method for infants

Sleep training using the Ferber method is a process that many parents consider when their infant is struggling to fall or stay asleep on their own. This method involves gradually reducing the amount of parental comfort and interaction during bedtime routines, with the goal of teaching the child to self-soothe and fall asleep independently. However, deciding when to start sleep training can be a difficult and personal decision for parents, considering various factors such as the child’s age, developmental stage, health, and parenting style. In this context, this topic aims to explore when parents might consider starting sleep training with the Ferber method for their infant.

Understanding the Ferber method

One of the most talked-about sleep training methods is the Ferber method, also known as the “cry it out” method. Developed by Dr. Richard Ferber, the method involves letting a baby cry for increasingly longer periods of time until they learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own. While this method can be effective for some families, it is not without its controversies and requires careful consideration before implementing.

Misconceptions about the Ferber method

First, it’s important to address some common misconceptions about the Ferber method. The method does not involve leaving a baby to cry for hours on end, nor does it involve ignoring a baby’s needs altogether. The goal is to gradually teach a baby to fall asleep on their own, with the understanding that some amount of crying is inevitable in the process.

Is the Ferber method right for your family?

Before starting any sleep training method, it’s important to consider your family’s unique situation and needs. The Ferber method may not be the best fit for every family, and that’s okay. Some families prefer gentler sleep training methods, while others may find that the Ferber method is the most effective for their child. It’s important to do your research and discuss your options with your pediatrician before making a decision.

When to start sleep training

While the Ferber method can be effective for some families, it’s important to know when to start the process. Experts generally recommend waiting until a baby is at least 4-6 months old before starting any kind of sleep training. Before that age, babies are still developing their sleep patterns and may not be developmentally ready for sleep training.

Key takeaway: The Ferber method involves gradually teaching a baby to fall asleep on their own through letting them cry for increasing periods of time. It’s important to wait until the baby is at least 4-6 months old and showing signs of readiness before starting the method, and to consider other factors such as major life changes or health issues. Successful implementation requires consistency, a consistent bedtime routine, and gradually increasing intervals of crying before checking on the baby. The method is not a quick fix and may take several nights or even weeks to see results.

Signs that your baby is ready for sleep training

So how do you know when your baby is ready for sleep training? Look for these signs:

  • Your baby is at least 4-6 months old
  • Your baby is able to self-soothe to some extent (such as sucking on a pacifier or thumb)
  • Your baby is able to fall asleep on their own at bedtime (without needing to be rocked or nursed to sleep)
  • Your baby is waking up frequently during the night and seems to be genuinely hungry or in need of a diaper change

Factors to consider

Even if your baby meets these criteria, there are still other factors to consider before starting the Ferber method. For example, if your family is dealing with a major change such as a move or a new sibling, it may not be the best time to start sleep training. Additionally, if your baby is dealing with any health issues or teething pain, it may be best to hold off on sleep training until those issues are resolved.

How to implement the Ferber method

If you’ve decided that the Ferber method is the right choice for your family and your baby is showing signs of readiness, it’s important to follow the method correctly to ensure the best chance of success. Here are some tips for implementing the Ferber method:

  • Stick to a consistent bedtime routine to help your baby know when it’s time to sleep
  • Put your baby down in their crib while they are still awake, but drowsy
  • Start with short intervals of crying (such as 3-5 minutes) before going in to check on your baby
  • Gradually increase the intervals of crying before checking on your baby (such as 10, 15, and 20 minutes)
  • When you do go in to check on your baby, keep the interaction brief and neutral (such as patting their back or speaking soothingly)
  • Be prepared for some setbacks and setbacks along the way, but stay consistent and stick to the plan

How long does it take?

It’s important to note that the Ferber method is not a quick fix and may take several nights or even weeks to see results. It’s also important to remember that every baby is different, and some may take longer to adjust to the method than others. Consistency is key, and it’s important to stick to the plan even if it’s difficult to hear your baby crying.

FAQs for when to start sleep training Ferber

What is the Ferber Method of sleep training?

The Ferber Method, also known as the progressive-waiting approach, is a sleep training method that involves gradually increasing the amount of time that a parent waits before comforting a crying child. The goal of the Ferber Method is to teach a child to fall asleep on their own without needing to be rocked or fed.

When is the best time to start sleep training with the Ferber Method?

The best time to start sleep training with the Ferber Method is when your baby is around four to six months old. At this age, your baby is more likely to be physically and cognitively ready for the training. Additionally, it is essential to discuss the sleep training with your pediatrician, who can assess your baby’s health status and evaluate if the method suits your baby’s temperament and development.

Are there any signs that my baby is ready for sleep training?

Yes, there are a few essential signs that indicate your baby is ready for sleep training. Your baby should have a consistent bedtime routine and show signs of drowsiness when bedtime arrives. Additionally, your baby should be able to fall asleep without being rocked or fed and sleep for long stretches of three to four hours before waking up.

Can sleep training be detrimental to my baby’s health and development?

There have been concerns that sleep training, including Ferber training, can have negative effects on a baby’s health. However, recent studies suggest that sleep training does not have a detrimental impact on a child’s development and mental health. Sleep training with the Ferber Method is safe when done appropriately and can be an effective method to help your baby sleep independently.

How long does it typically take to see results with the Ferber Method?

The timeline for seeing results with the Ferber Method can vary depending on your child’s temperament and sleep habits. Some parents report seeing results within a few days, while others may take a few weeks. It is essential to stick to the training plan consistently to give your child a chance to adjust to the new sleep routine.

Can the Ferber Method be used for older children?

Yes, the Ferber Method can be used for older children who struggle with sleep issues. However, the process may be more challenging for older children who have already established a particular sleep habit. Parents may need to have more patience and consistency in their training approach to help their older child develop new sleep habits.


By Samantha

Samantha is a dedicated mother, passionate writer, and the inspiring force behind As a young mom herself, she understands firsthand the joys, challenges, and uncertainties that come with parenthood. Fueled by her own experiences and a deep desire to help others, she founded as a safe haven for young mothers to connect, learn, and grow together. While embarking on her own motherhood journey, Samantha discovered the transformative power of shared experiences and the importance of a supportive community. With a background in journalism and a heart full of empathy, she set out to create a platform that would empower young moms and provide them with the resources, encouragement, and camaraderie they needed to thrive. Samantha is committed to delivering content that is both practical and inspiring. She works closely with a team of fellow mommies, as well as healthcare, education, and psychology professionals to ensure the blog offers a wide range of insightful articles and valuable resources. From navigating the ups and downs of pregnancy to tackling the complexities of raising a child, Samantha is dedicated to providing her readers with the knowledge and support they need to make informed decisions and create a loving, nurturing environment for their families. When she's not managing or writing her next heartfelt post, Samantha enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, exploring the great outdoors, and indulging in her love for photography. She is a firm believer in the power of self-care and makes a conscious effort to practice mindfulness and embrace life's simple pleasures. Samantha's unwavering dedication to her fellow young mothers is evident in every aspect of Her warm, empathetic nature and relentless pursuit of knowledge make her the perfect guide for young moms navigating the beautiful, messy, and rewarding adventure that is motherhood. Join Samantha and her vibrant community of young moms at, and become part of a movement that celebrates, uplifts, and empowers women in their most important role—motherhood.