The Ferber Method

If at the age of five or six months your baby is still having problems sleeping on his own, you will have to consider a more strict methodology in getting the child to go to sleep unaided. The most common method for achieving this is taught by Dr. Richard Ferber, and is based on the principle of getting your child to learn to fall asleep on his own.

Most children will learn to sleep on their own in a relatively short time using the Ferber method. Nevertheless, it is important that you implement the Ferber method during a time when you can afford to lose some sleep: it does require listing to lots of crying while your child learns to sleep on his own. If you waver and let your child fall asleep in your bed or with you, you may be undoing a lot of hard work.

You start by developing a bedtime routine that ends with your child being left on his own to fall asleep. The first night, place your child to bed – awake – on his own, and when he inevitably cries, wait around 5 minutes. After that time re-enter the room and console him, but not for too long – avoid picking him up or rocking him when you enter the room. After a brief time in the room leave, and this time allow him to cry for 10 minutes before returning. After you console him a second time, leave and wait 15 minutes before returning if he is still crying. Set your wait limit at 15 minutes and repeat the process – the idea is that the child will fall asleep on his own during one of the 15 minute intervals you are out of the room.

The second night, begin with a 10 minute wait time, moving to 15 and then 20 as a maximum. Increase your initial and subsequent wait times by 5 minutes each day. Your child will soon learn to sleep on his own using this method.

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