The Ferber Method
Is the Ferber method really all about crying it
out? Up to the point of
vomiting? Is it for every single baby? How to get started?
This is a cry it out method that I do not advocate and do not support.
I describe it here for your general information only. If you feel
crying it out is for you then it is still safer to read up about it
than to do it on your own, without guidance.
The baby sleep training method, which is
also called ferberizing
is the well known sleep
method by Richard Ferber, M.D. Richard Ferber is the director of the
Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at the Children's Hospital Boston.
|The first version of his book Solve
Your Child's Sleep Problems raised a lot of discussion and
controversy when it was first published in 1985. The
tone of the book and the letting baby cry (being quite matter of fact
about vomiting because of the crying) technique were the main cause
for the controversy.
Many reported success
with the method, but many parents and
pediatricians opposed, saying it is cruel
to let a
baby cry alone in her crib for a longer time and that it damages baby's
health, both physical and mental.
Ferber published an extended and updated version of his original book
Even if the method itself has not changed, the tone is a bit
softer in this version of the book. Ferber clarifies that he does not
promote unnecessary crying
for extended periods and accepts that co-sleeping can work.
Getting started with the Ferber Method
The Ferber method is
based on the idea that settling and sleeping alone, no matter what, is
the key to sleeping independently and sleeping
through the night. To teach baby this, parents must put baby in
her crib, awake
. Letting baby to cry may be necessary to
teach her this. According to Dr. Ferber this crying is not harmful.
However, it is not cold
crying it out
: parents use a progressive waiting
routine to go in and check on baby regularly. Baby is left alone for
increasing periods of time (suggested times detailed in the
So the first night you would go in and check after 3 minutes the first
time, 5 minutes the second time and then 10 minutes each further one.
The second night you start with 5 minutes, then 10 minutes and then 12
minutes from then on.
You use the same technique at night awakenings.
Checking on baby means comforting (patting, talking soothingly) to stop
the crying, but without feeding or picking up.
Some baby's will vomit when crying, Dr. Ferber suggests to clean up
without much extra attention, and continue with the routine. (Something
unimaginable here at Baby-Sleep-Advice.com by the way ...)
All important to support the method are a good bedtime
and a strict sleep
Dr. Ferber does not recommend to start with his method before the age
of 4 to 6 months
depending on baby's maturity. This again supports my general cry
it out no-no's
As with any approach, consider the Ferber method only if it feels right
for you and if you think your baby may benefit from it.
If you do not want to let your baby cry, know that there are
alternatives, with usually better and longer lasting results.
Go to the Baby
Sleep Method overview
or start browsing the baby
sleep through the night
pages on this site.