Sleep Health

Sleep Training Methods: Understanding the Ferber Method

July 14, 2023
Cecelia Beringer

For new parents, sleep training might appear to be a difficult task, but it’s essential for helping your infant develop sound sleeping habits. The technique of educating an infant or toddler to fall asleep is called sleep training. There are multiple methods, with the Ferber Method ranked as the best. To help your children to sleep themselves, this method includes slowly reducing the total time that you spend putting your child to sleep bit by bit.

What is the (FM) Ferber Method?

This procedure has the nickname of  “graduated extinction”, a reflection of the process that includes allowing an infant to cry for extended periods of time before providing comfort. The main objective is to educate the child on exactly how to comfort themselves and sleep independently.

Furthermore, the Ferber Method requires the parent to leave the room after putting their child to bed, even though they’re still awake. When the child starts to scream or sob, the parent awaits a fixed amount of time-generally a few minutes max-before entering the child’s room to comfort them. The amount of time spent waiting is slowly increased every night until the child stays asleep on their own.

History of the (FT) Ferber Technique

This approach was invented back in the 1980s by the famous Dr. Richard Ferber, a renowned pediatrician and sleep specialist. Dr. Feber discovered a sleep training strategy that could assist parents in teaching their children to sleep peacefully at nighttime without medication or additional sleep aids.

Since its development, the Ferber procedure has now become the best and most prevalent sleep training procedure, with many parents declaring success in teaching their children to sleep peacefully.  

Understanding Sleep Cycles

Prior to learning more about the (FT) Ferber Technique, it’s vital to comprehend how infants sleep and understand the sleep cycle.

Children go through stages of light and deep sleep every night. However, babies might be readily startled and end up waking up frequently when they’re actually in a state of light sleep; additionally, during deep sleep, it’s very tough if they suddenly wake up and are actually sleeping via noise or other disturbances.  

Does your child fit for the (FM) Ferber Method?

As for children/infants who struggle to fall asleep themselves and wake up very often every single night, this Ferber strategy may be effective. In any case, it’s critical to observe your little one’s personality and temperament when considering if this approach is good or fit for them. While some infants may react poorly to the practice, others may get more agitated by it.

It’s vital to confirm that your child is old enough for any sleep training developmentally. Most medical professionals prefer not to start any form of sleeping approach with your child until they are around 4-6 months old.

How Does the (FM) Ferber Method Effectively Work?

This strategy is advised to be done slowly, lengthening the gap between going in to comfort your child and waiting. For instance, you could stay outside the room for five minutes minimum before proceeding to soothe them on the first night.

The following night, you might have to stay for about 10 minutes,and so on. The time between intermissions increases until your child can do this on their own without assistance.

It’s vital to remember the fact that you shouldn’t let your child cry for an extended duration. The Ferber method entails periodically monitoring your children to confirm that they are doing ok and to offer comfort if necessary.

Useful Guidelines for (FMST) Ferber Method Sleep Training

By the time when your child is approximately 6 months old and has an irregular sleep pattern, you should typically utilize the Ferber Method(FM). The whole procedures are as follows:

Phase 1: Develop a regular nighttime routine

A consistent nighttime schedule is vital for successful sleep training. A shower, reading a good book, singing a bedtime song, or any relaxing activity that lets your child know it’s time for sleep, should all be part of the routine.

Phase 2: Put your child in bed while they are still awake

It’s about time for you(parents) to put your child into their cot or their sleeping place while they’re still awake, while they're weary and drowsy. This phase is vital in assisting your child’s understanding of sleeping independently.

Phase 3: Letting the child cry for a set amount of time

The Ferber method recommends letting your child cry for a certain period of time prior to providing consolation. You might begin the first night using a brief interval of three to five minutes and progressively extend it over the following several nights.

Phase 4: Soothe your infant

Go in to console the child when the set period of time has elapsed. Any relaxing technique that’s effective for your child can be used as comforting, such as rubbing their back or humming lullabies. Avoid lifting them and keep the interaction brief.

Phase 5: Repeat phases as necessary

Repetition of steps 3 & 4 as required until your child is ready to sleep on their own.

Consult with your pediatric: To confirm that your child is healthy & prepared for sleep education or training, it's crucial to see your pediatrician before starting any sort of sleep training strategies.

The Ferber Sleep Technique Check-in time Frame:

A comprehensive seven-day timetable for using the Ferber Technique is given below:

First day:

  • Set up a bedtime schedule and put your child to sleep while they’re still conscious.
  • Five minutes after leaving the room, check in on your child
  • Avoid picking up the child, keep the visit quick, and console the child.
  • After another 10 minute absence, return to the child’s room to check in again. Until the infant falls asleep, extend the intervals during check-ins by 5 minute increments.      

Second day:

The same procedure as Day 1 should be followed, except this time begins with a max 10 minutes gap before the initial check in. The duration between monitoring will gradually increase by 5 minutes.

Third day:

The gap between monitoring will now be approximately 15 minutes.

Fourth day:

The time between monitoring now should be extended by 20 minutes.

Fifth day:

The gap between monitoring will now be 25 min.

Sixth day:

The gap between monitoring should be extended by 30 min.

Seventh Day:

Continue the procedure from Day 6 while extending the gap between monitoring until the infant sleeps without any support.

Performing Ferber Sleep Method Naps:

This approach could potentially be applied to daytime naps even though it is often employed for nocturnal sleep. In reality, certain specialists advise starting with nap training preceding carrying on to nighttime since it is simpler. Using the Ferber approach for naps involves the following suggestions:

  • The first thing is to make certain your child is tired enough for a nap.
  • Put your child in bed while they’re still conscious. Children will be able to learn how to relax themselves and sleep without assistance thanks to this approach.
  • Perform the same soothing techniques you do at night.  A lullaby, a favorite comforter, or a velvety animal are a few instances of this.
  • Exit the room and return at the scheduled time to see how they are doing.
  • Don’t immediately go to your child if they’re screaming or crying; give them some time to adjust.
  • Later, when you go to monitor your children, refrain from lifting them up or turning on their lighting. Simply provide a reassuring touch or calming voice, then leave the space once more.

Notice: Before beginning any sleep training strategies, pay attention to your infant’s signals and contact your pediatrician because some infants might not be ready for nap training unless they’re a bit older.

Ferber Sleep Training Substitutes:

Utilize alternative sleep-training techniques if you and your child aren’t convinced the Ferber technique is right for you. Here are a few alternative strategies:

Pickup and Putdown Procedure

  • In this procedure you, take your child when they cry, comfort them, and then lay them back to bed. Continue until they are able to sleep independently.

Fading Technique

  • In order for your infant to go to sleep independently, you must progressively cut back on the length of time you stay with them. Start by briefly soothing them, then gradually reduce the duration you spend with them.

Chair Technique

  • This approach involves putting a chair right near the child’s cot until they fall asleep, then carefully shifting the chair further and further away until the child learns to sleep by themselves.

Ferber Method's Benefits and Drawbacks:

The Ferber Technique is no different from other sleep training strategies-that; it has benefits and drawbacks. Consider the following points:


  • It teaches your child how to relax and fall asleep without any help
  • Both the child and the parents can get more sleep
  • It may only take three to five nights to start being effective


  • Parents may find it stressful to hear their infant scream
  • Not all infants and families will experience success
  • It can make young infants more stressed out

Typical Worries and Misconceptions:

There are several typical worries and misunderstandings regarding the Ferber Method. Here are some common questions:

Will my baby feel abandoned?

No. This Ferber approach seeks to teach your child how to calm down and go to sleep without assistance. You’re not leaving your infant behind; actually, you are sharing a piece of knowledge with your child.

Will my child cry for many hours?

No. The Ferber method steadily lengthens the duration of waiting each night in order to prevent your child from being abandoned to unrelenting crying.

Success Strategies:

  • Be consistent with the routine and waiting times
  • Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time every day
  • Avoid checking on your child too frequently or lifting them up
  • Don’t start this method during a stressful period for your family, for example, a move or a new baby

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