Thursday, June 16, 2011

Babywise--From the Eyes of an Attached Mother

Earlier this week I posted a controversial article on facebook about Babywise.  It stirred a great conversation.  Actually, most of the responses were from mothers who have used or currently use Babywise. I appreciate the way the conversation on facebook ended with someone suggesting that maybe God knows the way we will mother and gives us our children accordingly.  What a mind blowing, humbling thought!  And really, I bet she is right.  I was encouraged to read the book to find out for myself.  I did read the book and I have to speak up.  I have never read a book and disagreed with more of it.  --I am about the tear the book apart but it's directly at Ezzo, not you, I promise!--

Ezzo really focuses a great deal on Attachment Parenting (AP) throughout the book.  As an attached parent who has now read his book cover to cover, I have to say he really does not understand what it is to be an AP.  He repeatedly refers to the attached baby as a fussy baby, the attached mom as a frazzled mom, and the attached father as one who sleeps on the couch.  I can tell you that is far from the truth in this attached household.  

By page 34 Ezzo and I had set the stage for our disagreement.  He says, "They [AP] claim that this is why you supposedly can never nurse too long or too often.  All wants are to be interpreted as needs, and each nursing experience is a deposit of love."  Shew, that's when I got out my notebook and started jotting down notes.  Guess what Ezzo!?  Newborn babies do NOT manipulate their parents.  Guess what else?!  Their wants are their needs! A newborns cry is their only form of communication.  It is their voice.  By crying a newborn is telling their parent there is something wrong, they have a NEED.  From day one I have viewed my sons cry as his voice and I am better off for it.  If a baby's cry is their voice and they are left to "cry it out" what are they taught in reference to their form of communication?  As far as Ezzo and I go, things all go down hill from there.

Ezzo says that AP stems from the Birth Trauma theory.  Where does he get this?  I've read Dr. Sears' book Attachment Parenting cover to cover and that is not where it comes from.  He explains how they have 8 children.  He is a pediatrician and his wife an RN.  They learned as they parented what worked best came from their God-given instincts as parents.  I do not think AP comes from the birth trauma theory, but lets say it did, my birth was not traumatic!  You can read about it here.  Kurt and I are not AP because we think Oliver was scarred from his birthing experience. Ezzo also bashes an AP moments after birth when baby comes straight to mothers chest saying, "Your baby will not be permanently impaired if there is a lack of physical contact with mom right after birth."  The moments of 'quiet alert' when a newborn is awake and staring intently at his mother and father are incredibly special and set the stage for a lifelong bond and loving relationship.

As I stated previously, Ezzo repeated refers to the attached mother as frazzled, baby as fussy, and dad as pushed to the couch.  As an attached mother, I have times where I'm tried but mostly I'm well rested!  I have time to exercise EVERYDAY.  I cook meals, grocery shop, visit with friends, spend time w/ my husband, and so forth every day.  My son does these things with me.  My husband has not slept on the couch one night since Oliver was born and we started our family bed.  He actually really enjoys it! (As for an increased risk of SIDS b/c of the family bed, check this out.)  Oliver is secure, attached, content, alert, and happy.  He is sleeping through the night (for the most part) on his own.  I did not force a schedule on him nor did I make him cry it out.

This covers several of my main disagreements with Ezzo.  Again, I am not bashing the mothers who are using Babywise.  I am sure you have content, happy babies too.  I just want to point out that I am an attached parent who does not fit the sterotype that Ezzo has for AP.  I am unsure if you all have read anything about AP, but if all you have read is Ezzo's truly skewed take on attachment parenting I encourage you to go to the library and check out AP for yourself.  I read your book, now you need to read mine!

Thanks for reading.  Much, much love!


  1. You know, I've never understood the idea that somehow a happy and content baby, whose needs are being met, is somehow a bad thing.

    I do have to say Marissa, those frazzled moments don't really happen with the first, at least not for me. It was when Ean was a toddler that they really hit. lol

  2. Marissa, I couldn't agree more! I almost posted a diatribe on FB in response to your post, but I cooled off and refrained. :) I too read the book, and just got more and more angry as the pages turned. Before I got my RN, I graduated with my ECE/Human Development degree, and that book goes against almost everything I learned in both! I felt like I needed to read it because it is considered by many to be THE Christian parenting book. I ended up just thinking it was another example of quacks making Christians look like idiots! :) Ok, maybe not that bad, but you know what I'm getting at.'re doing a great job with Oliver! Love from Virginia!