Never has one graph given new parents so much hope


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Sara McGinnis

posted in Parenting

When one smart set of new parents felt they were starting to go crazy with the lack of predictability in their baby's eating and sleeping schedule, they got tracking. Thanks to over a year of jotting down notes on their daughter's daily ins and outs, they were able to see progress was being made even when it didn't feel like it.

Take a look at the graph Reddit user jitney86 recently shared, and note sleep is marked in blue (white is awake), breastfeeding is marked in green, and the time period covered is 3 months of age to 17 months old.

A larger version is available to view by clicking here.

baby sleep data

See all those scattered white and green bits on the left-hand side of the graph? That's the kind of up-all-night feeding and shushing that can make a person feel like their losing their mind.

"As a data geek I got pretty excited when I zoomed out after a few weeks and saw what was forming," the new dad shared, referring to that nice blue patch that starts to form after the chaos.

To gather all the data, he "set up a spreadsheet in numbers/excel so we could open it on our phones and sync. Every cell represented 15 min." The couple then put in an 'a' for sleep and 'e' for eat.


Not only did seeing evidence things were getting better give these parents hope, their graph is now inspiring others.

User thedirectar commented, "As a first time dad to a 4 month old, I'm looking forward to that sweet, sweet sleep consistency. Never has a graph filled me with such hope."

"I LOVE THIS," laurablaurab added. "This is so affirming of my own experience as a parent! The majority of the first year is a total shitshow. It's anarchy! and you simply have to surrender to the chaos. Then close to around a year they become a normal human, and then return to being a normal human."

I, too, could have used seeing a graph such as this when my second son didn't through the night. I knew those months were one of the hardest things I'd been through, but deep down I also felt like a wuss and kept pushing myself to suck it up and do more, do better. If I'd had the proof, I'd at least have had peace of mind I had every right to be cranky and exhausted.

How does seeing data like this make you feel?

Images by iStock

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