On Raising A Bicultural Baby

Bicultural: of, relating to, or including two distinct cultures.

Sixtine is French. And she is also Canadian. I don’t know if it is me and my naturally-inclined way of stressing out, or if other first-time mothers of bicultural children have felt this way but it can be very overwhelming to make parenting choices when both cultures don’t see eye to eye.

It affects every aspect of everyday life, especially in the food department…To give you an idea, food is not introduced the same way, one tells me that 3 bottles of 7oz a day is enough and the other tells me that milk should be baby’s main source of nutrition, one is more into attachment parenting, the other favorites independence in children…One sells formula at about 12 euros, one sells it at about 30ish dollars which tells me that Canadian want to discourage women to formula-feed or encourage them to breastfeed if you prefer.

As a first-time mum, (of bicultural children or not), it can be tough to feel confident with your choices, let alone when cultures come into it. I feel divided and overwhelmed.I just want to do the right thing. But what is the right thing? My husband tells me to keep doing what I am doing, but do I know what I am doing?


  1. I’m telling you! You do!!!!!!

  2. You have to ignore everything around you. The price of formula is due to milk quota,not to discourage parents from giving it to their kids. Some of the cultural differences are amplified because you think it is cultural, but it is not. I had to stop thinking about what everyone else was doing and find confidence in my own parenting style and listen to my own instincts. It is sometimes hard to do, but well worth it. Keep doing what you are doing, you are a great Mom.

    • I will try, but easier said than done. I just feel lost in translation…I wonder if our feeding routine is right. And she has been showing very little interest in drinking milk (except first and last bottle of the day). She seems happy, active and growing though. I am just a “worrywart”! Thank you for your encouraging words.

      • It is way easier to say than do. I didn’t grow up in Canada, and when I had my little one, I felt like I was doing everything polar opposite to everyone around me. I finally just gave up reading books, and only spoke to other Moms that I felt really comfortable talking to. There is no one right way, and every child is different, she is the only one you really need to be listening to. Keep positive, and enjoy being back home! So Jealous you live above H&M!!!

      • Where did you grow up? I think you are right, I will try to talk more about my concerns with other mums rather than get crazy over the internet! Never really helps anyways.

        Your last sentence made me laugh! I am so going to miss that! I have so many shops right there and great boutiques for babies and children as well. I love French fashion! Luckily, I will stille be able to order online or ask my families to send me some on occasions…

      • Everywhere! We moved every 3 years, I like to refer myself as an actual walking melting pot. I LOVE French fashion too – I admit we are not a fashionable country,lol!

  3. mymyblue says:

    Although we are both French, we are raising a french baby abroad, so we do have the same dilemna: do I listen to my family back in France or do I follow my country of residence guidelines??
    My advice is to do what you feel is best, just listen to your intuition. Sometimes your intuition will tell you to follow Canadian way of doing things, and sometimes it will tell you to follow the French way. Just trust in your intuition as a mother. For example, you want to formula feed Sixtine, then bring home some french formula. Besides, not everything is this or that: you can make a “mega-mix of both views” if it’s what you want to do. For example, you can raise Sixtine as an independant child with some attachment parenting. Just follow your guts 🙂 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

  4. Oh thank you for this post! My daughter Coralie is Franco-Americen being raised in the British Virgin Islands, a mouthful just to type! Having a Montessori background helps give me personal roots to work from, but my partner and I do have our clashing moments, usually about food and bedtimes. As much as I am looking forward to our up coming annual month in Normandy, I am already bracing for the question and comments from friends and family regarding C’s snacking and early bedtime. Still, as a whole, I much prefer raising my daughter outside of the US, so it is a small compromise I am willing to make.

    • I am glad you could relate to this post to some extent! I am pretty lucky as my husband supports all my parenting choices, I think I am the one worrying about everything really…
      Are you French or American? What about C’s snacking?

      • I’m the American, he’s the Frenchy. And to be fair, he is very supportive, even of all my quirky Montessori ideas. But being raised so differently does make it complicated sometimes. As far as the snacking goes, it seems generally us Americans tend to graze throughout the day, while the French are more meal based. Recentlybthough, I did cut down down on some of Coralie’s snacking, and found she eat much better at meal time, even sitting for longer periods. So I am happy to try out new things.

  5. You can listen to the French; you can listen to the Canadians; you can drive yourself crazy trying to listen to both; or you can listen to that beautiful baby of yours. I know who I’d vote for.

  6. I’m sure you are doing very well! And I’m pretty sure that every mom around, bi-cultural or not, is always second-guessing herself.

    I’m reading Bringing Up Bebe right now. As a French mom raising kids in Canada just like you I find it to be a very interesting read. It’s the view of an American mom on the French way to educate children. I like that the author is telling her story, it’s not a conventional parenting book where someone is telling you what to do with your kids. Of course, some of what she writes has to be taken with a grain of salt.

    Since I’m in Canada, I’ve chosen to follow the Canadian guidelines in priority. In particular for the food department that you mention in your post. I think I am more a “Canadian mom” but I’m sure that my French education influences the choices I make. And when I’m not happy with what I see in Canada… I go see how they do it in France!

    • Thank you for your nice comment Laure!
      I have been wanting to read this book and will do as soon as I am done reading French Kids Eat Everything.
      I have decided to feed her the French way and we’ll see how that goes!

  7. I’d say go with your guts. I know it can be hard sometimes, we always have that doubt about doing the right thing but trust me, you are doing the right thing. You’re an awesome mum. Your baby’s smiles are the proof 🙂
    I’m going through the same things myself. My kids are franco-australian. I’m French, hubby’s Australian and we live in Australia. The kids are being raised in a mix of both cultures but it’s not always easy to balance it all out. I’m the only one they get the ‘French-ness’ from but I’m also the person they spend the most time with so I’m hoping it’ll still rub off on them a little. When my eldest was born, I hardly spoke French to her and I followed all the Australian ways of dealing with babies. I think I felt that living in Australia, I should let her be Australian and nothing else but then I realised that being French was also a big part of who she was. So now, I only speak French to her and I try to infuse a little bit of French culture to her. We’ve also taken a French approach to meal times and some other day-to-day routines, for some others we’re going the Australian way. I guess we’re just doing what feels right and what makes us all happy. I’m hoping my children will get a good mix of both cultures and become their own unique little persons. Only time will tell us how that goes 🙂
    Best of luck with it all and let us know how you go 🙂

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