Overview (Spoilers Abound):
Bringing Up Bébé is another baby book that has come highly recommended by friends and family as we are about to embark on this new journey literally any day now. While this baby book doesn’t have the same medical clout feel that The Happiest Baby on the Block did, Druckerman still references scientific findings and interviews experts, though these professionals only support one side of the story. Much of Druckerman’s observations came from practical experiences, both first-hand and through interviewing French acquaintances. Bringing Up Bébé challenges norms I’d come to accept regarding the raising children in the United States, where there’s a push to have gifted children and to have them develop as quickly as possible. In contrast, The Happiest Baby on the Block served to provide a guide for soothing an unhappy baby. So despite the solid scientific basis lacking, I still found this read to be incredibly thought-provoking, especially as I’m pondering what kind of parent I would like to be to Baby O.
One interesting concept brought up by Druckerman that I would like to try employing is ‘observing’ your child when they initially start crying, instead of instantly rushing to help them. This is very different from letting your child “cry it out,” but also doesn’t give them instant gratification of you being right there to aid them at the slightest whimper. Another aspect that I’d taken for granted as a key to parenting is to always have snacks on hand. It is interesting to hear Druckerman’s take on how the French feed their children from snacks to the vast variety of foods that they feed their toddlers.
There’s incredible pressure on parents to be the ‘perfect parent’, while raising a highly successful child in the United States. That recipe calls for having every night of your child’s, and (as a direct result) your life booked every night of the week with practice or games of some sort from a young age. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the French approach where they allow children to be children, and develop on their own.
Overall, Bringing Up Bébé is a fascinating look at French parenting that has more the feel of an opinion piece than one grounded in science, however Druckerman still provides much to mull over regarding the norms that Americans take for granted as necessary to be the ‘perfect’ parent.