Pamela Druckerman, an American journalist, finds herself as an expat living in Paris with her British husband. They decide to start a family, which begins Pamela's journey into motherhood in a foreign country. She investigates French parenting to learn what they do well in parenting and to help her family integrate better into French culture.
I read this book when my daughter was only a few weeks old. Now that she is a little over 3 months and I'm trying to remember back to those hazy weeks, I can only recall some of the more salient points. I remember enjoying the book and this woman's experience of motherhood and learning about French parenting. I gained a few valuable points- the first being what Pamela calls 'The Pause.'
Pamela notices that the majority of French infants begin to sleep through the night by at least 3 months, which can be viewed as very early in American society for an infant. While there are several possible reasons for this, including the fact that many French mothers formula feed rather than choosing to try breastfeeding, 'The Pause' appears to also play a role in this milestone. Pamela observes French mothers pausing before responding to their infants noises/cries. They are not ignoring their infant, rather observing them to see what they need and if they really need it or are just making noises. My daughter was a very loud breather as a newborn and I had a hard time sleeping through her various rattles and snorts. I often checked on her throughout the night and responded immediately to any sound she made. After reading this part of Bringing Up Bebe, I began to make a conscious effort to observe my daughter before responding. Sometimes my pause was only 3 seconds when it was clear she was hungry or upset, but sometimes- miraculously, if I waited just 30 seconds or a minute if she wasn't really upset, my daughter would settle down again and go right back to sleep! She wasn't actually hungry, just waking between a sleep cycle and trying to settle down again. When I started to employ this pause, she also started sleeping an occasional 3 or 4 hour stint during the night, rather than consistent two hour intervals. Whether this was due to me pausing or her normal development, I'll never know but I do think it contributed some.
Bringing Up Bebe brings up many points in how French parenting differs from American- from sleeping through the night, the food offered to toddlers, and the day care system of France. While not every point was something I wanted to try- I still breastfeed, feed on demand, and I'm going to stay at home as long as possible, it was an entertaining and informative book. I would recommend it for new or expecting parents. It's not an all inclusive how to book for parents but it is an easy read and you may find ideas that work for you!
Amazon associates link:Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting