Dr Ferber clarifies on CIO .

Charlie - posted on 04/26/2011 ( 34 moms have responded )

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Some of the nation's leading sleep authorities are softening their long-held positions. In a coming new edition of his landmark 1985 book, pediatrician Richard Ferber is backing off his controversial system for training babies to sleep. The approach, which involves leaving a child to cry for progressively longer intervals until he or she falls asleep, has many ardent followers. But the crying method has also drawn loud criticism as being neglectful.



Dr. Ferber now says that letting children cry "was not meant to be the way to treat all sleep problems" and his updated book, coming this spring, will make it clear that he offers other solutions besides crying.



Dr. Ferber, 61, says that he has been largely misunderstood. When he first published his book in 1985, "there weren't any others," he says. The book, which has been reprinted 45 times, contains advice on a range of sleep issues, from bed-wetting to teens who can't get up for school on time. But he is most known for his signature controlled-crying method, which involves leaving a baby alone in the crib to cry for progressively longer intervals until he or she falls asleep. Parents are instructed to go into the room at the end of each interval to console -- but not touch or pick up -- the child.



Dr. Ferber, who is also director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children's Hospital in Boston, says that now, "we've had a lot more experience. There really are a lot of different ways" for children to learn good sleep habits.



Co-sleeping is central to the attachment parenting approach touted by Dr. Sears and others. Even Dr. Ferber, who had been opposed to the practice, now says that sharing a bed can be effective for families.



Dr. Ferber says that he will be revising his book because some parts need to be updated. For instance, he says new research suggests that babies don't need as much sleep as he originally advised. And he wants to clarify that his crying technique was targeted at a specific problem: the child who can fall asleep only while being rocked or held. While he still presents this approach in his new edition, he says he tells parents they can use gradual steps to wean a child off of rocking and soothing behaviors. And he clarifies that some children such as those suffering from anxiety will not be helped by the crying method.



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Thoughts ? Does this change anything for you whether you are for or against it ?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Tara - posted on 04/27/2011

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Good for him.
Maybe he'll live to re-write his book to say NOT to ever let a new baby cry it out without offering physical soothing.
Not picking a crying infant (under 6 months) up when they are distressed and deliberately ignoring their pleas for help is not only cruel but has shown to change brain chemistry in infants.
Perhaps he will come to that conclusion before he dies, this is a step in the right direction though!

ME - posted on 04/27/2011

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Haven't used CIO with either baby...It's nice to hear he's revising his method, but I do sort of feel like this falls under the "too little too late" category.

Rosie - posted on 04/27/2011

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oh, and i'd like to point out the the amount of time spent crying to do any type of damage to the brain from high cortisol is over 30 minutes. and that is still only an estimate, since they havn't actually been able to do studies on crying children doing the Ferber method, or any other CIO method for that matter. the studies that have been done have been done on children that have been involved with social services and have been grossly neglected in all aspects of their life. not infants that were loved, nurtured, and sleep trained. http://www.babble.com/baby/health-and-sa...

Sara - posted on 04/27/2011

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I've read his book and this is always what I thought his message was...nothing new to me.

Mrs. - posted on 04/26/2011

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Okay, but there are many people who find CIO helpful, or at least some aspect of it. I don't think he needs to apologize, that's a bit silly.

I think the problem lies in any parent taking any one method so seriously that they don't change or adapt it to meet the needs of their specific child. That's just common sense.

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34 Comments

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Christina - posted on 12/28/2011

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Hi Joanna, I have a question for you my son did that as well and later after almost loosing him we found out he had silent reflux and he was waking up so often because of the pain after he was on med for about a week he slept and well. Was your daughter ever tested for reflux? I was almost a zombie.

Joanna - posted on 04/28/2011

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We are recently doing CIO with my 6 1/2 month old. She would only sleep for 30 minutes at a time (yes, even at night), and I'd have to get up and put her on the boob, or push her in the swing, every 30 minutes, to get her back to sleep. I was living on 0-2 hours of sleep every night. So we had to do something. And now she will sleep 3-6 hours at a time, and she wakes up so much happier in the mornings.

I think sometimes you have to do what works for you, with your baby's personality in mind. You have to be sensitive to their emotional needs, but sometimes you also need to give them guidance and help them learn to soothe themselves, so that everyone in the house can get some rest.

[deleted account]

Maybe I've just been really lucky with my kids but sleep time was never so much of a problem that I would leave them crying and unhappy and walk away. I could never ever do such a thing. Sleep time was and still is pretty much a non-issue in our home. They have a schedule...not a strict schedule that I enforce to the minute but more of a natural schedule that they wake up at about the same time each day, have a nap later, and go to bed at about the same time each night and it's bc they're ready, not bc I have to close their bedroom doors and let them cry that they don't want to be in there. I just can't wrap my head around that concept. Maybe it's bc I've never been that desperate for my kids to go to sleep bc they've always done it without a problem when it was time.

[deleted account]

My son was one of those fussy ones that needs 5 mins fussing before he goes to sleep, which we realised quite early on so although I say I did the CIO method with him the more I read the more I realise actually we didn't because when he cried we soothed him by picking him up and rocking him and only left him when he was fussing. I can't say for definite I will use the same method with my next baby because we followed our sons cues, I hate it when he cries and the idea of leaving him crying upsets me, so we will do the same in that we will follow their cue for how they want to sleep.

Erin - the problem with that is the people who are doing it wrong and leaving baby to cry for hours on end or locking them in their rooms etc are the ones who never read how to do it properly in the first place and so they probably won't read the updates.

Sara - posted on 04/28/2011

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And I just want to throw it out there that I totally agree with Kati. There's no reliable research that states that CIO methods, or the Ferber method, damage your baby in some way. A lot of the studies cited in arguments against CIO do involve case studies of children who are neglected and abused. If you're a responsive parent who choses to utilitze a CIO method for your child, there's no proof that is damaging.



And I agree, I have been horrified as to the things some moms have said they did in the name of CIO, which I would actually call neglect. It gives methods like this a bad name, because for the right baby and right family, the method can be a godsend.

Krista - posted on 04/28/2011

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That's exactly right, Erin. A lot of people misuse CIO, so ANY reminder to them of how to do it properly is beneficial.

Ez - posted on 04/28/2011

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I am anti-CIO. But like Loureen, I see a clear distinction between a fussy/whiney baby and a crying one. Allowing an overstimulated baby to make those sleepy grizzly noises for a few minutes is not CIO or sleep training IMO.



Those of you who have used Ferber's method appropriately may not need the clarification. But surely you can all see, after all this time on COMs, that there are MANY mothers who take the CIO theory to the extreme and neglect their baby's needs. They are the ones who will benefit from reading the revised recommendations.

Melissa - posted on 04/27/2011

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Well said I agree! Ya I forgot about the low levels of cortisol when the baby is held...I absoltly held my baby everytime..maybe thats why he developed such an attachment to being held. anyhow I am gald i did it ..I do sometimes feel quilty for the day I let my baby cry without holding him but the outcome was truly the best for him!

Charlie - posted on 04/27/2011

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I think his clarification is important because while a lot of people do it as it was intended A LOT of people do it incorrectly , leaving the baby to cry for too long , it is important that he is now saying a baby should be weaned off being rocked not just thrust into CIO approach , it is important he is now saying that it shouldnt be used on all babies like those who suffer anxiety and you know MOST babies do suffer seperation anxiety , it is a totally natural response !

"..bte our son had colic and creid for hours on end his 1st 3 months soooo was there damage done to his brain because of colic?.."

I think that really depends on how you dealt with it .....Babies who are in full crying mode like colic ( which my youngest had ) still release big doses of cortisol the stress hormone ......brain scans show babies who cry for extended periods and are held in the arms of a parent release tiny amounts of cortisol ......this is being judgmental this is science , science has no wish to offend or critisize , it just is .

To be honest I dont hold a fussing baby in the same league as a crying baby , some kids just dont want to be rocked , sometimes my youngest just wants me to put him down ...so I do .

I also understand there comes a time when some mothers get overwwhelmed and frustrated and lets not forget tired and they need to make a choice between their sanity and sleep training this is nothing to be ashamed about OR judged about , in this case there will not be a happy family if mum is tired and unhappy and baby is tired ........ while I am not a fan of CIO I do think you need to do what is right for your family , I just hope people do it FULLY informed I cannot count the times I have seen mothers on here say " lock your child in their room " or " I leave them to cry for 20 minutes an hour " Ive seen people say TWO hours "start sleep training on them before 6 months" ...this is NOT what ferber reccomended and it is dangerous !

Krista - posted on 04/27/2011

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Like Sara, I don't see a lot of changes -- he's just clarifying some points. I don't have a problem with Ferber's method, as long as it's done with the baby's sensitivities in mind. I was one of those who basically HAD to let my son fuss it out a bit. If I was present, he didn't want to go to sleep. I could let him fuss, which meant he'd fall asleep within 5 minutes. Or, I could hold and rock him, which meant it would take him up to an hour to fall asleep, and he'd STILL be fussing the entire time.

Melissa - posted on 04/27/2011

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Why is being a parent mean being judged and critised allllllll the time....Where is the support....Dont you think most parents are doing the best they can! The parents that use the CIO method to ignore the baby or because they are lazy or annoyed well maybe thats a reason to judge but the majority of the time if someone is researching a method of anythign its to help their baby...the Holier than thow attitudes of parents not in other parents shoes is shocking....I dont understand why we cant be more supportative of different ways of parneting as long as it is all in the best interest of the child!

Melissa - posted on 04/27/2011

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We did the cio method because our child would only take NAPS in our arms and was not getting nearly enough sleep...we felt it was in the best interest of our child to sleep train him. No other method was working and we knew if we waited untill he was old enough to stand on his own and before he started teething the process would be much more difficult. It was done when we knew with out a doubt our son was crying for any other reason than being overly tired. And it worked our son spent only 1 day crying for an extended period...bte our son had colic and creid for hours on end his 1st 3 months soooo was there damage done to his brain because of colic?...anyway with in the next 2-3 days he cried for maybe 10-15 mins and fell asleep on his own. From that point on he got amazing sleep and was a very very happy baby! OH and I didnt ignore him We always let him know we were there! I felt it more cruel to deprive him of much needed sleep which is also said to cause major devlopmental issues!

Rosie - posted on 04/27/2011

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this is old news,he did this in his 2006 version of his book. however, i feel just as sara and rebecca do, that's the message i got all along.

Tara - posted on 04/27/2011

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to add some sites to back up my claims of infant crying and brain development I will provide the following links. But first a quote from Dr. Lewis

Infant developmental specialist Dr. Michael Lewis presented research findings at an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting, concluding that “the single most important influence of a child’s intellectual development is the responsiveness of the mother to the cues of her baby.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/a...
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.h...

April - posted on 04/27/2011

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I think it's nice that he is willing to recognize other methods, but I'm probably being naive, he probably really is makng nice to sell his new book!

Anyway, I still won't do CIO or controlled crying with any future children. We do co-sleeping, but we will be bedsharing with future children. It's easier to nurse that way and not have to get up a million times! :)

[deleted account]

Doesn't change my stance AT ALL! Thanks for the article, Loureen!

I will take the advice and instruction of those who are educated and informed, but at the end of the day, my choice to NOT "ferberize" my child was something that was decided mainly out of instinct. To me, it's heartbreaking to leave a child crying and I just could not do it.

Amanda - posted on 04/27/2011

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Id like to also say what Marina said, I dont think any less of a mother who uses CIO, I actually told a mom today to use this method on her 1 1/2 year old, because clearly hes decided to used crying at bedtime to get his way.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/27/2011

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I do want to say, even though I don't use CIO (though i have been tempted) I do not think less of any mother that does, or has used it.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/27/2011

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People should be able to change their views without being condemed....but you are right....he may want to just make a buck...hopefully he is just trying to rectify his previous findings....I hope......gee wiz what an ass munch if it is all about money. Guess we will never know for sure.

Jodi - posted on 04/27/2011

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LOl Marina, let's be honest, he is probably only admitting he is wrong and playing on the personal growth thing to sell his new book.......
But I'm the sceptic from hell, so let's go with the touchy feely explanation :P

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/27/2011

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Mary, never to little to late to admit you may be wrong. He has gained more experience and a different perspective. I think that he needs to be commended for growth.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/27/2011

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Kudos to Dr. Ferber for admitting other techniques work, and that his system needs to be revised. Good for him.

Amanda - posted on 04/27/2011

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Doesnt change anything for me, a child needing to be rocked to sleep isnt a PROBLEM, all children learn how to sleep on their own in their own time. I have three children that all by the age of 1 were all going to sleep at 8 pm without a problem and sleeping through out the night, without ever using any CIO method. There are many ways to "sleep train" a child, my fav is teaching my children that I am there for them 24/7, so they dont have any problems self soothing in the middle of the night knowing that mommy is just a cry away. :0)

Ez - posted on 04/27/2011

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It's about time! I can respect that he is revising and clarifying his position, and am glad he is going public with the new recommendations.



I wouldn't do anything different, because I didn't do CIO. And guess what? My 2yo goes to bed happily each night. Imagine that! CIO is not the only way to promote good sleep habits, and I'm glad this new edition will that.

Jodi - posted on 04/27/2011

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It wouldn't change anything I did either, because to be honest, my kids were great sleepers, so I never really needed to look into the various techniques (and I loved rocking them to sleep, LOL), but I like that he has decided to accept new research and recognise the need to update and clarify his views. I wish other "experts" would do the same thing.

Mel - posted on 04/26/2011

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I dont think its healthy for a child to only go to sleep being rocked or held but Im not for extreme CIO either. I dont think its good to start that til they are 4 or 5 months old. I tried ti earlier on advice from health professionals but it didnt feel right to me I coudlnt do it. That said whenever possible I taught her to go to sleep by herself from birth, by putting her down while she was awake, as advised. I tried CIP a few times when she was a few months old and she cried herself to sleep and was stil half crying in he sleep and in broke my heart, so I dis continued, but she seemed ot take to it herself by the time she was 4-5 months, going to sleep happy or just whinging.

What Rebecca says is right every baby is different so do what is best for your baby, not what everyone tells you to do because I made that mistake and my daughter puts herself to sleep, even though I did all those wrong thinsg like picking her up when she was just whinging etc

Kylie - posted on 04/26/2011

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Well duh! Just a pity its 25 years too late. What a moron. Where is his apology to all the families he ferberized.

Krista - posted on 04/26/2011

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I'm planning on doing the same thing with my daughter, once she's old enough, as I did with my son. I held him in my arms until he fell asleep until about 4 months. Then I started putting him in his crib awake but sleepy. If he cried, I'd go in every couple of minutes and pick him up until he calmed down. It didn't take very long until he was going to sleep on his own, and I didn't have to feel guilty about letting him cry forever.

I don't like CIO, and I don't think I'd follow it even with his "revisions," whatever they are, exactly.

Amber - posted on 04/26/2011

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It wouldn't change how I did it. I used his method...but watered down. When my son was whimpering and almost completely asleep, I'd let him whimper for a couple minutes. Picking him up or even being in the room stimulated him when he was overtired and grumpy. If he was crying, he was picked up, cuddled, rocked, or whatever else it took.

I guess I did the whimper it out method...and not cry it out? I don't really know :) I wouldn't change my method, but I'm not sure it falls into CIO either.

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