Top cultural and mental differences between Poland and France in bringing up a baby

My observations about cultural and mental differences in bringing up a baby in France being an expat. 

Being a new parent is the best role I would have dreamed to have. However, it’s also the most challenging and it opens the imperfect area of my life I entered. But again, it’s the most rewarding role. I am enjoying it with all the ups and downs happening on the way. 

Being the first time parent is a great lesson that life brings us. It teaches us so much about the other people, the miracle of life but also and especially about us. What we are capable of doing, where are our limits and… if we can do the compromises, if we can share responsibilities, work and love, if we can accept the frustrations that come with compromises, if we can ask for help and accept the pure love which seems so obvious but isn’t. Can we also simply in some moments just… let go… 

Top cultural and mental differences between Poland and France in bringing up a baby.Anyway, today I wanted to share with you some of my observations and learnings I am doing every day about having a baby in France (not yet a kid) and ‘staying sane’ with myself. 

Firstly, I am a Pole living in France and therefore there is a huge cultural difference between bringing up a baby in France and Poland. This is a fascinating, challenging, and rewarding situation I could wish for. 

Secondly, as you probably know I love travelling, road trips, activities and I struggle to sit in one place or have very lazy weekends. But if you have a newborn and a real baby, you need to change well adapt many things…. 

How to do it? How to ensure your baby’s priorities and your own mental health? Well, I don’t know….what I know and what has started to work for us the best is the compromise and ongoing work on ourselves accepting imperfections and learning from mistakes…. Never judging ourselves or others but paying attention and the most important… not to forget about the love, enjoying every moment, appreciating the little things and gifts that life brings… 

Today, I want to share with you my observations about the cultural differences in bringing up a baby in Poland and in France. 

Each one is good, the French way is obviously very strange for me but as I live in France and because Léa has a French dad who wants to respect them. At the end of the day, I feel lucky to be exposed to 2 cultures and be able to choose the best from both of them… Again with a hard work of compromises, putting your pride away, observing and learning, and never judging yourself and others… We are all humans… 

So, here is my small summary, the famous list of the top cultural differences in bringing up a baby in France and Poland. Check out what shocked me about bringing a baby in France here and let me know what you think… 

  • Firstly, milk! In Poland, we tend to give only warm, hot milk. In France, already in the hospital… they showed me that the milk of room temperature is advised and highly recommended. Since I bought the warm milk heater, while getting prepared for the baby, I used it few times when my beloved Polish parents visited me… they were happy😁 and I was calm😉. I thought the difference might come from the fact that there are climate differences between our countries. While in France you get heatwave in summer and winter tend to be mild, Poland has very cold winters. Obviously you need warm food and milk… 

    The temperature of the milk for a baby

      The temperature of the milk for a baby. Image by
  • Again about the milk. I got the impression that there is huge pressure on breastfeeding a baby in Poland. While in France, there is no judgment. It’s even not recommended as I guess it becomes a problem when Mum needs to come back to work very quickly…

    The pressure of breastfeeding between Poland and France
    The pressure of breastfeeding between Poland and France. Image by
  • Yes, a huge and shocking difference between Poland and France is the length of maternity leave. I’m not saying which solution is better. But 3 months after the baby is born, the new mum needs to leave it with other people who are heartbreaking for me. On the contrary, staying with the baby for a whole year might be too much… For mum, for a baby, for the mental health of the whole family…

    The length of maternity leave in France and Poland
    The length of maternity leave in France and Poland. Image by
  • Blanket or sleeping bag…. OMG… I have never felt worse when after giving birth, still in the hospital they almost yield at me for using the blanket covering my very little baby. Of course, I understand the dangers of babies stop breathing unconsciously and the preferences of sleeping bags. I use it now myself. They are very practical. However, I was brought up sleeping in a bed with a little duvet as well as my siblings and cousins so it was obvious to me I’ll get little cute duvet for my baby… But not. I learned to pronounce in French and use gigoteous.

    Baby sleeping bag or blanket
    Baby sleeping bag or blanket. Image by
  • Baby… You are the most precious and wonderful gift, but we have our lives to carry on😉 I got the impression that when the baby is born in Poland, parents stop their social life, struggle to leave a baby, not to mention babysitting or taking little one for a late BBQ with friends. In France, it’s normal to get babysitter if you want to go out or to take a baby, kid for a late party with friends. You just need to remember to pack a pyjama 😉. 

    Keeping social life with a newborn
    Keeping social life with a newborn. Image by
  • Baby food… It was shocking for me to feed my baby with mango, kiwi, pineapple starting from the 6 months. Those exotic fruits didn’t exist in Poland when I was a baby and I guess even if they are easily accessible for parents now, they are not the first choice of the food for a baby in Poland

    Exotic foods for a baby half polish
    Exotic foods for a baby half Polish. Image by
  • Different feeding routine. Obviously, because of the cultural differences, there are many ways of feeding routine between Poland and France. This was very hard for me to adapt. I was brought up differently, my sister with the experience of having 3 boys, shared with me many tips but in France people eat differently. I needed to understand and accept that my baby girl lives in France now and needs to be able to adapt to the French lifestyle. In France, it’s recommended that the babies… Drink milk in the morning, have lunch at noon plus milk or yogurt. They have afternoon snacks either biscuit or fruits plus yogurt. Evening they get a warm dinner. Some babies will still have milk before going to bed. In Poland, I think there is a second breakfast and not a warm dinner, milk during the night. But at the end of the day, the most important is to be attentive and pay attention to what the baby shows you. 

    Different baby eating routines in France and Poland
    Different baby eating routines in France and Poland. Image by
  • If ‘nounou’… then only in France. I know that the situation in Poland is changing and more and more parents use the services of nanny but the whole system is not as advanced, complicated yet well organized as in France. In France, if you are searching for services to help you look after your baby you can choose between… obviously staying at home with a baby on not paid congé parental. If you are lucky, you can get a place in a crèche which is like a żłobek in Poland. You can find walk-in or live in nanny. And lastly my favourite is the famous nounou who lives nearby and looking after few kids. So your baby has the proper attention of the nanny but also opportunities to play with kids, learn to share, wait, care for others etc… But it all has its price. Those services in France are expensive and complicated to set up. You need to become a real employer and for a parent without any tax, law experience it’s complicated. Thankfully, there are currently few services that help you a lot. I use Top-Assmat that tells me every month that what I need to do. It’s brilliant and after paying a monthly few, it helps you to produce payslip and deal with CAF and pajemploi

    Nounou in France
    Nounou in France. Image by
  • 4 hours per day… If you are lucky and well organized, this is an amount of time you can spend with your baby per day. One hour before you put your baby to crèche or nanny for 8am and 3 – 4hours once you pick up the baby after work at 5 or 6pm…than back at hone: a short play time together, dinner, bath and the baby is ready for the bed… In Poland, parents tend to leave work earlier, not all I understand, but majority. My sister starts very early and leaves her work at 2.30pm, the same is with my sister-in-law. It’s great that Polish parents have afternoons at home but in Poland you have to start work early and there are no long lunch breaks as in France… 

    Only 4 hours together per day. Parents working late
    Only 4 hours together per day. Parents working late. Image by
  • Anything else? 
  • I hope you liked my summary of the top cultural and mental differences between Poland and France in bringing up a baby. Did you know any of them? Do you have other experiences? Please let me know as everyday I am open to new ideas, challenges… I want to learn and develop…. Thank you! 



    I am a Polish girl who felt in love with Lyon from the first sight! Jadorelyon is my way of exploring France, the French way of life, their cuisine, sharing the experience from visiting beautiful places in France. Jadorelyon is my new way of adding some Polish influence into French lives and watching on how they like it...

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