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Baby Bed Time

I am pregnant and starting to get my head around parenthood, and there is one thing that I am always wondering and cannot make sense of, and that is that all the people I know that have young babies and children put them to bed at 7pm, and then spend all their time complaining that there little one wakes up at 5am.

What I don't understand is why the norm seems to be to put your child to bed so early? Surely if they go to bed at 9pm they sleep in later? I know people like to have some evening adult time but surely it's better to spend a couple more hours with your baby than spending the evening fighting to get them to sleep, then be woken super early?

It seems to be very much a UK cultural thing as friends I have in France and Spain put theirs babies to sleep much later!

What are your views?

10 Replies

This is interesting because I had similar feelings when pregnant!

I thought I would prefer to have them up at the same time as me etc but here I am 18 mth down the line with a boy that goes to bed at 7ish and wakes early... To be honest though there are soo many factors influencing sleep. You have to bear in mind the naps they have done in the day. Putting them to bed not too long after they've eaten, the fact they need about 12 hours at night which would be difficult to to until 9am even with good blackout blinds!

And yes evening time is really important to me too, I tried for sometime doing a later bedtime but ended up still up early but just having had no time to myself!

Sorry about all the waffle but all I will say is you and your baby will naturally find the right bedtime. They are all so different! I have a friend who's boy goes to bed 630 and will regularly sleep til 830-9, very lucky!

Best of luck with it all and enjoy your sleep while you can :)


Thanks - I am sure we will have to just work it out when the time comes.. I was just thinking that the best thing for us would be for baby to eat at around 7.30 - 8.00 (so Dad can be there) and then bed at 8.30 - 9.00pm. It just seems that people think that is crazy, and I don't really understand why!


My toddler has just turned 18 months. She goes to bed between 7:30-8:30 and usually sleeps until I wake her for nursery. we have dinner about 6 so both me n hubby can be there together. She now has 1 nap a day which had been a big factor in moving bedtime forward.

When she was having 2 or more naps a day the bedtime was later.

When they are young babies they sleep a lot and usually when people talk about their babies sleeping through the night this is not the case of a12 hour sleep! they need substance more often as all their energy is put into growing! At 8 weeks my baby "slept through the night" this was 9pm-4am . As she got older this became longer.

The first few months will be difficult to establish a routine as your baby will do that for you depending on their needs!

. I enjoy my evenings with my family as it's the only time we get together the 3 of us. Me n my hubby work completely opposite days and we do not a get a day off together at all. So our evenings are percious.

You will find a routine that suits all 3 of you. As long as your partner is on board with the routine you will be fine. Do what is best for you and your family. If that's a later bedtime then so be it! As long as you are all happy that's all that matters. It does not matter what other people think as long as you feel what you are doing is best for you all.

My advice would only be start self settling as I have a friend who's baby is turning 1 n she is still having to rock her to sleep! We started at about 6 months (but I still stay in her room till she is asleep!).

Hope this helps n good luck, you will surprise yourself at how u will cope.

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I'd say it's a personal preference, there's no right or wrong bed time... Just whatever works for you and your family. Initially we took the baby up to bed with us but then he started getting cranky in the evenings so realised he needed to go to bed earlier so started taking him up for bedtime routine at 7pm at 4 months, that gradually got earlier until it's what it is now. He goes up for bedtime stories etc at 6pm and is asleep between 6:30pm and 7pm, he generally sleeps through the night now (he's 8 months old) and wakes up at 6:30 -7:30am - this suits me fine as was an early riser pre-baby anyway. It does also mean you get several blissful baby free hours in the evening, don't underestimate those just yet. It's nice to do grown up things, watch grown up tv, have the occasional glass of wine in the evening and great spending alone time with the hubby. I agree wit previous poster Choo, as long as all of you are in agreement you'll make any bed time work


All babies are different so routines tend to vary. My LO is 9 weeks old and currently goes to bed at 10pm and wakes at 5am, he's getting to the stage tho where he needs to go to bed earlier and those last few hours are a big push keeping him awake. Unfortunately there's not much we can do atm as he's on antibiotics and his last dose of the day is due at 10pm. When my eldest was a baby he had to be in bed for 6:30 otherwise he'd be over tiered and wd be up all night screaming. As important as establishing a routine is it's equally important to work with babies natural routine, makes the transition smoother. Some babies will wake at the same time every morning regardless of the time they went to bed but tend to be grumpier if they had a late night. Also what is important is that the routine that is established when they are babies often is similar to the routine they have when they start school so it's better to have the routine in place from earlier on or risk tantrums galore.


Hi Katrina,

i think it's best not to worry and that you will naturally find a routine (or lack of one) that suits you and your baby best.

with my eldest he would sleep for 12 hours (with occasional feeds) no matter what time he went to bed by the age of 3 months and this continued until he started nursery at 2.5 yrs, in fact he'd fall asleep wherever we were but we all slept in bed overnight together which may have been a factor in his not waking up early. If there are noises and comings and goings in the morning then chances are, baby will wake up but if you are happy to sleep in until 9 then LO may snooze on with you..

Funny thing is that then when my second came along I would put his older brother to bed at 730 (once they start school there are no lie-ins btw, not until they're teenagers anyway!) by this time he was 7years old , and I tried to settle down with baby and partner in the living room but the new baby would get really crabby, refuse to fall asleep unless he was put to bed in a separate quiet room. He'd come in with us after his first night feed but definitely wanted the peace and quiet of the bedroom at bedtime and slept through the night, in his own cot from about 6 months.

i'm fully expecting my third (due in april) to also havehis own preferences and to let me know what is right for him as we get to know each other.

I have always felt a little bit sorry for friends whose rigid bedtimes and routines mean that they don't have the freedom in the evenings that I took for granted with my eldest. knowing that as long as he was in his pjs and comfortable he would fall asleep anywhere enabled us to keep more flexibility in our lives if, for instance, we wanted to hang out with friends until late one evening. I admit I do remember pushing buggy home with sleeping baby from a friend's after 11pm a few times but he was just so portable!

Just play it by ear when little one comes. Remember to sleep when they sleep in those first few weeks/ couple of months and see if they are happy to be flexible... you'll soon know if they aren't!

Best of luck x


I think the most important thing to remember here is that you'll find it very hard to 'decide' a late bed time. In the first few months bed time will change a lot, initially you'll be up every 2 - 3 hours anyway, then slowly the duration your baby will sleep at night will lengthen. Apparently I slept 12 hours straight through the night when I was 6 weeks old. My now 15 months old didn't sleep for more than 5 hours in one go until he was 6 months. Breast-feeding will have a big impact as well as you'll be more likely to feed during the night for longer.

Ultimately, your baby will have many naps, then at some point a morning and afternoon nap and most likely after a while he/she will have just one nap after lunch. If you can then keep your little one up and going until 9pm then go for it! My boy has one nap after lunch but by 6pm he's cranky and ready for bed! We then play more and keep him going, have a bath and bed time is usually around 7pm-7.30pm, depending on the day. He now sleeps until 7am roughly. Back home in Germany where I'm from that seems to be the norm as well.

I don't think it's a choice of wanting to have quiet time without the child in the evening, it's just that you will most likely find it hard to keep your little one going until 9pm! If you then add another nap in the afternoon he/she might wake up again at night or early in the morning as they've had the extra nap during the day!

See what works for you. Many friends have the problem that they (and I) work and wish we had more time in the evenings with our little ones but it's just not what works. Bearing in mind that your child will also start going to nursery etc where they have set routines. So unless you can change your 24 hour routine, ie also change lunch etc to a later time I have a feeling you might end up putting your little one to bed in the evening around 7/8pm as well. But see how it goes!


well done for starting to get your head around parenthood whilst still pregnant!! We didn't have much choice over baby's bedtime really, at about 8 weeks old she developed her own routine where she would get into 'nightime mode' at around 10:30. By this I mean not properly waking up between her feeds and just wanting to take a breast with her eyes closed. It's funny but you will notice that babies learn the difference between night and day, and they will let you know when it's bedtime!! As she got older, the times she needed to nap during the day changed and she dropped her latest afternoon nap, which meant that she was getting into 'nightime mode' earlier - I found myself needing to put her down properly at about 8:30. But in reality it can be anytime between 7:30 and 9:00 that we put her down .... and regardless of which time we put her down, her body clock still wakes her up at 7am or 7:30 am at the latest. This still happened on Boxing day, even though due to the havoc of Christmas she didn't get put down until 11pm. xx


My little girl sleeps for between 11 and 12 hours. So we put her to bed around 7:30. I have a friend who puts her baby to bed at midnight so she can spend time with her in the evening and work from home in the morning. All personal preference.


My little one kind of 'told me' when he needed to go to bed... staying up past 7.00 was a real chore.. he would start getting tired at 5pm! at 6 months old he would go through to 7am, but then started full on teething and would wake at 5.00. Keeping him up later would not result in a later wake up - just a 5am wake up with a baby that was cranky because he was still tired..

It'll all work itself out though - the early days will be driven by them needing fed.. i would also advise that you don't get into the habit of letting them go to sleep with you in the living room etc - i know friends who did that in the early days and had a real hard time getting the baby to adjust to going to sleep in a quiet & darkened room. I also tried not to let mine go to sleep on me before bedtime - fair enough he was just about to drift off, but he would still be awake when i put him down - that meant that if he woke he could settle himself again... Good luck! xxx


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