Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting (now with Bebe Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting)

Overview

The runaway New York Times bestseller that shows American parents the secrets behind France's amazingly well-behaved children
 
When American journalist Pamela Druckerman had a baby in Paris, she didn't aspire to become a "French parent." But she noticed that French children slept through the night by two or three months old. They ate braised leeks. They played by themselves while their parents sipped ...

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Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

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Overview

The runaway New York Times bestseller that shows American parents the secrets behind France's amazingly well-behaved children
 
When American journalist Pamela Druckerman had a baby in Paris, she didn't aspire to become a "French parent." But she noticed that French children slept through the night by two or three months old. They ate braised leeks. They played by themselves while their parents sipped coffee. And yet French kids were still boisterous, curious, and creative. Why? How?
          
With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman set out to investigate—and wound up sparking a national debate on parenting. Researched over three years and written in her warm, funny voice, Bringing Up Bébé is deeply wise, charmingly told, and destined to become a classic resource for American parents.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

At first, American journalist Pamela Druckerman was just a new mom in an adopted country attentively observing the parenting methods of her Parisian neighbors. As time passed, she realized that what she was witnessing was significant, that French mothers knew something that she and most other Americans parents didn't. Her revelations, first collected in Bringing Up Bébé, became a word-of-mouth bestseller. Then she followed that top-seller with another: Bébé Day by Day. Both of these artfully informative books are collected here in trade paperback and NOOK Book formats. Editor's recommendation.

Chicago Tribune
“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.”
NPR
“Marvelous . . . Like Julia Child, who translated the secrets of French cuisine, Druckerman has investigated and distilled the essentials of French child-rearing. . . . Druckerman provides fascinating details about French sleep training, feeding schedules and family rituals. But her book's real pleasures spring from her funny, self-deprecating stories. Like the principles she examines, Druckerman isn't doctrinaire.”
The Wall Street Journal
“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.”
Slate
“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."
Fox News
Bringing Up Bébé is a must-read for parents who would like their children to eat more than white pasta and chicken fingers.”
NPR
Marvelous . . . Like Julia Child, who translated the secrets of French cuisine, Druckerman has investigated and distilled the essentials of French child-rearing. . . . Druckerman provides fascinating details about French sleep training, feeding schedules and family rituals. But her book's real pleasures spring from her funny, self-deprecating stories. Like the principles she examines, Druckerman isn't doctrinaire.
Fox News
Bringing Up Bébé is a must-read for parents who would like their children to eat more than white pasta and chicken fingers.
The Wall Street Journal
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.
Chicago Tribune
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.
Slate
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.
Publishers Weekly
Living in Paris has allowed American journalist Druckerman (Lust in Translation) a riveting glimpse into a calmer, rational, sage way of raising children. With three children of her own, all born in Paris and happily bilingual, Druckerman wanted to find the key to forging the well-behaved youngsters she witnessed in parks and restaurants—infants who sleep through the night at two months, children with table manners, who don’t interrupt adults or eat between meals. It starts, apparently, with calm, sensible French mothers, who don’t become enormously self-indulgent during pregnancy, but quickly lose the baby fat after birth and rarely breast feed. The French health system helps by its generous maternal and child-care policies. Babies are treated as rational creatures, expected to “self-distract” in order to fall asleep (Druckerman calls the essential lapse in response time “La Pause”), and wait to eat when everybody else has their meals, four times a day, including the 4 p.m. sweet time called le gouter. Instead of rushing to satisfy or stimulate a child à la Americain, the French are keen on aiding kids to discover on their own, developing autonomy with the help of a cadre, or frame, which is firm but flexible. Citing Rousseau, Piaget, and Françoise Dolto, as well as scores of other parents, Anglophone or French, Druckerman draws compelling social comparisons, some dubious (e.g., Frenchwomen, unlike Americans, don’t expect their husbands to help much with housework, thus eliminating “tension and resentment”), others helpful (insisting that children try new foods at each meal to broaden their palates), but she is ever engaging and lively to read. (Feb.)
Library Journal
After moving to Paris and having a baby, former Wall Street Journal reporter Druckerman noticed that French women just weren't that uptight about child-rearing issues. Meanwhile, French children turned out to be well behaved but hardly repressed. Druckerman investigated and discovered that French parents are in some ways deeply strict and in some ways surprisingly permissive—no beat-the-odds enrichment classes at age three. Never mind French women staying chic or not getting fat, this is a really important work.
Kirkus Reviews
The author of a cross-cultural study on infidelity turns her judicious eye to the differences between American and Parisian childrearing. When Druckerman (Lust in Translation, 2007) was laid off from her job as an international reporter for the Wall Street Journal, she willingly reunited with British journalist Simon, whom she'd met six months earlier. Their romance relocated her to his "two-room bachelor pad" in Paris where an expected culture clash awaited. An "Atkins-leaning vegetarian," Druckerman found particular discordance with Parisian cuisine and social norms. After getting pregnant, the author became obsessively worrisome and at odds with the structure of French childbirth and childrearing, though she was amazed at how inexplicably well-behaved and good-natured Parisian children seemed. Intent on uncovering the secret to French nurturing, she began some "investigative parenting," and the American expat waded through her daughter Bean's crucial developmental years fortified by what Parisian parents taught their own children. Druckerman's epiphanies include how months-old French babies sleep through the night via the "pause" technique and, soon after, are taught the art of patience. She demystifies the day-care "crèche" and preschool "maternelle," and how French mothers return to top physical shape (and their jobs) following childbirth. The author is a delightfully droll storyteller with an effortless gift of gab that translates well to the page. She backs up assumptions and associated explorations with historical parenting examples and comparisons that temper her skepticisms with an authoritative air. With twins on the way, Druckerman eventually acclimated to the guarded, good-natured bonhomie of Paris and struck a happy medium between French methods and her own parenting preferences. A quirky family saga of an American mother in Paris.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143122968
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin
  • Publication date: 9/30/2014
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 124,029

Meet the Author

Pamela Druckerman

Pamela Druckerman is a contributing opinion writer for the International New York Times and a former staff reporter for  The Wall Street Journal, where she covered foreign affairs. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post and Marie Claire. She lives in Paris.

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