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Radical Parenting: Baby-wise Parenting

While attachment parenting is in most cases a highly respected approach that promotes securely attached children, baby-wise parenting has been known to be the exact opposite. In some instances it has been known to include detachment, behavioral disorders, dehydration, failure to thrive, irritability, infant anorexia, and even infant death. So why on earth would parents use such a method?

In theory, baby-wise parenting claims that parents can establish a routine in their baby’s life from day one and stick to it no matter what. According to Dr. Garry Ezzo and Dr. Robert Bucknam, authors of On Becoming Babywise, “Parent-Directed Feeding (PDF) is an infant-management strategy designed to meet the nutritional, physical, and emotional needs of the baby as well as the needs of the whole family” (38). Structured feeding times are beneficial because they create a rhythm for the family, rather than make everything in the parent’s lives focused on the child. Yet, this technique seems unreasonably harsh: “Your baby’s routine is to serve you; you are not to serve your baby’s routine” (132). The method is supposed to promote balance within the family unit and help new parents transition into life with a newborn, however babies can be unpredictable and it is very difficult to keep them on a strict schedule that adheres to the parent’s.

When parents should and shouldn’t pick up their crying baby is also a topic of debate with baby-wise parenting. Ezzo and Bucknam claim that “Babies become not only conditioned to being picked up at a whimper but also abnormally dependent on being picked up” (38). In essence, baby-wise parenting is almost the direct opposite of attachment parenting and you can read a complete chart of the many differences here.

You can control your child’s every move, watching over them like a hawk, or you can set them free!


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