Reading: Bringing Up Bébé

Bringing up Bebe

If you enjoyed Joanna Goodards blog series ‘Motherhood Around the World‘, you’ll probably enjoy this book as much as I did.

Druckerman relays her observations about French (or better to say Parisian) parenting styles from a fair and mostly objective standpoint. She doesn’t tell you what’s right or wrong, but prefers to just lay it out for you the way she sees it and then you can make your own assumptions from there.

Here are 6 interesting things about French parenting I learned from the book:

1. French parents don’t pick up a crying baby immediately, especially if it’s sleep time. They believe that babies are still trying to connecting their sleep cycles and picking them up disrupts them from learning this. It might be good to note that French babies often sleep straight through the night by 3 months! 

2. French parents put children on a set schedule of 3 meals and 1 snack. They don’t allow children to graze throughout the day.

3. They don’t prepare bland baby food. Even toddlers are made to taste strong flavors like blue cheese. They encourage children to take even just one bite of a new dish every time it’s presented. 

4. They don’t feel the need to constantly entertain their children. They want their children to learn how to play by themselves and discover their own autonomy. 

5. French children are taught to say “bonjour” and “au revoir” to everyone. (Similar to how we Filipinos insist that our young ones have to kiss their Titos and Titas or make ‘mano po’ to their elders.)

6. French parents have “me time” and don’t feel guilty about it. French parents often take one trip a year without their children. 

What do you think about these French parenting tips? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.



  1. I am a big fan of the Motherhood Monday series too!! I cannot wait for it to resume!

    I have not read Ms. Druckerman’s book, but I live in France and have met numerous parents and kids from our playgroup. I think #6 and #2 are the only things that I can agree with. The head psychologist who runs our playgroup, upon learning that my husband and I have not spent a night away from our then 20-month old (now almost 2), gave us a stern lecture that we must, must, must leave her with grandma and we spend a weekend alone in Paris. I wish it was as easy as that. :-/ In due time.

    As for the rest, I think they are just vague generalizations, or it might be a Paris mom thing. The moms I have met are surprised that I make all of my daughter’s meals, and even more surprised of the things that she eats. Dinugoan, anyone? Her French cousins happily eat their ham and boiled potatoes or pasta while we eat fried rice with Chinese sausage.

    What I love with other French parents though, is that they are completely non-judgmental. Your toddler is still on the boob? Oh, good for you! Oh, you all sleep on the same bed? Tsk tsk, mais bref, whatever works for you. Meltdowns in restaurants? oh haha, good luck, parents! However, the French are pretty infamous with structure, and that scares me especially when it comes to public school. I have a strong-willed little firecracker and I prefer to take the gentle approach, but I worry about punitive discipline in the schools. I guess we’ll just cross the bridge when we get there.

    And how about you? 😀

    • Hi Pamela!

      Thank you for leaving such an eye-opening comment. I really enjoyed reading your personal experience with French parenting. I love how your daughter eats Filipino food. I honestly don’t know sometimes how to raise our son. For instance, he’s now into throwing things and I don’t know if he’s old enough to know that this heavy, breakable items are unacceptable but balls are okay. Sigh* I guess we just have to wing in and learn along the way.

      Thank you again for stopping by. I really loved learning more from you. 🙂

  2. Most of the time I am winging it too ;-P I never had the maternal instinct, I never even thought I wanted kids. But it surprises me every single day how some things just come so naturally.As for your son’s throwing, I am sure he sees ALL things as playthings, and as cute as it may seem, I think it is never too early to set limits. Setting limits has saved my life for the past year. You will probably sound like a broken record, and you will get so annoyed of saying the same thing over and over again (no this, no that, no this, no that). I personally do not like saying no, so I just say “this is not for you. this is not for Coco. This is for mama, this is not for Coco.” I have to down a large glass of water after repeating it over and over again, but it does pay off in the long run.

    Best of luck!!

    PS There are some parenting websites that I read every now and then. is one, our muddy boots, and the orange rhino every now and then.

  3. My daughter is now 4 and I have a 9-month old as well. I feel I’ve read so many parenting books and blogs and articles….and I’m still winging in! All I’ve learned is that there is no one formula or style that suits me and my kids exclusively. So I listen to all advice, then edit them to fit my life, let go of the rest, cross my fingers, and remind myself to enjoy the ride! 🙂

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