Bringing Up Bébé Book Summary - Bringing Up Bébé Book explained in key points
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Bringing Up Bébé summary

Pamela Druckerman

One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

4.3 (145 ratings)
13 mins

Brief summary

Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman explains how French parenting differs from American, and provides insights and tips on implementing French parenting techniques such as focusing on a child's emotional intelligence, patience, and the importance of a parent's personal time.

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    Bringing Up Bébé
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Babies sleep through the night if they can soothe themselves back to sleep.

    Sleepless nights are inevitable for new parents, right? Not necessarily! French children tend to sleep through the night, in some case starting when they’re just a few weeks old.

    What’s the secret of parents who raise these quiet babies? It’s in how they respond to them.

    Babies make a lot of noise at night, but their cries don’t always mean they need something. In fact, babies naturally wake up every few hours because they sleep in short cycles. Sometimes they wriggle or cry just because they’re trying to get back to sleep.

    Also, it’s actually rare for a baby to need food during the night; digestion interferes with their sleep, just like it does in adults.

    In 1993, the journal Pediatrics published a study by Teresa Pinella and Leann Birch instructing new mothers on how to soothe their babies. They came up with three rules:

    • don’t rock the baby to sleep;
    • only feed them during the night if you’ve already tried swaddling them, patting them, walking them around and changing their diapers; and
    • learn the difference between whimpering and real crying.

    Pinella and Birch also found that among parents following these instructions, 38 percent of their babies could sleep through the night after just four weeks, compared to just seven percent of those who didn’t receive the instructions.

    You also need to wait before responding to your baby. Don’t intervene right away when they cry. Give them a chance to fall back asleep on their own – babies often aren’t fully awake when they start crying, so you might make it worse if you pick them up.

    This doesn’t mean you should ignore a crying baby, but you should make the pause longer over time. Pause for just a few seconds with a newborn and increase the time interval until you’re eventually waiting a few minutes.

    Babies need time to learn how to get back to sleep by themselves, and it’s your responsibility to help them develop that autonomy.

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    What is Bringing Up Bébé about?

    It might sound too good to be true, but in France, babies and children sleep through the night, eat their vegetables and do what their parents tell them. In Bringing Up Bébé (2011), Pamela Druckerman, an American mother living in Paris, reveals the French parenting secrets she uncovered in her time abroad.

    Bringing Up Bébé Review

    Bringing Up Bébé (2012) is a book that explores the French parenting approach and why it might hold valuable lessons for parents around the world. Here's why this book is definitely worth a read:

    • Offers insightful cultural comparisons between French and American parenting styles, shedding light on potentially different ways of raising children.
    • Presents practical tips and strategies based on the French approach, providing readers with useful tools to incorporate into their own parenting journey.
    • Employs a warm and relatable tone, with the author sharing personal anecdotes that make the book engaging and relatable, ensuring it's anything but boring.

    Best quote from Bringing Up Bébé

    The French seem collectively to have achieved the miracle of getting babies and toddlers not just to wait, but to do so happily.

    —Pamela Druckerman
    example alt text

    Who should read Bringing Up Bébé?

    • Parents and parents-to-be
    • Francophiles
    • Anyone who works with preschool age children

    About the Author

    Pamela Druckerman is a former staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal and has written op-eds for The Guardian, The New York Times and The Washington Post. She is also author of Lust In Translation: Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee.

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    Bringing Up Bébé FAQs 

    What is the main message of Bringing Up Bébé?

    The main message of Bringing Up Bébé is that French parenting techniques can provide valuable insights for raising children.

    How long does it take to read Bringing Up Bébé?

    The reading time for Bringing Up Bébé varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Bringing Up Bébé a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Bringing Up Bébé is worth reading as it offers interesting cultural perspectives on parenting and practical tips that can be applied to raising children.

    Who is the author of Bringing Up Bébé?

    Pamela Druckerman is the author of Bringing Up Bébé.

    What to read after Bringing Up Bébé?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Bringing Up Bébé, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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