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Multnomah Publishers, a small Christian publishing company in Sisters, Oregon, has begun severing ties with one of its most profitable and controversial authors, Gary Ezzo, according to a reliable company source.

A household name among many Christian parents with newborns, Ezzo has been unable to shed doubts about the child-rearing methods in his popular book On Becoming Babywise. In addition, church leaders with past ties to Ezzo describe him as "disqualified" for Christian ministry and his parenting materials as "fraught with danger" (CT, Nov. 13, 2000, p. 70).

A central element of the Ezzo plan is feeding newborns on a structured schedule controlled by parents, rather than "on-demand," whenever an infant indicates hunger. Ezzo's program teaches that in order to develop respectful, obedient, and godly children, parents must exercise restrictive control. Ezzo and his Growing Families International (GFI) organization report that more than 500,000 infants have been trained to sleep soundly through the night through the method.

Yet many breast-feeding mothers have reported a failure to produce an adequate milk supply when following the program. Some pediatricians see inadequate weight gain, dehydration, and failure to thrive among newborns on the program. Ezzo has also instructed parents of the importance of leaving infants alone in their cribs so the infants will experience periods of solitude. Many parents have admitted, however, that they left their children crying alone for too long while trying to follow Ezzo's recommendations for scheduled feeding and nap times. Critics also question other Ezzo emphases, such as introducing a form of spanking in children younger than 2.

Multnomah's decision to break ties with the author ...

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