The 4 Best Lessons from ‘Bringing Up Bébé’ (and 3 That Are Total B.S.)
How do you learn to parent like the French? Move to France and immerse yourself in the culture, of course. Or you could just pick up a copy of Pamela Druckerman’s best-
J’adore: The Pause Sleep Method
Unlike us sleep-deprived Americans, the French have managed to get their bébés to snooze through the night by three or four months thanks to a method called “The Pause.” Here's the deal: Starting when their infants are a few weeks old, mamas pause after each cry at night before heading in to comfort. Why? According to the theory, a baby is crying because she's learning to connect sleep cycles, so if you give her a second, she might just have a “breakthrough” and go back to sleep on her own. When babies learn to do this, the French call it “doing their nights.”
J’adore: There Are No “Kid” Foods
Breaking news: French children eat the same things as their parents. But how in the world would you get your grilled-cheese-addicted three-year-old to taste roasted eggplant, you ask? The answer is surprisingly straightforward: Stay calm, playful and don’t offer a replacement meal. Instead, French parents serve a variety of foods. They don’t force a clean plate club membership, but they do compel the “try it once” rule. Notice that your kid hates the leeks but loves the eggplant? Serve the eggplant up again tomorrow night in a different way. Better yet, ask him to help you in the kitchen to expand his curiosity about food beyond “like/not like.”
J’adore: Patience Can Be Learned
Why are French kids so well behaved? They’re taught to cope with frustration. On the flip side, if you’re helicoptering your kids, they never need to learn patience because their problems are constantly solved for them. Druckerman encourages pa
J’adore: The Four Magic Words
Please, thank you, hello and goodbye. Say these words yourself. Encourage your kid to say them. Boom: Polite child!
Je déteste: The Lose the Baby Weight Rule
Bringing Up Bébé’s rule #77: Lose the baby weight three months postpartum. [Insert eye roll.] From our experience, every woman’s body is different…and since we love an excuse to eat second lunch, we’re gonna favor Emily Oster’s Expecting Better take on weight gain during pregnancy: Women should be more concerned about gaining too little weight than too much.
Je déteste: Don’t Dress Like a Mom
Apparently French women are ready to don their heels and silk scarves the second they leave the hospital. While we're all about staying fashion forward, we'll continue to wear our yoga pants to Music Together classes, thank you very much.
Je déteste: Treat Men Like a Separate Species
And by that, Druckerman means that women should give their male partners a pass. If their husbands picked up the wrong kind of cereal or forgot diapers, it’s A-OK—they’re men! Our hot take? We’re so tired, we don’t care what gender you are; you can help out. Let's also give the men in our lives more credit. We know a lot of male caretakers who are totally killing it.
Je déteste: Don't Put a Teepee in Your Living Room
Aka no toys in grown-up space. To this we respond: Are the French playing with some sort of dark magic? No matter how big a house is, kids find a way to bring their toys with them. There are worse problems to deal with. And let’s face it: We don't hate when the fidget spinner ends up on our bedside table.