Sleep Training (From No Cry to Cry) Series – Part 5: Check and Console

Sleep Training Series part 5

This article will outline two sleep training methods, including “Check and Console,” which is what many people know as “The Ferber Method”. If you are just joining in, you may want to start from the beginning at Part 1 of my Baby Sleep Training (From No Cry to Cry) series.

You may be interested in reading about the age to do cry-it-out and how cry-it-out will not change your child’s personality.

The Ferber / Check-and-Console Method
(aka Ferberizing)

This sleep training method entails allowing baby to cry while checking on him at intervals. The goal here is to check and reassure him every so often to:

A) Make sure baby is okay and to reassure yourself.

B) Reassure him that you hear him and are there for him. When you go to check on baby, you are not supposed to pick him up nor engage them much. Simply reassure using your voice and a loving pat for 2-3 minutes, tops. (Watch the clock!)

The goal is NOT to help baby to sleep! That is what he is learning to do on his own! The idea is that he falls asleep in the same “environment” in which he will awaken periodically throughout the night (we all do!). The knowledge of how to fall asleep unassisted at bedtime will pave the way for him/her to go BACK to sleep throughout the night.

Here is an example of how night 1 might go:

  • Bedtime is 6:30 pm (make sure bedtime is sufficiently early and don’t make the mistake of “tiring him out” first. This leads to more crying, not less)
  • You do the bedtime routine, as usual, starting at 6pm. At 6:20 p.m. you put baby down DROWSY, BUT AWAKE
  • Baby begins to cry immediately. You set the timer for 5 minutes.
  • At 6:25 p.m. you go in and reassure her.
  • If she is still crying, you go back in at 10 minutes and then every 15 minutes until she falls asleep.

Each night, you increase each “check and console” interval by 5 minutes. If you can’t start with intervals 5, 10, and 15, start with 3, 7, and 10. It doesn’t matter as long as you increase intervals nightly and be CONSISTENT.

Cry It Out (aka CIO or Extinction)

This is basically when you follow the same rules above, only you leave baby completely alone to fall asleep. Some feel this is cruel, however, many feel this leads to less crying, overall, and not cruel since you have already implemented a bedtime routine and she knows what to expect. Again, this will depend on your philosophy as a parent and your baby’s temperament.

At night, you do not put a limit to the crying because if you allow her to cry for let’s say 30 minutes and then “rescue” her, you have all but guaranteed that much crying or more next time and you also don’t want them to learn to cry for a predetermined amount of time. It is imperative that you be 100% consistent and follow through. If you don’t want to let your baby cry, that is 100% OK, just choose another method.

You can use one of these methods or a variation of your own. You can try one and then switch to another after a few days. For some babies, going in there periodically only “teases” them and they get angrier that you won’t rock them or nurse them or do whatever you’ve been doing to “help” them to sleep. I do not have hard-core facts to say how long your baby will cry, on average. All babies are different and temperament and level of strong will definitely plays a part.

In my experience in helping other parents, the average seems to be around 30 minutes. Some babies cry 5 minutes and sleep the rest of the night. Others might cry over an hour and wake several times in the night. Unfortunately, there is no way to know what yours will do, but I’m sure up to this point you have a good idea about the personality of your child.

Many people are pleasantly surprised by how “little” their baby cries and wonder why they didn’t try sooner. They were prepared for the long haul and she may have “only” cried 20 minutes. Of course, as you know, 20 minutes to a mother or father can be excruciating, especially at 2 a.m.

Crying methods generally take 3-4 nights to see marked improvement, however, it isn’t always a cure-all. Sure, there are some babies you read about who, after 4 nights, sleep through the night forever and ever. And, then there are those who don’t and you have to keep letting them cry it out. Well, the important thing is to consider what your alternative is. If rocking/nursing/etc. to sleep was not working, there is a reason you started down this path and thus, you may just have a challenging sleeper who requires more “work” than others.

In part 6, the last part of this sleep training series, I share my sleep story.

If you need help with a Check and Console plan, we’re here! 

All content of The Baby Sleep Site®, such as articles, e-guides, e-Books, advice, evaluative consultations, text, graphics, images, and other material contained on The Baby Sleep Site® (“Content”) are for informational and supportive purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always, always, always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding your or your child’s medical condition(s), behaviors, feeding and sleeping habits, and environment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on The Baby Sleep Site®.

The Baby Sleep Site® is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other product affiliate programs. If you click on a product link and make a purchase, The Baby Sleep Site® may (but not always) receive a small commission from the company selling the product, but will not affect your purchase price. We only recommend products that we believe are quality products and are good for our readers.

Holistic Sleep Solutions from The Baby Sleep Site®

e-Book bundles

Do-It-Yourself: Just getting started with your research but you want to stop Googling? Choose from any of our e-book bundles for practical advice you can put to use TODAY!  

Become a VIP Member

Do-It-Mostly-Yourself: Would you like to continue learning with the option of getting answers from an expert sleep consultant? We have a perfect solution! Become a VIP Member for access to all of our premium content. This includes ALL of our e-books and bonuses, audio courses, access to our “ask the author” feature giving you answers to your pressing questions from an expert baby sleep consultant, and more!

Get a Personalized Sleep Plan

Work With a Sleep Expert: Tap into over a decade of experience with thousands of families before you! Get a Personalized Sleep Plan® just for your unique situation, get guidance and answers to all your “what if?” questions while you work through your plan, and benefit from expert support along the way. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard “I wish I had done this sooner!” Not sure? Read these stories from well-rested parents.

Don’t lose another wink of sleep — GET STARTED TODAY with our gentler, kinder approach to healthy sleep!

FREE Guide: Five Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night

Join over 500,000 parents for 15+ years & sign up today to receive the guide and Newzzz, our Baby Sleep Newsletter absolutely FREE!

Share to...