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Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (now with Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting) Paperback – Unabridged, September 30, 2014
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“Bringing Up Bébé is a must-read for parents who would like their children to eat more than white pasta and chicken fingers.”— Fox News
“On questions of how to live, the French never disappoint. . . . Maybe it all starts with childhood. That is the conclusion that readers may draw from Bringing Up Bébé.”— The Wall Street Journal
“French women don't have little bags of emergency Cheerios spilling all over their Louis Vuitton handbags. They also, Druckerman notes, wear skinny jeans instead of sweatpants.The world arguably needs more kids who don't throw food.”— Chicago Tribune
“I’ve been a parent now for more than eight years, and—confession—I’ve never actually made it all the way through a parenting book. But I found Bringing Up Bébé to be irresistible."— Slate
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As well, I think she underestimated or played down some significant differences between parenting for women in France and the US. She noted the free children, free health insurance, education, etc. but that's a big, big deal. There is no federally mandated, full-paid, maternity leave in the US. American mother's are at the mercy of whatever their employer wants to offer and FMLA which only guarantees 2/3 of pay for 6 weeks. French mother's get 3 full months, paid. Childcare is not free to American mothers those 6 FMLA weeks; a good daycare for an infant 5 days a week can easily cost $2k a month or more. French mother's pay nothing more than their taxes for creche. There are not what's sounds like an army of free options to help a mother breastfeed, retighten and whatever after delivery for American mothers and preschools aren't necessarily free depending where you live, university isn't free for much later, etc. etc. French mother's have a lot of help.
I'm with the whole well-behaved child, and not turning yourself into a muppet just to be mother i.e. giving up adult life and adult language but perhaps it is a bit easier to be that type of mother and raise that type of child when there's more state resources in a society that values and wants to protect motherhood rather than one that creates and obstacle course for women who want to be mothers and working professionals.
I actually really enjoyed the book and plan on trying some techniques from it, but I could've done without Druckerman's classist, rose-colored "if only" take on motherhood, where she ignores hards truths and significant obstacles for American mothers.
I feel like there is a true benefit to looking at parenting through a more multi-cultural lens. There is so much new parents, and even experienced parents can learn from one another if we just step out of our cultural norms or bubbles.
This book is a great read because it’s written more like a story and less like a self help. As a new parent, I was devouring tons of baby books and it was so nice to read a book that wasn’t a set of guidelines and how-to’s... it was more of a guided story and look into someone’s world.
I’ve used a lot of the French philosophies of parenting in this book as soon as my child was born. The book helped me change my mentality in that I felt like I was more in control of how I could help my child adapt more easily to our world, such as, sleep through the night and eat nutritious foods. There is also a section in the book about baking a super simple cake with your toddler; what a crazy yet clever idea! Although I haven’t tried a full blown cake yet, I’ve allowed my 1.5 yr old help me in the kitchen with making pancakes and mixing ingredients when we bake. It has been a great bonding experience and learning experience for her so far and it’s incredibly fascinating to see your child develop and interest in these “adult” skills at such an early age.
Totally worth the read and very encouraging in putting confidence back in parenting in our day and age.
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Perfect present for expecting mothers :)