Everything Post Ratio makes is created with thought and intention, meant to truly enhance our lives—not just fill our spaces. Here, we give you a behind-the-scenes look at how and why we’ve created the Zzzz baby sleep tracking poster, plus insight into how you can best use it.
The first year of your child’s life is a roller coaster. Learning to manage their schedule—and yours—is a constant juggling act. And, as any parent will tell you, much of it is centered around one precious thing: sleep, both yours and theirs. We always knew this, but it didn’t really sink in until a number of us became first-time parents and found ourselves fighting exhaustion during meetings and sneaking a few lunch-break naps in our cars.
Sleep is an important element for overall health and wellness, but it’s especially important for babies, as studies have found it affects both their physical and cognitive development, including:
- Learning ability: A 2014 University of Arizona study found that babies were better able to learn language after they napped, suggesting that regenerative time for the brain is crucial for their learning development. Conversely, a University of Alberta study found that babies who slept less than 12 hours in a 24-hour period significantly lagged in language skills by age 2.
- Mood: A 2007 Vrije Universiteit study found that sleep influenced both approachability and emotional regulation in kids under 3.
- Health: A 2008 Harvard study found that babies who slept less than 12 hours were at risk for being overweight by age 3.
Knowing how crucial sleep is for babies’ health (and parents’ sanity), we’ve been thinking about what parents can do to better understand their baby’s relationship to sleep, as well as the elements that affect it. We’ve found sleep trackers to be helpful for ourselves (see the Zzzz sleep tracking poster for adults), so we wanted to create a similar tool to help parents. Thus, we created the beautiful Zzzz baby sleep tracking poster.
How to Use the Baby Sleep Tracking Poster
There are plenty of ways to track your baby's sleep, from digital apps to boring spreadsheets and printed logs. These can be helpful in their own way, but we wanted to create something useful and unique. That’s why we chose to design an analog poster that helps you both gather data and cultivate a more meaningful relationship with it. There are three specific ways to use it.
1) Track Sleep Duration
Making sure your baby gets the right amount of sleep is crucial. Our sleep tracker lets you chart a 24-hour cycle for 365 days, documenting both daytime and nighttime sleep to help you see how much they slept. What is the right amount? According to the National Sleep Foundation:
- Babies 0-3 months need 14-17 hours per 24-hour day, including 8-12 hours of sleep at night.
- Babies 4-11 months need 12-15 total hours of sleep per day, including sleeping through the night (up to 5 consecutive hours). (FYI, separation anxiety hits around 6 months. Being able to monitor and anticipate this can help you better navigate that time period.)
We also designed the poster to be a flexible tool, letting you track the sleep metrics you want. You can track manually or, if you already use a baby sleep tracker (or other baby tracker), migrate the data as you please.
2) Identify Patterns
Tracking additional metrics helps you see the bigger picture of your baby’s sleep life. For example, through data tracking Amy Webb discovered that things like singing songs, swaddling, and feed times greatly improved her baby’s sleep. Additionally, this type of information can also be useful for doctor’s appointments. That’s why we also included six other metrics on the poster:
- Feeding: You can track feedings to examine how feed times may affect sleep patterns. (FYI, a 2018 study published in the JAMA Pediatrics medical journal found that babies who began eating solid foods at 3 months slept significantly longer and woke up less during the night.)
- Crying: While this is undoubtedly the most frustrating part of parenting, it is a helpful way to monitor your baby’s mood pre- and post-sleep.
- Diaper change: In addition to feeding, your baby’s “exports” can tell you other things about their nutrition or health.
- Playing: A baby’s active wake times are opportunities to improve their development through playing, talking, reading, singing, and other cognitive inputs.
- Awake: Wake and sleep times are notable if you’re trying to stick to a particular schedule.
- Other: We left space for whatever is most important for you to track, such as bath times, vocalizations, etc.
3) Tell Your Baby’s Story
We believe data is beautiful because it is both a tool and a story. For parents, the first year of a baby’s life can become a blur. The days may be long, but the first year really does fly by. This poster functions as both a time capsule and a memento, a visual diary of the first year of your relationship with your baby. With regular tracking, it helps you translate those mundane moments, from diaper changes to daily naps, into a beautiful piece of art that is a perfect keepsake or treasure to display in your nursery. (We also think it makes one of the more unique baby shower gifts.)
Above all, the poster is a tool to use however you see fit. You can add additional metrics if you like, or fill in what you can, when you can. (Miss a day? Even that tells the story of your busy life.) And if your data tracking does help you discover the magic formula for putting a colicky baby with a cold to sleep next to an active construction site, please let us know.
Until then, sweet dreams to you and yours.