Ferber Method With Pacifier: Sleep Train Your Baby!

Written by Daisy
Last updated:
Reviewed by Margaret

Many parents ask, Can the Ferber Method with pacifier work? Being one of the most common and most-used sleep training processes, it’s imperative to learn and find out everything about it!

Generally, the Ferber Method is the type of sleep training that involves NO tools and props. This teaches your baby to soothe and calm down on their own. But, you can try and incorporate it if it’s necessary or if your baby is already used to it.

Disclaimer 

Please note, this article is intended to provide general information on pregnancy and diet, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The article has been reviewed by medical expert Margaret Dogwood, BSN, RN.

Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or dietary modifications during pregnancy.

In this article, we will dive deeper in knowing and understanding what the Ferber method is, how it’s useful, and how you can leverage it to your success!

Let’s start by discussing and checking in on what it is in the first place!

What is the Ferber Method?

In case you’re like me who has little-to-no idea on what all these methods are, you’re then in on the right track!

Dr. Richard Ferber, a pediatric sleep expert, invented the Ferber Method, commonly known as the Ferber Sleep Training Method. The goal is to assist newborns and babies learn falling and remain asleep on their own – essentially without tools or props.

The strategy employs a technique known as “gradual extinction,” in which parents gradually increase the length of time they let their kid to scream before comforting them, helping develop self-soothing and creating good sleeping habits.

How Does the Ferber Method Work?

The Ferber sleep training method works wonders and in many different ways. In fact, Jodi A. Mindell, Ph.D., medically reviewed an article from Parents and agreed that comforting your baby must be as simple as using a soothing voice or patting them on the back.

             Patting your infant or speaking in a soothing voice can be your options. It should, however, not include picking them up, feeding them, or switching on the light. This comfort should only be given for one to two minutes max.”

You can also try the Ferber method for naps, too! Here’s a quick and simplified process of the Ferber method.

  1. Set daily bedtime practices to give hints that it’s time to sleep.
  2. Put your baby inside the crib when they’re drowsy (but awake) to teach them to sleep on their own.
  3. When they cry or scream, don’t attend to them immediately. Wait for at least one minute before comforting them.
  4. Over time, you’ll want to increase this period gradually.

NOTE: Comforting them shouldn’t involve picking them up, feeding them, or giving them pacifiers. Moreover, it should not take more than two minutes.

What is the Ferber Method Chart?

The Ferber Method Chart is a guide that can help parents like you in knowing the intervals for the progressive increase and/or decrease of comfort checks.

You’ll find the Ferber Method PDF chart in many different areas online, but we prepared a Ferber method chart for you! Now, this chart is solely a chart! 

Here’s the Ferber Method sleep training chart by Pampers. As per their sources, it’s from zerothree.org and Sleep, who are known experts in the field!

Will the Ferber Method With a Pacifier Work?

Essentially, speaking no, because the method is clear on not using any form or type of tool in helping your child calm down. However, you can try and incorporate it into the process.

The thing is, you’ll have to wean your baby off the pacifier eventually. This means that whatever soothing method you’ll use, you’ll also have to train your baby to get rid of the pacifier.

So, is it ok to use a pacifier with the Ferber method? Or would sticking to the usual method be better and bear more fruit? Let’s find out!

Can You Use a Pacifier With the Ferber Method?

The short, quick, and easy answer is yes, you can. If your child uses a pacifier to fall asleep, you can include it in their bedtime ritual. I mean, the Ferber method is all about making your baby fall asleep on their own, right?

However, it is important and crucial to remember the essence of the Ferber method. So, over time, you would have to get rid of the pacifier in helping them sleep and rely on their natural senses.

One thing to do is to take the pacifier off after the first interval. They’ll most likely not notice it during this time. Just make sure that the comfort you provide is enough to ensure that they’ll go back to sleep without any deeper intervention.

How to Do the Ferber Method?

Now, let’s go ahead and discuss how you can do and perform the Ferber method. There are specific steps that parents need to take in order to maintain correct and proper consistency and to be sure that it will truly take effect.

Step #1: Create and Establish a Bedtime Routine

The first step you want to do is to simply be the boss. And by be the boss, I mean creating and establishing a routine that you will religiously follow. Make a regular routine that tells your youngster it’s time to sleep.

This includes activities such as bathing them, reading a book, feeding them, and snuggling. The most important part here is consistency!

Heidi Szugye, D.O., IBCLC says that since babies don’t really can’t tell the time, you’ll have to develop a specific pattern in which they’ll understand that bedtime is nearing.

Your main objective should be to set up a relaxing, soothing, and regular bedtime ritual that will assist them in catching their Zs. If you stick to the schedule every night, your baby will learn when it’s time to sleep.”

Step #2: Put Your Baby Inside the Crib

Once this has been established, the next step would be to tire your baby out – and then place them inside their crib. So, you’ll want to position your little munchkin inside his or her crib while they are still awake but ready to sleep.

If your child takes a pacifier, include it in their night ritual. However, you have to make sure that you carefully wean off the pacifier especially when you’re progressing through the method.

Step #3: Set a Comfort Period

The next step involves planning and strategizing – and what we’re looking for when it comes to strategizing and planning would be the comfort period.

When your baby is beginning to show signs that they are about to scream or complain, set a timer and wait for a few minutes before you enter the room.

This period should be determined by your child’s age and temperament, and, of course, how you handle them.

Step #4: Let Them Cry Out

When they start crying or screaming, wait and follow the comfort period. From there, just let them cry out. When you enter the room, give your baby a little nudge of comfort without picking or carrying him up.

Try to use calming words, soft touches, and a pacifier if needed. Try to avoid engaging in stimulating activities or staying in the room for long because they’ll be reliant on that.

Step #5: Adjust and Increase the Waiting Period

From there, you’ll have to perform the necessary adjustments to allow your baby to fix themselves up for the environment they’re in. To provide comfort, progressively extend the waiting duration before going in each night.

This gives your infant the ability to soothe themselves and go to sleep on their own, without needing much of your intervention.

As a guide, use the Ferber Method table or chart that suggests increasing intervals by a few minutes each night or each session.

Step #6: Trace and Track

And for the last step, the only thing left that you, parents, need to do is to keep track of the progress and make the necessary adjustments for it.

Keep track of your child’s progress and alter the intervals as necessary. If your little angel is showing any signs of improvement, you can proceed to keep increasing the intervals.

On the other hand, if they appear mildly to severely agitated, you may need to give comfort sooner and make smaller progressions.

That’s the beef or the core of the Ferber method. There’s really nothing difficult about it – it’s just a matter of making small adjustments that your baby will accept!

I know that as parents, it can be difficult to hear your baby cry or scream. However, it’s going to be for their good in the long run!

When Should I Start Sleep Training My Baby?

Cleveland Clinic gives suggestions to parents to start sleep training their babies who are about four months old. Dr. Noah Schwartz, M.D., says that the basics of sleep training is just like teaching them to soothe themselves instead of having another person do it for them.

             Essentially, you’re teaching your infant that they can put themselves to sleep or calm themselves. They will need to master this as a development skill.”

This will be effective if the baby is at least four months old. Why? Because babies in this age range are old enough to learn how to keep themselves peaceful and tranquil. Moreover, this is the time when your little munchkin’s sleep cycle matures, starting their circadian rhythm.

NOTE: This is not standard, though. Some babies are able to learn earlier than four months, while there are some babies who excel and develop their sleep cycles at best when they are six months old.

Is the Ferber Method Harmful For My Baby?

No, it’s not! While many parents find it harmful or even bad for their babies to cry their hearts out – it’s healthy and helpful for them, in the long run. The NPR said that this method, even the cry-it-out method is not something that could harm children – babies, in particular.

Pediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, Dr. Harriet Hiscock says that they’ve made studies on sleep training about them being harmed. Luckily, no data that correlated the two have been found.

             We ultimately came to the conclusion that there were no negative effects on children’s behavior, sleep, or the parent-child relationship.”

What Are Some Ferber Method Reviews?

Now, let’s take a look at some of the real-life reviews from parents who cared to try the Ferber sleep training method for their babies.

Parents from all around the world and from different cultures and ethnicities didn’t hold back in sharing what they experienced when they tried and tested the Ferber method.

Linley Jordan, a user from the Baby Center forum said that they tried it with their daughter who is 6 months old. As per the user, one night, their baby cried for three minutes straight but the following nights, their baby didn’t cry at all!

Manolya, another user said that it only took their 7-month-old angel two nights to adjust – it was smooth-sailing from then on!

Going to the other end of the internet, Nuclayer, a Reddit user said that they followed the steps in doing the Ferber method religiously for their 4-month-old baby. It only took them three nights and since then, their baby always had a good night’s sleep.

Of course, some other parents and people won’t find this very much effective. However, following this method exactly and changing it up according to your baby’s requirements will be the solution you’ve always been looking for.

FAQs

Here are a few questions that are commonly asked by new parents and parents who can’t seem to help find their baby’s comfort!

Is It Ok To Do The Ferber Method For Naps?

Yes, you can use the Ferber method for your baby’s naps to help them be consistent during daytime slumber, too!

At What Age Can a Baby Sleep With a Pacifier?

The Sleep Foundation said that babies who are at least three to four weeks old can use pacifiers already. The reason why is because one, the parents need to ensure that their little munchkin doesn’t have latching issues, and two, if their baby has already developed and settled into a breastfeeding routine.

Can You Do The Ferber Method At 5 Months With No Pacifier?

Yes, most definitely! In fact, experts recommend starting the Ferber method when the baby is at four months! The maximum time frame is at one year old!

What To Do If the Ferber Method Is Not Working?

The only real reason that the Ferber method won’t work is when parents miss a step out or if they fail to follow a certain rule. For instance, if the parents aren’t consistent with the comforting, when parents don’t put in too much effort in adjusting.

The Bottom Line

Sleep training your little angel requires not only work, but also patience. So, if you’re wondering whether you can do the Ferber method with a pacifier or if you can’t, the answer is simple – it will depend on your baby’s sleeping conditions.

You just have to make sure that you gradually remove the pacifier from their bedtime routine so they don’t use it as a “tool,” for sleeping.  

Photo of author
Daisy Martinez, a Certified Financial Planner and mother of two, blends finance expertise from Ohio State and Anderson School of Management with hands-on parenting insights. Founder of "mamallove.com" and "cashsavvytips.com", she's passionate about guiding parents in financial and parenting realms.

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