Ferber Method

First off, who is Richard Ferber and what is the Ferber Method?

Founder of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusets, Richard Ferber is a well-known Pediatrician and the foremost (debated) expert on children’s sleep. His published book Your Child’s Sleep Problems is both used and rejected throughout the country.

The Ferber Method is a technique stating that, in between 3-5 months of age, your child can learn to lull him or herself to sleep on their own. This method had been widely questioned, criticized, and reworded over the years and, while the controversy continues, the overall process is often misunderstood.

Ferber Method The main variation of this misunderstanding has come to be known as the ‘cry it out’ method. However, Ferber himself never refers to this statement.


In reality, Ferber recommends these steps:

  1. Following a loving and familiar bedtime routine
  2. Putting your baby to bed while they are still awake
  3. Leaving them alone for gradually longer periods of time, even if they cry

Parents are then instructed to comfort and lovingly pat their baby after each prearranged period of time, but not to pick them up. The scheduled time, according to Ferber, is determined by how comfortable you are with the method and how long you have been using it. The entire process is referred to as ‘progressive waiting’, not the cry it out method.

The theory states that after a few days to a week of progressively increasing the waiting time, most babies will learn that crying does not earn them a reward and they will then learn to fall asleep all on their own.

While some medical professionals praise the technique, others claim it has the capability to leave severe emotional scarring. But whether this method is right or wrong for you as a parent is completely up to you.


Before trying the Ferber Method, it is a good idea to speak with your child’s doctor and discuss progressive waiting in full.