Last night I took Fifi to the prayer meeting at church. It ends around 8.45, but people usually stay after for a little while for a cup of tea and a chat. As some of the older ladies were leaving, but saw that I had made no moves of my own to leave, they asked when Fi's bedtime is. For a second, you could see and feel the momentary disapproval when I said 10.00.
Most of my friends put their babies to bed around 7, which is fine, if that's what works for them. However, they think we are a bit mad keeping Fifi up 'so late'. They insist that we need time to ourselves, that Fifi needs more of a routine. Well, actually, some of that is implied, more than stated, though we have heard often enough that we need our alone time without the baby.
10.00 works for us. It works well. Scott gets off work at 6, which means dinner is usually ready by 7, and we have finished eating around 7.30. Even if we gave her an 8.00 bedtime, that would mean hurrying dinner, hurrying bathtime and hurrying nursing time. Not only would hurrying defeat the purpose of growing sleepy, I simply can't be bothered with hurrying. 10.00 is also my own bedtime, which makes nursing Fifi to sleep a lot more carefree. I'm not impatiently waiting for her to dose off (which she frequently fights) so I can get back up and do things. Furthermore, we like having Fifi spend the evenings with us. She's part of the family, and evenings are sometimes the only family time we get, especially for Scott. If we want quiet, alone time, we can have it after 10.
I have absolutely no problem with people giving their babies an early bedtime. None whatsoever. I think all families have to do what works best for them. I just don't understand why there is such a cultural disapproval of late baby bedtimes. I mean, can I just say late bedtime means late waking up in the morning? Who doesn't love a good lie in!