Friday, April 19, 2013

One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Duckerman
I remember being intrigued by the book when it first came out. Yes, I might be a little baby obsessed, but I'm also a little France obsessed, so it seemed like a good fit. So even though I'm not pregnant and don't expect to by for a while, I somewhat guiltily picked up this French parenting book.

The book itself has somewhat of an unexpected format. Instead of reading as a parenting book, it reads more like a parenting book meets memoir meets cultural study. (And in fact reminded me of a lot of my favorite parts of Petite Anglais, an actually memoir about an Englishwoman raising a baby in Paris.) I'm not a mother, but in general, I do see a lot of her critiques of American parenting, and unfortunately could see myself doing them. But even so, I still think most her French tips seemed made a lot of common sense.

One section I found really interesting, was the section on creches, a French government run daycare system, and more specifically the lunches they serve. They're serving babies and toddlers a four course meal everyday! They start with a vegetable, then a protein as their main course. My favorite part was the next, a cheese course, and finally a dessert mainly made of fruit. I love that they are starting babies on exciting cheeses, to get them to truly appreciate them. At one point the author brings her toddler daughter back to America where her mother is excited to feed her granddaughter macaroni and cheese. Except her daughter refuses to eat it, saying, "That's not cheese!" I loved this, because that was me as a kid, and even now, since I've never liked macaroni and cheese. Instead I was the 6-year-old who suggested we serve a pear and blue cheese salad at our end of the year girl scout celebration.

I thought this book was really enjoyable. And while there's a few practices I would love to use with my someday kids-to-be, I didn't just enjoy this as a parenting book. I think even if you're not thinking about kids anytime soon, but instead are curious about the culture in which the French raise their children, you'd appreciate this.


Today I'm linking up with Blonde Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday!


  1. This sounds interesting. And I would have loved to grow up in France with all of that cheese. Ha!

  2. I really enjoyed this book too, and found it so interesting....definitely some things to keep in mind when I have babies!

  3. I find this book intriguing and would like to read it eventually, even if I don't have kids. I have read others reviews on it, and I really like how the French don't make separate meals for their kids. My mom definitely did not make a different meal for us kids either and I think I am an open minded eater as a result as I didn't have the option to be picky!