Theologian Gary Ezzo and pediatrician Dr. Robert Bucknam set off cries of alarm in their highly controversial 1995 publication On Becoming Baby Wise by arguing that some crying is natural and healthy for babies. In this updated edition, Ezzo and Bucknam present a comprehensive method to encourage a full night's sleep for the seven- to nine-week-old baby. It's easy to read, easy to follow, supported by research and by testimonials from parents and pediatricians, and includes suggestions for making the process fit into the reader's lifestyle. The authors believe a consistent sleep routine leads to happier, more responsible, and better-adjusted children. But a full night's sleep is just the short-term goal. The long-term goal is training parents to bring order and stability to their families through nurturing the marriage, providing a loving structure for one's children, and allowing flexibility in the process.
Twelve chapters cover feeding philosophies, monitoring baby's growth, establishing baby's routine, handling multiple births, and the ever-controversial chapter on when baby cries. The 52-week method involves four phases, beginning with "Stabilization" from birth to week 8. During weeks 9 through 15 ("Extended Night"), babies learn to sleep through the night. Ezzo and Bucknam attempt to teach the difference between a baby's many cries and advise parents on various responses to these cries. Critics dislike Ezzo's strong belief that "child-centered parenting" (feeding baby whenever it cries, sleeping with and "wearing" baby) fosters demanding, insecure toddlers. But for parents who are tired of being tired--or whose previous experience with child-centered parenting supports Ezzo's theory--it may be worth a read. --Liane Thomas