The struggle really is real
One thing that bonds all parents is our collective love of and yearning for sleep. This is especially true during the first year of our children’s lives, when many of us would make all kinds of deals with the devil for a single hour of blissful, quiet rest. One couple decided to throw a little science at the issue of sleep deprivation and charted their baby’s sleep and breastfeeding schedule from the ages of 3 to 17 months. The resulting image will make you say, “Yup. That looks to be just the right amount of madness.”
Redditer jitney86 and his wife started recording the amount of time their newborn slept and breastfed because, as he put it, “we were going crazy due to the lack of predictability that comes with having a newborn.” They put the data into Excel and came up with the below graph. Each column is a day, and each row represents 15-minute blocks of time.
Behold the insanity:
This graph is amazing and perfectly illustrates the chaos of life with an infant. At the beginning, there are a whole lot of those little green and white specks of breastfeeding and awakeness interrupting those beautiful spans of blue when the baby was sleeping. It provides a visual of the lack of consistent sleep a parent gets — maybe an hour or two here, and another hour there, and so on. And as every parent knows, there’s a big difference between getting seven straight hours of sleep and getting those seven hours in a half-hour chunk here and a 45-minute chuck there over the course of 24 hours.
According to our very scientific estimates (or “totally eyeballed guesses”), sleep was interrupted the most between the 3 and 6-month mark. (You know, the part of the graph where it looks like an earthquake hit.) This section should be printed out and shown to every co-worker who gently asks if we “meant to wear that shirt” today, every good samaritan at the gas station who stops us from driving off with the pump nozzle still in our car, and every grocery store clerk who comforts us while we cry over all the lost baby chicks in our carton of eggs. This is why we’re like this.
The chart, which was originally posted two months ago, has served as a beacon of hope to those who are currently in the trenches of babyhood:
For some, however, it is both a reminder and a warning:
And for others, it’s a comforting visualization of all the suckage involved in parenting a baby:
We are so thankful to this poster and his wife for doing all this additional work so that people can see that while yes, there are months of ugliness involved in caring for an infant, eventually things do get better. You will achieve uninterrupted blue. Hang in there.