ferber method alternatives

The Ferber method is one of the most common sleep training methods used all around the world but some parents don’t like it. For them, it is hard to see their child crying. 

If you are one of those you might like any of these sleep training methods that are more gentle than the Ferber method. 

You can say that these methods are “Ferber method alternatives”. Moreover, by the end of this article, I will suggest some super good sleep training books that you can read and learn much more about baby sleep management. 

ferber method alternatives

1- The chair method:

mom sitting near crib

The chair method is a famous sleep training method that involves placing a chair near a baby’s bed/crib and gradually moving the chair away from the bed/crib daily. 

This method involves comforting a crying baby while sitting on the chair verbally or by patting it on the back if the child is crying a lot. 

The goal is to make the child learn self-soothing and fall asleep independently while he knows that the parent is around him.

Steps of the chair method:

1- Set a consistent bedtime routine before the sleep training.

2- Place a chair next to your baby’s bed/crib.

3- Put the baby in the bed drowsy but not sleepy.

4- Sit on the chair and gently rub/pat his back so that he goes to sleep.

5- Leave the room/space when the child goes to sleep.

6- If the baby gets up in the middle of the night and cries, go back to the chair and sit on it without picking him up and interacting much. Say short sentences like,” Go back to sleep sweetheart, Mama is sitting right here”. 

7- Repeat these steps each day while you increase the distance between the chair and the crib.

8- You can also comfort the child by standing by the crib, patting the back, or comforting in a way that he stops crying and then go back to the chair and sit there until the child sleeps back.

9- Drag the chair to the point that one day it reaches the door, then eventually it fades from the frame. 

10- After fading, if the child cries at night, you can just go to the room comfort the child, and leave the room again.

11- This method needs consistency as it may take a long to achieve the target.

Pros and Cons of the chair method:

1- Make the child learn self-soothing and become an independent sleeper1- It’s a long process and might take up to a month to achieve the desired results.
2- This method involves less crying.2- The parents have to sacrifice a lot of sleep in the training days.
3- It is a gentler sleep training process that results in a consistent sleep pattern.3- Some children might cry more upon looking at the parent sitting on the chair and not picking them up.

2- Pick-up, put-down method:


The pick-up-put-down method is a sleep training process that is considered to be one of the most gentle approaches of all the methods. 

In this method, you have to pick up the baby as soon as he starts crying and keep him in the arms until he gets better then put him on the bed so that he falls asleep again but on his own. 

This picking and putting down method helps the child to fall asleep fast and develop long-hour sleeping habits.

Steps of Pick up put down method:

1- Set a consistent bedtime routine for the baby.

2- After doing all the nighttime rituals like bathing, massaging, and cuddling.

3- Put the child in his bed/crib and leave the room.

4- If the baby started crying just after you left, you have to come back to the room, pick up the baby, and comfort him until he calms down.

5- Once the baby got settled, put him back in his bed drowsy and not sleeping. In this way, the child would learn how to self-soothe him and go to sleep independently.

6- If the child starts crying again when you put him down to bed after comforting him, you have to pick him up again and comfort him.

7- Repeat the cycle again and again until the child learns to self-soothe himself and goes to sleep without crying.

Pros and Cons of pick up put down method:

This approach is the gentlest way of sleep training the child.There is no time frame for this sleep training method.
The child gets from time to time reassurance that his parents are around.Parents can get really exhausted by continuously getting up from sleep again and again and spending time to calm down the baby.
If the child adopts the approach correctly, he can develop healthy sleeping habits for the long term.There are no guaranteed results of this approach, as continuous parental intervention may hinder the child’s ability to self-soothe.

3- No cry method:


This method is generally good for co-sleeping children in the same bed or children who share the room. 

In this method, as the name suggests, the parents go for a minimal crying approach where they instantly pick their baby up on their first distress sound. 

No cry method is best for those parents who are not in favour of leaving a crying child behind.

Steps of the No Cry method:

1- Set a consistent bedtime routine for the baby.

2- Do all the nighttime rituals that help in peaceful sleep like a warm bath, clean diaper, gentle massage, and lots of cuddles.

3- Once you notice that your child is drowsy, put him in his crib and come back to your bed while you can see him and he can see you. Even if you share the bed, leave the child on the bed and sit on a chair next to the bed. In this way, the child will gradually learn to sleep on his own.

4- Once you put him down either on the bed or in his crib, if the child starts to cry you have to pick him up instantly and comfort him until he calms down. When the baby calms down, you have to repeat the steps mentioned above. The key difference between the pick-up put-down and no-cry method is to minimize the cry as much as possible.

Pros and cons of the No cry method:

1- This method solely focuses on the mental well-being of the child by minimizing the crying session as much as possible.1- This training method does not have any limits as it is a gradual process.
2- This method is flexible and is best for children who have ADHD etc.2- It can make parents very tired for the first few nights.
3- Children with special needs can develop a strong trust in their parents and feel secure.3- Needs a lot of parent’s patience, consistency, and compromise on sleep.

4- Controlled crying method:


The controlled crying method is a modified version of the Ferber method where the parents make their own schedule of progressive waiting. 

The progressive waiting in the controlled crying method is less than the standard ones. 

For example, if it’s day one, the parents might set 2 minutes of waiting outside the room when the child cries inside the room and follows the same pattern all night. 

The next day it might shift to 3 minutes of waiting for all the check-ins.

Steps of the controlled crying method:

1- Set a consistent bedtime routine for the baby.

2- Do all the nighttime ritual that helps in peaceful sleep like a warm bath, clean diaper, gentle massage, and lots of cuddles.

3- When you feel that your child is drowsy and about to sleep, leave him in his bed/cot and leave the room.

4- Upon leaving the room, if your baby starts to cry, you have to wait outside the room for whatever time you have set for the progressive waiting. Let’s say, it is 2 minutes of waiting then you have to enter the room causally, pat the child back and comfort him with words. The rule is not to pick up the child in your arms. Once the child gets calm, you have to leave the room again.

5- Repeat the same pattern with the same progressive waiting intervals whenever the child cries in the night.

6- Gradually increase the check-in time per day, so that the child learns how to self-soothe himself and go back to sleep.

Pros and cons of the controlled crying method:

1- This method helps the child to learn self-soothing abilities.1- The controlled crying method can make the sleep training program longer than the usual one.
2- A consistent bedtime routine makes the child sleep on time.2- It can make parents so tired that they might quit after a while.
3- This method has many positive success reviews all around the world.3- Some parents find the controlled crying method or the ferber method cruel and cannot hear their baby cry for a certain time.

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Sleep training books that I recommend:

Whatever sleep training method you choose, if you better understand how baby’s sleep work and how to manage it in a better way, you will be successful in your journey much faster. 

I highly recommend reading any of these sleep training books so you can learn more and get success at a faster pace. 

1- Precious Little Sleep:

Precious Little Sleep by Alexis Dubief is a must-have for new parents. This book has practical bits of advice which can be easily adopted by the parents. A touch of humor makes the reader involved with the book and get knowledge on how to successfully vanish sleep deprivation from life.

3- The Gentle Sleep Book:

The Gentle Sleep Book by Sarah Ockwell should be in every parent’s side drawer. This book offers a practical and realistic approach to making babies to five-year-olds sleep peacefully through the night. The author’s expertise can be seen in her words and strategies which look so helpful and realistic when you read it. Get your hands on this book if you seek a peaceful bedtime routine.

4- The No-Cry Sleep Solution:

The No-Cry Sleep solution by Elizabeth Pantley offers a gentle approach for parents who seek no-crying sleep solution methods. The author emphasizes the empathic way of teaching a child self-soothing and a consistent bedtime routine. The strategies are implantable and realistic. A must-have for parents who would love to have a good night’s sleep without making their child cry.

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