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.
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. 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 6 months. Before 6 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.