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Ferberization is a technique invented by Dr. Richard Ferber to solve infant sleep problems. It involves "baby-training" children to self-soothe by allowing the child to cry for a predetermined amount of time before receiving external comfort.

Contents

"Cry it out"

The "Cry It Out" (CIO) approach can be traced back to the book "The Care and Feeding of Children" written by Dr. Emmett Holt in 1895.[1] CIO is any sleep-training method which allows a baby to cry for a specified period of time before the parent will offer comfort. "Ferberization" is one such approach. Though it has come to be synonymous with CIO, Ferber does not advocate simply leaving a baby to cry. Other parenting book writers, however, view any version of CIO as unnatural, unnecessary and potentially damaging to a baby[2].

Ferberization summarized

Dr. Richard Ferber discusses and outlines a wide range of practices to teach an infant to sleep. The term Ferberization is now popularly used to refer to the following techniques:

  • Take steps to prepare the baby to sleep. This includes night-time rituals and day-time activities.
  • At bedtime, leave the child in bed and leave the room.
  • Return at progressively increasing intervals to comfort the baby (without picking him up). For example, on the first night, some scenarios call for returning first after three minutes, then after five minutes, and thereafter each ten minutes, until the baby is asleep.
  • Each subsequent night, return at intervals longer than the night before. For example, the second night may call for returning first after five minutes, then after ten minutes, and thereafter each twelve minutes, until the baby is asleep.

The technique is targeted at infants as young as 4 months of age, but preferably at least 6 months. A few babies are capable of sleeping through the night at 3 months, with training, and most are capable of sleeping through the night at 18 months. Before 8 months of age, the baby may still need to feed during the night and it is probable that the baby will require a night feeding before three months.

Ferber made some modifications in the 2006 Edition of his book "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems". He is now more open to co-sleeping and feels different approaches work for different families/children.[3]

References in pop culture

  • In the Judging Amy episode Adoption Day ( airdate 16 Jan 01; season 2 episode 10), Gilian and Amy discuss ferberizing baby Ned.
  • The Ferber method was humorously highlighted in the comedy movie Meet the Fockers where Robert De Niro's character tries to instill the Ferber method in his grandson. Dustin Hoffman's character spoofs this when he says he "Fockerized" Gaylord (Ben Stiller's character).
  • In an episode entitled "The Conversation", Mad About You's Paul and Jamie Buchman attempt the Ferber method. The episode was shot in one continuous take and shows the couple debating the psychological and moral implications of Ferberization.
  • In the Psych episode Rob-a-Bye Baby (airdate 7 Sep 2007; season 2 episode 23), Gus questions a prospective nanny of her opinion on ferberizing babies. The nanny is horrified by the notion and replies, "Oh my God, never. That's disgusting."
  • In Modern Family (Season 1 episode 11) Mitchell and Cameron attempt "ferberizing" baby Lily, although it appears as if they do not fully understand the method.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Care and Feeding of Children: A Catechism for the Use of Mothers and Children's Nurses (1907 edition) by Dr. Holt, L. Emmett, M.D.
  2. ^ Sears, William M.D. et al., The Baby Sleep Book, Little, Brown and Company, 2005
  3. ^ *John Seabrook. Sleeping with the baby. The New Yorker, November 8, 1999. abstract The New Yorker archive, full article booknoise.net - includes interview with Dr. Ferber. "There's plenty of examples of co-sleeping where it works out just fine. My feeling now is that children can sleep with or without their parents. What's really important is that the parents work out what they want to do."

External links

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