I read Bringing Up Bebe a while ago and I’ve been meaning to share some of things that I found most interesting in the book. Author Pamela Druckerman describes (from her American perspective) what French Parenting is like compared to American Parenting. Some main differences include children sleeping & eating habits, a woman’s appearance and the relationship between wife and husband. While I don’t buy into the “French” way of parenting simply because aside from a well behaved toddler, who the heck knows what type of teenager/adult I’d be raising - not to mention I am not sure I agree with everything - I think there are some lessons to be learned.
Here are a few things I found interesting enough to point out. I’ll post a few more next week but here’s a start.
Americans are obsessed: Well duh! As soon as we become pregnant we become obsessed with how much we read, what we eat and all the things we should and shouldn’t be doing. Druckerman explains that there really isn’t this extreme but a more “sensible” approach and don’t worry about the “unlikely worst-cast scenarios.” Yep, I was the typical obsessed pregnant woman until finally I stopped a lot of the Googling and reading all together because I was freaking myself out about things that were so unlikely to happen. Ugh and I remember I was so paranoid about all the things I could not eat. I have a feeling during my next pregnancy I will be a lot more relaxed about what I eat!
French don’t sleep train: Druckerman talks about something called “The Pause,” (branded by herself) which basically means that French parents don’t automatically run to their baby as soon as they hear a whimper. Instead they wait and observe to see what the baby really needs. Interesting. So the French parents don’t “sleep train” per say but early on they do this “Pause,” which apparently gives the child a chance to self soothe and also teaches them patience. Hmm…I guess I can see the point here. I remember the first couple of months jump up every time Reese would whimper. I never gave her a chance to go back to sleep. Note to self: Try this with the next baby.
Baby meal plan: It seems that all French children are on roughly the same feeding schedule. Breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner. Apparently there is no snaking in between this meal plan and because of this, kids end up eating their dinner (veggies included) because they are actually hungry! Unlike American parents who carry around snacks in their purses and diaper bags (I always have a few snacks on hand!), French parents don’t believe in this. After reading this I tried something similar except I added a morning snack. Reese had been asking for snacks what felt like a million times a day so I was constantly feeding her. I never paid any attention because she’d still eat a hearty lunch and dinner. But the snacking became obsessive and I was just tired of prepping snacks and worrying about leaving the house with “enough” snacks. Anyway, it took 3-4 days before Reese got into this new routine and it saved me a lot of hassle. Since then we’ve fallen back to the snacks pretty much any time. Oye vay.
Learning to play by themselves: French parents actually work on this. I think this is huge. Very early on I made sure Reese has some “alone” time to play on her own. It started with just a few minutes at a time and now she can entertain herself for up to 45 minutes reading, singing, stacking blocks, coloring….what ever she can find. It gives me a chance to do what ever I need to do and I think it’s good for her. I remember my brothers and I would play outside in the backyard for hours at a time playing tag, making mud pies, building things out of sticks… whatever. I think it taught us some independence and to use our imagination.
That’s all for this post. More to come next week. Any thoughts so far? Have you read the book?