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Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting Hardcover – Feb 7 2012

37 customer reviews

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

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press; 1 edition (Feb. 7 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781594203336
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594203336
  • ASIN: 1594203334
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“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.” — NPR

Bringing Up Bébé is a must-read for parents who would like their children to eat more than white pasta and chicken fingers.”

Fox News

“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.”

The Wall Street Journal

“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.”

Chicago Tribune

“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."


About the Author

Pamela Druckerman is a former staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered foreign affairs. She has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Marie Claire, and appeared on The Today Show and NPR's Morning Edition. Her previous book, Lust in Translation, was translated into eight languages. She has a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia. She lives in Paris.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A. Volk #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Feb. 10 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is about comparing French to American parenting, but Canadians are similar enough to the latter for it to still work for us. The book is more of a biography than it is a serious or scientific exploration of cross-cultural parenting. Druckerman does introduce evidence here and there, but for the most part it's all anecdotes about how the French parent, and why it's superior to American parenting. As another reviewer wrote, it's like she was wearing beer goggles for French parenting as virtually everything she describes is new and amazing- to her.

Because much of what the French do is ambivalent, familiar, or undesirable. For example, not getting involved with their children on the playground. Yes, it's nice to talk to other parents, and most Canadian parents do, but it's also fun to get involved with your kids and play. Soon enough they won't want to be anywhere near you, so I figure it's good to get the in fun while you can. I can understand wanting and taking a break, but I don't understand never getting involved either. Familiar in that parents should impose limits, like introducing vegetables and fruits first in snacks or meals so children face them when they are most hungry. Or that schedules can help children run more smoothly. That's all pretty familiar, and certainly not uniquely French. Some of it may be undesirable as in training children to sleep alone by 10 weeks (what if you like co-sleeping? and it sounds a lot like Ferberizing) or stopping breast feeding by 10 weeks. While I appreciate it's not for everyone, I think the medical science is unanimous that breastfeeding longer than that is advisable if you can do it.

There are some good things to learn, such as teaching children to be more restrained and polite, particularly in public.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barb M. on March 10 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good book for those interested in human psychology.
The perspective is an American mother bringing up her 2 children in Paris - contrasting the way the two cultures raise their children.
The French culture which emphasizes a "Frame" or boundaries a child must have in politeness, socialization and self-control. The child is not the center of the family, but expected to be a contributing member to the whole. It contributes well to the child's sense of security. Creativity is also emphasized.
This is contrasted with the American perspective where the child is more the center of attention and expected to achieve academically from a young age. Whereas there is more intellectual stimulation, the focus is more on the needs of self and the child may be less socially motivated.
A very interesting read, especially for parents or expecting parents. There are definite advantages to raising one's child with the French (Parisien) paradigm.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER on April 14 2012
Format: Hardcover
In "Bringing Up Bébé," journalist Pamela Druckerman embraces the "French do it better" genre. She describes how educated professionals living in Paris handle pregnancy, childbirth and early childhood and compares the methods to North American ones. The book does not take the process beyond the early years, though doing so might have allowed us to draw conclusions about whether French parenting makes children turn out better when they're older.

Facts reported in Druckerman's book sometimes get in her way but she ultimately delivers an entertaining, enlightening and excellent read. Exploring everything from breastfeeding to park behaviour to spanking to sleeping habits to division of labour between the sexes, the book highlights what North Americans can learn from the French and offers some useful parenting advice.

But do the French really do it better? Giving birth and raising children is messy and confusing in any society. It's perpetual trial and error ' whether in France or elsewhere. Nowhere does a baby come with a user's manual.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nenadov on Jan. 25 2013
Format: Hardcover
Parents wanting to raise their kids thoughtfully and learn from different cultures will likely find this book helpful and entertaining. It's a memoir by an American expatriate mother living in France, documenting her investigation of French parenting.

It's not that I necessarily agree with everything here. I don't think that's the point. The idea isn't that the French do parenting perfectly or that everyone should thoughtlessly copy them. Rather, the point is that while some French parenting practices may seem foreign to Americans, many of them really make sense and are very helpful and amazingly successful. And there is some clear evidence of better results.

Unlike many parenting books and memoirs, this book is actually written in a skillful, fun and fresh way. It is intimate and emotional but not overly sentimental either. Even though it describes a mom's perspective, dads can enjoy it too! In fact, even if you never have had, and never will have, any children, it's unlikely you'll find this dull!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leah on July 3 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book in every way: good writing, a helpful glossary to start and return to as needed, fascinating information about how North American children are raised in comparison to French children. Not a how-to book but a series of acute and practical observations as the author, Druckerman, raises her own three children and negotiates the child-care system in modern day Paris. The French do it differently. According to the author, their children grow to be patient, able to entertain themselves, sleep well, eat well and play on their own. Now I'd like to read how this early upbringing is reflected in the teens.
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