Quotes from 1990-1993 Preparation for Parenting

Preparation for Parenting, 3rd Edition (c. 1990-1993)

Some quotes from the 3rd edition, Preparation for Parenting by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo:

Chapter 1: Establishing a Biblical Mindset

"Because the desire for continual and immediate gratification begins at birth, the need for cultivating self-control in your child also begins then. Only the naive parent fails to recognize the importance of starting early."

Chapter 3: Feeding Philosophies and Maternal Practice

"Establishing a biblical mindset for infant parenting requires an understanding of feeding practices of the past and present. The first application of your parenting philosophy will show up in the way you choose to feed your little one. Different philosophies represent different feeding practices and different infant management styles. This critical concept needs to be understood: For every philosophy of parenting there is a corresponding pathology--a corresponding health or disease track.

Much more occurs during your baby's feeding time than just filling up a little tummy. The feeding practice you choose as you begin the process of parenting will ultimately set your child's hunger patterns, sleep patterns, and basic disposition." p41

"Parent-controlled feeding concerns itself with creating and maintaining a stable outward structure for your baby that enhances metabolic and neurological stabilization." p 47

"A practical routine similar to PCF was the method used in biblical times and most likely the method used by Mary, the mother of Jesus." p 45

"Here are some examples of PCF flexibility: Your baby has been feeding on average, every three and one-half hours. At three hours he begins to fuss and appears to be hungry. With PCF you may desire to hold off another thirty minutes or you may decide to feed. But the decision is based on your assessment, not the clock or the baby's cry." p 47

"Mothers do not possess a special instinct because there is no need for it." p 51

Chapter 5--Hunger and Sleep Cycles

Two Months

"If you have been following the principles of PCF, this will be the month that your baby drops the nighttime feeding and will begin sleeping continuously six to eight hours....Our survey of mothers shows that 70 percent of PCF babies drop the middle-of-the-night feeding on their own. That leaves 30 percent needing a little nudge, which may necessitate some crying for a few nights until he or she is able to establish unbroken sleep cycles. Crying may be as short as five minutes or as long as an hour."

Chapter 6--Facts on Feeding

As a general rule, you will not feed less than every three hours or more than every four. (See endnote # 6 in Chapter Five.) Anything less than three hours ultimately wears Mom down, often decreasing milk production. Anything over four hours fails to produce the stimulation needed for a sufficient quantity of milk. The right balance between time and stimulation is already worked out for you in the parent-controlled feeding plan.

Chapter 5 Endnote #6:

6. To date, the explanation of the cyclical nature of a three-hour minimum between feeding periods remains a mystery to us. We know that feeding periods with cycles less than three hours prevent the stabilization of hunger and thus the sleep/wake cycles. But predictably, at three hours stabilization occurs. We do not know why. Even if a mother feeds her baby on routine, if that routine characteristically falls less than three hours, the baby will not achieve digestive stabilization and will wake on a recurring basis at night. When that child grows older and mealtimes are stretched, he will still have nighttime sleep difficulties because of the long-term affect of sleep-pattern conditioning.

From Chapter 7, Establishing Your Baby's Routine

"If you stick to a very strict three-hour routine, you can get eight feedings in during a twenty-four hour period. There is nothing wrong with that if you choose to do so for the first few days. But under normal circumstances, your [newborn] baby will only need to take seven feedings in a twenty-four hour period."
p. 105

Daily Cycle at a Glance
1. Feedings
Diaper change (5-10 minutes).
Nursing or bottle (No more than 30 minutes).

2. Wake-Time Activities
Activities for Mom and baby (usually 10-15 minutes)
Activities for baby alone (20-45 minutes)

3. Sleep and Daytime Naps
Naps (1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours).
Through the night by eight weeks (8 hours).
Through the night by twelve weeks (12 hours).

Summary of First Year Feeding
Phase One: Weeks 1-8

Seven to eight daily feedings in the first month. (The number of feedings will depend on whether you begin with a strict three hour routine, or a flexible three to three-and-a-half hour routine.) By the end of this phase, you should be averaging five feedings in a twenty-four hour period with the baby having dropped the middle-of-the-night feeding.

Phase Two: Weeks 9-13
During this phase you will transition from five to four feedings in a twenty-four hour period. That will
place the baby on a four hour routine and will drop the late-evening feeding.

Phase Three: Weeks 14-24
During this phase your baby will maintain four liquid feedings in a twenty-four hour period, three of which will be supplemented with baby food.

Phase Four Weeks 25-52
The process of moving a child to three meals a day should be nearly completed by the beginning of this phase.

Chapter 8--Why Do Babies Cry?

Who's Got the Problem?

Those who are most affected by a baby's cry are the parents (although they do possess a greater cry tolerance than grandparents.) No parent takes pleasure in hearing that sound, and neither will you....p 120

Mothers and fathers who act on the statement, "I can't stand to hear my baby cry," are of great concern to us. What happened to those individuals in their youth that as adults they cannot survive a little crying? Why is crying such an intrusion on their emotions? Is there something in their past that has not been resolved, evoking a haunting memory each time they hear that sound?".... p 121

Praise God that the Father did not intervene when His Son cried out on the cross (Matthew 27:46). If He had stopped the process there would be no redemption for us today. Our Heavenly Father's non-intervention to His Son's cry at that moment was the right response, bringing peace to all who trust in Him (Romans 5:1)....
p. 122

..."Go ahead and pick up your baby whenever he cries. After all, you can't spoil a baby by loving it too much." That is a thoughtless statement and one of the most common defenses offered as an encouragement to young demand-feeding mothers. The issue is not spoiling the child, but building into the child's learning structure a predisposition for immediate gratification, which becomes a destructive influence later in life....
pp. 122-123

Unfortunately babies do cry. We don't like it anymore than anyone else. But we know demand feeding just postpones the inevitable conflict in emotions....p. 123


It should go without saying but we will say it anyway: ignoring a hungry baby's cry is unacceptable. If your baby seems to be hungry all the time, the problem is not with a routine, but with your routine. p.124

You may have reversed the order of wake and nap time activities or you may not be milk sufficient. The latter could be caused by a number of different factors. Lack of sleep, stress, improper diet, meddling mother or mother-in-law. With such influences, leaving your routine or dropping feedings below three hours will not make a mother any more milk sufficient. Such attempts are at best temporary, at worse exhausting [sic]. God has so ordered the body to functions best on routine [sic]. If your baby really is hungry all the time, exam those factors that are influencing your routine [sic]. p.124

How should you respond when your baby cries? Unless your baby is in danger, take time to listen, think, and pray. After that--take action. That's the opposite of what demand feeding advocates advise. They instruct young mothers to simply react and do something to stop the crying. God's way is rational, not emotional. Here is a good habit to get into:

Listen for the type of cry....

Think about where your baby is in his routine....

Pray that God will give you wisdom as His Word promises....

Take Action based on what you have heard and reasonably concluded. Just remember that sometimes the best action to take is no action....

Take note of how long he cries. It can be comforting later to realize that all that noise (which seemed interminable at the time) really lasted only five, ten, or fifteen minutes. p.124-125

Chapter 9--An Alphabetical Topic Pool

Apartment Living and Your Baby

"First forewarn your neighbors that you are going to have a baby and that they may sometimes hear the baby cry....As your baby approaches six to eight weeks of age and you are trying to eliminate the nighttime feeding, there may be a point when you will need to let your baby cry back to sleep. It would probably be helpful to approach your neighbors and explain to them what you're trying to accomplish. Together you can figure out which would be the easiest day of the week to do that. From a neighbor's perspective there is nothing worse than not knowing why someone else's baby is crying in the middle of the night."


"Once parents have brought their infant's eating and sleeping patterns under control, it is time to do the same with wake-time activities. That is best accomplished by using the playpen."

How Should Playpen Time Be Structured?

1. Start by putting your baby in the playpen for fifteen minutes, several times a day....

2. Gradually increase the time your baby spends in the playpen. A twelve-month old can spend up to forty-five minutes to one hour playing happily, twice a day.

  • 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

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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