Ferber Method: What Is It, And How Does It Affect Babies?  

ferber method

The Ferber Method actually refers to a series of training sessions where the parents leave their children alone for fixed-time intervals while ignoring any cries or protests that they might hear. There have been many harsh criticisms of the same as well. In this article, I will be discussing what it actually is and how it affects babies.

Keep reading till the end to find out more information on Ferber Method!

What Is Ferber Method?  

What Is Ferber Method

The Ferber Method is also known as a”graduated extinction” and is an infant sleep training program that was developed by a person named Richard Ferber.

When this method works, the children then eventually accept that no one would be coming to their help, and because of that, their behavior becomes less disruptive in nature.

There are also various Ferber method charts available on the internet where it states the check-in times for monitoring your child.

What Do The Experts Have To Say About This?  

Here’s what the experts have to say about the Ferber method:

This Method Is Not Appropriate For Young Babies  

This Method Is Not Appropriate For Young Babies

Babies who are young need to feed at night time and their sleep patterns during this time of their lives are still irregular and immature. For these reasons, even the researchers advocate the Ferber sleep training and warn parents against using this method as “sleep training” is highly inappropriate when it comes to babies who are under 6 months old.

Instead, the parents can try out a no. of safe and other alternative tactics that are available out there.

Tip: Just a while ago, I answered the question “what is the Ferber method”.

Not Suitable For Children Who Have A Conditioned Fear Of Being Left Alone   

Not Suitable For Children Who Have A Conditioned Fear Of Being Left Alone

Common sense suggests that traumatized kids should not be made subject to graduated extinction. If prior experiences in their life have already taught your child to fear being left isolated or alone – be it in his bed or crib. Then you should definitely confer with a behavioral psychologist about the top technique for sleep training.

Not Appropriate For Most Child Sleep Problems  

Not Appropriate For Most Child Sleep Problems  

Parents who consider sleep training usually do so only because their kids are experiencing bedtime problems. The Ferber method for naps is designed for people to fall asleep without any parental supervision. But it is also to be noted that this method is not designed to treat most of the problems that directly cause night wakings and bedtime battles.

This Method Does Not Teach The Children How To Fall Asleep  

This Method Does Not Teach The Children How To Fall Asleep  

Graduated extinction does not teach kids how to fall asleep on their own, as Richard Ferber himself admits. Simply put, access to children’s parents is restricted, and they are left to sort things out on their own.

Try this Ferber method substitute, called “positive routines with faded bedtime,” if you really want to assist your kid in falling asleep. The “positive routines” program, in contrast to Ferber sleep training, teaches your child how to unwind and get ready for bed.

Parents can also help their child fall asleep by following these techniques stated below:

  • Help your child in fighting against their nighttime fears
  • Try to dim the lights of their room in the evening
  • By any means avoid exercise and stimulating activities before bedtime

How Does The Ferber Method Work Exactly?  

How Does The Ferber Method Work Exactly

The Ferber technique is a variation of a sleep training program termed “extinction.”

Extinction sleep training is based on the idea that youngsters struggle with sleep because they have become accustomed to relying on soothing from their parents. When children are not given this parental calming, they may procrastinate, beg, sob, or act out in order to put off going to bed. Kids will be troublesome if they wake up during the night since they can’t fall asleep on their own.

Children’s attention-seeking demands are reinforced by parents who “give in” to them, which leads to more problematic behaviors. The Ferber Method Guide states that parents should put their kids to bed when they are still awake and then leave them alone as a result. Parents are told to ignore their children’s cries. Unless it seems absolutely necessary, parents shouldn’t check on the child again. In one crucial way, the Ferber technique differs from extinction training: It allows parents to check on their kids, but only occasionally and on a set timetable.



A few days after starting Ferber sleep training, some parents report improvements. Parents may finish training in 4 weeks in research examining progressive extinction (such as Reid et al. 1999).

However, some parents give up before they notice any changes in their children’s behavior because they find the idea of ignoring their kids upsetting and they are worried about the training’s potentially negative consequences.

Is The “Ferber-Method” Even Effective?  

Is The “Ferber-Method” Even Effective

According to some scientific studies, extinction sleep type of training including sleep training is actually associated with the following positive outcomes that I will be listing down below:

  • Children who complete their training are more likely to settle down at night, right within ten minutes.
  • Children who complete their training are less likely to throw tantrums during bedtime.
  • After completing the training the children will be less likely to awaken their parents during the nighttime.
  • Parents who complete the training also report improvements in their own stress moods, levels, and interaction with their children.



If you have followed stories regarding this in the media then you might have gotten the impression that the controversy is over. But the reality is far from that! Presently, the studies demonstrate that Ferber’s method is not really reliable. The Ferber method reviews are mostly negative as well.

A group of investigators in the country of Australia applied for a tighter focus for focus on sleep training research. They even assigned some families to use graduated extinction and then contrasted the results with those of families that are assigned to either of the following groups – (a) a group practicing an alternative strategy regarding sleep and (b) a control condition.

But then again, a lack of information actually prevents the common people from deriving conclusions on – is Ferber method bad.

To Wrap It Up!  

That was all for information regarding the Ferber method. Thank you for reading up till here. I hope you found the information useful. Let me know in the comments your thoughts on the same.

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Susmita Sen