To get a handle in the quicksand of new parenthood, a father/Redditor and his wife tracked every 15-minute increment of their daughter’s life from ages 3 months to 17 months—because it’s not like they were going to sleep anyway. The data yielded a meticulously designed chart that illustrates the initial chaos of babydom and the emergence of something resembling order out of 14 months of madness. It’s an intimidating graph, but ultimately a graph that inspires hope. In other words, it’s a pretty cool visualization.
The chart shows that for the first few months, a good night’s sleep was nearly nonexistent, as their daughter woke up almost every night, usually several times. But, as time went on, her sleep patterns became more consistent. First, she woke up less frequently during the night and then was able to fall into a standard nap schedule. Her sleep schedule was helped when she began breastfeeding at around the same time every day, which is the biggest reasons newborns wake up 10 to 12 times on a standard night.
While the graph represents research on a limited sample of one baby, the results line up with findings from the AAP, which studied 31 infants “for 24-hour polygraphic monitoring at different ages during the first six months of life.” Infants mature, usually beginning at around three months, they sleep more “efficiently,” which causes REM periods to occur less frequently at the beginning of a sleep period, the study found. This means parents can indulge in sex and naps again.
Several other Reddit parents shared their relief at seeing this chart, with one father of a 4-month-old stating, “Never has a graph filled me with such hope.” For new parents, sleep may seem like a thing of the past, but this chart proves that babies plus time equal sanity. There is a light at the end of the long, exhausting tunnel, so keep on trucking.