From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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
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. 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
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
- 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
- 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
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.
References in pop
- 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
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
- 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
- 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.
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.
Sears, William M.D. et al., The Baby Sleep Book, Little,
Brown and Company, 2005
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."