Being a French mom of on American baby is compelling. There are many aspects of why her dad and I are proud to be raising a dual citizen, bilingual, multicultural baby. You might think I am lucky to have the French parenting given to myself. Actually, I feel even luckier having French and American parenting offered to me.
French mothers have the keys to have calm and/or maybe obedient children. It gives them the opportunity to be back on track, socially, fashionably, professionally etc.
This is what I found very interesting with American parenting. It includes the mother wellness differently than in France. US mamas know how to step back and relax. In France, their peace of mind comes from the baby’s behavior.
You give yourself no pressure whatsoever. Go grocery shopping in your PJ’s? Not a problem. Stay at home doing nothing? Not a problem. No makeup or hairdo? Not a problem. It is all about enjoying every second with your baby.
Formula vs breast milk. I have decided to write about it as soon as I witnessed the stress women were facing with today’s society view on breastfeeding.
I was a breastfed baby, and always heard positive talks about it from my mother. This pretty much summarizes my knowledge on the subject. Besides my mother, none of the mothers in my family breastfed. By choice. Because in France, we are not ashamed nor pressured to say “I do not want to breastfeed my baby”. No judgement whatsoever. On the other hand: the USA. The country is well known for having a strong opinion about it. It is a public opinion often broadcast on TV-shows and movies.
Personally, I felt like giving it a try. I educated myself on the subject towards the end of my pregnancy. I didn’t want to pressure myself by reading tons of potentially scary stories. I wanted it to come naturally. And it did. I loved it.
But, the more I nursed my daughter, the more pressure I felt from the outside (among Americans). For personal/medical reasons, I had to feed my baby half breast milk/half formula. I sometimes felt embarrassed talking about it. I would here: “do you still give her formula?”. Well, you know… my baby has to eat at some point so…Yes I still feed her with formula. I felt like I had to justify myself for it.
Long story short. It was clear to me that the two countries were not on the same page. Pamela Druckerman (author of Bringing up bébé) confirmed my first impression: “French mothers barely breastfeed. About 63 percent of French mothers do some breastfeeding. A bit more than half are still nursing when they leave the maternity hospital, and most abandon it altogether soon after that. Long-term nursing is extremely rare. In the United States, 74 percent of mothers do at least some breastfeeding, and a third are still nursing exclusively at four months.”
She is an American in Paris, I am a French in Boston. We had the same feeling.
Until I decided to do some research to understand what was really happening. And here are the numbers from governmental sources:Read More »