The Ferber method has caused a storm of controversy among mothers and care providers. Some consider it neglect while others consider it a necessary step in teaching the baby to sleep independently. There are studies that support both sides, but in the end no method works for every baby so we recommend parents do what works best for their unique baby.
The Ferber method is based on the notion that babies need to learn to self-sooth in order to sleep independently without waking and to be able to sleep through the night. This method is not to be implemented “cold-turkey” or before the age of 4-6 month as the baby does not have the maturity for this method until that age.
To start this method, parents must put baby to bed while they are awake even if the baby is crying. According to Dr. Ferber this crying is not harmful.
Initially, the baby will most likely be crying and continue to do so. However, parents are encouraged to use a progressive waiting routine to go in and check on baby regularly. Over the weeks the parents implement the method, they progressively leave the baby alone for longer periods of time.
For an example: For the first night you would go in and check after 3 minutes the first time, 5 minutes the second time and then 10 minutes. The second night you start with 5 minutes, then 10 minutes and then 12 minutes from then on. When you check on the baby, it's meant to be reassuring where you can pat or speak to the baby without feeding or picking the baby up.
Some baby's will vomit when crying, Dr. Ferber suggests to clean up without much extra attention, and continue with the routine.
You would use this technique for nap times and whenever the baby wakes in the night. Eventually, the baby will be able to sleep though the entire night..
Allowing the baby to cry it out is not recommended when:
- The baby is less than 6 months old
- The baby is sick such as teething, flu or cold
- You know your baby is hungry or afraid or suffers from separation anxiety disorder
- You as a parent, are suffering from separation anxiety disorder, depression, or do not believe the crying will stop
At thebirthingsite, we present the information that parents want and some parents do believe in the Ferber method and some do not. We simply want parents to make the best decisions that work best for their baby and their family.