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Bringing Up Bébé summary - available in audiobook and text formats 13m 26s

Bringing Up Bébé

Pamela Druckerman

American journalist Pamela Druckerman wasn't planning to become a "French parent," but she noticed that French babies slept through the night, they played by themselves while their parents sipped coffee, and they ate what their parents served them. Why? How?


The Bottom Line

From sleep-training to feeding schedules, daycare to dealing with guilt, mothers in France differ drastically from their American counterparts. Druckerman offers French lessons for the new mom.

I. Introduction

Pamela Druckerman was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal in New York when her life took a number of sudden turns. In the span of a year, she was laid off from her job, reconnected with an old flame, flew to London to meet his parents and moved to Paris for his career. Before long, they married and she began her next adventure: motherhood.

The moment she discovered she was expecting, Druckerman began her quest to learn everything about pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, or, as she puts it, to figure out “exactly what to worry about.” What she discovered, and chronicles in this book, were very different cultural attitudes toward parenting in her home country and her adopted one.

The book created a maelstrom of controversy when first published in 2012. Were the French really better at raising kids, or just better at looking the other way? Did Parisian 8-year-olds really eat their vegetables? Wait patiently for their snacks? Act unfailingly polite in all situations? Is it true that French parents have social lives and do things like sleep and have sex?

Druckerman offers plenty to ponder and loads of interesting anecdotes to illustrate her findings. As for which parenting style is best? An accommodating, hyper-vigilant American might say the jury’s still out. The non-waffling French would surely tell you, “C’est nous!”

II. Get on The Sleep Train … Early!

III. French Parents Say “Non” to Feeding on Demand

IV. A Country That Supports, and Subsidizes, Daycare

V. French Mothers Don't Have "Mommy Wars"

VI. Raising Children Who Eat Everything

VII. French Parents Prioritize Their Own Needs

The Takeaway


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Also in the 'The Early Years' Collection