Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ezzo De-Constructed- Part 1

Full disclosure here: I don't like the Ezzos philosophy. The book I'm about to review is riddled with misinformation, which as a parent, sends up too many red flags. That being said, I'm not telling other parents how to think. For the most part, my review is scientific in nature based on experience, knowledge, and research. There is going to be some of my opinion spattered here and there. I've warned you.

Also due to the large volume of notes (I've only actually typed half of them up), this will be a four part (or more) series.

Additionally, the Ezzo's main philosophy is PDF or parent-directed feeding as opposed to CLF or child-led feeding. They also believe in sleep-eat-play instead of eat-sleep-play.

Edit: Woops. Just realized I didn't tell you the name of the book. The Ezzos have produced many for a variety of ages. This one is called Preparation for Parenting and meant for newborns and young babies.

Chapter One: Your Baby Needs a Family
This is the only chapter I like. Basically, the Ezzos say that at the core of the family is the relationship of the parents. They say that you need to maintain your marriage and give suggestions on how to do so.

Chapter Two: Feeding Philosophies
Page 29- “Child-led feeding: Feeding times are guided strictly by the single variable of hunger cues.”

Incorrect: In child-led feeding, parents are instructed to keep track of the number of wet and soiled diapers. If a child is not producing enough output, hospitals, lactation consultants, and pediatricians will advise the parents to wake the child-up if they sleep too much or to increase the number of feedings without regard to the hunger cues. The goal is to make sure that the child remain healthy and at target weight.

Child-led feeding is where the child let’s the parent know when they are hungry and then the parent will feed them rather than looking at a clock. Newborns often don’t have a set pattern. They want to eat when hungry. As they age and grow, they naturally fall into a more clock-oriented pattern. Child-led feeding is more in-line with PDF (Parent directed feeding) than the author lets on.

Page 30: “A child who feeds often, such as every hour, may not be getting the rich hind milk.”

Incorrect: The breast fills up quicker when emptied than when full. It’s not a matter of when you feed that creates a milk imbalance but rather how long you feed. If you’re baby feeds for only 5 minutes on a breast, then they will not receive the rich hind milk. If they feed for say 20 minutes on the breast and then thirty minutes later wants to eat on the other breast, then they will be fine. Also important to note that only later on does Ezzo state that when he means every 2 ½ hours between feedings he is including the feeding and not the just the time between feedings. Therefore, he means 2 hours between feedings. Most lactation consultants recommend that newborns do not go more than 3-4 hours between feedings. So Ezzo is suggesting that newborns feed more frequently than lactation consultants. Source: Kellymom.com

Chapter three: Babies and Sleep
Page 34: “Heathy, full-term babies typically are born with the capacity to achieve seven to nine hours of continuous sleep between seven and nine weeks.”

Incorrect: I’m not sure where he gets this data from, but for most babies it varies on their typical capacity to sleep. HB was seven months old before he slept that long, but Hubby was eight weeks. Talking to moms, even in the same family, it can vary. Some moms have had babies sleep through the night at eight weeks; other moms say that didn’t happen until 6 months. Later in the book Ezzo does talk about other factors (like growth spurts) that can disrupt sleep. Realistically, those factors occur more often than not.

Page 34 “probably be sleeping 10 hours a night by week twelve”

Incorrect: HB is eight months old. He doesn’t sleep 10 hours a night. He never has. See above note.

Page 34: “His cousin Stevie (a child-led fed baby) on the other hand, will still be waking two or three times a night to snack. To her mother’s dismay, this pattern is apt to continue for two very long years, or more with mutual discontentment.”

Incorrect: HB stopped “snacking” at night on his own without any intervention from me or his father. This is clearly a scare tactic. I’m sure that there are some babies who get into this habit, but generally speaking this is what happens with toddlers not babies. Babies want to sleep, but they wake up, feel hungry, and need to eat.

Page 36: “A problem arises because no baby is capable of regulating this [sic] or her own hunger patterns.”

Incorrect: Babies grow at different rates and speeds and thus will increase their caloric intake over time. As that happens, they are able to go for longer periods of time without eating. They also begin to regulate their own eating patterns, but not very strictly. I don’t think anyone is capable of regulating their own hunger patterns. That has to do with growth and expenditure of energy. If you take up jogging, you are going to get hungry more quickly than you did before. Therefore, you will eat more often or eat more calories at each meal. This will continue to change as you decide to push yourself and run longer and further.

Page 37: There is a listing of two sleep patterns: Relaxed Sleep Pattern and Active Sleep Pattern

Not heard of this information: I haven’t ever heard of these as being actual sleep terms. Dr. Ferber, a leading specialist on children’s sleep, never mentioned them in his book. I have heard of REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and that NREM can be broken down into an additional three stages. Perhaps this is what the Ezzos are referring to.

Page 41: “Emotionally, shared sleep tends to create a state of abnormal dependency to the point where the child actually fears falling asleep in his or her own bed.”

This statement is a little ambiguous because he doesn’t state an age and moves on to toddler hood in the next sentence. I’m not sure at what age a child fears falling asleep in his or her own bed because HB transitioned fine into his crib.

Page 41: “As the child moves to toddler hood, that fear is expressed through the need for mom and dad to lie down with the child at naptime until sleep is achieved.” (this is the sentence following the previous statement)

Incorrect: Personal experience here. I didn’t co-sleep with my parents. I had my own crib. Until the age of 5 my dad would lie next to me in bed until I fell asleep. By making this statement Ezzo is implying that only children who co-sleep cannot sleep without a parent lying next to them. This is incorrect. I’m not the only child who asked their parents to stay. Children often do this especially after a traumatic event like the loss of a person, divorce, or nightmares. Do not be scared into thinking co-sleeping will cause you more grief. Source: Dr. Ferber

Part 2 will cover Chapters 4: Facts on Feeding and Chapter 5: Monitoring Your Baby's Growth I will probably post that one next week, but not entirely sure since next week is Babywearing week. BTW, the Ezzo's hate babywearing.


  1. Oh I can already see disliking this too lol.

    In random order:

    I coslept as a kid and do remember being afraid to sleep in mine, but not in that way or for that reason. I wanted too... but my curtain made a shadow that looked like ghosts. I knew what it was but as a little kid it was hard to get past. Throw in a natural disaster that disrupted our lives and then the divorce and I had lots of stuff going on that I can see now influenced things.

    Kalila coslept until 2 months and transitioned well... then refused to cosleep again when she started waking at night several months later. It was awful. She started coming back in our room between 1 and 2 years old and now we're having trouble with it. I don't want to push her though. Zavier I think is happy sleeping anywhere lol. No he does like to cuddle and does better in our bed. I'm not worried about him having the same issues as Kalila though. I'm just not. And he started "sleeping through" almost from the beginning. He's just a good sleeper.

    My kids do/did feed every 2 hours or less. Both of em. But our pedi's jaw drops every time she hears it past the first month or so lol. Kalila was still doing that some days between a year and two. Zavier is stretching out a bit more already some days so we'll see w/ him.

    Kalila never night weaned. Since she completely weaned she has some nights she'll go w/out saying she's hungry or thirsty but they're getting fewer. I believe her when she says it though... I've heard the rumble. Its crazy cause she eats a ton and all day long. Some kids literally need that... Zavier goes w/out it most nights already. Growth spurts he eats at night... Right now he's in another.

    So curious to hear about the baby wearing thing lol. I can't imagine how someone would hate it...

  2. It only gets better. Either you will laugh or you will get really angry. It's that ridiculous.

    As for the babywearing thing, I found this website which is pro-Ezzo, if you think that I'm being biased. http://www.ezzotruth.com/attachment-parenting.html

    The Ezzos have this to say about infant slings:

    "There is a time and place for backpacks, snuggles, and slings, such as when mom, dad, and their baby are out shopping, hiking, or taking a walk. But it is not a good substitute for the crib. In some third-world nations and primitive settings, mothers carry their babies in an infant sling as they move through their day. We have visited those nations and talked with these mothers. Their actions are not based on a need to create an attachment with their child nor spurred on by Freud's writing. For these mothers it is simply a matter of convenience and safety. Because where they go, the baby must go.

    The promotion of the theory that the sling serves as an artificial womb and is necessary to help stabilize a baby's psychological passage into the world has definitely popularized it. This is why the sling is so popular in attachment parenting circles. In terms of biomechanics, carrying a baby in a sling many hours a day may increase neck and back problems or even create them. Like all pieces of equipment, use it thoughtfully. It is not a second womb." Pages 189-190 Babywise (1998).

    so hate may be a strong word more like encourages his users not to use one.

  3. Yeah I believed you, just can't wrap my mind around it.

  4. Marilyn, the sister of my friend with twins also my friend, she was lent the book as well. I asked her what she thought and she gave me sort of a smile and said that the only chapter she liked was the first one. She read chapter two and had to stop.

    Marilyn doesn't babywear but she does carry her daughter around more often than not. I don't think I've ever seen her use a stroller. I wouldn't say that she is an AP, but her daughter does sleep in the same room with them with ability to hop into their bed if she wants.


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!