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Old 07-25-2014, 08:46 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by littlewoolybaby
spawn is the best name for kids I think. We're not chic - well sometimes we are but mostly I think most Europeans are way more into investing their time into things that are long lasting. So more tendency towards the traditional in food and culture (and parenting). Less investment in short term relationships - most North Americans I meet for this first time tend to find me standoffish. Dh as well. We're better long-term. (Incidentally this also explains European customer service -- with some exceptions it's terrible in all of the countries I've lived in on this continent).
I wonder if the "instant" culture (as in, "I want everything NOW") in America contributes to this. Or perhaps that attitude is present in Europe/worldwide as well and is more of a general human pitfall. We certainly have a young culture, comparatively, and not much tradition to keep. After all, it's very looked-down upon not to immediately accept other cultures and other traditions with open arms. Funny about customer service. I never would have made that connection.

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Old 07-25-2014, 08:53 PM   #22
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I'll take on a few of these. Sidecar co-sleepers are widely available and encouraged but I have been strictly warned by several medical professionals to not sleep with baby in my own bed. (Never my intention anyways - I am an extremely active sleeper.) I know no one who does. Once baby is sleeping through the night (and there is a good bit of pressure to have baby "faire ses nuits") they generally are in a crib either in their own room or their parents room. Own room is preferable but if the family is living in a small apartment then parents room is fine. I know a family who put their toddler in the bathtub to sleep - with cushions whenever they had company in their little apartment. While not strictly CIO most French parents do "la pause" whenever baby wakes instead of running straight to them. Meals and food are pretty much sacred here. And while very young babies who are still eating purée are given a little leeway (usually fed first etc) by the time they reach toddler age they are expected to have acceptable table manners. Not perfect but starting to use their own cutlery, eating what others are eating etc. acting up during a meal is usually met with swift correction. If they are in a restaurant, a parent will usually bodily remove a misbehaving child. Food outside of acceptable times is frowned upon. 3 meals plus a large afternoon snack ("goutee") and a small mid morning snack. Unless taking a very long car trip food in the car is also strongly discouraged. Most French parents have very little issue with spanking their children. It's not vindictive - occurs immediately after infraction, open hand, clothed bottom. This horrifies some friends of mine (Scandinavians mostly) who see it as child abuse. There are other things - but I'm going to make one of those offensive sweeping generalizations. French parents are traditional. The parents are in charge and don't hesitate to discipline a misbehaving child. Things get muddled in the teen years mostly because the child learns to reason and argue and French people love well-reasoned arguments.
That sounds rather strict. Not in a bad way though. Matter-of-fact, I suppose. I am kinda surprised about the co-sleeping thing (no bed-sharing) and encouraging them to sleep through the nights, but then I guess it does seem like the French. I think I had a blanket idea that all of continental Europe and Scandinavia were bed-sharers. Attitude toward meals seems so French though I had to laugh. Very interesting!
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:52 PM   #23
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I'm in Sweden and here are a few parenting differences I've noted since moving here: 1. Most women only nurse for 6 or maybe 9 months then babies are fed a mysterious substance called välling. From what I can tell from the packages I see in the grocery store, it is a combination of milk powder and cereal and various vitamins and minerals. It is a powder that is mixed with water and fed out of a bottle. As far as I know, baby formula does not exist here. I find it very strange that all these health-conscious Swedes aren't encouraged to breastfeed their babies for longer. Jarred babyfood is readily available and the transition to solid food seems to be similar to that in North America. 2. Pacifiers seem to be a requirement for all babies and it is not unusual to see 3-4 year olds running around with one in their mouth. I remember visiting my husbands family in Denmark when my son was about 4 months old and his aunt was shocked that he didn't have one so I think this must be a general Scandinavian thing. 3. Babies/toddlers must nap outside, regardless of the season or weather. Swedes believe it keeps kids healthy to sleep in the fresh air. Babies are put in their prams to nap and rolled outside. If it's freezing cold in the middle of winter, they just get bundled up in winter clothes and blankets and out they go. Even if the family lives on the top floor of an apartment building, baby is taken out to the garden for naptime (and usually left alone with occasional checks from the parent). 4. Spanking is illegal and viewed as abusive (which explains a previous posters comment about her Scandinavian friends). 5. Kids are given much more freedom at earlier ages and parents are not paranoid about their kids being kidnapped. It is not unusual to see toddlers outside playing by themselves and young kids walking around town without a parent. I think kids learn to be more self-sufficient and independent earlier here. It's also perfectly fine to leave a sleeping baby in the car while you run in to pay for gas or pick up an older kid from school without worrying that someone will call the police on you. I love this about living here. 6. Kids often share rooms with siblings or even parents. Housing is expensive and houses are generally smaller here that in North America so it's not unusual to have shared bedrooms. That's all I can think of now but I'm sure there are many more.
Thanks for sharing! Wow, there's a lot that's different from how things are here - and different than my expectations for Sweden too.

I find the whole breastfeeding and pacifiers thing really surprising. I agree, with the overall healthy focus of the Swedish population (from what I can see anyway), I would have thought they would encourage extended BFing and no paci's. Just goes to show that children raised with formula and paci's really do turn out just fine.
...But the napping outdoors?!? How does that even work? Yeah in the US people would probably consider THAT child abuse, or negligence. Of course in the US you might have to worry about someone running off with your kid, too. I suppose it might have benefits (maybe it's really refreshing!), but either way that's one custom I won't adopt, haha. Do they stop sleeping outside when they are capable of getting out and running away??
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:50 PM   #24
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That suprises me about France. I was encouraged to co sleep from day 1. Even in the hospital when my son was upset in the in room bassinett (no nursery concept in room babies) the nurse brought him to my in my bed. I have coslept with DS2 since he was born even in the hospital, and with DS1 since he was 4 months old. We have all slept in one big family bed for amost 2 years now us 4, 3,5 years counting time with DS1.
Interesting to know that the norm differs so within the continent. I ended up holding my DS almost all night the first night and trying to stay awake for fear something would happen to him. I don't know what I was thinking. Probably not much/half crazy anyway.

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Originally Posted by 2+2macht4
Ohh another if you do have a csection dont expect pain meds, you get it 12 hours then you get ibuprofen, which they will start weaning while you are still inpatient. Birth stays average 3 days normal 5-7 days c section. Women have 6 weeks pre and 8 weeks post birth fully paid time off. You get kindergeld for each child it is not income baised. You can stay home paid a year 67% income, and your job is garanteed up to 3 years (2 later years unpaid leave).
Wow that's rough. I haven't had a c-section but it sounds pretty awful to have so little pain medication. Even with a vaginal birth I think I was on huge doses of ibuprofen for at least a week (never took the Vicodin they prescribed me though).
On the other hand, that's pretty awesome about getting so many incentives to stay at home for a good long while before returning to work. I had to work right up to my due date unless I wanted to take vacation days; I was able to get about 5 months after DS was born (though in fact I chose to stay at home for the foreseeable future).
Anyway thanks for your responses!
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Old 07-29-2014, 03:44 AM   #25
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Re: Parenting around the world

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Originally Posted by 2+2macht4 View Post
I should add I don't think its is a wide spread norm, co sleeping so long, but also not discouraged and their is a crunchy community, even within the hebammen (midwives).
Yeah - my midwife is much more chill about co-sleeping especially once out of the newborn stage. It's my older doctor who is much more down on it. I'm still not planning on doing it - I move around way too much for it to be safe to have a baby in my bed.

France has a different child culture than Germany though. Children are loved and valued of course but I feel like there is more focus on the couple and their children rather than the children and their parents (if that makes sense).

Just as an aside if anyone on this thread would care to answer - what is the attitude where you are on sex during/ after pregnancy? Because it seems to me to be something that gets quite a bit of attention here. Perineum reeducation classes are offered to all women who have given birth and while this has to do with healthy functioning urinary tract etc. there is also quite a bit of focus on getting back to a regular sex life.

Last edited by littlewoolybaby; 07-29-2014 at 04:03 AM.
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