This is How We Co-Sleep



Caffeine Tolerance Reset: A Tale of a First-Year Parent’s Coffee Detox

Dear Milo,

Up until I was 30, I never would’ve thought coffee would be a part of my life. I tried a sip of my dad’s coffee in high school and hated it (probably didn’t help he drinks instant coffee and doesn’t even follow the directions in making it). I never drank any in college during exam periods nor did I drink any after I started the daily grind of work. I didn’t like the taste, which was the end-all for me although things may have been different if I knew what a caffeine buzz felt like.

The first time I actually got the caffeine buzz was the first time I had lunch with my in-laws (i.e., your grandparents) by myself. Your mother was at work, and at that time, your mother and I were engaged so of course I would just nod by head and say yes to everything they said including when they asked whether I wanted any coffee. Seems silly I  didn’t just ask for tea instead but how can one turn down the invitation particularly when it’s prefaced with a “this is your [father-in-law’s] favorite coffee grind from Trader Joe’s.”

Even after that experience, I still didn’t drink much coffee. It wasn’t until your mother and I moved to London, and she went from a barrister to a barista that I was turned. It started out with the occasional free coffee at the hip third-wave coffee shop she worked at and quickly escalated from there to the point where I would be throwing down flat whites without a thought.

Your mother would come back with coffee gear and high-grade coffee beans from work, and it’s always easier to get into something when you’re immersed in the premium stuff. So I became a coffee snob and the cupboard full of coffee gear is the only part of the kitchen I don’t complain about to your mother. I don’t drink Starbucks and take pride in the fact I never have; I prefer pour-overs using beans from South America; I actually read the tasting notes; and I am never impressed with great latte art because that is my base standard.

Then we had you and coffee had gone from the taste + caffeine combination to straight up caffeine. I was pounding coffees every morning even when I wasn’t tired because having a baby is a good excuse to drink coffee. Then one day, I had my 12oz cup of filter coffee and nothing. No buzz. So I naturally did what most people would do: drink some more!


It got to the point where I decided to reset my caffeine tolerance. I needed a coffee detox. This is a tough proposition in its own right because the symptoms can be debilitating, but doing it with a newborn in tow is quite something else. I was actually dependent on the coffee and caffeine to keep me going through those nights when you wake up 3 or 4 times wanting to play, or just the daily energy expended to keep up with you.

But like most things in life, you just get on with it. At the time of my typing this letter, I have successfully reset my caffeine tolerance and completed my coffee detox. Here was my experience:

How did I approach it? 

Cold turkey + ibuprofen + the occasional green tea.

How long did it take?

Two weeks for me, but this is dependent on how much coffee one was drinking at the start of the detox.

Was it hard?

Yeah. It was a craving I couldn’t settle. Your mother was still drinking coffee out of enjoyment so temptation always lurked. But I will confess my favorite part of the morning was to make a coffee for your mother and take in the aromas, which I thought helped. I also started thinking of coffee as black sludge instead and the effect it was having on my teeth!

How did I know I was done resetting? 

I had to guess, but I knew I was generally there when I didn’t actively think about coffee and the mention of coffee elicited no thought in my head other than it was just another drink option. And of course, when I didn’t feel like I needed coffee to help wake myself up when a cup of cold water would do the trick.

Anything else?

Those first few days when I stopped drinking coffee were obviously consumed with headaches. The next couple of days after that phase passed, I felt like I was on cloud nine for some reason. I believe this is called “clarity”.

There was still something I missed after I stopped missing the caffeine buzz: using my collection of Keep Cups. Silly as it is, I like collecting them in different colors and your mother is happy to indulge my interest in them because my selection process for which cup to use in the morning amuses her (I always announced my choice with a little jingle).

Have I started drinking coffee again?

You betcha. You woke up three times last night and it took an hour to get you back to sleep each time.

My Birthday, Still Your Cake