The Progressive Waiting Technique
Dr. Richard Ferber, MD, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children's Hospital in Boston, wrote the popular book, Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems.
His technique, known as Ferberizing, involves establishing a soothing, pre-bedtime ritual and then putting the baby into the crib while she is still awake. She may cry or fuss at first, but only by putting her into the crib while awake can she learn to get to sleep on her own.
Once you've laid her down, be firm and matter-of-fact. Tuck her in, kiss her good night, and leave the room. If she cries (and she likely will), wait a predetermined amount of time before going in to check on her. Most parents choose to start with five minutes. After the allotted time, speak to your child, comfort her, but do not pick her up. Once this is done, leave the room even if she is crying. And once you leave the room she will likely raise the decibel levels. (It is helpful for parents to warn nearby neighbors before beginning the Ferberizing process.) Increase your waiting time by five minutes before going in to soothe your child.
If you can't bear the sound of your child crying, this will be a long 10 minutes. Once 10 minutes have passed, go back in and do just what you did before. Talk with your child, rub her back, but do not pick her up. Leave the room and don't return for 15 minutes, then don't come back for 20 minutes, and so on.
Continue this process until your child falls asleep. Repeat the process the next night, and the next, until your child can fall asleep on her own, shedding nary a tear. Sound impossible? According to Dr. Ferber it should only take about one week (and what a week it will be!).
The Baby Wise Method
Author Gary Ezzo was once a pastor, but new parents might think of him as a drill sergeant with the rigid parenting instructions he lays out in his best-selling book, On Becoming Baby Wise. Ezzo advocates putting newborns on a strict, every three- to four-hour feeding schedule. From that, says Ezzo, will come babies that rarely cry, sleep through the night at eight weeks, and grow to be responsible, respectful members of the community.
Ezzo says parents shouldn't respond immediately to a baby's cries at night but should instead check on the baby every 15 minutes. "Any crying will be temporary," he writes, "lasting from five to 45 minutes." According to Ezzo, this will not be an issue beyond eight weeks of age.