Well, they are obviously not French!

Today was a beautiful day in Provence. The sun was shining and it was a perfect spring day so we set off to the picturesque village of Roussillon, Provence which is classed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It truly is. We decided to stop for lunch on a lovely terrace overlooking the village. It was perfect. The sun was shining, the restaurant had a high chair for BiP and the menu was Baby-Led Weaning friendly.

DSC_3875-300x199Once we had settled in the restaurant started to fill up. BiP was enjoying being outside and then lunch arrived. She sat in her high chair and proceeded to chomp down her lunch with the same enthusiasm she always does without any interference from us. The terrace went silent.  BiP had a large strip of steak that she was chewing on which was causing quite a stir.  We were talking English so quite oblivious to attention BiP was getting until I heard someone gasp (in French) “OMG! The baby is eating steak! By herself!” I decided to not react … this was fun… I gave her an anchovy from the Salad Nicoise which she promptly popped in to her mouth and devoured “Oh she likes everything” exclaimed another diner.

At this point more people had realised what was happening, yes, my baby was feeding herself and more people started to turn and look at BiP. She didn’t care, she wanted my green beans and some potato which I put on her plate and she continued.  Then I heard “Look at that! They are obviously not French” – I smiled to myself.  After BiP finished her lunch it was time for me to feed her, breastfeed her – so I cleaned her up and proceeded to nurse her whilst I enjoyed my coffee in the sun “OMG! She is NOW having the breast” cried the diner next to me to which his partner dismissively said “Well, they are obviously NOT French!” (It’s true, we are not, but is it that obvious?)
When BiP was done it was time to get going, she wanted to walk a bit around the terrace which is when I overheard the couple, who decided we couldn’t possibly be French, debating her age – I then turned around and replied in perfect French “Elle a dix-mois et demi, presque onze mois*” … the blush and the jaw drop was priceless.

I have no idea what they would have said had they seen me ECing BiP in the forest!


* -Translation: “she is 10 and a half months old, almost 11 months”

24 Responses to Well, they are obviously not French!

  1. Love it!!! We had similar scenes in Algeria – people were horrified when they saw us giving food that wasn’t all mushy to Zaki. The amount of times I had to bat my sister in law’s hand away as well – she couldn’t cope with it at all and was absolutely convinced we were going to have a choking baby on our hands. However many times we tried to explain that gagging (as in having a bit of a splutter) and choking are completely different it just wasn’t heard.
    Sounds like you had a fab afternoon – nothing like a bit of shock value on a Saturday afternoon!!

    • mummyinprovence says:

      Thanks! I’ve given up explaining … it’s just what we do! It really is fun watching people’s reaction to a BLW baby!

  2. Great story, I love the part when you spoke French to them when we left.
    I don’t think BLW has a nationality but it certainly goes against many cultural norms in France where children are often treated slightly below pets.
    A couple at the table beside us had their poodle sitting next to them and was being fed scraps while their son was strapped in his pushchair and spoon fed unidentifiable mush in a bowl.
    Each to his own but I prefer to sit at the table with my daughter and feed her the same food I eat.

    • mummyinprovence says:

      For a foodie culture the French certainly don’t give much priority to babies when it comes to dining out.
      BLW works for us and, yes, it’s great fun 🙂

      • It’s exactly the same in Algeria – they have so much wonderful food and the day seems to revolve around it yet kids seem to eat nonsense! I don’t understand when the change comes… or whether it’s a new thing, kind of fashionable, to give your kids rubbish… I worry that the next generation will lose the love of amazing (and healthy) food and become more like it can be here in the UK. Ie. crap!

  3. Good for you! Specially the French retort! 🙂 I had simillar at a party today, Matthew sat in a high chair, devoured 2 whole oatcakes with homous, a handful of whole blueberries, some cocktails sausages, a goats cheese canape, some smoked salmon, and various other things that were not mushed/pureed, while the other 3 babies present aged from 6-17 months were all fed bowls or jars of baby food! All the mothers were fascinated, and kept asking “won’t he choke?” And “how do you know he gets enough?”.

    • mummyinprovence says:

      Thanks! Good for Matthew! He knows what’s good for him! I have no idea what the obsession with quantity is.
      Do you eat exactly the same amount everyday … probably not.

  4. such a spectacle…lol!!! that is a great story 🙂 your BiP is obviously more advanced than the French!

    • mummyinprovence says:

      Hee hee! It was so much fun! I think I’ll have to take her out for lunch more! It was rare to find a highchair in a restaurant. Do love the reactions!

  5. Love, love love this post! Very well written, entertaining and informative. Love your sass and the comment you made in French to the bystanders.

    Despite delivering babies for 6 years,counseling dozens of parents and having two of my own. I did not venture out into baby fed weaning. Our son who had reflux had so many issues with solids and textures perhaps I was scared away.

    Thanks for shedding baby-led weaning and E-cing in such postive lights.

    • mummyinprovence says:

      Thank you Rajka for your kind words!
      I’m interested to hear what you think about BLW and ECing from a medical perspective!

  6. I love it! And I love it that I’m not the only one who loves to shock people. Someone implied that I shouldn’t be so public with my parenting as it makes other “alternative” parents look bad. Personally, I think that you probably made a difference to those people and maybe they’ll think differently the next time they are feeding a child! Or at least they won’t think it’s so strange the next time they see it.

    • mummyinprovence says:

      I can’t believe someone would tell you not to be so “public” with your parenting? Just because what we do isn’t considered “mainstream” whatever that means doesn’t mean that we should hide our methods! I’d like to think that some of those people who were staring at BiP eating would take that experience away and think about it but I fear that it has already been dismissed as a crazy “foreign” technique! Each to their own! What works for us works for us! Hold your head high mama …

  7. Hysterical! I can’t wait (almost) for P to be able to eat out with us like that! (I’m totally happy with BFing right now, and will be sad when she’s old enough to eat on her own… but still excited, sort of!)

    • mummyinprovence says:

      It is bittersweet when they start eating – it is so much fun but it is a sign that they are growing up! BiP has been an awesome eater since day 1 of BLW but I can assure you that she still breastfeeds with about the same frequency as she did pre-solids!

      Please keep me posted on how your BLW baby gets on when you start!

    • mummyinprovence says:

      Hahaha! You will encounter your very own “She’s not French” experiences soon enough!

  8. Headed over here from the BLWBlog. I LOVE the comments we get doing BLW with Ben. Once, at a Chilis, I gave Ben a slice of quesadilla and the couple sitting behind us narrated his whole meal!

    “Oh goodness, look at that baby with the quesadilla! Wow, look at him sucking away! Oh he got some off. Look at him chew it up! Oh look, he broke it in half and now he has two pieces! Look how excited he is! Man, he’s really devouring that!”

    I was out with my dad and greatgrandma and the three of us could not stop laughing, but Ben just wanted to eat his quesadilla. 🙂

    • mummyinprovence says:

      That’s a great story! I love the way that our little ones are totally oblivious to the attention and stir they create!

      Now I want quesadilla!

    • I live in NYC, and am the mother of a 5-month old. NYC restaurants are often very baby-unfriendly environments too…too crowded, no high-chairs, no bathroom changing-tables. It’s a pain, but it’s just part of life in the City, and so we take our baby along with us regardless. When we are out, the commentary and collective-advice-giving never ceases to amaze me. Why do people feel they have a right to comment? I don’t get it. I breastfeed my baby & haven’t weaned her yet or started any solid food, but am just learning about BLW methods…we’ll see.

      • mummyinprovence says:

        I have a changing mat in my diaper bag and I have also started using a cloth harness that goes over most chairs when out with BiP to avoid having her on my lap when restaurants don’t have a high chair – it really is a life saver! If you do choose to BLW it really is a life saver!

        Unsolicited advice is something that drives me nuts! Just today I had a waiter yell “NO! That’s spicy! She CAN’T eat that!” whilst BiP was chomping on her lunch – she was loving it and I simply smiled and said “she likes it, if she didn’t she wouldn’t eat it!” He was amazed. Annoyingly, the day I announced my pregnancy I started to receive “advice” ranging from the obvious to the mundane to the downright dangerous and outdated – I guess it comes with the territory! I’ve learnt to smile and nod.

        Keep me posted if you do decide to BLW your baby!

    • Ameena Falchetto says:

      Glad you liked it! LOTS more of those 🙂

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