“The Ferber Method” is probably the most widely recognizable strategy for getting a baby to sleep through the night, and with good reason. It works.
However, it has also met with no small amount of controversy from critics who say that allowing a child to cry, even for a short period of time, can cause elevated stress levels and hurt the bond between babies and parents. (Evidence points to the contrary, but that’s a debate for another time.)
Today, I’ll explain exactly what the Ferber method involves and how it differs in one essential way from the Sleep Sense Program.
You know if you’re a new parent, you have probably, well let’s rephrase. If you’re a new parent whose baby’s not sleeping well, you have probably heard the term the Ferber method. And a lot of people wonder what? Why do people keep saying that to me and what is it?
Let me give you a little rundown today of what the Ferber method is, so we’re clear what the Ferber method is and then I’m gonna share with you why my method is a little different.
The Ferber method’s been around for a long time, I don’t wanna say a number ’cause I’m probably gonna get it wrong but I would say at least since I was a baby. You can guess how long that might be. And what it really means, and now there’s a whole bunch of other stuff around this. If you wanna know a little bit of the back story of why babies aren’t sleeping well then check out my video called What is a Sleep Prop.
And the crux of the issue is that babies who aren’t sleeping well aren’t sleeping well because they’re prop dependent. Meaning they need help. They can’t do this on their own. They need you to do something for them. Usually involves feeding to sleep. That’s the most popular. Breast or bottle. Followed by rocking to sleep. That’s the second most popular.
So every time they have a little wake up in the night they usually cry because they want you to come and help them again. They don’t really know how to do this on their own. So in order to teach a baby to sleep well you have to allow them to figure out some strategies for getting to sleep on their own. Independently, let’s call it. Not necessarily on their own but independently.
So when they wake up in the night hey, I got this. No problem. I know how to do it. And back to sleep they go. And they can do that. I promise you, they really can.
So the Ferber method is basically an approach to teaching a baby independent sleep skills. And the premise is that you keep your baby awake through their routine, you put them into their crib or bassinet awake, and then you do something called leaving and checking. So you leave the room maybe for three minutes. You come back. You make sure your baby’s fine. You reassure her that everything’s okay. Then you leave again.
Now this time you leave for a little longer. Maybe it’s five minutes. You can go in, you check on her. You leave again now for seven, 10 minutes. A little longer.
So the basic premise of the Ferber method is that each time you leave you extend the time that you’re gone. Honestly, this method’s been around for years. People do it, it works. I’m not in any way criticizing it. I think it’s a fabulous program and it works.
The trouble though for a lot of parents is that they don’t like the idea of the leaving part. Bottom line. That is why so many people resist making changes or helping their babies learn to sleep well because of this leaving piece. And I get it. I absolutely get it. If my children are learning a new skill and it’s hard for them, I don’t really wanna leave them on their own either. I wanna be there. I wanna encourage them. I wanna cheer them on. I wanna give them time and opportunity to practice. I’m gonna basically support them as they learn a new skill.
But I can’t learn the skill for them. They have to learn that themselves. So unfortunately that’s going to involve some sort of crying until she sees the way. Until she figures out, oh these are the things that I do to calm myself, to soothe myself, to fall asleep peacefully. And she will figure those out.
So the Sleep Sense Program offers an option where you don’t have to leave. If that makes you uncomfortable don’t leave. Just stay.
Now there’s some rules around that, right? You wanna encourage her. Don’t wanna involve yourself in any way into her strategies. You wanna let her develop those on her own. So if you wanna learn more about that you pick up a copy of the Sleep Sense Program. I’m gonna give you step-by-step guide for how you get your baby to fall asleep independently, stay in the room, and not interfere in the process.
So those are the differences. If Ferber works for you and that makes sense to you, use it. There’s lots of ways to solve this problem. Doesn’t have to be only my way. I get that.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!