We all know that entry into parenthood can be a brutal experience. There’s the delivery and recovery portion for the woman (with all kinds of bodily fluids leaking from various orifices). There’s the horrifying realization that you are owned by some tiny creature that spends the majority of time excreting on you. And of course, there’s the great unifier all parents endure: sleep deprivation.
If you’ve ever felt like there’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to your baby’s sleep habits, you’re not losing your mind in a sleep-deprived haze. You are however, 100 percent correct.
Just when you think your baby might finally be sleeping through the night or getting on a good sleep schedule, your sweet baby essentially throws sleep in your face once again where you’re left wondering, What just happened?
Sleep feels like an elusive, up-and-down, ridiculous, and senseless rodeo ride. Nowhere is this truth more clearly demonstrated than with this sleep chart one father made of his baby’s sleeping habits:
Created by a Reddit user jitney86, this sleep graph clearly demonstrates just how brutal nighttime with a baby can really be. Corresponding via Reddit message, 30-year-old jitney86 explains that he and his wife, a stay-at-home-mother, are parents to a now 19-month-old daughter.
Despite working together to tag team nighttime awakenings with their baby, exclusive breastfeeding, demand feeding, and cluster feeding started to take its toll. In fact, the sleepless nights were so hard on the parents, they decided to move in with family to get some help during their early months of parenting.
“Postpartum depression is real,” the father explains. “We struggled a lot to find a ‘new normal’ and when we realized we needed help, we moved in with my in-laws for a while. It helped tremendously. It’s no wonder most of the world lives that way — it works.”
On a whim, the parents decided to make the sleep graph of their daughter’s sleeping habits when she was 3 months old. On their graph, each row represented 15 minute blocks of time and each column represented one day. The new dad shared on Reddit that he and his wife were “going crazy” trying to deal with the unpredictably of sleep in their lives and the graph was a way to help them make sense of it all in a very scientific way.
“It just seemed like the easiest way to get a grasp on the chaos that was our reality,” he tells Babble. “I think charting was very cathartic for my wife specifically. It was definitely a coping mechanism — something to hold onto during an unpredictable, and often difficult time.”
Plenty of others agreed with the results of the chart on the Reddit thread, with the image garnering 20.8K shares and over 600 comments from other parents who commiserated with the couple. New parents took special note of the beautiful, smooth sleeping data points after 4 months of age, giving them hope that a better night of sleep was soon to come their way. “This graph is truly inspirational!” wrote one desperate breastfeeding mother of a 4-month old. “Soon… Soon I will sleep…”
Strangely enough however, even though their daughter is now 19 months old and is a “great sleeper” who naps regularly and sleeps from 8:15PM to 6:45AM, the graph-savvy parents report that even a full night of sleep hasn’t exactly helped ease the exhaustion that is parenting.
“I’d like to say that getting more sleep made us feel less tired, but I can’t,” he admits.
Amen to that. Can we get a graph that explains why we’re all still tired, no matter how old are kids are?