Trying the Controversial Cry it Out Method? Learn How Baby Sign Language Can Help You Take a Gentler Approach


In his 1985 book Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems (revised and expanded in 2006), pediatrician Richard Ferber introduced a method of getting children to sleep that has become known as “Ferberizing” or Cry out method. To put it briefly the method consists in allowing the baby to cry briefly before providing comfort.

The cry it out method is usually implemented when baby is ready to sleep all night long. This normally happens between month 5 and 7.

The steps of the cry it out method is usually as follows:

Step 1
Take the baby to his or her crib while he is sleepy but not quite sleep. Make sure baby is comfortable through the use of blankets for warmth when needed

Step 2
Give your baby words of comfort and familiarity such as good night in the evening or a lullaby when getting your baby ready for a nap

Step 3
If your baby cries come into the room while the lights are still off and comfort him or her through touch. Do not pick up baby. Leave the room again

Step 4
Stay out of the room for a little bit longer than the first time and follow the same routine, staying out of the room for gradually longer intervals, each time returning for only a minute or two to pat and reassure him, and leaving while he’s still awake.

Step 5
Follow this routine until your child falls asleep when you’re out of the room.

Step 6
If your baby wakes up during the night follow the steps above allowing for longer intervals

Step 7
Increase the time between intervals each night. According to doctor Ferber a child will learn to sleep within four to five days

How long should I leave my child alone?
In his book, Ferber suggests these intervals:

  • First night: Leave for three minutes the first time, five minutes the second time, and 10 minutes for the third and all subsequent waiting periods.
  • Second night: Leave for five minutes, then 10 minutes, then 12 minutes.
  • Make the intervals longer on each subsequent night.


Now that we have told you about the cry out method and how it works let’s talk about ways to empower your baby to fully communicate their needs. Yes, we all want the baby to go to sleep but before we rush him we need to know what exactly is keeping our baby awake.  While babies are by no means verbal, their understanding of the world around them is far more developed than we can ever imagine. Babies cry for many reasons and this is particularly true when it comes to bedtime. Here are a few of the reasons why a baby might cry during their nighttime sleep or nap along with the signs that can help your little one convey their needs:

  • When your baby cries in bed he or she could be crying as a result of separation anxiety. You are important and meaningful and your presence matters. Signs like afraid, mom or dad can be extremely helpful in allowing your little one to convey their need for companionship
  • Your baby might be crying because he went to bed hungry. Signs like milk or water can help your baby quickly communicate the trigger to discomfort when he is heading to bed.
  • Your baby might have a wet diaper. Signs like diaper can help alert you of the need for a diaper change.
  • Your baby might be cold or warm. Signs like cold, hot and blanket will equip your little one to convey an immediate need.
  • Your baby might be feeling sick. Signs such as hurt will expedite your ability to provide your baby with the help he or she needs.


There are many fans of the cry it out method. There are also many detractors. If you do decide that it is something you want to try consider teaching baby a few signs before you move forward. You can be certain that empowering your baby to communicate their needs will result in a happier and better adjusted little one.

Ready to introduce baby sign language as part as their bedtime routine?

Our baby sign language kits contain all of the signs to help your baby overcome nocturnal fears and anxieties. Volume III of the Baby Signing Time collection available in our Premium and Ultra Kits comes with songs appropriate for bedtime routines.


baby sign language kit

The Standard Baby Sign Language Kit, bundles together everything you need to get started with signing in one box, at a steep discount. The kit includes: (1) Baby Sign Language Guide Book; (2) Baby Sign Language Dictionary: (3) Baby Sign Language Flash Cards; and (4) Baby Sign Language Wall Chart.

Baby Sign Language Guide Book shows you how to teach your child how to sign. The book begins with a Quick Start Guide that will teach you your first signs and having you ready to sign in 30 minutes. As your baby progresses, you can delve into more advanced topics like combining signs to make phrases, using props, and transitioning to speech. (Regularly $19.95)

Baby Sign Language Dictionary contains over 600 signs including the most common words, the alphabet and numbers. The dictionary helps you expand your child’s vocabulary, and has the breadth of coverage that lets you follow any child’s natural interests. Each sign is illustrated with two or more diagrams, showing you the starting position, the ending position, and intermediate motion. This makes learning new signs easy.  (Regularly $19.95)

Baby Sign Language Flash Cards include 52 sturdy board (4×6 inches) flash cards, covering a variety of basic signs. The flash cards allow you to teach words, such as animal names, that Baby is not exposed to in everyday life. The face of the flash cards shows the word and image for the child. The back of the flash cards show how the sign is performed, a handy reminder for the adult.  (Regularly $24.95)

Baby Sign Language Wall Chart includes 22 basic signs, and makes a handy reminder for caregivers. The Baby Sign Language Wall Chart covers basic signs, like eat, drink, and sleep. Hang the poster in Baby’s Nursery to help babysitters, or other occasional caregivers learn and decode the most commonly used baby signs.  (Regularly $9.95)

100% Signing Guarantee

Your baby signs to your complete satisfaction, or you get a full refund.

No questions. No time limits. No regrets.

Baby Sign Language Guide Book

Learn the best techniques for effectively teaching baby sign language. Including:

•  Quick Start Guide – learn the first 10 signs and the basic principles required to start teaching your baby to sign (Chapter 1).

•  Advanced Teaching Methods – use teaching aids like books, flash cards, and toys to keep lessons interesting and challenging (Chapter 5).

•  Phrases – teach your baby to combine signs and communicate more complex thoughts (Chapter 6).

•  Taming the Terrible Twos – reduce frustration and tantrums by enabling your toddler to communicate (Chapter 7).

•  Transitioning to Speech – use sign language to expedite and improve speech development (Chapter 8).

baby sign language kit

Sarah learned her first 10 signs at six month and it made our lives much easier. Instead of screaming, she could tell us when she was hungry, thirsty, or tired. She learned another 50 signs by nine months and that was a blast. Now she is talking much earlier than the other children in her preschool and we think it is because of her signing.

We can’t imagine missing out on all the little things she shared with baby sign language. Thank You!


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