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
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.
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
Put your baby in his crib when he’s sleepy but still awake.
Say goodnight to your child and leave the room. If he cries when you leave, let him cry for a predetermined amount of time.
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.
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.
Follow this routine until your child falls asleep when you’re out of the room.
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.
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.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.