cues was associated with longer breastfeeding duration."

Raising Emotionally Healthy Children - 2014 Video

This KET Special Report looks at the importance of social and emotional development in the first years of life, featuring experts on infant and child development in Kentucky.

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Our first child was born in the summer of 09, and I promptly began trying to apply the Babywise method. The book had been highly recommended by a distant relative, and promised structure and sanity amidst the exhaustion and upheaval I felt as a new mother. However, our baby did not respond the way the book promised he would if we followed the schedule. All my attempts to adhere to the book led to deep frustration, arguments with my husband (who knew better than to let a book dictate our newborn's schedule), feeling like a failure, and the worst--resentment of my infant. Why couldn't he sleep and eat like the book said he should be doing? The Ezzos presented their arguments as infallible.
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Babywise and Preparation for Parenting

Free downloadable parent education brochure

research-based answers
print and share with your pediatrician
leave some with your health department
Give one to your pastor or Christian ed department

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Key Documentation

Excommunication Statement

Statement about Ezzo - Materials

Statement about Ezzo - Character

"The Cultic Characteristics of Growing Families International"
(originally titled "More than a Parenting Ministry")

(orginally titled "A Matter of Bias?")

Unprepared to Teach Parenting?

Babywise Publisher Plans Contract Cancellation

Media Alert