An explanation of the Ferber training method of getting your baby to sleep.
One of the major shocks of having a new born is the complete lack of sleep induced by being kept awake by your little one and their small, but incredibly powerful set of lungs. There are many different methods that can be tried in order to get your baby into a regular sleeping pattern, and none are more successful, yet controversial, than the Ferber method.
Devised by the American paediatrician Richard Ferber in 1985 within his book 'Solve your childs sleep problem,' the Ferber method basically means you leave your child to soothe them self to sleep when they are emotionally and physically ready. Ferber believes this can be done between the first 4-6 months of life, and although has been proven to be incredibly successful, is still a controversial method to adopt.
The Ferber method recommends that following a loving and warm bedtime routine, usually involving bath time, you put your baby to bed awake, then leaving them, even if they cry, for periods of time that increase as the time spent using the method goes on. Ferber argues that it is the putting to bed of a baby awake that teaches them to go to sleep on their own. In order to adopt the Ferber approach, when your baby starts to cry, leave them for roughly five minutes before returning to soothe, but do not pick up or feed them.
When they are settled leave again, and when the crying inevitably starts, return after a slightly longer period of time, gradually increasing this as each night passes. The suggested waiting time is based on how comfortable you feel with the technique and how many days you have using it. Ferber argues that after a few weeks of gradually increasing the waiting time, most, but not all babies will learn to fall asleep on their own, when that are ready, learning that crying earns a check on, not completely devoted and unlimited attention.
The main advantage of the Ferber approach is that is does seem to work, allowing you a much more sound night of sleep after the process has settled into a routine. It also encourages baby to send themselves to sleep when their body and mind tells them to.
The main problem of using, and inparticularly starting the method is the emotional upheaval that leaving your baby crying creates. For most parents, sitting outside their baby's room while they cry, without being able to pick up, feed or cuddle them is extremely difficult, and parents find they simply can't do it, and quit the technique before it takes off.
Parents also find it difficult to gauge how long each wait should be, while this should be measured by how long the method has been in effect, it is important to measure this against how comfortable you are with it, upsetting yourself will only make the technique harder on you and your baby. Measure the emotional effects on you of using the Ferber method and apply this to the waiting time as well as the use of the method overall; it has to be worth the upset for you to adopt it.
The Ferber method has proven popular by many parents in the long run, but there are several factors to address before trying it. Don't underestimate the emotional trauma that controlled crying places on you and your baby; the method works but, as with most things, is not for everyone. If Ferber doesn't work for you there are several others methods to try in order to help settle your little one into a regular sleeping pattern.
Author : Elizabeth Stansfield
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