Ferberizing | A guide to help your baby sleep through the night

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that parents should let their babies cry themselves to sleep – it’s called Ferberizing. But is there a way to do it properly? By Lijeng Ranooe

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Sleep training is a long-standing controversial subject. One method presented by paediatrician, Dr Richard Ferber, suggests letting your baby cry at night, while at the same time reassuring him, to get him to sleep. This is called Ferberizing.

More on sleep training here.

At what age can you use the Ferberizing method?

Before you use this method wait until your baby reaches an age where they are ready physically and emotionally to sleep through the night. This is usually between the four and six months. However, Dr Ferber doesn’t have a specific age to begin his technique because he says every child is different.

He adds that crying is not the goal, as it an unavoidable part of sleep training for some children.

A step- by-step guide on the Ferber method

Step 1

Put your baby in his crib when he’s sleepy but still awake.

Step 2

Say goodnight to your child and leave the room. If he cries when you leave, let him cry for a predetermined amount of time.

Step 3

Go back into the room for no more than a minute or two to pat and reassure your baby. Leave the light off and keep your voice quiet and soothing. Don’t pick him up. Leave again while he’s still awake, even if he’s crying.

Step 4

Stay out of the room for a little bit longer than the first time and follow the same routine, staying out of the room for gradually longer intervals, each time returning for only a minute or two to pat and reassure him, and leaving while he’s still awake.

Step 5

Follow this routine until your child falls asleep when you’re out of the room.

Step 6

If your child wakes up again later, follow the same routine, beginning with the minimum waiting time for that night and gradually increasing the intervals between visits until you reach the maximum for that night.

Step 7

Increase the amount of time between visits to the nursery each night. In most cases, according to Ferber, your baby will be going to sleep on his own by the third or fourth night – a week at the most. If your child is very resistant after several nights of trying, wait a few weeks and then try again.

Resources:

New study says it’s ok to let babies cry at night.

Behavioral Interventions for Infant Sleep Problems: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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