Sleep Methods Explained: The Ferber Method

Dr. Richard Ferber introduced the Ferber Method, which is not leaving your child to cry  all by themselves and never checking on them.  Many people associate the Ferber Method with Cry It Out, but it is actually slightly more gentle that straight Cry It Out.

Dr. Richard Ferber is on the faculty of Harvard University, and according to their website, has the following titles:  Associate Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Senior Associate in Neurology, Department of Neurology, Children’s Hospital Boston.

The Ferber Method is basically when you put the child down in their bed or crib, then leave the room to allow the child to put themselves to bed.  You then come back after a certain amount of time has passed to let the child know you are there and everything is okay.  Each time you leave, you stay out a little longer.


  • While you are leaving your child to cry, you can come back and check on them to be sure they haven’t gotten stuck somewhere uncomfortable or that they haven’t dirtied their diaper.
  • It normally is one of the quicker methods to see improvements.
  • Less interaction with the child than gentler methods so parents are less likely to introduce other behaviors that may become sleep crutches (like singing or patting to sleep)


  • There can be a lot of crying.
  • Some children get overstimulated when parents are coming and going and they may end up crying longer than the Cry It Out Method.
  • If there are other children in the home, they may be woken up when the parents have to open the door leaving the room and coming back in.

Please feel free to share any advantages or disadvantages you see to this method.

3 Thoughts on “Sleep Methods Explained: The Ferber Method

  1. I would be concerned about the over-stimulation, especially if you need to close the door. I’m thinking opening and closing the door would be disruptive to the baby, not just other children.

    Baby: “Darn, was just about to drift off and they opened the door again!

  2. Some people can’t handle the cry.
    I did this and it never worked hahahaha

    • HI Eliane, That should be another disadvantage for most sleep methods, depending on the child and your situation, the chosen method may just not work in all instances. I do hope you were able to help your child sleep some other way though!

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