Can you tell me what is the deal with a bedtime between six and seven-thirty? Almost every sleep expert I’ve read says this is the best time to put the baby to sleep and that it’s selfish to keep the baby up to play with you if you work. Only Dr. Sears offers an alternative idea for working parents. But right now my husband gets home from work at seven and he wants time with our five-month-old son. Our baby can sleep later, because I’m home with him. But is keeping him up past seven-thirty just a bad idea? — We Like To Stay Up Until Nine


Dear Niners,

It really is amazing how many people swear by the early bedtime. They say it’s a universal. They say babies sleep longer and better when they go to bed early. They say the magic bedtime hour can prevent night waking. But we know as many exceptions to these rules as examples. Some babies wake up at the same time every day no matter when they go down. Some will sleep the same amount of hours regardless. Others have more intricate and complicated sleep patterns that transcend human understanding. It sounds like yours is in the second category and is getting the sleep he needs. Plenty of parents put their kids to bed at five so they can get them out of the way. Nobody tells them they’re selfish. Why should people who shift their babies’ schedules to the late side get so much flak? Here are some theories:

It’s a conspiracy against working mothers.

It’s a vestige of the old-school assumption that working fathers would rather not be spending time with their icky, slimy babies anyway.

It’s a way to ensure that said fathers have more sex with more appealing wives (who have more time to primp before Daddy gets home.)

It’s a moral issue: Sleeping in is a sign of sloth.

From where we sit, you have no problem. He stays up; he sleeps in. Your schedule is working for you, and your baby. If it stops working, or he stops getting enough sleep, then it might be time to reassess. In the meantime, enjoy your evening fun.

Have a question? Email

About the Author

pixel.gifRebecca Odes and Ceridwen Morris write the Babble pregnancy blog, Being Pregnant, and are the co-authors of the critically acclaimed guide to pregnancy and childbirth From the Hips.

Tagged as: