How to Be a French Mom (for Dads)
Parenting Tips: When do babies sleep at night? Answer: ask the French.
Bonjour, my friends. In honor of superhero’s day (Mother’s day), here’s a review of Bringing Up Bebe, a bestselling book that centers on French parenting, which as it turns out is pretty awesome.
As a new parent, I definitely want multiple points of view for consideration in bringing up our tiny human, which led to checking out this book by Pamela Druckerman, an American journalist living in Paris. Her opening observation / prologue title: “French children don’t throw food” sets the tone for what you’re about to get into by simultaneously calling up the terrifying part of having a kid that may be lurking in the minds of us new parents, but also implying there is a solution.
Based on this book, French parents seem to:
Retain their individuality
And French children seem to:
Eat (and enjoy) vegetables and a variety of foods
BUT HOW?? Is it the wine and cheese consumption? Please tell me it is the wine and cheese consumption.
It’s probably not the wine and cheese consumption (or any other stereotype). Although on the bright side, the techniques can be learned.
Review of current favorite chapter (3): Doing her nights.
This is THE chapter that got me to download the Kindle edition of this book at the wee hours of 2 AM when Lady O was just days old. The author recalls the tale of her daughter, endearingly referred to as ‘“Bean,” and the multiple sleep strategies that she and her husband employed. A contrast is painted between Bean and the general phrase of the French “doing her nights,” or ‘sleeping through the night,’ which is apparently happening between 2-4 months old.
And the showstopping tip is...wait for it...
Empowering self-soothing via La Pause. Oi, it’s true that babies make noise and movements at night, but it doesn’t always mean they need you. And, according to the sources of this book (and a sample size of one Lady O), a baby can calm themselves down to an extent and learn to connect their sleep cycles, which start out in just 2-hour segments. But only if given the opportunity. So, give peace a chance. Early and often.
Note about La Pause. Observing to see if it is a legit reason to dive in help is key, surely there will be times the tiny human needs you. Our way of doing the pause is to listen, and if things escalate after two minutes, do the visual lean in. If she sounds like a toy with the battery dying and vocals trailing off, it’s usually a ‘let her sleep’ situation. If the sound and pace pick up, it’s probably gonna be time to respond to the bat signal.
This works for naps too. And a key French parenting tip for this is to do things that you and your partner like sans bebe while the baby is napping instead of using this brief respite to do baby deeds (e.g. laundry, bottle washing or organizing). Remember there is, and should always be, time and effort spent on the two of you, even though you now are a “three” (or four… or five).
The entire book is written with humour, relatable anecdotes, and a ton of research to help with all phases of bringing up a little one.