Ferber Sleep Training Method -Is it good for your baby?

Sleepy Baby

One day your baby will reach a certain age, when it’s time to teach them to sleep alone. Sleep training is not easy for both parents and children that are used to being rocked to sleep. Once you decided to sleep train your baby don’t go back on it, if you go back it will be even harder next time.

What is Ferber Method

Ferber Method was adopted by Dr. Richard Ferber, the first book “The Care and Feeding of Children” was written by Dr. Emmett Holt in 1894.

Ferber method is a sleep training method, or another way of saying letting your child cry it out.

This method involves you leaving you child on their own in crib to fall asleep, and you walk in to check on them and calm the down  verbally or by touch, than leave again. Every day you’re checking time will be increasing.

Does it work for every child?

The Ferber Method is not for every baby, if you know that your baby has one of these problems please contact behavioral specialist to find another method for sleep training.

  • Fear of being left alone
  • Vomiting response

These conditions are usually formed by a previous bad experience of sleep training.

How Ferber Method Work

The best age to start Ferber Method is after 6 months, don’t start before 6 months your baby still needs feedings during the night.

Ferber Method is best done before your baby turns 2 years. Of course, it can be done after 2, but we all know the older they get the harder it will be.

First Step

When you are ready to start sleep training your baby, you need to have a set nigh time routine that you will  do every night. The night time routine could be: having dinner, taking a bath and than finishing it off with a bed time story. Every parent has a different night time routine for their baby, choose what works best for you.

Second Step ( Day One)

After your routine with the little one place your baby in the crib say your goodnight and leave the room. Your baby will be crying for you DR, Richards says to go back to your baby in 3 minutes the first time you check on your baby, he also recommends not picking up your baby.

Calming them down verbally or by patting the back, Second check in 5 minutes, and than every 10 minutes until your baby falls asleep.

Third Step ( Day Two)

Repeat step one, say your goodnight and leave the room this time tho, you are coming in to check on your baby the first time in 5 minutes, second check happens in 10 minutes, and than check every 12 minutes.

Fourth Step ( Day Three)

Repeat step one, say your goodnight and leave your baby the first check happens in 10 minutes, the second check is in 12 minutes and than every 15 minutes.

Fifth Step ( Day Four)

Repeat step one and say your goodnight, leave your baby in bed and come in to check on your baby in 12 minutes the first time, 15 minutes the second time, and than after every 17 minutes.

Six Step ( Day Five)

After repeating step one, say your goodnight and leave the room, first check is in 15 minutes, than 17 minutes is the second check , and than every 20 minutes.

Seven Step ( Day Six)

After the night routine, say your goodnight and leave the room, the first check  happens in 17 minutes. Second check in 20 minutes, and than every 25 minutes until your baby is asleep.

By this point your baby should be crying less or not at all.

Eight Step ( Day Seven)

Once the night routine is done, say your goodnight and leave the room, come back in 20 minutes, than in 25 minutes, and the constant check every 30 minutes.

Baby and mom

Is Ferber Method Effective?

According to scientific studies Ferber Method has some positive outcomes.

  • If your child completes the training they will be trowing less bedtime tantrums
  • Your child will most likely be able to settle down to sleep with in 10 minutes
  • Children that finish the training are more likely to sleep true the night
  • Parents that were able to complete the training with their children are saying they had mood, stress levels, and interaction with their children improved.

Is Ferber Method Harmful

After hearing all the good about Ferber Method lets talk about some reasons, why not to be considering Ferber Method.

When you hear your baby cry, the first thing you want to do right away is soothe them, and that’s not just a motherly instinct.

For most history the main sleeping problems in kids was nightmares, and told stories. When we still had the hunting period, people lived in communities where they were taking turns in watching and sleeping close was a must.

Even more important it was for babies to bond with their parents or caregivers, because they would need to be take care of,  for a really long time. Most kids died if they weren’t taken care of, until they were able to hunt their own food.

This type of behavior left a mark in our brains, that left us a separation anxiety, which actually comes from the same part of brain as our physical pain signals.

Sleep training

Crying it out

Not all babies cry if they are hurt, we can’t be 100% sure that our baby is not hurt just because he/she is not crying.

After a long research the scientist discover that their is no proven fact that infant will cry if they are hurt, some babies cried when they were hurt others didn’t. While other cried even more hysterically when they were hurt, some babies stayed silent.

This shows that absence of crying is not showing absence of distress, could this mean that even if your baby is not crying after you leave,  they are not hurt? Maybe they just gave up believing that you will show up, and gave up asking you for help.

Other Methods

Their is other methods to train sleep your baby, not in such a harsh way. They may take longer or maybe even faster on your baby, but they have less trauma for you and your baby.

  • Positive Routine with Faded Bedtime – after a set routine you wait for your baby to show signs of sleepiness.
  • Extinction with Parental Presents – your in the same room as your baby

Tips

  • Make changes in feeding and schedule
  • Create more or less bedtime or nap time routines
  • Substitute one sleep associations for another
  • Fade out sleep associations gradually
  • Try using the Pick – Up, Put – Down method

Baby and Mom

My Personal Experiences

I have both good and bad experience with Ferber Method of sleep training, they are my brothers and friends kids experience.

Good Experience

My brother and his wife used the Ferber Method on their children, and with in two weeks they had no problem putting their kids to sleep. All of their 3 kids are falling asleep on their own and are having no problems.

While when my friend tried using the Ferber Method, she left her daughter alone and she heard crying of course, but it was more of hysterical crying and when she came back to check on her.

She came to check on her with in a minute after leaving because it go to quite in the room. The baby was having trouble breathing, her face was turning blue.

The baby is now afraid of being left alone. My friend tried the other sleep training methods and they worked great on her baby.

Will It Work For You

I personally don’t believe in Ferber Method, and won’t be using it to sleep train my child.

Make sure your baby is all safe before leaving them alone, and don’t just leave them their to fully cry it out, you need to come in to soothe them.

It’s your full choice to give Ferber Method a try or not. Nobody will be their to judge you, every parent knows how much we want to sleep normally again.

Do you have experience with Ferber training or maybe you know a different method that works even better? I will be more than happy to hear it from you.

8 Replies to “Ferber Sleep Training Method -Is it good for your baby?”

  1. Hi! We tried somewhat of a Ferber method with our first child – our daughter – it didn’t work for her or for us. She cried until she threw up which would not be good to leave her in. We tried it again with our second child – our son – and he was better with it. I’m not sure if it was just because he was our second and we were more experienced then or was it because of their gender?

    In our Asian culture, babies sleep with their parents until past toddler age. That’s how my husband and I were raised. And I don’t mind my kids sleeping in with us – it gives us peace of mind that they are safe and comfortable.

    Thanks for your insights!

    1. Hello Dana,
      It is not proven for gender to have a big effect on sleep training, but I honestly think that most boys even from childhood prefer to keep everything inside. I totally agree with you, I always feel safe when I feel my son next to me. No matter what anyone says, its best to do what you feel is right.
      Stay safe and healthy

  2. Hello Natasy,
    I like this new method of sleeping despite we are being raised up in a different way. In my opinion, I prefer the child to sleep with his mom in the first year as he will feel safe
    Have a great day
    Rania

  3. I thank you for taking the time to share the good and the bad about the Ferber Sleep Training, I know this has been an ongoing problem for parents forever with some children. I was lucky and my grown-up sons never had problems, I think every baby is different so you have to experiment with different methods that you provide to find what works best for each baby

    Great review and tips
    Jeff

    1. Hello Jeff,
      Yes your are right every single baby is different and what works for your son might not work for your daughter.
      In my personal experience I know how big of a problem sleep training is. I hope every parent finds the perfect way for their baby.

  4. Well said, I have never heard of the ferber method, I am also a young parent and will share with my wife. However, in our African culture the baby sleeps with the parent until past toddler age, which I think works.
    Best wishes.

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