The Ferber Method: What You Need to Know


At 5 Little Monkeys, our mission is to help kids everywhere experience the magic of healthy, restful sleep. We're proud to help make that happen by offering a children's mattress that's beloved by kids and adults, but as any parent knows, there's more to great sleep than just the mattress. How you train your child to sleep is another important factor, and if you have questions about the Ferber Method, we're here to offer some insight.

Is the Ferber Method Good for Kids?

The Ferber Method, also known as graduated extinction, is an infant sleep training program designed to help babies learn how to fall and stay asleep on their own. The system works by using a series of training sessions where parents leave their babies completely alone to sleep for strictly-timed intervals. During the interval, parents ignore any cries they hear from their child entirely. Over time, the method is intended to teach children that parents won't come just because they're crying, so their behavior becomes less disruptive.

Research shows that the Ferber Method can lead to some positive sleep outcomes, but experts are anything but unanimous in their support for the method. Graduated extinction is not appropriate for young infants, whose sleep and feeding patterns are still irregular, and it may even be harmful to kids with a conditioned fear of abandonment. It also can't teach kids how to fall asleep.

On the whole, the scientific community is deeply divided on the Ferber Method. Some argue that it's highly effective in educing unnecessary outbursts before bed. But others argue that it goes against human nature and may even cause harm. So should you be using the Ferber Method? Ultimately, only you can answer that question – and as always, you should consult your family pediatrician to decide on a sleep system that works for you.

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