Many parents describe the newborn phase as "a blur." The round-the-clock feedings. The lack of sleep. The terrifying new reality of caring for a helpless, tiny human. When you are in the middle of it, it feels never-ending. You hear that "it gets better," and you wonder, but when?!
Because I love data, I would like to show you exactly how much sleep I got, from my last trimester through the first three months with Billable Baby. My Apple Watch (note: affiliate link) was not perfect at tracking sleep, but I figure these data points from a new mom's sleep schedule might be interesting to other expecting or new parents out there.
Last Week of Pregnancy
I was in the hospital during the last few weeks of my pregnancy on monitoring and mandatory bedrest (more on this in a future entry). In general, it is difficult to get a good night's sleep in the hospital (see YouTuber Doc Schmidt's hilariously accurate take on sleeping in the hospital). Add in the back pain, bladder issues, and baby kicks in the third trimester, and you have these fragmented sleep graphs. My nights were bookended by vital checks, and I was usually woken up at 7am for the nurses' morning shift change or the OBs' rounds. During the hours when no one checked in on me, Billable Baby decided it was a good idea to throw parties in my uterus. Needless to say, the few days when I managed to sneak in one or more morning naps were glorious.
First Full Week Baby is Home
Billable Baby came home a few days before the Sunday on this graph. I should note that my husband and I had (and still have) no in-home help. We got through the first few days on pure adrenaline and almost zero sleep. We eventually figured out how to take shifts. This graph shows the first few rough days when sleep deprivation and hormonal crash hit me like a bus.
One Month Old
What a massive improvement since the last graph! We quickly realized that we have a fairly good sleeper on our hands. Thank you Billable Baby! I was responsible for the 10 pm - 6am shift, which was usually punctuated by two middle-of-the-night ("MOTN") feedings and one pump.
Two Months Old
Over the course of a month, we gradually moved up Billable Baby's bedtime from 11 pm to 9:30/10 pm. When she was eight weeks old, Billable Baby dropped her midnight feed. The MOTN gaps here were actually wider than necessary; I savored those early morning moments of quiet and spent it reading, writing, and researching after Billable Baby went back to bed.
Three Months Old
At week 9, Billable Baby began sleeping 4-5 hour stretches and went down to one MOTN feed (We're lucky! I know!). At week 10, we decided that my husband would start her day with a consistent 7:00 am wake-up, which made the schedule for each day more predictable. For me, 7 hours of punctuated sleep is not ideal, but it is definitely doable for a few months and not significantly worse than a busy stretch at work.
With some trepidation, we are now approaching the so-called four months sleep regression. Who knows? Maybe Billable Baby will continue to surprise us. I look forward to sharing more sleep graphs in a few months' time!