Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bringing up Bebe





When American journalist Pamela Druckerman has her first baby while living in Paris she hadn't even considered differences between American and French parenting styles. In fact, she hadn't even decided if she liked living in France. As her child began to grow she started to notice differences in the ways her neighbors raised their children. She became more intrigued with every new observation. Pamela determined to find out what the parents of these children were doing that got such radically different results, and share it with the rest of the world.

Many of the differences she noticed were in extreme contrast to what we are used to seeing in the States. The children in France often slept through the night by 3 months old, while in America this does not usually happen till one year old. French children have a wide variety of foods they eat, while in America it is common for a child to limit their diet to one or two food groups. French children tend to be independent much earlier, where it is common in the US for parents to be overly involved.

When Pamela asked questions she often got blank stares. There are not various "parenting methods" in France as there are in the states. There is only one parenting method, and it is so common that the French don't even realize they are  using a method. This style is simply the way parenting is done.

When I first heard of this book I thought the premise was interesting, but I assumed it wouldn't have an effect on my parenting style. I assumed French parents would be different, but not the kind of "different" I choose to make a part of my family. All I expected was an interesting diversion. I was very wrong.

Halfway through I began taking detailed notes. After the fourth chapter I began implementing the method in two areas, and immediately began to see changes. My daughter is now sleeping through the night, and eating at regular times throughout the day. I had resisted this change because I wasn't convinced it was best for her. However, the change was so fast I believe she was waiting on me all along. I just had to ask, and this book showed me how.

Bringing Up Bebe is solidly in my top three favorite parenting books. It doesn't have lists of stages or charts of "what is normal when Baby is ____ months old" but it does contain a parenting mindset that can be a huge help as a baby is added to the family. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested, but especially to new (or semi-new) parents.