Book Review: Bringing Up Bebe


When I first became pregnant I had every intention of reading all the best parenting books and narrowing approaches down to the ones that I thought would work best, two books later and one semester of grad school and I decided to wing it. What I quickly discovered is every parenting book boasts that they have the secret to this chaos we call parenthood. Bringing Up Bebe is not that book. Which was one of the reasons why I liked it, it didn’t gloat of its excellent success or even guarantee raising tiny civilized humans through a step by step process. What Bringing up Bebe does is place a perspective on how parenting aspects might improve. There are no rose colored glasses or perfect method, but it provides scenarios and ways of handling those situations that may not be instinctual as a parent, but could definitely be beneficial.

The book begins with a glossary of french parenting terms.I’m a sucker for a good list of definitions, especially one at the beginning of the book, not tucked away at the back like some hidden gem you only discover after 50 pages of confusion. 

One of the first quotes that really sums up how the French approach parenting is in the first chapter when “discipline” is referred to as “education.” In all reality this is such a true to real life perspective. We are educating our children how to be decent, contributing citizens in the world they live in. Although the Pamela dives into common practices of French parents she also attempts to explain why. Why do French babies sleep through the night at only a few months old? Why are French children generally not picky eaters?

She explains that French baby’s sleep schedules are successful because of “The Pause.” This technique encourages parents to wait to see if the baby will self-soothe themselves back to sleep or if the child is in need of something (i.e. food, fresh diaper). The reason she describes for pausing is “babies wake up between their sleep cycles, which last about two hours. It’s normal for them to cry a bit when they’re first learning to connect these cycles.” Not only does “The Pause” sleep train it also helps teach them patience which can be applicable to other situations throughout childhood, maybe even throughout parenthood. 

Patience is a topic that is talked about for several chapters. Pamela talks about how constructively teaching a child to wait and cope with frustration can set them up for success in real life situations where gratification may not be instantaneous. We as parents often don’t want our kids to be unhappy, uncomfortable, or unoccupied however are we setting them up for failure? One topic that really resonated with me was allowing your kids the opportunity to be bored. Although Amelia (my daughter) is little, my wife and I have talked about not getting her a tablet or iPad. This book was a main instrument in that discussion. Not giving children the opportunity to be bored, limits their opportunity to be creative, think outside the box, or simply entertain themselves with items at hand. As a society I believe we need to get away from the mentality that we must always be entertained. 

Other beneficial topics include American’s need to excel and be better than the best as well as the all too familiar topic of mom guilt.While I was pregnant I underlined and highlighted parts that I thought were important or resonated with me, what I didn’t understand is just how powerful mom guilt can be. She talks about this in her chapter “the perfect mother doesn’t exist.” PREACH! She even dives into how married couples identities should be separate from their children. I’m not going to lie this is something my wife and I are still learning. 

All in all, I highly recommend Bringing Up Bebe for new, experienced, moms-to-be or whatever your classification I found it extremely beneficial, tangible, and relatable. I will say that after Chapter 12 book’s nuggets of wisdom were a little further apart making it not as enjoyable to read, however still highly beneficial throughout the majority of the book. 

Although I glean a lot of useful information from this book that doesn’t mean it is how I parent. You as a mother and parent know what is best for your children. When I was pregnant and reading this book I was all about “The Pause.” Now that I have a real life human child sleeping by my bed I can guarantee you that I am not thinking about the French method of parenting or “The Pause” at three AM when Amelia is restless and wants to nurse. Do what is best for your baby and for your sanity, if you throw in a few tips and tricks from the French well then you’ve found ėquilibre (French for balance).

Au Revoir

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Madison O
Madison is a Texas A&M Graduate who is beginning her 6th year as a Technical Theatre teacher and 3rd year at Gregory-Portland High School. She and her wife moved to the coastal bend to be closer to family as they began the fertility process to grow their family. Madison and her wife were thrilled to welcome their daughter, Amelia, to the family in May via Reciprocal IVF. Madison has also begun working toward her Masters degree in Educational Administration at TAMUCC (gotta keep it in the Aggie family!) Talk about one busy mama! Madison enjoys time outside and has always loved to write for her own personal blog in her free time. She is so excited to start this new adventure of motherhood and to be joining the wonderful community of Corpus Christi Moms on the blog!