When I first heard of Babywise, I had no idea it was such a controversial book. I was working in a nursery at the time, taking care of infants. It was obvious to all of us workers which babies were Babywise babies and which weren't. The Babywise ones were much happier, healthier, and so much easier to take care of. Nearly everyone I knew who implemented Babywise theories recommended the book to me.
I first read it when I was pregnant with Gehrig. I'm not very into informational books or even, really, anything non-fiction, but I just ate this book up. It just made complete sense to me. I think the people who are so against it, either haven't read it or are just misunderstanding it. Here's how I sum it up--make sure your baby is eating enough and not sleeping too much during the day, and he will be full and sleepy at night. Also being on a schedule is so much easier for you and baby. And, lastly, a few tears in the beginning can prevent many, many tears later on.
The first point is pretty self-explanatory, but most people tell me I'm crazy when I tell them that I wake my babies up when it's time to eat. "Never wake a sleeping baby!" They tell me. Why not? I have always woken Gehrig and Logan up to eat, and Gehrig started sleeping through the night at nine weeks, Logan at seven weeks. Babies have no idea that nights are for sleeping and days are for being awake--you have to train them. I also wake them to eat to make sure they get enough feedings during the day. Why not have a baby eating every three hours during the day and getting in six full feedings instead of letting them sleep during the day and wake up at night to have the same number of feedings? It just makes sense to me.
As for a schedule, I've found that most people who say they are against scheduling, are, indeed, on some type of schedule. I've never really had to put my boys on a schedule, we kind of just fell into one. If Logan is hungry, I don't make him wait to eat (like some people think Babywise encourages--it actually DISCOURAGES feeding by the clock). What I do is make sure he gets full at every feeding; that way he'll not get hungry again until 2.5-3 hours later. Some days he does want to eat every two hours or less, but those days are rare, and I know that he must either be going through a growth spurt or not feeling well. And having him on a schedule is easier for me because I know what to expect. If I need to make plans, I know generally what time he's going to eat and can plan around it. Again, you can't plan your whole life so, as Babywise encourages, you need to have a flexible schedule. I was much more strict about our schedule when Gehrig was a baby, but I've learned to be more flexible with Logan. Perhaps that's why he slept through the night two weeks sooner! Oh, and in answer to people who claim that scheduling makes malnourished babies--my boys have been in the 90th percentile (or higher) for height and weight since their first doctor's appointments.
Perhaps the most controversial point of all is the idea of letting a baby cry it out. I personally don't think Ezzo is encouraging parents to close the door and just let their child scream. I know with my boys, they have a fussy "I don't want to go to sleep" cry and then they have their "something's wrong" cry. The former is not really a cry, it's more of a whiney complaining. Both of them started out doing that when I would put them in bed, but it only lasted a few days. Now ninety percent of the time, I can put Logan in bed wide awake, and he'll go to sleep on his own. Gehrig goes down without crying all the time. They're perfectly happy to go to bed--in fact, if I try to rock Logan, he fusses until I lay him down. And if I try to rock Gehrig, he'll tell me, "I'm ready to go to bed now." Compare that to kids who have always been rocked/nursed to sleep--what happens when you start trying to get them to go to sleep on their own? I bet there's more than a couple days of fussing.
I've heard so many misrepresentations of Babywise, I just wanted to put my two cents out there. You can't just take everything in the book as being the law that can't be broken in any way, but you also shouldn't say everything is completely bad and will ruin your baby. I feel like using Babywise ideas has helped me have to healthy, happy, independent boys who know their mommy and daddy love them more than anything.