Is it okay to keep my baby awake between bottles around bedtime?

Q: When my daughter takes her bottle around 8 pm, I keep her awake after that for a couple hours until her next bottle. Then I allow her to go to sleep so that she will sleep more during the night, but my mother-in-law suggested that this might be bad for her. Is it going to hurt her in any way to keep her awake for those 2 hours if she wants to sleep?

A: There is nothing inherently "bad" about keeping your baby awake, but there is likely no reason for it.  Research shows that babies who go to bed early, before 9:00 pm, sleep better.  They fall asleep faster, they wake less often, and they get more sleep.  So, you may find that your baby will actually sleep more at night by going to bed at 8:00, when she is letting you know that she is ready to sleep, rather than keeping her up.


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