Email from Eric Abel

In the spring of 2006, details of Eric Abel's departure from GFI came under question. It was brought to my attention by Tom Reed, a teacher of GFI parenting classes, that this timeline had omitted Mr. Abel's intermediate employment at GFI after he resigned as Director of Ministry while he job-hunted. The implication was that this circumstance negated the Abels' concerns. I contacted the Abels to ask about this.

Eric and Julie Abel's email of 5/19/06 explains:

It is no secret that while we parted company with the Ezzos in 1994, Eric served as a graphic designer until a new position could be found.  During those days, our relationship was tenuous, and despite the growing differences, the Ezzos were gracious to agree to keep us functionally employed through February 1996.

Our extended departure may be better understood when you consider that we were cofounders of this organization. We were not merely employees but “ministry partners.” Other than the Ezzos, we were the most highly visible personalities in the organization. Julie and I were featured guests on virtually all of their audio & video products, which continued to be sold years after our departure. In fact, Preparation for Parenting was originally dedicated to Julie’s influence. This depth of involvement added complexity to our leaving as we did not wish to cause harm to the organization, to the Ezzos, or to the many friends and family who were also involved in a deep way. Our influence was dominant and we chose to move away slowly and amiably.

We were fully entrenched into a culture and belief system that made our departure drawn out. Our personal identity was tied to a cult-like involvement including family, friends, church, school, and ministry. Additionally, we had a close relationship with the Ezzos and their children. Our separation was not harsh but took sensitivity and grace by both parties.

Also, Mr. Reed is entirely mistaken when he implies that we were asked to resign. We voluntarily stepped down from leadership as we could no longer support the direction of the Ezzos or their organization. Mr. Reed may want to get clarification by the Ezzos as I am sure they will agree that our overbearing concern at the time was their lack of accountability, an issue that seems to have haunted them throughout their life.

It is admirable that the Ezzos have an advocate in Mr. Reed but I am afraid that no one will ever fully understand the depth and breadth of the relational issues surrounding those that have broken ties with the Ezzos, including their own children and closest friends. We are hopeful, that despite all the problems, God will continue to perfect all of us to His glory….someway…somehow.

Eric & Julie Abel

  • 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
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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