Thursday, May 05, 2005

Ezzo Blezzo Schmezzo!

It was eight years ago. We met this cute little suburban couple at a college alumni thingy. I was obviously pregnant - with our first child. They jumped all over us, telling us about this great "Bible study" at their home ... how it would show us how to parent scripturally ... it would maintain order in our home ... how our baby would be sleeping through the night in eight weeks ... that's what kept echoing in our heads ...

sleep through the night in eight weeks ...
sleep through the night in eight weeks ...

We were SOLD!

So, we didn't just buy the Babywise book. No sir! We did the full-fledged facilitated video series in a private home with three other couples. We even had a WORKBOOK! I remember on our last night, one of the women asking, "But what if our baby just doesn't DO it - I mean, what if they don't fall into this pattern?"

I was mortified. It's so sad to look back now, and see how I was a total Jim-Jones-cult-like-follower-of-Ezzo. I thought, "Well, this poor woman is destined to fail, because she doesn't realize this is the only way to do it!"

There were other things I ignored. They told us over and over again to NOT share the steps and ideas with others, but to encourage them to come to a class (interesting, since the Babywise book could be picked up at any book store). The entire breastfeeding lesson was done with a teddy bear or plastic doll (no actual pictures of latching on or breastfeeding mothers - so I'm nursing my daughter thinking, "Hmmm, your nose doesn't protrude out like the bears' nose, and your body doesn't stay stiff and horizontal like the plastic doll ... am I doing this right?")

Then we gave birth to a beautiful, magical, very colicky little baby girl. Of course, Ezzo had taught us the colic was just in our heads. So, we took her home. We had family visiting the first full week, and they all wanted to hold her. I was like a Nazi, standing over them and taking her away quickly, so they wouldn't "spoil" her. In week two, I was all alone at home during the day. For the first time, she woke up early from a nap (it was supposed to go until 4:00 pm - just like the book). She was screaming. My mind told me something was wrong. My heart told me to hold her. My breasts responded to her cries, and my milk was letting down, telling me to comfort nurse.

After three days of trying to Ezzo-ize her, and at one point letting her cry for more than an hour straight (spitting up like crazy), WE spit on the book (literally, I think I might have done that). We held her. We nursed her. We (HEAVEN FORBID) brought her into bed with us, and we all started to sleep twice as long.

We also found out at her four month appointment that she did, in fact, have reflux. This gave her heartburn on a continuous basis. She was in pain. She needed comfort. At five months, her 18 month battle of ear infections began. Can you imagine if we had just been die-hard Ezzo twerps and let her cry through her pain??

With our son, we decided to do whatever our guts led us to do. The funny thing is that he would have been the cookie-cutter Ezzo baby. He slept a lot - was very compliant. Yet, we broke the mold and actually considered some of the things written by Dr. William Sears. Ezzo taught us that wearing your baby in a sling, nursing when a baby was hungry (or just needed comfort - heaven forbid!), or sharing a sleep space with your child was sinful and would ultimately lead to a clingy, disobedient child. Dr. Sears got our noses actually into scripture and into history books. He prompted us to search the world around us (the whole globe - not just this tiny spot we call the U.S.A.). I have learned from the mothers who have never stepped foot in a Babies-R-Us. I finally got it - nowhere in the Bible did it say, "On the 8th day God made the pacifier to hold off a baby for 15 minutes until it was time to eat again."

I have a lot of friends who say, "Well, there are some good principles in Babywise. I just use what I can and don't mess with the rest." Sadly, that means that more books continue to be sold, and more money goes into their pockets. That also means that many mothers are handed those books, with no other support in their lives, and they end up in our situation - or worse. While Babywise is sold in the secular market, the "Preparation for Parenting" is taught in churches across the nation. The scriptures used are completely out of context and very harmful to parenting. The few "good principles" are found in almost every other single baby book out there on sleep.

If you just have to have a book, pick up something by Dr. Sears. He will give you approaches for EVERY type of child and need. He also highly recommends my NEW favorite read: The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. This book is full of ideas and tips ... without formulas or hard-and-fast templates. It is a journey ... not a three day quick-fix.

Then again, you can listen to your heart. Listen to your body. Listen to your baby. The two of you are made to dance together. At first, you'll stumble and step all over each other's toes. That's when you watch and learn from others. Bathe yourself in the wisdom of those who have done it before, and who parent naturally. Slowly you will start to flow together, writing your own music ... your very own language. Before you know it, you can't even imagine life without this new dance partner.


Yellow Rose Mom said...

Yup! Could have written this same post. I plan to write a post soon on the infamous statement from Babywise / Ezzo followers "But it WORKED". I always want to ask WHAT was it that worked?

Kim said...

Ah, yes, you were certainly correct when you said that you and I would have things in common. While I never used Babywise, I am all too familiar with Ezzo's methods.

It's always encouraging to find another likeminded mom. Thanks for leaving me your link!

Deirdre said...

Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. I tossed that book about a week after reading it. I think new sleep-deprived moms will try just about anything! My daughter is 4 months old now and we have sleeping down to a science. She slept through the night when she was ready to and is a champion sleeper and gets all the attention and food she wants (and obviously needs!). I really did enjoy browsing through your blog. I am adopted and its nice to read about adoptive moms - gives me a good perspective on what my mom went through. My parents are blonde and blue eyed and very light skinned. I have dark hair, eyes and skin and although they weren't able to find out my nationality, they always got rude comments about how differently I looked. I just loved your responses to stupid questions and will enjoy showing them to my mom. Happy Mother's Day! :)

mamalife said...

Thanks for the comment you left on my blog... Ezzo is EVIL!!! Just a few days ago I spent a long time on the phone with a mom who was in tears, trying to follow "Baby UN-wise" at the insistence of her friend ... I told her to THROW THAT BOOK IN THE TRASH!!! And to listen to her mama-heart.

Girl in Progress said...

Hi there, I found your blog through technorati. I have no idea who technorati is lol..but people keep coming to my blog through them, when they do searches..

Anyways, I was touched by your post, and want to link to it when I start writing more about my experiences with motherhood. Recently a visitor asked me about my attachment I'm blogging about it now.

Thanks for trying to help so many mothers!! I used to be apart of a bullentin board at ivillage that would get so many moms in there, just devastated by ezzo indoctrination about breastfeeding. It was so sad.

Keep up the good work & congrats on your beautiful babies (now 'big kids')

Amie said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog, yours is great too. I don't know how you linked to me but we have a lot in common. We are in the adoption process. Anyway, thanks for the encouraging words, that was a VERY hard post to write.

Emily said...

Ezzo! GRRRR! The name brings out the mother bear in me. I was blessed to never hear of Ezzo until after a lengthy involvment with La Leche League and Dr. Sears attachment parenting books. When I finally did hear about their books I really didn't think that people would fall for it. (I didn't read it and I was already at a different place in my life luckily)but it wasn't two weeks later that my cousin started trying to sell me on the idea of "blanket training" that she had read in one of their books. I was sick at heart thinking of my baby being trained like an animal to only respond to stumili such as food or pain and not to the stirrings of the heart that love can plant. I'm so happy that you found the BEST way to raise a child - God's own loving way.

s g said...

You are so different from me - but I love your blog and your sense of humor!

Babywise was recommended to me and it fit our family wonderfully. I must have had a poster child for their system, because my baby boy was happy, healthy and chubby. If I had a child who was colicky I'm quite sure I would have tossed the book out the window though.

Perhaps the biggest mistake Ezzo followers make is thinking that their way is the only way.

I've learned two things about making recommendations to new moms:
1) I wait to be asked for advice 2) to qualify my advice with the statement, "This is what I found helpful - this may not work for you."

Thank God for all of our different personalities and that "God's Way" is to meet us each where we are.

Thanks for taking the time to blog in what must be a busy schedule!