My Biggest Parenting Regret: Babywise


I don’t have many regrets in life.  But, I sincerely wish I could rewind time and have a do-over with my firstborn.  Why?  In a word (although technically it should be two): Babywise.

In fact, I’d be so bold as to say that Babywise (a method of sleep training found in a book by same name by author Gary Ezzo) made my first six months of motherhood miserable and may have contributed to some of the insecurities I see surfacing as the child I subjected to this method ages.

My perspective on this subject is somewhat unique in that I had four babies within a window of five years.  Though I have friends that claim both “victories” and “failures” using the system, I feel my condensed childbearing timeline gave me a special opportunity to test Babywise’s methods against others (mainly trusting my instincts).

My story is a common one.  A friend recommended the book because it worked for them.  I was entering unchartered territory and desperate.  So, I’d read anything I could get my hands on.

To a brand new mom, sleeping through the night is that big elusive milestone.  It seems the sooner your children reach it the bigger the “motherhood merit badge” you earn.   The concept of following a method to meet that goal sounded delightful. 

That’s what Babywise offered.  So, I bit.

There was a certain degree of logic to it.  The book knew exactly how to appeal to me.  It lured in the part of me that desperately longed to have a child without changing my comfortable “childless” life at all.   

It also convinced me (temporarily) that the problems in the world today are created by how “baby-centric” parents become.  Since I didn’t want to raise a selfish child, it only made sense to demand this creation of mine to fall in line.  

The problem was Babywise didn’t work at all like it should have.  Instead of realizing that maybe the system (or the author and his theories) were at fault, I blamed myself.  Already struggling with some degree of post partum depression,  I faced a rough reality check.  Parenting was going to be a lot harder than I ever dreamed.

My first few months with Babywise resulted in a stressed out, frazzled, demoralized, depressed new mom whose perceived failure at having the Babywise method work was just another strike against her.

I had acquaintances that swore by it…touting the only way they could do it (turn off their instincts to follow Babywise that is) was to go outside and talk on the phone or get in the shower and turn on music.  This would drown out the cries.  They encouraged me to do the same…it would be “hard” on me but “good” for the baby.

In my opinion...Just say no to Babywise...
In my opinion, you should Just Say No to Babywise

Now, I think about this advice as preposterous.  If my four-year-old needed me because he was hurting or scared and I went outside so I couldn’t hear him crying…that would be cruel, right?  Or, better yet, if I was sad, lonely, hungry, or just feeling insecure and I was crying in bed and my husband got in the shower to tune me out, that would sound like abuse, wouldn’t it?

The challenge for most new mothers (myself included) is that I didn’t know whether or not I could, or should, trust those instincts.  I was paralyzed with fear that I would do it wrong.  Simultaneously I was concerned that I didn’t even know what “wrong” was in this arena.  I was more tired than I had ever been in my entire life.  So, I bounced between reading the book desperately to figure out what page I must have missed or what I must have been messing up to get it to work correctly and cursing the book for making me so miserable.

After encouragement from my mother (who read the book and thought it was insane) to experiment with things like feeding to sleep, napping in the swing, and co-sleeping, things started to go a little better.  Oh, and my almost three month old son–who had gotten so frustrated he had taken to head banging–stopped that behavior as soon as I gave up the Babywise method and started answering his cries.

It was very hard to quit though.  I felt tremendously guilty for not following the book and was concerned that like the book promised, once I put the baby in our bed he’d be in there until he was at least 12.  But, I was at the point of desperation. I needed some sleep. He needed some sleep. And, (shockingly) her suggestions were working better than Mr. Ezzo’s.

I also recognized that my son had some digestive issues.  (Four children later I’m able to diagnose exactly what they were better than any of my firstborn’s pediatricians ever could.)  In addition to his problem with acidic foods and dairy, because of the Babywise feeding rules, I was way over feeding the little guyTruth is, it’s impossible to know this stuff as a new mom.  I was so concerned about him gaining weight and going to bed full that the thought of him eating too much and that causing digestive issues never crossed my mind.

Baby two came just 16 months after baby number one.  This time I followed my gut.  She slept in the swing frequently.  If she fell asleep while eating I’d put her down.   She slept through the night at five months old and, although we co-slept when needed those first few months, never slept in our bed after six months of age.

Is Babywise completely ineffective for everyone? No.  I do have friends that will still swear that it worked for them.  (I know some of you reading this are thinking you had no troubles with it.)

But, mommy friends, looking back I think this method is scary dangerous.  And, although it may be getting some children to sleep through the night faster, the long term consequences are real and far more important than that first “sleeping through the night” milestone.  You can’t think about what your child will be like at six or seven when all you want is to make it through the first year. But, let me encourage you that your parenting isn’t finished when they start sleeping. It’s only just begun…

Some recent studies have come out about the consequences of having infants cry it out and what happens when our newborns don’t attach well. Beyond that, this study explains how you aren’t really training an infant to sleep when you don’t respond to cries. Instead, the baby’s neurological system shuts down from frustration and sleep follows.

These reports cite correlations with more stressed out and anxious children later.  I can attest to this. I see differences between my Babywise baby and my other children.  My oldest displays more fear, has a more difficult time with expressing emotion, and is very guarded.

Of course, I understand that each child has a unique personality and that maybe that’s his natural bent.  But, as I read the reports like this one on the impact of systems like this, I can’t help but see some similarities in my now-seven year old.

Being a mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had.  And, like most new moms, I was desperate for some guidance on how to do it “right.”  But, I think we moms, at all stages, have to free ourselves of that pressure. There isn’t a right way or a wrong way. There is your way and there is my way.

Every child we have added to our family has done some degree of messing up the rhythms for the rest of the family.  Everyone has had to adjust as each new baby has come along. The Babywise method of make the baby fit you just doesn’t make any sense to me, at any level, anymore.  Scheduling has some merit…routine has lots of merit… But, Babywise as a comprehensive system to be followed to the tee, is a bad idea.

Now, on the other side of newborns, I certainly wish I had researched more about the author, his background and lack of credentials before I put my child through his system.  I’m embarrassed that I trusted this unknown man to tell me how to raise my newborn.

I hope you’ll do the same and avoid my regrets.


To read a counter opinion, check out Why I Stuck With Babywise.


  1. Your experience is, sadly, all too common. I can see how much God’s grace and a mother’s love cover a multitude of parenting screw-ups, and my most-Babywised son is now 17 and an AMAZING kid. In spite of, not because of, our Babywise time. *sigh*

    And, I’m thankful for five kids. Five unique, amazing, loving kids. Five kids who have forgiven me for so many mistakes and are wonderful in spite of my mistakes.

    We’ll all have mothering regrets. But I wish that less moms would have the BW regrets and baggage. I even see the regrets in the words of moms I know who still give lipservice to BW being great. . .

    • I am right there with you…I know God’s grace covers this parenting “mistake” and I know I’ll have so many more as well… I just want to spare any new moms the guilt that I experienced not just in following it…but WHILE following it because I just couldn’t get it to work right! Thanks for your comment!

      • Thank you for your post, even though this is a HOT topic! I am thankful for God’s grace and for forgiving children! I think all mom’s have mommy guilt over something. We had a very similar experience to yours. We currently have 3 little ones within 4 years and did Babywise with our oldest. It hurts my heart so much to think of the all the times we left her alone and refused to hold and comfort her. We also relate to your thinking now about you wouldn’t leave your 4 year old or seven year old or other people who can speak, alone to cry in a room. We see much of the same fears and insecurities in her as well. We try to think about holding and cuddling with her a lot now, hoping it will make up for a little bit of lost time, but it’s hard to do with two others younger than her. We changed our sleep expectations greatly with our second and third. Our third (now 3 months old) is peacefully sleeping in the swing during nap time, in the same room with me, the way he has been most of his life! He’s in the swing or carrier for naps during the day and then in a pack and play close to our bed at night. I love catching his cues before he screams at me because crying seems to raise everyone’s anxiety! It works for us and he is very happy!

          • Did we read the same book? Where in the book did it say to leave the child and not attend to their cries? I attended to every cry and wimper and mine was sleeping 12 hrs by 12 weeks old. I held her daily often and never let her cio NO NEVER. She was off the charts physically and mentally. I hear this so much about this book and think, did anyone actually read it? Lol

    • It seems a lot if moms get hung up on the cry it out method Babywise talks about and forget that it’s really about parent directed parenting. Ezzo encourages parents to rely on their gut, not just ignore the cries. All my close mom friends used this book to help set the schedule for their new babies and they all have high praises for Gary Ezzo’s book. The reson is because they trusted Jesus and their instincts. Babywise is not cruel, it’s simply a guide for parents to look to when trying to love on a new baby and get then adjusted to life outside of the womb.

      • I agree. I used it with all 4 of my babies, but I never left them to cry, didn’t attach to them, etc. All 4 did the opposite of failure to thrive, all 4 were and are breastfed. All 4 are happy, healthy, and seem well adjusted, even my teenager. Lets not beat each other up as moms. Lets just trust our own instincts and do our best.

      • I agree with you Amanda – I started reading Babywise right before baby was born (still haven’t gotten very far since she’s only 6 weeks old), but so far Baby Wise hasn’t advocated crying it out. It talks about when they are a bit older letting them cry for a few minutes and then trying to soothe them a few times before giving up and taking them out of the crib. I have friends that swear by Baby Wise and have 3 healthy kids that are amazing sleepers…

        Having said that, as a first time mom, I have stopped worrying about the book because I was starting to feel like failure that my girl isn’t really following the plan that the book lays out. Reading it makes it seem like “if you do these things, your baby will follow this schedule by this many weeks old” – but no matter how closely I follow the book, my baby still only sleeps for two hours at a time MANY nights (occasionally she’ll do 4 or 4.5 hour stretches at night, but not regularly). On those two-hour nights I spend far too long pondering why I am not good enough at this whole parent thing to make it work like they say it will. Ugh. I’m sad just thinking about it. I still follow the eat-wake-sleep cycle as much as possible, but I feel if I keep stressing about the rest I will not be enjoying this fleeting time as much as I could!

  2. Amen sister! I too was told baby wise was great and I needed to do it and get my little guy on a schedule stst. I read that book and another similar early sleep training book and felt absolutely horrible about them both. I actually wanted to destroy both books in a very visceral manner! Thanks for speaking up. Babies don’t always want to follow our schedules and letting them scream and not eat does not help them or us. Thanks for sharing!

    • Good for you for knowing that instinctively…I was so afraid to follow my gut! Afraid it wasn’t right or I’d screw up my child and he’d be clingy forever if I held him all day… Now, I wish I could go back and hold him all day like I did for my others (not everyday, of course, but when needed!) Thanks for your comment!

      • Reading your article I seemed to have missed you mentioning the concept of “parent directed feeding”. Maybe you and I gathered different things from the book? I struggle to have respect for your ideas because your argument is based so much on emotion and so little on logic. As a fellow mom with ppd, babywise saved my sanity rather than hurt it. I hope that your article doesn’t deter other mothers from making their own decisions and using common sense (as it seems you may not have been able to). I of course added my own ideas to this method of parenting, including giving my baby the love and attention she needed when she cried. Did you know that cry it out is not a fundamental part of babywise? We didn’t let our daughter even fuss it out. She is an intelligent 11 month old now with an even temperament. Did you really read the book? Did you reread it? I mean no disrespect to you personally but I am having a hard time understanding your reasoning. Any mother should do research from several sources and use them in a way that fits their child. I am sorry you did not have a good experience with this method because I certainly did and I plan to follow all the wise books.

        • I think you may have read something different or got something different out of that book. I agree with the blogger.

          When I read this book, there was no way I could do it. It does have to do with the baby crying it out. And she is right, it is not good for them. They don’t learn anything other than “no one will respond to my needs, why keep crying?” And it does cause detachment. I have seen it happen SEVERAL times through the foster care system.

          If a couple (or person) is choosing to have a baby, then they need to make sacrifices. They need to realize that their baby will be the (or should be) center of their world the first few years at least. If they are having babies and expecting to just keep going on with their life and making the babies adjust to THEIR schedule, then they shouldn’t be having babies. Life does go on. But it goes on with a baby in their life that will need them at times that aren’t always convenient.

          I read this book and Baby Whisperer when I was pregnant with my first. I couldn’t do it. I had several friends do it. And now, with all of our children around the age 5, I see a HUGE difference in my children versus theirs. And they see it. My kids are very loving, cuddly, and attached. They love to snuggle (with anyone), they are very responsive, and they are affectionate. Those friends who did BW have children who are still very sweet, but they are not as cuddly or affectionate. I truly believe it is because of BW. (Yes, I know there are several factors and personality differences, but even a few of my friends have said the same thing).

          Babies need their mommies. And when they’re hungry, they should be able to eat. And when they are tired, they should be able to nap. Their bodies are growing and developing at a very quick rate. And their brains are processing, learning, and soaking up more now than ever! And I want those things they are learning to be positive experiences.

          I don’t know this blogger, this is the first time I have been to her site, but I highly respect her opinion 🙂

        • Jessie,

          Thank you for your intelligent response. I totally agree with you. Heather’s first born is probably stressed out because her mother is/was stressed out. I won’t make a call if that is the result of nature or nurture. Her remark, “But, mommy friends, looking back I think this method is scary dangerous,” was the last straw; I quit reading at that point and went to the comments. Ah, her hysteria about Babywise was all for naught— God’s grace covered the Babywise “mistake”. Well, then why did she write this article? For the mothers who don’t have God’s grace? And need to somehow undo what they did wrong in following Babywise? Why did she take it upon herself to upset and concern all of those parents who are pleased with Babywise?

          I went back and finished the article. Heather’s remark “I certainly wish I had researched more about the author, his background and lack of credentials before I put my child through his system,” is offensive. If you are going to attack a method of parenting, and state the the writer does not have the credentials to write the book, then state the specific problems with the author’s credentials. Why upset all of the mothers and fathers who like the book?

          My youngest child is 44 years old. I was a Benjamin Spock mother. I read the Moms Blog because the daughter of a friend writes for them. Her articles are delightful— well thought out, informative, and often hilarious. She often recommends articles on the blog, other than hers. I’ve never been disappointed. Until now.

          Jessie, why don’t you write for Mom’s blog?

        • I got something sifter entry out of her article. As I read her opinion, it seemed obvious to me her point was this: Trust your instincts and be informed.

          What I got out of it was more the idea that we, as 21st century, technology and information overloaded mothers, often feel pressured into parenting styles that don’t fit right for us. People make us out to feel guilty because we don’t do it their way. EVERY style has proven effects, advantages and disadvantages. I personally do not schedule or let them cry it out, but I have been made to feel like a monster because I don’t by other mothers who that has worked for. I don’t condemn them for doing it different, but as mothers we tend to see alternate styles of parenting as an attack on our own style. To that I loudly shout that you will make mistakes that will have lasting effects on your children and THAT’S OKAY!!!

          When I read her article, I sensed passion and strong opinions. I felt she was a person who felt betrayed as she felt pressured into a style that she knew in her gut was wrong for her and her family. Her ending comments I read as opinion, all be it direct, but not necessarily as a warning to stay away from the method. I read it as more of a support to the idea, “trust your instincts and be fully informed.”

          At the end of the day, if our children are happy and healthy and are growing up to be good to other people, then no matter what style or “method” you choose, you’re doing something right. I want to end mommy shaming. (Not accusing you of it. Just sensing that might be what you feel has happened here) Her way and your way are not the wrong ways. They are the right ways for your family and personalities.

        • I disagree. Its a guideline. Babies need schedules. Adults need schedules.It doesn’t mean letting them starve. Maybe because she is a stay at home mom she can cater to them around the clock. But for a working mom and child in day care, having a baby on a schedule is a must. I don’t let her cry it out. I put her down at her nap time/ bed time. I feed her during eating times and she has gained plenty of weight and never seemed to starve. when she was full, she stopped eating. I started slowly around 2 months. infants need more attention and feed on demand, but knowing I was going back to work at 12 weeks, I gradually started the baby wise schedule. People need to remember also nothing is black and white. its ok to make tweaks. I would never let my child lay there and cry and scream but allowing them to wake up and teaching them to sooth themselves back to sleep before rushing in to save them is the key idea.

          Babies pick up on stress and frustrations and probably felt that from her therefore became more fearful child perhaps?

  3. When I read this book during my first pregnancy, I knew even then that it “didn’t sit right” with me. I am so glad that I trusted that gut instinct because both my children had digestive issues also, which flare particularly at night because (according to my pediatrician), the esophagus gets looser as the day goes on and by the evening it’s much easier for the stomach acid to creep up the digestive tract and cause more severe reflux. I have digestive issues, my mom has digestive issues…no surprise that my children did and still do.

    That said, this is my message to the moms who swear by Babywise and loved it: you are very blessed to have a child who does not have digestive issues. I can promise you with every fiber in my being that if your child had any form of digestive issues, this method would NOT have worked for you. It could very well be successful for a baby who is not miserable every single night. Be thankful for your child and his/her normal stomach. It’s a blessing. And may we all enjoy our children during their waking hours, no matter how many hours they may actually be awake.

    • Excellent point my friend – I wish I had another 1000 words in the post to elaborate on that alone. It’s one thing to say “it worked perfect what are you talking about???” If you only had to survive 3 days of crying…it may not have been a big deal… But, MONTHS of crying…4-5 times a day…hours…that’s tough to swallow. Stomach issues…yikes…you are right to wish them on no mother! Thanks for commenting!

      • I think the book also addresses babies who are different… I think you really have to look at the book as a wholeader instead of as a schedule. The author promoted flexible scheduling.. not hyper scheduling.

    • How did you get your baby to sleep? What helped? Or did you just have to wait it out, and if so how long before baby started sleeping through the night?

  4. I read Babywise when I was pregnant and even though I didn’t really agree with it (my husband was totally against it), I figured ‘since everyone else is doing it, I can to.’
    It was the biggest mistake I made with my sweet boy. Horrible. Since he did NOTHING that that book said he would, I immediately thought something was wrong with me, or worse, him! I was angry, depressed, stressed…and I really think it had an effect on him. I became a bit detached from him and couldn’t bring myself to just love on the sweet baby he was…because he wasn’t following the rules of that darn book. After 2 months, I threw it away. And I still feel some guilt about it 5 years later.
    With our 2nd child, I just did my mommy instincts… and it was so much better. SO MUCH BETTER. I wish I could do it all over again with my oldest.

    • Girl – you know we sing the same song… Thanks for sharing! I think our boys will do just fine…but it’s tough to think back. I get it. Thanks for your comment…

      • Wait- you think your boys will be just fine after letting them cry it out? Then why are you against it and saying it’s the biggest regret of your life??

  5. I read this book with my first son and it worked really well for me. I think if we put too much stock in a book without knowing what is best for our child and our family, we will always fail. I liked a lot of the principles in Babywise, but did not follow it exactly. I didn’t need it as much for sleeping through the night, that wasn’t my primary goal. My son did much better on a rough routine rather than a strict schedule. Because my husband and I both work full-time, having a rough schedule to follow helped our nanny during those early days. It made it much easier on her to give him bottles and know better what he needed. While I love the attachment parenting model, sticking strictly to that wouldn’t work for our family either. We all learned how to do what is best for him. I agree with a lot of the points that you make, but think we need to be careful not to blame feeling like a failure on one specific method not working for your family. I am so thankful for lots of different methods to choose from so that I can learn the most and be the best mama to my little boy.

    • I totally get it! I was working too at the time and we knew we needed some way to get on a schedule fast! (And to get some sleep!). I think one of my biggest regrets is more that I didn’t follow my instincts. I felt like the book told me I had to do it his way or my children would be screwed up! And, I knew I didn’t want that… I do believe God gives us grace and we all have parenting mistakes (I know I’ve only just begun that journey!). But, I think your approach in applying some of the principles and throwing out what didn’t work sounds healthy… I was not at a place where I could do that…

      • but how is that the book’s fault? That’s what I don’t understand….this book has been dragged though hell….it’s not the book.

        • Another commenter may have shed some light on our divide…Gina. The newer version of the book is apparently a lot less “use this or die” in tone than the original versions. The only publisher that would print the book had to dump it because the data was not legitimate and they were afraid of lawsuits (because children actually died from parental usage of first version of book which leaves very little room for “interpretation”). Apparently, he added some obligatory language about following your gut so you won’t get sued to the later version… (Info all available on Wikipedia and other sources…)

          • Jennifer – please do some research. She is correct – the American Academy of Pediatrics has also come forward urging parents not to use this book due to an increase in failure to thrive infants (I have seen this myself at the hospital I work at). Multnomah Publishing pulled the book from print (the original version I believe) after the AAP publicly condemned it. From my understanding the current available copies have been revised.

    • I agree….I have seen countless “I hate Babywise” blogs and I always see the same theme….not using common sense and making this book your end all be all. It is an excellent tool but only when common sense is applies. And, the book NEVER tells you to forgo your instincts.

      • Exactly. The tone of this article is just as inflammatory and over the top as the other articles out there bashing one parenting style over another.

        Parenting is about figuring out what works for you, and many times that is s blend of styles and theories. You can’t claim that was the point of your article, however. Maybe if you wrote an article about what DOES work for you and cite the blend of various methods or instincts, including what didn’t work and why.

        I’ll share my bias–I loosely follow a few baby wise methods. But I read the book critically, with my own needs and values in mind. I took what I needed and discarded what I didnt. I borrowed practices from AP parenting–cosleeping in the beginning, carrying y babies, etc. and used baby wise routine of eat-play-sleep. My children are confident, outgoing, and great sleepers and eaters.

  6. I could have written this myself. I still have regrets over this book and feel so bad that I subjected my child to it. I have friends who love it and think people are crazy for NOT following it. I can’t recommend this book to anyone though. When I found out was expecting our second, I got rid of the book as fast as I could. I don’t want to subject any other children to it.

    • I’m LOL on this one, Rach…I asked my husband if there was a safe way to burn our copy in the fireplace. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  7. Isn’t it so funny the difference of when you are a first time mom to the second time around? You have so many fears that if you do something wrong they will never sleep on their own…they will be spoiled etc..etc. But in reality all you need to do is trust your instincts because most of the time they are right!

    • So true! There’s no comparison! Second time is so much more relaxed…I tell you the third and fourth times are too…! 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  8. I totally agree with you!!! I do not think this is a good book at all! Mother’s need to follow their instincts! Babies need to be loved on during the day and at night. Why would we ignore them? Doesn’t make sense to me! Thank you for writing this!

    • That’s how I (obviously, eh?) feel now too! (I also kind of wonder what men know about mothering instincts…but that’s for another post and sure to open a bag of worms!) Thanks for your comment!

  9. I completely agree! I have 4 kids as well and my oldest are twins (currently 6 yrs old). I had the exact same experience. When my twins turned 1 and I was starting to look for books on parenting toddlers I read Toddlerwise and thought it was totally ridiculous!!! I, like you, was looking for any guidance in uncharted territory and BW was very enticing. Adding to my disillusionment was that my twins were born 5 weeks early and came home from the hospital weighing under 5 lbs. My pediatrician encouraged me to schedule their feedings and do BW as well. I wish I would have known better then!!!!

    • Being a brand new mom is ridiculously hard – and with twins – I can’t even imagine! I know how desperate I was… My hope is to spare some other new moms the pain… 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  10. Everyone commenting is on your side, so what the heck, I’ll leave my opinion! I’m a guilt-free Babywise user!! I disagree with your post; in fact I love Babywise! I seem to remember a little more grace in his recommendations than you do (I don’t think he would agree with letting a baby cry for 2 hours!) He often reminds the reader that the schedule is a guideline- not a rigid set of rules. He writes that parents, in fact, should follow their instincts first and the schedule second. I don’t feel like I put aside my motherly instincts in order to follow his suggestions, damaged my children in any way or created unattached or unaffectionate kids. I know that his suggestions are not for everyone, and that’s fine, but your post has such a passionately negative tone that it negates your sentence “There isn’t a right way or a wrong way. There is your way and there is my way.” I love ya, Heather and I know that we are each trying our darndest to love God, love our hubbies and love our kids!! xo…

    • I remember you with a newborn girl… 🙂 My perspective has gotten more passionate the further away I get from the baby years…an the more babies I have.. I think my problem is with the way he presents his arguments. Not necessarily with his method (aside from crying it out!) but the way he tells you not to tell people you are doing it…and that you don’t want to create a baby centric life. Those are the things I have the most disdain for. We scheduled (loosely). I was 32 when I became a new mom…with a master’s degree…but i was LOST…Completely and totally lost. And, I had no clue what my maternal instincts were or how to use them. I thought following this book was the answer. End of story. For some (like you) this may have been easier…But for others…I think this book can cause some real challenges in what is already a difficult time figuring out transition to the mommy role! 🙂 What I meant by your way and my way was not baby wise vs. non baby wise…but we should as moms be “this is how I did it…because I figured out it worked best for my children” not this is Gary Ezzo’s method versus this is Joe Blow’s method… We are the moms…we need to have our OWN methods… (and why are all these “experts” men…seriously? I feel like what do they know about maternal instincts!!?!! Just as an aside…) 🙂 Love you too Casey and thanks for commenting!

    • perhaps the most frustrating part of being a parent in this age of information is that no one else parented MY child TODAY, this week, this season, this year. I’m not saying that BW is perfect and works for everyone, but it certainly helped me figure out those early weeks and gain a focus on “What am I like as a mom? What is my husband like as a Dad? Who is this kid? and How does our family function together?”

      I appreciate Casey’s response, because while I had some struggles that Heather describes, but I wouldn’t lump them all in one basket. As I reflect back on our firstborn and contemplate a second, I realize that I was reading too much into the Babywise series. I remember feeling frustrated that the author wasn’t MORE specific about HOW to actually DO it…. I don’t think it’s a small thing to notice that the font and writing style clearly portrays a “guideline” sensibility and not a rigid set of step-by-step instructions. I do recall being frustrated by a tone of condescension, but I think in my post-partum state, it seemed like everything my husband, family and friends said was critical, so perhaps I didn’t have the best filter.

      I do wish that there was a softer delivery of the information, so it didn’t paint other options in such a negative light, but, Newsflash: all the books do that. The attachment folks assert they are the only way, the Baby Whisperer goes into greater detail about how her way is the best. I ultimately determined that no book is going to give me the golden ticket.

    • YES! I too disagree. I have 5 wonderful happy children that were all Babywise babies. The things moms need to realize is you need to take everything with a grain of salt. You need to take what is in Babywise and apply it to your life. Use what you like and throw out what you don’t. I really hate articles like this that put out there that this method is just horrible bc in reality it is great! We used a pacifier for our first born. Babywise says not too. I let my babies cry but I didn’t let them scream for 45 min to an hour when I could clearly tell something was wrong. Babywise doesn’t tell you to throw your mommy gut out the door. We coslept too. As a parent you need to decide what your child needs. I have happy, healthy, well adjusted, good sleeper kids and it’s bc Of the habits I trained my children to have by following suggestions in Babywise.

      • As I read your comment (and thanks for it by the way)…It sounds like…in other words… you used your OWN methods, not Babywise! Pacifiers and co-sleeping are taboo in that book! 🙂 I personally feel like he presents his suggestions not as suggestions but as “do it this way…or you will have serious problems!” And, like I said in the post, I was very concerned that if I let the baby sleep in the swing, he’d still be there when he was 3…or if we used the pacifier we’d be ruining breastfeeding – because that is the tone of the book. No, it doesn’t tell you to throw your gut out the door, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what my gut was and I battled as to whether or not my gut was right or the book was right. I think as a brand new mom I was very afraid to trust my instincts. Sounds like you weren’t and that’s awesome. But, for every confident parent like you, there is one like me who will try to follow this method to a tee (he does suggest not deviating from his suggestions)…and find failure and frustration. I’m so glad you were able to come up with a system that worked well for you — and that you had the confidence to take what he said and use it in a way that worked for you. My fear is that others won’t be able to do that…

    • Thank you for posting this. I was a guilt-free babywise mom as well! He is not as rigid in the book as people talk about. My children are well adjusted happy children at 4 years old (twins). We all had a routine which we all know people, especially children, thrive on routine! And I agree, she contradicts herself when she says there isn’t a right way or a wrong way but then bashes babywise. We are all doing the best that we can and the best we know how in each of our individual situations.

    • The current Babywise book has changed somewhat to ‘sort of’ support using your own instincts and just using the babywise method as a guide. Originally it was very rigid and encouraged mothers to not respond to their baby’s cues, and truthfully, baby’s died as a result of the too rigid methods. I also agree with Heather that the idea of babywise to make your baby fit into your schedule, so it doesn’t change your lifestyle is just crazy! Having a baby is going to change your world! it just is. I still continued doing many of my former activities, and just drug the baby along with me. (all 6 times). It’s not that difficult to make changes in your life to include the new baby, but still continue to be you, just including the baby. I’m so glad that I was able to follow my instincts for the most part with each of my 6 children. I’m grateful for all that time that I just sat and held/ nursed/ rocked and ‘spoiled’ my babies for hours daily. I’m also glad that my children were easy to drag along with me, as we didn’t have a strict schedule… if I wanted to hang out with friends for the day, the kids just came with, slept wherever they ended up, and we all had a good time. Being able to do that and not feel isolated as a military wife, in various different locations around the world, was the only way I managed to survive parenting my young children. Now that my oldest are in their 20’s, I do not regret the time I spent with my children. I do not regret holding, co-sleeping, nursing to sleep, etc. If anything I wish I had been able to spend more of my time that way! much more relaxing than stressful for me and my family for sure.

    • I honestly get very discouraged when I read anti-Babywise posts. I’ve used it with both of my babies, who have both had reflux, one had colic. Many times in the book, he urges parents to use their best judgement as far as feeding, schedules, and crying it out. Never have I let my babies cry for hours at a time. That’s just irresponsible. Never have I ignored them. I have let them CIO, but I always set a time limit, and I ALWAYS check on them. How can I not respond to them when they cry? I hate to hear them cry, but sometimes I they just need to fuss for a while before they go to sleep. There’s only so much I can do for them… And as someone who’s struggled with scary PPD, sometimes it’s best for me to put the baby down and let them cry for a little while so I can a few minutes without crying. My kids do GREAT on the routine. Both of them nap well. Both sleep through the night, but neither did it according to the book, which didn’t bother me. My goal is a good routine, and the right amount of sleep for them. My kids are healthy and very happy. I’m sorry that it didn’t work for you. I just wish less people would try to drag this book/method through the mud when it DOES work for so many families.

  11. It is so funny how different each of us as parents, and our kids, are. You hated Babywise and wouldn’t dare recommend it to anyone- and I loved it! Im sure both our kids are happy, healthy, etc. I actually write for Scottsdale Moms Blog, and did a little review of Babywise about a year ago:
    I think the main thing that we ALL need to remember is that every situation is different. Im sorry it didn’t work for you, but I am so glad it did for me:)

  12. I have to say I still cringe a bit when I see the cover of that book. I wish I had trusted my instincts more and read and stressed less.

  13. I used babywise for 4 kids and found it to be helpful. I agree totally with the idea of not allowing your baby to be the center of your universe. But that was something I already knew before I had kids. No regrets at all!!

  14. I did Babywise with our first son. We did not know it at the time, but he has sensory integration disorder and is on the autism spectrum (in hindsight, he showed signs of both disorders even as a newborn). Ask any occupational therapist who specializes with sensory integration disorder and autism- Babywise is the opposite of what you should do for a child with these issues. My son needed to be rocked and held. Crying it out in his crib was the wrong thing to do as was forcing a schedule on him. We tried the Ezzo’s recommendation for “cheek thumping” when he was a toddler, and after the look on my son’s face before he began to wail, we NEVER did that to him again.

    • Did you ever consider that your implementation of Babywise was actually responsible for your son’s autism spectrum diagnosis? Rigid Babywise parenting has caused attachment disorders, which are often initially misdiagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

      (From International Society of Autism Research,
      Differentiation between children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Reactive Attachment Disorders (RAD) is problematic. Both have similar social and communication difficulties. There is a need for scientific studies and guidelines to assist clinical decision-making. )

      Since you said that you even used “cheek thumping”, it sounds like you rigidly followed the book. Here’s a story from a former babywise mom whose son was initially diagnosed with autism before being diagnosed with attachment disorder. I am not trying to be cruel, but moms who strictly adhere to every single babywise rule need to be aware of the risks.

  15. I think the basic points to your article are great— you have to do what your gut insticts tell you. I completely agree. But to say a method is dangerous is a pretty strong statement. Can I ask what publication date of the book you were reading? You said you had 4 children, so my guess is you read the book a number of years ago. The one I read was from 2012, maybe the tone has changed over the years? I say this because I didn’t interpret the book in the same fashion you talk about in this article. To me the book emphasised a schedule/routine more than crying it out. It told me that having a child cry was OK, but I never got the impression that letting them crying for extended periods of time was the thing to do. Of course I read the book when I was sleep deprived with a 4 week old baby that was up all night, so I may have fallen asleep while reading those parts and skipped over them. Interestingly, I did not read a single word on sleep/schedule advice with my first child. She was sleeping through the night by 7.5 weeks (lucky me, I know!). Four weeks after the birth of our second child I was exhausted and at the end of my rope. It was then that I broke down and read Babywise (the only baby sleep book I read). Within 3 days of putting the baby on a schedule she was at the same point at her older sibling at that age (she started sleeping through the night regularly at 8 weeks). For me it wasn’t about the crying as it was about the schedule. I was breastfeeding my child so often (because she was crying and nothing else calmed her down) that I was not giving my body enough time to produce milk properly. The baby was gaining weight wonderfully, so this never dawned on me. It was the book that pointed it out to me. My point, I don’t think the book is dangerous by any means. I think it is a great book with a lot of valid information in it. Do I recommend people read it and follow it exactly, of course not— take what you want and leave the rest (as with all books of this type). I hope that people do not read your opinion and discount the book completely, as it was a lifesaver for me and my family.

    • Kara – Thanks for your comments! You gave me some cause to RESEARCH! So, thanks! Yes, I did have an OLDER (circa 2001) version of the book – and, I did read that a few things changed in the updated version of the book. So, there may be some discrepancy there. Wikipedia says that he took a few things out to keep the publisher happy in the 2nd and 3rd versions. Now he has to self publish because no publisher can print it because his data is fabricated and the medical community is against it. (True story! Research it – it’s frightening). Well respected pediatrician, Dr. Sears said it was the most dangerous thing he had seen in his whole career…and was surprised that ideas that preposterous could even catch on! (Wikipedia)… But, part of what I hear you saying is that you figured out your own way. I honestly think if I had followed my instincts the first time around having some useful information about routine or growth spurts could have been incorporated well – like you probably did. I just worry that a lot of brand new moms are using the book like I was…as a guide for first time mothering…

      • Amen Heather! This book originally was DANGEROUS! babies had failure to thrive and some died as a result of parents following the babywise program! Yes, Dr. Ezzo did change some of the information in later publications to not be so dogmatic in his original approach, but his basic idea’s for parenting are NOT as God intended. We need to follow our instincts more and so what if we become a little kid-centric for a while, they grow up and you wish you had spent just a little more time tending to and listening to their needs.

        • I agree! Thanks for helping fill in the space there Wendy… I was starting to think maybe something had changed in the book. But, even if it had…I still don’t like the system. And, I still feel like giving a new mom a system and then saying “but follow your own instincts and only use this as a guide” is like giving someone a recipe to make a dish and saying the same thing… Most inexperienced cooks will follow the recipe, right? 🙂 Thanks for your help!

  16. I used Babywise with my son because he stopped sleeping through the night. My cousin offered me her copy and said it worked wonders for her son. I didn’t use everything in the book though.
    You have to figure out what works for you and works for your child. I’m guessing you have figured out that all babies are different, and what works for one probably won’t work for another. I don’t think people should blame a book for the way their child is though, that’s not fair. While I don’t agree with everything that the book says you should do, it did help me get my son on a schedule which helped a lot while I was in school and my husband was away for training. You can’t take any book and treat it like it’s God’s word. Even as a new parent I knew CIO wasn’t an option for us. My husband and I couldn’t leave our son. There is always a reason he cries, and even now at a year old he still doesn’t CIO.

    I’m sorry you had such a bad experience and the book made you feel like a failure. No mom should feel that way 🙁 Good luck to all of you!

  17. I always felt hesitant about the cry it out method. Why let a baby cry when they just want to be held? It doesn’t last forever, and I loved snuggling and nursing my babies! I ignored the advice from those who thought I was spoiling my baby by holding her all the time, nursing too much, and setting my child up for a life of brattiness. I was confident in these decisions. And I got confirmation as they grew. None of my kids became brats, they all became very secure and independent kiddos. They all slept through the night by a year old (all but one was sooner than that, the preemie needed the extra calories provided by night time nursing.)

    It wasn’t until I became an Orphan Advocate, that I really understood why CIO is so bad. Orphans don’t have anyone to come pick them up and hold them when they are hungry or in pain. Their cries are ignored. They stop crying, they stop growing. They resort to head banging and chewing their tongues. They rock themselves because they have no one to rock them and soothe them.

    If they are fortunate enough to be adopted, their parents spend months, sometimes years, and lots of money trying to reverse the effects of the NEGLECT.

    Baby Wise is NEGLECT.

    • Thank you for your response. You can’t spoil a baby! Plain and simple! They need and require love and attention. True, some children are more easily adaptable and can manage a bit more on their own, but in general it is not a good path. How did you get involved as an orphan advocate? What do you do?

  18. I used Babywise with my 2 kiddos and it worked for us – slept through the night by 4 months and now they are both well attached, loving children. Sure, it’s not for everyone, just like Attachment Parenting isn’t for me! I think what’s really “Scary & Dangerous” is anyone saying any one any parenting strategy is evil. We all have our own instincts, experiences, life issues etc. and should share those with each other in a non-judgement, loving way so we can learn and build each other up and find what works best for us. Articles like this I only reinforce parenting insecurities & fears that you felt but now against those who just chose a different way (in this case the book Babywise).

    • Thanks for your comments May. 🙂 Very well-respected pediatrician, Dr. Sears said his ideas were the most dangerous he had ever read. (Wikipedia) So, I felt somewhat justified in using language that was that strong. 🙂 But, more so, I hope you’ll understand that this is my story… I wasn’t writing anyone else’s story but my own. I have lots and lots of friends who have used BW and I love them dearly. I have serious problems with the book and its author…I have no disdain for Babywise users. Honestly, if it had worked for me, I frankly would have never researched it more and kept recommending it! But, that’s not my story this is…

      • Sears says that because he has a competing philosophy. He also says that with absolutely no data himself: just his opinion.

        The methods advocated by Babywise are very nearly exactly the same methods advocated by the APA.
        here’s a side-by-side:

        Really, babywise is about not feeling enslaved to your child and for those of us with over-demanding infants, it can be a real godsend. It worked fine for my eldest boy. My second and third – clearly wasn’t going to help so I didn’t use it. I tried it with my fourth and it didn’t change anything about her inability to sleep but then again neither did any other method. Babywise was recommended to me by a psychiatrist. So the idea that its reviled isn’t true either. If you researched the history of it, you’ll find out that its been the target of a very serious smear campaign by some members of the church the authors belong to. All the sources for criticism go back to the same couple time and time again.

        I don’t advocate everything in Babywise, but I don’t advocate everything in any philosophy. Its best to learn as much as you can and use whatever feels “right”
        I am, however, surprised this demonizing of Babywise continues after all this time. And every criticism I see is grounded in unproven rumors started by basically one rival religious couple and one de-certified former pediatric intern from twenty years ago.

  19. I read something recently that I wish I would have been told 20 years ago when I had a newborn : Read your baby, not a book. Very wise.

    • That is awesome advice. I don’t know if I would have listened to it…but it’s awesome advice. I think we have soooo much information now that we think a book or google search can tell us everything we need to know. It’s not til you have a few months or years of parenting experience under your belt until you realize that is so far from the truth! Thanks for your comment!

  20. While I understand your reasoning and have looked at some of the research you are referring to I think you are missing the big picture. As a parent, God has instilled in you certain instincts. I think your problems with this method lie less in the method and more in the application. Taking any strategy (sleep training, attaching, potty training,etc.) and following it without the application of yourself is sure to stress you out and thus transfer to your child’s disposition. Look up some of the vast amounts of research on parental anxiety ands child’s personality. Maybe the difference in your children has less to do with what sleep method you used and more to do with your confidence as a mother. These books like Babywise, Happiest baby on the block, Attachment parenting,etc are GUIDES. Use of any material without the application of intuition, common sense, etc is reckless. I read lots of books and attended conferences before and after the birth of my children. I found merit in most things I read and used them to create a “model” that aligned with my values as a mother, Christian, and wife. Everyone always gets hung up on parts of these strategies when fighting to justify the choices they make with their children. Babywise is characterized by “crying it out” and attachment parenting is characterized by “co sleeping.” Both are so much more! My favorite part of the babywise book was the part that talked about taking the bones of the program and making it as lax or stringent as you wanted based on your preferences, family stlye, and personal needs. It is a structure to build upon like all child rearing guides and should be used in that manner. I think moms waste too much time defending one method against another instead of finding our similarities and encouraging one another on this wild crazy beautiful adventure of motherhood.

    • You are exactly right…but I fear that, like me, lots of other brand new mothers who are from an era of being trained and prepared for what is ahead, approach parenting looking for a guide. I’m not saying it was right that I did it…Goodness I wish I hadn’t, I just know that, as I wrote in the post, I didn’t have confidence in my maternal abilities – because I didn’t know what those instincts were and if they were right or wrong. 🙂 It’s very hard as a brand new mom!!!! Thanks for your comments!

  21. Our oldest (of 5) was a “baby wise” baby for about 3 months…and we quickly realized it wasn’t for us!!~!! To this day (he’s now almost 11) He is very anxious, nervous, always needs to know whats coming next, guarded boy. Our other 4 – fed when hungry, even if it had only been an hour – slept in swings, slept in bed with us on occasion (gasp), and 95% of the time from age 1+ they slept in their own beds (or with a sibling). Our youngest 2 are twins, so I know all about needing a well oiled routine…routine and schedule are two different things! No judgment at all if you love the book, however it just wasn’t for our family, and it’s not for every one.

    • Thanks for your comment…At the end of the day everyone should find what works for them! 🙂 This was my story and how I felt about it…especially now that I’ve had time to gain some perspective… Thanks!

  22. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this.
    I read Babywise as a pregnant mommy and felt all of the guilt and insecurities you felt. Thankfully, I called my mother right away practically in tears because I could not use that method. It felt cruel and as a newly single mom, I was already overwhelmed and struggling with how to deal with the thought of raising my daughter alone. I wanted to be a compassionate, loving mom so I read “the parenting book EVERYONE uses” as a friend told me, and felt like my mommy instincts were all wrong. So, my mom pretty much told me to just do my own thing and figure out what worked for my know what? She slept through the night at two weeks old.
    She too slept in her swing, regularly fell asleep nursing, and sometimes in desperation I even let her sleep in my bed because I wanted her close to me. She’s a year old now and turned out five so far. She doesn’t sleep in my bed anymore and now I know that my mommy instincts are good enough and parenting books can all be taken with a grain of salt.
    Thanks for sharing this- it’s nice to know I’m not alone on my inability to be “a Babywise mom”

    • Thanks for your comment Christina… They are only so little for so long! I regret that I didn’t just HOLD my baby more…but, thanks to Ezzo’s advice…I thought that was dangerous. We can be Babywise “Fails” together! 🙂

  23. I think your article brings valid points but I am a “Babywise” Fan. I think the principles in the book make sense and have been successful with all my kids. I tell new moms to read the book but 1st and foremost be a mom! Trust your instincts! It doesn’t mean never loving your child, snuggling your child or letting them go to sleep on you or in a swing (in fact I made a point to that with each of them). In fact I tell them to enjoy those babies because it goes quick but it also means not being a slave to those methods of putting your child to sleep. Just like any “method” to raising your children you have to trust God. Be careful that you are not leading other women astray when in fact it could be the book God places in their hands to help them and their baby thrive. I also think women take just bits and pieces of the babywise method. For example, letting them “cry to sleep” after they have overstimulated them therefore they will not go to sleep without “assistance” or way to much crying (be a mom bc sometimes the cry it out is fruitless and be a mom and snuggle them). Anyways, that’s my two cents. I think we can both agree that we have to Trust God and seek God for each child. Babywise could be that answer for many 🙂

  24. Babywise is based on a very punitive “babies are born with original sin and must be disciplined/punished” evangelical right-wing Christian agenda. Most people have no idea about this. Babywise is based on parenting workshops Ezzo has given (maybe still gives?) to hardcore evangelical families. You know, the sort of people who think women should stay pregnant at home, girls shouldn’t go to college, gay people are evil, feminists are witches, don’t believe in science, think dinosaurs lived at the same time as humans, think women who are raped can’t get pregnant, etc.

    You can find a handbook used for these classes — the text is nearly identical to Babywise — with Bible passages inserted here and there to support his ideas. The version you buy at Barnes and Noble has the Bible stuff removed. Not kidding. Stay far away.

    • Greta, first of all before you go throwing out all these stereotypes you better get your information straight. Evangelical Christians do not do or treat anyone the way you describe above!! We do want our girls to go to college, I went and so did LOTS of my friends in fact everyone of them!!! we don’t think gay people are evil, we don’t tell pregnant women to stay home and , we do believe in Science, and we don’t think if you get raped you can’t get pregnant. Before you start writing next time I suggest you make sure your information is correct!

  25. I think that maybe Babywise just doesn’t work for everyone. Most parenting methods are strictly expressed, but I think they should be loosely practiced. Do what works for you and your kids. We implemented some parts of Babywise, and my daughter slept through the night really early. I know that’s not common, and I don’t know if it was Babywise or if she’s just a great sleeper. And I never let her cry it out until she fell asleep either.

    I think if the momma is stressed, then the baby will be stressed. If Babywise stresses out a momma, then don’t do it, but don’t make Babywise the enemy.

    I definitely agree with “Trust your gut.” That should be a disclaimer before every parenting book.

  26. So I really enjoyed your post. I’m actually a pediatrician. Doesn’t mean I knew a thing about having a baby! I tried babywise. It didn’t work–at all.

    • You mean pediatricians don’t know it all? 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Rachel! I don’t know how anyone can “know it all” when it comes to mothering…

  27. “Babywise as a comprehensive system to be followed to the tee, is a bad idea”

    This is a quote from the end of your post, and leads me to believe that you did NOT read Babywise, at least not in its entirety. The book SPECIFICALLY warns about following the ideas and principles to a tee, but RECOMMENDS that you account for your own individual and unique situation!

    • Hi Mary – I did read it…almost had the thing memorized in fact! The language you are referring to only exists in the newest, self-published version of the book. He had to add that language after babies died from mothers following the first version. (Wikipedia can also tell you that he also lost the only random publisher that would publish the book because the data was not scientifically derived and they were also afraid of lawsuits…) Lots and lots and lots of copies of those old versions abound though! Most new moms wouldn’t know which version they had.

      • I’m a little embarrassed for you that you keep mentioning throughout this thread that “babies died” after their parents followed Babywise. That is completely false; please point to any evidence that any babies have ever died from the Babywise program, even improperly administered.

  28. I could have written this except my son is 8 and I had 3 kids in 5 years. I truly have few parenting regrets, but the 6 months of babywise is one that has stuck. I often wonder when he has issues(not that the other 2 don’t ever have issues)if they are my fault for attempting babywise. I only ever let him cry alone in his crib once but it was the worst 45 minutes of motherhood. I too am thankful for the grace of God to cover my mistakes.

  29. In this article you say “there isn’t a right way or a wrong way. There is your way and there is my way”. So my question is; if that’s your mantra, then why are you attacking babywise and the people who use its techniques? I followed baby wise with both of my girls and if you’ve met either one of them, you can see that they are happy, healthy, loved little humans. I don’t try to discredit other parents way of parenting, so why is it that every time I turn around, someone is trying to insinuate that my parenting style is in-compassionate, unloving, and that I’m surely causing life-long emotional and psychological damage to my children? I assure you, I pick my children up when they cry. I comfort them when they’re sad. And I feel we have as strong of a bond as any other mother and child. Why don’t we try to build up each other as mothers instead of always trying to tear someone or something down. You do what works for you and I’ll do what works for me. And hopefully we all have happy healthy kids in the end.

  30. The studies you linked too are actually not recent. If you have any recent studies I would be very interested in reading them!

  31. I too was a stressed frazzled first time groping for anything that would make my sweet angel sleep.
    I had barely recovered from WTEWYE when a friend suggested baby wise. I was not mentally in a state to fully adjust to method. So instead a week or so in I thought this.. I will make my baby happy by whatever method worked for me some nights we rocked some nights were in the swing when he grew out of the bassinet we put him in his crib. I went gut check from that moment on and haven’t looked back… I now have two well adjusted beautiful little boys.

  32. I also greatly disliked the Babywise book. It made me feel like I wasn’t taking care of my baby the right way. I also had a close friend that swore by it and anytime schedules or sleeping came up I felt like I was given a guilt trip because I didn’t do things the “babywise” way. She bottle fed and I breast fed, so my feeding “schedule” was completely different and I followed cues rather than feeding every 3 or 4 hours. With my first baby I tried the babywise stuff and it hindered my milk supply. If I knew then what I know now I would have known better how to sift through and throw out stuff I didn’t need, but I was a new mother and didn’t know much! I have found a book that I absolutely love and buy for all my new mommy friends called “The Gentle Art of Mothering: A Christian Guide to Infant Care” by Miriam Chickering and Ronda Yoder. It talks a lot about giving yourself and your baby grace. Thank you for your article! 🙂

  33. I liked ‘Babywise’ for helping me get my child on a schedule, but I didn’t do the ‘crying it out’ thing until she was over a year old. Babies generally cry for a reason so I didn’t like that part and it didn’t feel right to me either. But the scheduling thing, knowing how much to feed, how long they should nap, when they drop their 3rd and 2nd nap, etc. were very valuable things provided by that book.

  34. I thank God that I didn’t come across this book and author until my 4th child (I have 7). I knew enough about my babies by then to know that this isn’t how I wanted to mother a baby. I have never regretted comforting and nursing my babies when they needed me. Being around mothers who were trying to follow the book was very painful, as I just wanted to say, “Pick up your baby and love him! It won’t spoil him!” Getting mine to sleep through the night was not such a priority for me. Mine usually continued to nurse at least once a night until about 18 months, and I believe that also helped me not to cycle again and thus keep my pregnancies 2½ to 3 years apart. I am also grateful to God and my dear husband for the ability to stay home with my children and homeschool them, so I didn’t have the pressures of having to get them on a “schedule.”

  35. I’m so sorry you went through this. I went through something similar, though not because of a book. I was 19 when I gave birth to my oldest living with my now ex and his parents. I had no support from my own family (not because they didn’t want to help but they lived several hours away) so ALL of the support I got came from my ex’s family. I was dead set against bottle feeding and that is the one thing I stuck with for as long as I could (was pregnant again within 3 months and by6 months had such horrible morning sickness my body couldn’t tolerate nursing AND being pregnant). That started the controversies as no one is his family had ever nursed and then when I refused to put her in her car seat with a snow suit on…. On and on it went with every choice I made. My ex’s mother called CPS on me and even told other family members that she felt the daughter I had was the daughter she lost to a miscarriage and that she was “meant” to have her. So anyway, after hearing for months that everything I was doing was wrong, I had a child who didn’t sleep through the night, a support system that was anything but supportive, I was depressed at not being able to nurse longer and I needed sleep. Desperately! So when my MIL told me to let my daughter cry it out, I did. I would sit in the living room bawling while she laid in her bed screaming. To this day (she is now 12), she is very high strung, doesn’t trust easily and just in general isn’t a calm person. I’ve had 3 more kids since her and with those have done what I felt best and ALL of them have slept through the night by 3 months old. My youngest actually slept through the night since she was born.
    Like you, I can’t say for sure that crying it out was what has caused my oldest to be more tense or that anything would be different today had I gone with my instincts but it definitely makes me wonder.

  36. We followed babywise with all three of ours, and have a fourth coming this winter. Each time we’re a bit looser about the routine out of necessity–four kids ages five and under generates a lot of action. However, most people I’ve known who’ve followed the routine with their kids haven’t been obsessive about it. We’re just normal people who thrive on routine, as do our babies. I should also note that with every single one of my babies, when asked how often they eat, sleep, etc. at well-child visits the response from the pediatrician is “perfect.” They’re healthy, happy, thriving kids. It’s dangerous to say that any one way is “the way,” or to paint a picture with broad, sweeping strokes, as people do with sleep training. I’ve also found it interesting that all of our pediatricians have stated that a baby is capable of sleeping through the night by 4-6 months, even when breastfed. And we’ve lived in several different places, so these are different practices. Each family needs to decide what works for them, but fear mongering isn’t the answer.

  37. You certainly have a strong, personal opinion. I find it harsh, judgmental and condescending to suggest that for a mother to follow Babywise methods is to “turn off their instincts”. I would also propose that the motivation for baby’s sleep in most caring families is to encourage development, not because it’s a badge-of-honor or an inconvenience to the mother. I think it would be great if as mothers we could encourage each other to find Gods will in our own lives. Parenting is certainly not a one-size fits all.

  38. I appreciate your perspective. Babywise was a lifesaver for our home, and i do recommend the program, except i did not let my kids cry it out, not u til 3 months, and then only for 10-15 minutes at the most. And when i do recommend Babywise, i do let a friend know that we never let our kids cry it out, as i feel at that young age they are crying because they have a need, even if it is just to be held. Babywise is a great way to help organize your baby’s sleep and wake cycles. I also feel like Babywise kids get the sleep their little brains need. It does produce fairly content babies. It would be lovely to see someone come along and revise the info in this book to reflect the above info. The book has a long track record of criticism for the feeding methods and crying it out. This is unfortunate as there is some great advice in the book

  39. I don’t know how old the Babywise book is but the things you’re describing, to let baby cry it out at night, is exactly what my mother did with me. I’m 25 now but when she first told me about it, I thought it made sense, but as I’ve learned more about children (because of my job, I do not have kids) and more about myself I think that what she did, even though it was out of love, was very detrimental to me.
    I have trouble really opening up to people, I’m so afraid of telling people what my needs and wants are that I just suck it up and do what ever the other person wants, even if I don’t want to do it, because I’m so worried about just making the other person happy. I’m really wondering if the root of this can lead back to the way my mother got me to sleep through the night. I can’t know for certain obviously but I really wonder.

  40. I unabashedly hide Babywise when I see it at bookstores. Anything the book gets right, you can get in another book without supporting an author that promulgates borderline child abuse. Yep that’s what I said. Even if you have the newer copy, the author never apologized for how his book led to children failing to thrive when parents followed his method from older copies. He gave disastrous breastfeeding advice and had an insidious way of getting in your mind and making you think there was one way to care for a baby (amazing that only he had that insight!) As a new mama (with an older copy) I carefully made an excel spreadsheet to journal how long she nursed on each side, when she slept, and when she eliminated. It’s powerful dogma and for every child that escaped unscathed, there is another it damaged. I think that’s plenty of reason to use strong language.

  41. I found this blog post after Googling “Babywise stressful” because as a first time mom of a 6 week old, Babywise was beginning to stress me out. I went into mommyhood gung ho about breastfeeding and getting my baby on a schedule. A friend told me about Babywise and it made sense to me, so I bought it, read it, and when my baby was born, implemented it, or tried to. I had a miserable time trying to breastfeed. My daughter was a sleepy nurser and had to be stimulated constantly to stay awake long enough to eat. And then an hour later she would wake up screaming from hunger. I later figured out my milk supply was good, but my flow was not. But along with postpartum hormones and feeling like a failure because breastfeeding was going so terribly, I was also stressing because my baby was falling asleep while eating, wanting to eat every hour and not following any schedule. She would cry and cry and we let her cry it out a couple times. The only thing that would sooth her was me, but I thought she was comfort nursing because she couldn’t possibly be hungry. Babywise says she shouldn’t need to eat for another two hours. A full feeding? What’s that? How can I tell when she konks out 2 minutes in. The first 3 weeks were the roughest of my life and then we switched to formula and I pumped what I could. She began to gain weight and became a happy baby. Our pediatrician advised to let her feed on demand and not get hung up on a schedule. So keeping the Babywise philosophy in mind, we started letting her dictate meals with the exception of waking her after 3 hours to make sure she ate. But I would still find myself worrying about her waking up in the middle of naptime crying because she had a dirty diaper. Or if she fell asleep eating. These were warning signs according to Babywise. Over weeks 5 and 6, I noticed she was becoming fussy before naptimes. A couple of times I would let her cry for a little while then soothe her and she would go right to sleep. I refused to let my baby cry for 15 minutes before every nap when all it took to console her was some simple comforting. And she was sleeping well at night. A four hour stretch at least, sometimes 5 or even 6. She isn’t fitting perfectly into the Babywise philosophy but she is sleeping well at night. Hence the reason for my Google search. I kept asking myself, is it really worth the stress? It seems my little girl has created her own schedule and is thriving. And after reading this post and all the comments, I’m more confident than ever I’m doin the right thing. And thinking back, I wish I’d never thought about implementing Babywise early on because I believe it was a factor in my breastfeeding issues and it definitely added to my mountain of worry and frustration in those early weeks. And now as we begin week 7, I’m breathing a deep sigh as I can relax and let go. I’ll definitely continue to try to keep my little one on a routine, but at least now I can stop freaking out if she wakes up mid nap and it’s not time to eat or if she falls asleep in her swing or while eating. I’m learning to trust my instincts and just go with the flow. If I can share anything with new moms out there, it’s that just as every pregnancy and delivery is different, so is every child. Mine didn’t fit the Babywise mold and I’m not goibg to force her. And as Heather shared, there is no right or wrong way. Just find what works for you and your child.

    • Thank you for your comment Ashley! I’m so glad you found our site and Heather’s post. Our goal of this post wasn’t to create a division among moms, but to do exactly what you said, help you find what works best for you!

      For Heather Babywise didn’t work, and she wanted other moms who might be struggling with Babywise to understand that they’re not alone! I think sometimes as moms we think if it’s working for others then there must be something wrong with me!

      Thanks again for your comment!

  42. I am saddened by your article. I used babywise successfully with my twins. We, as moms need to stop bashing things that didn’t work for us because it just perpetuates the mommy wars. You felt that you were over feeding with babywise. I was accused of starving mine by using babywise. It is our responsibility as mothers to be the best mom we can be and there are many ways to do that. I would have been a horrible mother if I followed attachment parenting by the book. I am just a different type of mom with different babies in different circumstances. I embrace my friends that are attachment parenters and they embrace me. Stop the mommy wars and embrace a babywise mom, attachment parenting mom, formula feeder, a pumper, a breast feeding mom, and all the other types of moms out there.

  43. I have 3 kids. I tried implementing BW into my first child’s life and he THRIVED on it. He NEVER cried once, like ever. He was fed, had enough sleep, was great. He woke up when he was due a feed, had the BW recommended awake time, and self settled pretty well. I cuddled him lots, if I was busy I would let him have a little cry, but not for long & nothing that has left him anxious or feeling abandoned. My 2nd & 3rd kids are on a routine but not as ‘strict’ simply because I do the school run twice a day. But the wake, feed, play & bed is the greatest piece of information and I highly recommend it. My friend who has a 3 month old has no idea what her child needs and she constantly guesses and it’s hard watching her not know what her child needs…. BW is spot on with recommended awake times and knowing this & popping bub down approx 10/15 mins before his recommended maximum awake time has been how I’ve has such good self settlers. All 3 kids would go in their cot wide awake & happy and would chat away & then fall asleep. BW did not work for kid # 2 or 3 as well as it did for my firstborn but that’s nothing to feel guilty about. If you are confident in what you are doing & in who you are then try BW, it simply makes sense.

  44. *Sigh*

    I’d like to comment on a theme I am seeing emerge here between the pro and anti camps.

    Putting aside discrepancies between first run editions and subsequent, amended ones, which seem to be real and significant (I have only read the later edition), the theme seems to be the issue of confidence, or lack thereof in motherhood (new and seasoned).

    Those commenting in favor of BW principles describe an inherent ‘mothering instinct’ which they followed above all while implementing the BW method.

    For those commenting against BW, that is the rub. How can a mother trust her gut if she has no gut to trust?

    How sad that our modern culture, based upon logic, science, and male-dominated psychology is producing women who are so far separated from their inherent feminine core, and lineage of wise women elders on whom to rely for guidance! This is the state of many a woman when she becomes a mother and it is dangerous for herself and for her child.

    Personally, I used BW updated edition with my 3rd child. By that time, I knew who I was as a mother and had learned to recognise that feeling in my gut and had gained the confidence to follow it. BW worked for me in that I gained a deeper understanding of my child’s cues and communication, and he learned to sleep peacefully through my guidance. I never neglected my son and we have a strong bond.

    The story is quite different with my first born. I too felt totally and utterly out of my depth nearly right away after her birth. This total insecurity in my mothering translated itself to a completely unstructured and haphazard parenting that made no sense. I could not trust myself at all. My first born has Sensory Processing Disorder.

    What do we have to change in our society to repair what has been broken? How do we equip mothers to step confidently and lovingly into motherhood? How do we connect with one another in acceptance, rebuilding the bonds of wisdom once passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter?

    I urge your response!


  45. I didn’t read through all the comments so I apologize if this is a repeat question…. I never did any sleep training with my baby. I just couldn’t let her cry it out. But now she is 14mo and the other night when she cried I let her cry… It was not her “hurt” or “scared” cry so I didn’t feel bad. She went back to sleep. Do you think this is bad for her, or given her age, ok? She has never really slept through the night very well…. I’m lucky if I get 3 nights straight of sleeping through the night. But I don’t want to cause any issues with her self confidence!! If appreciate your thoughts!! Thank you.

  46. Hmm… I guess I’m confused. I don’t think we read the same book. Babywise is not unilaterally synonymous with crying it out. Maybe you missed the point? It’s about developing a routine to offer consistency in your child’s day, which in turn helps them sleep… not sitting outside while your baby cries hysterically. I’m disappointed in this post.

  47. I am doing babywise worth my note 10 month old son and have been since he was 2 months. Before, i had a baby that would only nap on the boob all day, could not lay him down. Now be naps great and is happy, healthy, breastfed and thriving. That being said, we never did CIO, if he needs to be rocked, held or nursed he is. It’s not a book filled with strict, do or fail teachings. To me is just a routine to follow that works. The baby whisperer who a lot of ppl love recommends the same type of routine, eat wake sleep. Easy.

  48. I am sorry that Baby wise didn’t work for you. Post partum depression is real and very difficult to deal with! I am so glad you are no longer struggling with it! It made me very sad to read your negative comments about the Ezzos. They are lovely people with a heart for families to thrive. The book was also co-written by Dr. Buchman so it wasn’t advice pulled out of thin air. Most NICU departments follow a feeding routine for the babies in their care because it is best to feed in regular intervals.

    I used the curriculum with all three of my children who were also born close together (I had three children all under the age of 4) before it was revised. My second and third born both had digestive issues which I was able to identify quickly because they were not able to soothe themselves. However, when we did get medical intervention, my doctor encouraged me to feed 3 hours apart to help my children. She was impressed that I already did.

    It’s always easy to point fingers and blame a book or a method for things that don’t well. Baby wise made my life easier as a mom. One thing that might be different for me is that I contacted the national helpline and I was connected with an amazing contact mom who gave enouragement and prayed with me when I was struggling with my depression. She was such a precious part of my journey and she encouraged me to tweak things here and there to apply the principles in the best way possible for my situation.

    There is no perfect way to do anything… especially parenting. But please, let’s not bash each other or undermine another’s methods. As moms, we need to stick together and support each other because it’s a tough journey. My children are all teens now – the oldest in her freshmen year of college. They are beautiful humans with hearts full of compassion and confidence. Looking back, the cio method was a piece of cake compared to moving her to another state for school!


  49. I absolutely love babywise and have had great results in using it with my 3 children. I hate that people think it is “leave my brain, nurturing instincts and mothering” at the door and let my baby cio. My BW book says nothing about CIO, and I never did this with my kids. They all slept through the night at 7-9 weeks (STTN is 7 consecutive uninterrupted hours). They are happy, growing well and are still excellent sleepers at 5yo, 3yo, and 16 months. They all nap everyday, and sleep 10-13 hours every night. The reason this is important is for brain development. BW helped me in so many ways…a few being…I have a very stressful job as a tax CPA, I had to return to work at 12 weeks and be on top of my game EVERY. SiNGLE. DAY. I am a breastfeeding machine, and flexible scheduled feedings helped me know when my baby was hungry, taught me full feedings so baby could get hind milk and not snack, helped baby gain weight at a fast pace since they were not snacking on fore milk, helped me BF for over a year, helped my milk come in because I knew to feed by the clock even when my baby was a sleepy new born, etc, etc.

    Did my schedule look perfect every single day or every single cycle? Absolutely not! It was a tool, something to shoot for! Did I feed my baby when they were hungry? Absolutley, every single time.

    I wish the nay sayers would actually read the book before saying such horrible things about it. Also, compare it to the recommendations of the AAP, and you will find they are very similar.

  50. I know the author here intends to share her experience and regrets with the goal of connecting mothers who resonate with her story. However, as a mom who had great success with BabyWise, I feel like these posts beget more mommy-shaming that we all want to avoid. I also had my 3 children close together (all in 3 1/2 years), and it was my middle child with whom I struggled most. PPD, anxiety, desperation… He was definitely a crier. After hearing some BabyWise flack, I decided to try Attachment Parenting this time: nursing when he was fussy, tired, or hungry; co-sleeping; baby wearing; etc. It was a DISASTER. After a few months I was completely exhausted and hated my child for turning me into such a monster. Talk about failure to bond! One day my husband suggested I try something different. I picked up my old copy of BabyWise and read the first chapter. I bawled as I read it, because I remembered how logical it is. I started the method that day and immediately regained a sense of personhood and control in my life. My son cried it out, sometimes for short periods, sometimes longer. When he got older and more mobile, I realized that he is extremely energetic and gets worked up and emotional when tired. Crying for him as an infant was the equivalent of a toddler running in circles until he passes out. He just needed to let off steam. And once I started using the method that put me, the grown-up, in charge, I was able to bond with him and fall in love with the child I had resented all along. And of all my children, he turned out to be the most tender, loving, compassionate, affectionate, trusting, well-rounded of them all.

    Now, I’m not saying this will work for everyone. Obviously, it doesn’t. But the message we ALL want to send is to trust your instincts. Try whatever method you like, but if it doesn’t feel right, try something else. Letting your kid cry it out doesn’t mean he or she will have emotional issues. Mine sure don’t! (I used some version of the method with all 3.) And nursing your baby to sleep doesn’t mean he or she will be spoiled. Do what feels right and works for your family. And don’t ever feel badly about it.

  51. I read a lot of books before I had my first child 7 years ago, and Babywise was one of them. I took advice from each book that worked best for me and my babies, and I never strictly followed any one method. I followed my motherly instincts. While I never let my babies cry it out, I really liked having an eat, wake, sleep cycle like this book suggests. When it was time to sleep, I used sleep props like pacifiers or rocking like the book tells you not to do.

    I think the author of this blog regrets blindly following one book’s advice rather than following her motherly instincts. While trying to espress her regret, she shamed any mom who used methods from Babywise, calling them cruel and abusive. This mom blogger is not an expert, and should not be making other moms feel guilty for doing what worked best for them.

    Read books, listen to advice, don’t criticize others for doing something you didn’t do, and always do what is best for you and your baby.

    *Typing this as I rock my 2 year old so you know I wasn’t a strict Babywise follower*

  52. I wish you wouldn’t beat yourself up so much over this. My parents as well as my husbands parents have openly told us they let us “cry it out” in the night to get us to sleep through once it was unnecessary for us to be waking for night feedings. We are both perfectly fine well adjusted adults with no emotional or mental issues. God has so much grace for all of us making mistakes every day as we do this parenting thing. There is nothing His grace cannot cover. It is my prayer that moms would encourage and lift each other up!! There is so much mom guilt and shaming that goes on.

  53. “Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12

    I read Heather’s article about her experience and every comment after it. I have a different perspective from most of you as I am a mother of four wonderful adult children and a grandmother of nine beloved little ones. Over the years, I have noticed that some parenting advice tends to focus on short term solutions at the expense of long term consequences. While Mr. Ezzo offered logical advice, and emphasized reason over emotion (in his earliest books like “Preparation for Parenting”), he also denied that mothers had instincts ( He wrote that only animals had instincts), he denied that love should be a motivating factor in parenting, and he stated that the goal of parents should be to control the child. Some of you who have only read his later books do not know what he has taught in the past and was surprised to read that he is now promoting “mother’s instinct”. I hope he believes in it now. He used to teach that fathers were to physically restrain mothers who wanted to run to their crying babies.

    I heard about him first from a friend who attended the church where Mr. and Mrs. Ezzo began to teach their parenting philosophy. About 25 years before this, Mrs. Ezzo had been a nurse in a hospital nursery. Mr. Ezzo had not finished junior college but he later earned a Master’s in Theology for his church work. I read the books from those classes that were later called Growing Kids Gods Way. (The church, Grace Community Church, pastored by John MacArthur, later produced a “Letter of Concern” that stated that character issues rendered Gary Ezzo “unfit for ministry”. They also discredited his parenting books. Heather is right: the Ezzo books were dropped by their publisher and are now published by Gary Ezzo.)

    In his early books, there were spanking charts that advised how many swats a baby should receive for such offenses as crawling off the blanket during enforced “blanket time”. I read the questions and advice from the Ezzo-trained contact moms who answered questions on the Ezzo website. Mothers were advised to swat their 15 month olds for whining or crying as Mama was putting the little one into her bedroom for “room time” for an hour a day (This was in addition to spankings if the toddler left the room before the hour was up. Many mothers said they were spanking their babies over 21 times a day. They were told that this was normal and when the baby learned that disobedience would be punished, they would eventually conform). The contact moms reassured a mama whose baby repeatedly banged his head on his crib or a wall—they said their babies did the same thing! The books taught that there were “high chair manners” to observe: babies must not touch or play with their food, their hands must be in their laps or along the sides of the tray during feedings, they were to be removed from the chair and not given any more to eat if they disobeyed, etc. First time obedience (yes, parents were in sin if they repeated an order to their child; they were to immediately spank or they were “lazy”) was required from children “with a happy heart” (the child had to smile as he obeyed; frowning or complaining was punishable).

    This is the original Gary Ezzo parenting advice before he began to modify his books in response to doctors calling child abuse hotlines to report babies with slow growth and development (yes, babies were often underweight -Ezzo advocated a four hour feeding routine then- and were not reaching the developmental milestones like sitting up or crawling at the appropriate ages). The Ezzo response was to deny that he had received any reports of babies with problems. Later, he would blame the parents of these babies and say that they were not implementing his advice properly. Around this time, parents taking his classes were told not to tell their doctors or lactation consultants that they were taking the Ezzo classes. Health professionals struggled to understand why they kept seeing babies who failed to thrive (mothers were told at classes not to add another feeding even if the lactation consultant advised it; Ezzo said the space between feedings was necessary for the mother’s milk to resupply—-which is not physiologically correct information).

    Apparently the newer versions of Babywise and Toddlerwise have had the extreme Ezzo advice removed and the length of time between feedings has been reduced. However, the damage has been done to countless children whose parents followed Ezzo in the early days. Here is a telling incident from about nine years ago: My close friend’s son (then about age 11) ran up to her as she chatted with another mom, hugged and kissed his mama and told her he loved her, then ran off to play. The other mother, who had raised her four sons on early Ezzo teachings from babyhood, asked my friend, “Do you tell him to do that—to hug and kiss you and tell you he loves you?” My friend replied, “No, he just does that spontaneously several times a day.” The other mother sadly said, “Not one of my four sons has ever done that!”

    Please think about the relationships you hope to have with your children when they are older children, teens, and adults. Your actions now have consequences later. I have no regrets that I chose to raise my children with an abundance of love and nurturing (Ephesians 5:1,2a “You are God’s children whom he loves. So try to be like God. Live a life of love. Love other people {I believe this includes our children} just as Christ loved us.”. I am not telling you how to parent; if you are a Christian, the Lord will lead you. Isaiah 44:3 “I will put my Spirit into your children. My blessing will be like a stream of water flowing over your family.”

    • Yes ! The teachings you describe we’re exactly what was taught in our Growing Kids God’s Way class at our church in 1999. Thank god our boys were so strong willed that none of it worked. I quickly thought – oh well, I may be lazy but I’m not hitting my toddler 21 times a day! They are wonderful , polite, kind hearted college bound boys today. Enzo and his wife are dangerous and should not be trusted.

      • Wait a minute…………You’re saying that BabyWise teaches to hit the toddler 21 times a day? Wow if that’s what you go out of it, you are as delusional as this post. Congratulations on having children turn out well DESPITE their mother.

  54. I love babywise! When I was pregnant with our first, I had a few friends who had mentioned how babywise was a life saver. So my husband and I sat together and read through babywise before we had children. We both felt good about it and decided that we wanted to try out the methods suggested. When our first child, our son, was born we soon started working on getting him on a schedule and following the book. As the book does suggest, we trusted our instincts and always do. Our son followed right along with the book, was sleeping 8 hours by 8 weeks and 12 hours by 12 weeks. To this day (he is now 2.5) he still takes one nap in the day and sleeps 12 hours at night. I can count on one hand how many times he has woken up in the night. And when he has, it is when he was sick, and we’ve gone in and held him and comforted him til he was ready to go to sleep. We let him cry it out at a few months old. I made sure he was fed, clean diaper, read books, cuddled and sang to him. The first night he cried for 40 mins. The next night he cried for about 30 mins and the third night he cried for 20 mins. Ever since that, he falls right to sleep when we put him in his crib. Now that he is a toddler, he sometimes will play with a toy for awhile or even sing to himself to sleep. I have yet to see one negative affect that it has had on him. I am so glad we did everything the way we did with him and that it worked wonderfully on our son.

    With our second child (our daughter) I knew how fast the newborn stage would go and I didn’t even think about baby wise or re read through it til she was about 2 months old. We then started working on getting her on a schedule and following the book and it helped her sleep longer at night. With her, as I continue to trust my instincts, I haven’t felt the need to let her cry it out so I haven’t. We still do everything else it says in baby wise. She’s now 9 months old and she doesn’t Always sleep through the night but does for the most part and I feel great about that.

    Both of my children are perfectly healthy, Rarely get sick, and are as easy going as children come. I know that I am very lucky and that this is not usual to get two totally healthy and happy children. Now I don’t know for Certain that it was all thanks to baby wise, as I also believe that things like diet, attention from parents, and genes all play a part but since I have used baby wise with both my children and gotten amazing results, I love the book and am grateful to have it. I truly believe that there is a healthy balance between following your heart (emotions) and being knowledgeable and logically about things. You should study it out in your mind and then take it to the Lord and you will know how to parent each of your children. Even though I believe that at least some of baby wise would work for most families, I know that every child and parent is different. So I wouldn’t even say that for sure everyone should use it. You should be doing the same if you really believe in following your mothering instincts and shouldn’t be telling people what to do or what NOT to do. You telling mothers that they should not read baby wise, that ,in your opinion, it is “scary dangerous” and things like that are not telling them to follow their instincts but to trust you and that you know more than they do about their child. You even said that you have friends that it has worked for so why would you be so determined to tell people that it doesn’t work and Not to do it?

    I don’t think that it is wrong that you wrote your opinion and shared your story but how you went about it and what exactly you have said about it. You still could have gotten your opinion out and said that it didn’t work for you and that you don’t personally recommend it but been much nicer about it and realize that works for one may not work for others. Instead it comes across that you know everything and that anyone who uses baby wise is doing it wrong and like you will one day regret it. Just cause you don’t agree with something doesn’t mean you have to bash it, instead you should have turned your focus on what does work for you.

    I know you used “research” to prove some of your points but you can find research to support just about anything. There’s pediatricians who don’t agree with the book and there are also others that DO agree with the book. There are also many articles that talk about the importance of sleep for every age; babies and toddlers included. I personally believe that sleep is So important for each member of the family. When dad gets sleep, he is happy and can focus at work and do his best there and support his family. When mom gets sleep, she wakes up in a good mood and ready to care for and teach her children in a loving way and absolutely will have more patience with her children throughout the day. When children get sleep they wake up in a good mood and are not constantly whining and cranky and acting out all day due to lack of sleep. I really do think that this is why my children are so happy and easy going cause they are completely rested when they wake. There is research behind just about everything so in the end you have to do what you feel is right for your child.

    I’m not certain what your point was with having 4 children in 5 years but that’s also how close in age my sister in law’s children are and she used baby wise with all 4 of her children and recommends it. I have yet to hear her say any negative affects and her children are between 5-10 now. I’m sorry that it didn’t work for you and that you feel so negatively about it. But the way you wrote this comes off as judgmental and that’s what makes people unhappy is when they feel you are telling them that they are doing something “wrong” and “dangerous” in their parenting when they have only had a positive experience with it.

  55. Sad to hear your experience with BW was not a good one. Mine was fabulous, but probably because I took BW to be more of a guide on how to structure our day and get my baby on a schedule. I NEVER took it to mean to ignore my mothering instincts. In fact, there is a whole chapter that talks about the importance of really learning your baby’s different cries…

    Anyway, what is even more sad is that I feel like this is a total Mommy Wars post. As a mother who has had success with Baby Wise, when I read this I feel attacked. I feel judged as not being a good enough mother, as depriving my children of something essential. (Which I can assure you they have never been starved for love/attention/snuggles – not for a single minute of their life. But yes as a NiCU nurse and a veteran mom I can easily distinguish an over-tired/over-stimulated cry versus a hungy/hurt/scared cry and respond appropriately.)

    so anyway, so sorry to comment in this way. I believe we are all called to parent differently and that We are given children who need exactly our parent style. While Baby Wise is a life saver for some, I respect and am at peace with the fact that it is not for everyone.

    A post about what DID work for you would come across a lot better as opposed to one that bashes others decisions.

  56. A book that I found very refreshing on this topic is “Spirit Led Parenting”. A very different perspective than BW. Most parents do not do an indepth study about infant growth and development or infant mental health. Both have fairly new information based on how much more we know about it. These are the “experts” who should be informing our parenting. We should parent based on what is supportive of a baby’s brain and emotional development (both have not changed since babies were created) and based on our observations about how “my” specific infant is doing, not on how much sleep or routine we feel is important for our lifestyle or the general baby population. Much of parenting is cultural in nature and not based on physiology or development. God made babies’ brains and development the way they are. We need to learn the best that we can how we can support God’s creational directives with grace, compassion and sensitivity. I also consider the nighttime parenting (much like BW) of my now 30 year old to be my greatest regret.

  57. I felt this was a very unreasonable and unproductive blog. Your examples of how we don’t ignore hurt children’s cries or adult spouses cries is completely ridiculous. They are not comparable examples at all. When my 4 year old pulls a small fit every night when I tell her its time for bed, I don’t comfort her at every moment she cries. She still goes to bed and if excessive crying continues then I would help calm her down. That is the reasonable thing a reasonable parent would do. That example is perfectly applicable to the infant stage. The infant in most cases isn’t crying because of pain or emotional stress if there is normal parenting going on, they are an infant trying to understand the schedules of life. Obviously this book wasn’t for you just like there are many things in life that aren’t for everyone. That’s why there are 400 different kinds of candy bars and cars and cereal and so on. So if the book and its techniques weren’t for you, it doesn’t mean your a bad mom or the author is wrong and a bad person who needs god grace. We all needs gods grace. If your feeling bad about yourself because of a book, don’t read it and move on. Its your fault if you keep dwelling on it and forcing the issue and cant figure out that people are different and everyone reacts to things differently. What people should do is take accountability for their own choices and not try to blame people that write books. We used the baby wise pattern on all 4 of our children and we had them in 5 years too and it worked great. My kids are good and emotionally normal and well developing kids. I recommend the book to everyone with new infants. It may work for them and it may not. I would encourage everyone to apply the baby wise schedule and use the recommendations that work for them and avoid the ones that don’t. That’s just how a reasonable person navigates thru life.

  58. I find this interesting. I implemented the parts of babywise I wanted to and it worked great. Namely we didn’t do cio, but we followed a 2.5/3hr eat/wake-sleep cycle, full feedings. And it’s worked great for all 5 of my kids. 3 of which have gerd. I used whatever means necessary to help my babies sleep/fall asleep including swings, rocking etc. and think babywise gets a bad rap. It tells you many times in the book to listen to your own instincts. I’ve loved the full nights sleep I get, the predictable schedule allows me to meet the needs of all my children. And yes, it definitely doesn’t work if your child has gerd reflux left untreated. I always cut cows milk, garlic, chocolate, and tomatoe based products the first 4 months of breastfeeding and some of mine have been on zantac/prevacid . I’m sorry this method didn’t work for you, I’ve heard healthy sleep habits is another good one-

  59. Perhaps a mother has already given advice in previous comments above, but can someone please advise me on how to get a baby to sleep at about 6 months? I’m a new mother to a 4-month baby girl and have done some trial and error, but overall, hate the idea of letting a baby cry it out! I’ve let my baby cry for about 7 minutes, just because I’m unsure of what to do. and there were a few times where I let her cry for 15 minutes, and felt so awful, that I told myself I’d start to work with her sleep at 6 months and decided to bag any sort of CIO until atleast 6 months. I am still unsure of how to break her and not sure if I even like the CIO idea at 6 months either. I’m only thinking 6 months, because that’s what most research has suggested. She just turned 4 months, and I started co-sleeping with her at 3 months because I was so tired of doing the nursing until she fell asleep and then transferring her to the bassinet. It was literally taking hours every night to get her to sleep and she woke up EVERY time I moved her! It was exhausting! It also got me on a terrible sleep schedule, so I started co sleeping when she turned 3 months old, just so I didn’t have to transfer her anymore, and could let her stay asleep. I’m afraid it’s just going to make it that much harder to break though, and don’t know how to break it. Any advise for a desperate, new mother, would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!

  60. I used BW with my 13 year old as a newborn and found that it helped him regulate very well. He had digestive issues (a lot of reflux) but this was day in and day out and certainly not caused by getting a full feeding of breastmilk vs a small feeding. He now has food allergies and we just didn’t know back then. He is a high intensity child and always been low on the growth curve- healthy, but small. If he hadn’t gotten full feedings he could’ve been FTT. So I was very thankful for learning how to do this. The Baby Whisperer uses a very similar routine. It is a routine, that’s all. Ezzo says throughout the book to trust your instincts. I think that a parent who is exhausted, doesn’t have support or a sounding board, and is insecure or depressed is putting too much pressure on themselves or this book. It is a guide (and the 45 minute intruder during naps is a very real thing- my sister and I have 5 kid between us, all of them had that!). My13 year old is very athletic,all honors classes, and a bit on the hyper/impulsive side. I don’t think any of this good or bad has anything to do with how I got him into a good rhythm as a baby- feed/wake/sleep-wise. I am impulsive, and he gets athleticism from his Dad and his honors classes from all of his genes. I have no idea why this critique focuses on cry it out. Yes we did a little of that, but only when he was trying to change the schedule too much, as in not take a nap at all. He just needed to know it was time, and it wasn’t his decision. Not of course when he was ill, or in a new environment, or if it lasted too long. For my child, he needed to yell a few minutes to get all that leftover energy out before he could rest. It worked for us.

  61. This article is SPOT ON and exactly right in every way. Trust your instincts, tend to your baby. Don’t worry about schedules. They aren’t little long. Enjoy them!!! The MAN who wrote this has never been a mother. YOU ARE the mother of your little one. No one knows better than YOU.

  62. Bottom line is this! Babies need their mother! I too have friends who use babywise and love it! Let’s take a look at nature. We are the only mammals (so to speak)who remove our selves from our babies! A mother cow or horse when removed from their baby will go into a high stress mode! Our oldest was put into a crib in a nursery and we had a challenge putting her down for the night, as soon as she sensed our presence gone she would wake up! A baby can sense it’s mothers presence in sleep! Our next 4 children Co slept and we were all happier for it! Mom gets her sleep and baby is happy!
    Bottom line is still this a baby needs it’s mother!

  63. As a grandmother, who has a psychology background, I am VERY concerned about this method. It ignores the baby’s greatest need to attach; to understand at its deepest level. It reminds me of the orphanages in other countries, where the children are unattended to and cry for long period of time. This book is a logistical How To book and does not take into consideration the God-given need for babies to attach. Letting a baby cry for 30-45 minutes is unacceptable. I see it serving the needs of a fear-based anxious parent who may need to work, needs sleep, and prefers order; may have perfectionist & controlling tendencies, neither of which is God-oriented God-directed or baby friendly. Counseling offices are full of adults and adolescents who’s anxiety and depression can be traced to attachment issues, needs not being met. This book to me, is a logistical approach; and while parts of it might be valid, it cannot be used in its entirety. And, have you read the reviews of this book by the AAP and other professional organizations? Parents can create the PDF by using/learning good boundaries and clearly understanding what the Bible says about parenting.

  64. Heather, I just wrote a post to this 11/11/13 post that you answered to a mom named Kara and then I noticed that your comment string is still getting “talked on” as recent as yesterday. So I wanted to post it here as well.

    I just came across your comment to a mother who read your blog. I realize this is from several years ago, but since there were so many clear inaccuracies– I felt I needed to tell you the truth. In your response to Kara on 11/11/13 you said that you did have an older version of Babywise and that you went and did some more research. I do not know where you did your research, but you did not mention (and it is very easy to find if you are looking and really wanted to find it) that 28 year Pediatrician Robert Bucknam, M.D. wrote Babywise with Gary Ezzo in the early 90s and that respected Dr. Bucknam (who has a thriving Pediatrics clinic in Colorado in 3 hospitals with 37 other respected Pediatricians) oversaw and directed all 5 revisions on Babywise since the early 90s from its original 160 pages to todays updated and revised version of Babywise that has 279 pages. It was much more than “pulling a few things out to keep the publisher happy.” It is 74% new over 5 full revisions since it was first published. Today, Babywise has sold over 5 million copies and is translated into 20 foreign languages (again easily found facts if one is actually wanting to find facts). You also mentioned the former publisher who was Multnomah. I worked at Multnomah and your research is simply not true. The CEO and Owner of Multnomah was Donald C. Jacobson and he, along with his board, had invited anyone in the country with “an issue with the authors” to come and speak the truth against him and nobody would do so. The authors’ were cleared of any and all claims because no accuser of anything would stand up to the publisher at all. Today, 25 years later, Babywise has since become on the #1 best selling book in Breastfeeding, Sleep Disorders, Children’s Health, Infants, Single Parenting, Child Care, and Twins & Multiples Parenting. You mentioned Wikipedia and you have to be in full knowledge that anyone can write anything on Wikipedia. In fact, there is one rogue editor named Binksternet (completely public information if you just click on the site and look it up for yourself on Wikipedia) that has attempted to edit fact after sourced fact off the Babywise Wikipedia page because he “simply doesn’t like it.” You will see Binksternet on the page for all to see state that he feels “Gary Ezzo is a no-name religious fanatic who has no credentials and found a no-name young pediatrician to rubber stamp his nonsense.” The Wikipedia page is a joke filled with whatever Binksternet wants to place on it. You mentioned in your comment to Kara that the author’s “data is fabricated and the medical community is against it.” What you did not tell Kara is that published on the book itself are endorsements from a Professor of Pediatrics, an R.N.C.L.E., an Obstetrician, a Pediatric Neurologist, a Pediatric Cardiologist, and an international Pediatrician. You also did not research a very popular author Pediatrician Richard Ferber, M.D. Director, Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders, Children’s Hospital-Boston AND Associate Professor of Neurology at the Harvard Medical School who says “Consistent schedules are especially important to treating sleep disorders.” Ferber also says “Feeding patterns are an important part of an infant’s daily schedule.” Ferber went on in his book to say ….”if you are in the habit of rocking your child to sleep (or rubbing his back, or any similar custom) for twenty to thirty minutes each night, and you need to repeat the ritual once or twice in the middle of the night to get him back to sleep, you may be actually interfering with his sleep and delaying his ability to sleep through the night.” (exactly the Babywise methods) It doesn’t take much research, Heather, to find Sugar Kansagra, M.D. Director, Duke Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program who says, “Consistency is critical to success. Once you start sleep training, don’t turn back. The process can take several days to weeks. Don’t give up on sleep training after just a few nights. The most effective and proven sleep training solutions do involve some crying. But remember that it is for the health and well-being of your child.” Dr. Kansagra also says “Caregiver guilt is a common reason why sleep training fails. If a child is crying, the natural response would be to console him or her. But remember, sleep training is not for you. Although you will benefit as well, the main reason to sleep train is for the health and well being of your child. Not being able to self-soothe and go to sleep independently can be a burden for the child.” (exactly the Babywise methods) If you really want to know what the medical community at the top says your research will lead to experts like Jodi A. Mindell, Ph.D.- Associate Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Professor of Psychology at Saint Joseph’s University. Dr. Mindell says “Babies and children love routines and relish schedules. They like to know what is going to happen next. They are also better behaved when things follow a known pattern. Routines provide your child with a sense of security, and they enable your child to have a sense of control in a world governed by adult demands. Routines also give a framework in which to learn new skills.” Dr. Mindell after all of her years with babies says, “During the night, when you hear your baby begin to stir– walk, don’t run to him. You will be surprised how often he’ll fall back to sleep on his own. Remember, all babies naturally wake up throughout the night. Your baby may simply be stirring, ready to return back to sleep. By going to him too quickly, you may actually be waking him up.” (exactly the Babywise methods).
    Heather, in your response to Kara, you mentioned that you wish you would have followed your instincts. I have read the brand new 25th Anniversary edition of Babywise and here is what 28 year Pediatrician Robert Bucknam, M.D. says in it: “When attempting to establish a feed-wake-sleep plan, parents must determine the first feeding of the day and try to stay as consistent as they can.” (page 135) I would say that Babywise is heavily encouraging mothers to follow their instincts and determine for themselves what is right. Dr. Bucknam says on page 91″Every baby is different when it comes to the timing of these merge transitions.” Again, Babywise is nowhere near one size fits all or asking any mom to ignore her motherly instincts. On page 63 Dr. Bucknam is very clear on Babywise’s stance on mothers’ instincts and listening to your baby when he states, ” ‘Just listen to your baby’s cue’s is good advice.” Dr. Bucknam goes as far in Babywise as to say, “The hunger cue should always trump the time on the clock.” (also page 63)

    Heather, one of the other false claims that very easy research is able to uncover the truth (if the researcher wants to find the truth) is that the AAP ever issued any formal statement against Babywise. So false. One doctor named Aney wrote his personal opinion in 1998 in a short abstract (a magazine called The AAP News) which was immediately debunked by four doctors who wrote full rebuttals also published in the same abstract The AAP News:

    To understand better this false claim that soon became internet rumor one can go straight to the source at:

    Heather- we should all spend a little more time supporting fellow mothers who all want the same thing for their precious babies: to sleep well and grow up healthy. To spend time ripping other moms for what they have found successful in their mothering is really far beneath any and all of us. But that is just my opinion and how I choose to live my life. I wish you all the best in everything you do with your great families.

  65. Hi Ladies,

    I wanted so much to be a good Christian mommy and to also have a sense of order and security in our home. I was a young mom and terrified. Our firstborn struggled to gain weight in her first few months, but other than that she was a “prized pupil”and slept and ate perfectly. But as child growing up she displayed personality issues that pointed to a lack of parental bonding and attachment. Today, she struggles in all of her relationships, has struggled with substance abuse and has a diagnosed mental disorder. While I can’t know for certain that the program is to blame, I do know that her younger sibling(whom I was much less strict with) does not have these problems.

    22 years later, I can look back clear eyed and see the damage I did to our firstborn because of Babywise. My heart for all parents is this:Lead with Love. You can “over-love” your children. Young mom especially need to be instructed in this because there are so many voices telling them what to do.

    Control is not love. Control is Self, Control comes from Pride, Satans favorite sin.

    God bless you…and please just love your babies and hold them.

  66. I am a new mommy; my child is currently 13 weeks old. I too suffered from PPD. I started using Babywise around 6 weeks; although prior to that she was on a schedule as suggested by our pediatrician. I think you might have missed the part where Babywise suggested you follow your instincts and logic as a parent. I read Babywise and many other books and adapted the advises that I felt comfortable with and I felt worked for my child. I adjusted quite often based on her reactions to each change. She now sleeps 12 hours, is eating and gaining weight at an impressive rate AND it helped fix her tummy issues.
    Sleep is so crucial to the development of rapidly growing brains. Mommies are super concerned about their emotional well-being but what about their brain development? Have you ever tried learning something while tired? If you feel it’s better for your child to co-sleep or take naps in a swing…go for it! But to say that a book was responsible for your hardships and that it’s dangerous is more of an opinion than based on actual facts. I have several friends who are also new mommies who aren’t using any schedules or plan of action and they are struggling. I sleep at least 8 hours a day, I work out 3 times a week and work at home. All this while being the primary care provider from my little baby. I could not do this without providing some structure and sleep for myself and my child through knowledge gained by reading Babywise.

  67. I’m sorry to hear you had such a terrible experience with Babywise; it seems like it did more psychological damage to you than it did to your child! You’re the first I’ve seen who wasn’t able to grasp the concept of parent-directed feeding. To miss this concept in the book is to miss the book altogether. It’s a shame to see you bashing a parenting method that works so wonderfully for most. The book was not responsible for your hardships. If it was, it would have a similar effect on many of the parents and children following the book; if not most. Our family thrives on Babywise and I recommend it to everyone!

  68. We had triplets 16 years ago and another child 13 years ago. They are thoughtful, smart and respectful children and I credit so much of that to Baby wise and its philosophies. They slept through the night the first week. We literally woke them up to feed them and followed the schedule.
    I kept my sanity. They were well fed and rested and the schedules were wonderful. We teach to the heart of our children. We continue to refer back to it for examples, etc and it works beautifully. Our NICU nurses laughed kindly when I told them that we planned to put them on a schedule. They were also amazed when it worked. It takes initial patience, trust and prayers but wow… I’ve even bought it for multiple parents the last 16 years and have only heard good things.

  69. It doesn’t sound like you followed the Babywise method properly. My husband and I did and our daughter (now 14 months) is and has been thriving. 98th percentile and healthy as can be. We started the method when she was 5 weeks and she slept through the night at 11 and is an AMAZING sleeper now. Anyone reading this considering the book, just read it and then see for yourself if you want to practice it. Just because you read it doesn’t mean you have to do it. Also, don’t skim. Read it all and you’ll find a very balanced method that will ensure your baby is fed, well rested, loved and tended to. -A Babywise fan

  70. Heather, Thank you for writing about your experience on your own blog. Geesh! I wish some of the commenters would lighten up a bit. You, Heather, are entitled to your opinion on your own blog for sure. This isn’t a news article or an article in a periodical publication.

    I personally hate Babywise and have witnessed the ill effects in my friend’s children who have used it. I myself was a cry it out baby with a detached mother and it has negatively affected my whole life. My husband and I have 8 children from ages 9 up to 22. We started our family in 1995 when the original Babywise was popular. I briefly tried scheduling my baby and I was a wreck. My baby had GERD which wasn’t discovered until he was 5 years old! I am embarrassed to say that but I just thought babies spit up a lot and that kids threw up a lot. Duh, that’s not normal. Screaming crying babies make me very anxious and then irritable.

    I am very blessed that I found The BabyBook by Dr. William Sears. He has a medical degree in pediatrics and knows what he is talking about. What certification does Ezzo have anyway? Also, when I read mothers here say, it worked for “me” or “I” think it was a godsend, I think well what did your baby think? What do your teenagers think? Do you even care? Detached babies grow up into detached children with detached parents. I have seen this in my friend’s kids who were Babywised. They feel like their parents don’t care about them, or don’t care to hear their opinions. They grow up into anxious adults.

    Natural Mothering is the best for babies. Stop looking at the clock. Get to know your baby. You cannot over love your baby. You cannot hold your baby too much. Babies thrive on human contact and interaction. Every time I see a child with a flat spot on the back of their head, I feel sad for that child because it is likely to be flat because the child spent a lot of time in their crib crying their heads off then when that did not get them the attention they needed, they just fell asleep exhausted or laid there staring into space feeling abandoned.

    Here is a couple of articles that I read in the 1990’s that explained why Babywise is babybad.

    I hope the Babywise fans can wise up! Lord have mercy.

    • Our 22-year-old son came home from college this weekend and last evening he and I had such a nice long conversation in our living room catching up on each other’s lives. At one point, he said, “Mom, I am glad you are so chill.” I am glad our children like talking to us about their lives. We haven’t had a rebellious teen yet although I am aware of the possibility. I am extremely grateful to God for steering us away, far away, from Babywise.

      To the parents who have used Babywise and regret it, remember that God can use all things, in our lives, for the good of those who love Him. I think it is healthy to learn about how Babywise could have been harmful and look for signs in your children of those effects. Be open to getting help for your child if he or she has problems with anxiety/detachment.

      It is true that all moms have regrets about something. I have my own about other things. Try not to beat yourself up about it. Be humble seek out advice from experts on how to make it better. I really like articles and advice from the Psychology Today website. (They also have articles that talk about the harms of crying it out for babies.)

  71. My friends son is 5 yrs and displays symptoms of RAD. And he was on the CIO method at 2 months. I was shocked when they said they did this method at 2 months.
    They refuse to believe they caused his behavioral problems. Cognitive dissonance has taken over and they are struggling to deal with their choice of using this method.

    Other friends who have tried this method also have children with behavioral issues, I’ve seen anxiety, nervousness, stress, aggression, extreme tantrums and unresponsive behaviors in their children.

    Maybe there are well adjusted children out there who had this method used on them, I just haven’t come across any of them.

    I think many who have used this method get very defensive when someone criticizes it because they cannot accept that may have harmed their child and denial kicks in.

    In my groups of friends who have done this method, I can always sense that they are never 100% sure they did the right thing and they live with the question on their mind.
    The topic has come up so many times brought up by themselves in fact.

    I don’t tell them I think they made a mistake because it’s not my place to tell them how to raise their children plus they’re already dealing with some level of guilt.
    Even if they don’t say it they feel guilty, you can always sense the guilt lurking.
    I do feel sorry for their children’s struggles because of this method. It hard to see the effects in action.

    IMO, if you expect to have a baby “fit into” your lifestyle instead of the other way around then you shouldn’t have kids.

    IMy comfort is not more important than my kids’ comfort, happiness and trust.
    Especially when they are infants.

  72. Thank you, Heather, for sharing your experience, your truth. Yes, the cry it out method, whether recommended by Ezzo or someone else, is borderline child neglect. It is no different than what happens to children in orphanages who suffer from failure to thrive because their needs are ignored, whether out of necessity due to lack of staff, or no. Heather’s desire to help other mothers, (it is clear plenty mothers had similar experiences to Heather’s) who might have similar sad experiences to hers does not deserve shaming. I followed the cry it out recommendation and sleeping schedule with my first for two weeks and it was a nightmare then and the effects are discouraging now. I’ve read every comment and most commentors who praise BW used a variation of the guidelines, not the exact schedule Ezzo prescribed originally. The success was not BW but individual variation of it so why give BW all the credit? Those who follow the original recommendations with exactness will do damage to the child and their relationship with the child, no question. I would not doubt if so much of the depression, anxiety, and social disorders we have in our day is linked back to this notion of “parent’s convenience is priority over the child’s long term needs.” In the end it’s all about, you do you. You follow your instinct, I’ll follow mine. I’m grateful the author shared her experience, its something that needed to be said. Thank you, Heather. Thank you everyone else for your contribution to the discussion. 💛

  73. I can’t believe I didn’t search co sleeping vs Babywise until my son was 3 years 7 months and my twins 15 months. It takes a while to put the puzzle pieces of parenting together. My experience is all too similar with yours and I should have read more articles on the subject of co sleeping and at least given each side an equal chance. I desperately read Babywise late into the night and I thought it was working for us. He slept through the night by 1 year old and was a great sleeper until a. No more crib and b. We moved. He’s been climbing into bed with us ever since. The biggest thing too is he has SPD (sensory processing disorder) and has anxiety and had to go to a theraputic preschool because he was excessively aggressive. I just wish I had studied attachment theory because that’s we are doing now. Lots of play therapy and positive discipline and co sleeping. He is such a good boy, I just hope to do better by my kids now that I know better. Babywise brought up a lot of mom guilt for me too that I am so over now. Again, all too similar an experience! Thanks for sharing.

  74. Heather, I’m wondering if you have any advice for a mom of a now 6 year old who was Babywised and we’re experiencing the extremely negative long term affects? My son has a level of anxiety I’ve not even experienced in many adults (including myself and I was raised in a physically abusive home).
    I’ve been searching for ways to reverse the lack of attachment and even trying to get an appointment with a therapist to no avail. His anxiety is causing chaos in our home with his siblings and other relationships.
    I’m open to any kind, helpful advice.

    • Anybody who defends this inhumane cruel and barbaric program developed by a narcisstioc psychopath named Ezzo is simply brainwashed. The 20-minute cry-it-out rule is at the crux of the program. Show me a baby that this has been used on and I will show you an adult with RAD, abandonment rage, panic disorder, tactile sensitivity disorder, anxiety disorder, major depression, PTSD, fibromyalgia, and a host of other disorders. All of these disorders were developed when the baby was left to itself to cry-it-out in panic, fear, and rage. Infants cannot calm themselves… they need a caregiver to help soothe them in order to develop the ability to self-calm. Show me an adult who cannot handle stresses of any kind without going into panic and I will show you a baby raised on Ezzo’s program. The window of time to learn to self-soothe is from 0-36 months. After that it is too late.


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