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ParentData by Emily Oster

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ParentData by Emily Oster

ParentData, Emily Oster

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ParentData makes sense of the latest data about pregnancy and parenting, and, sometimes, COVID-19. It offers numbers and decision-making tools, spreadsheets, statistics, and phrases I claim to invent like “Safety Turducken” and “Situational Fluency.” If this is your jam, you’re in the right place. And I hope that, by listening, you’ll feel more empowered to make your own pregnancy and parenting choices. You can subscribe to the ParentData newsletter at emilyoster.substack.com.
 
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This episode was inspired by a question I get frequently. It’s some version of “I’m pregnant and my doctor said it’s important to work out but that I shouldn’t get my heart rate above 140. Is this true?” Let's look at the data!โดย ParentData
 
Mastitis. If you’ve had it, the word itself prompts a reaction. When I mentioned the topic in our ParentData Slack channel, one team member commented, “Just the thought of this gives me a fever.” For me, the salient memory is adhering to the advice to feed the baby first from the affected breast. I love my son, but I did not love him at that moment…
 
Pacifiers are a big deal but also a source of stress. This is true with infants, when people worry about risks (nipple confusion?) but also see possible benefits (SIDS prevention?). And it’s true later on, when parents become concerned about possible downsides to long-term use. Today I will dive deep, deep into the data.…
 
In this moment, I am still getting a lot of questions about illness and seeing family. I will note, however, they are mostly not about COVID. People — especially those with young kids — are more worried about flu and RSV. The pandemic isn’t over, but it’s reached a place for most people where COVID is part of a broader landscape of illness. The tur…
 
One of my favorite things to do is peruse relevant journals and see what they are up to that I’m not hearing about in the New York Times or in the scary headlines you send me on Instagram DMs. Today I’m going to surface the results of one of those perusals. I spent a few hours in JAMA Pediatrics, a top pediatrics journal. Here’s some of the interes…
 
Several months ago, timed with the paperback publication of The Family Firm, I wrote a post encouraging people to consider what “one thing” they’d like to change to make their daily life a little easier. You guys wrote in with absolutely amazing things — many, many more than we could follow up on. But we picked a few representative cases and did a …
 
Today I’m addressing two of the big panic buttons that have come across my desk recently. First, the paper on hair straighteners and uterine cancer. Second, the FDA removal of Makena, a drug to prevent preterm birth, from the market. Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can als…
 
A vasectomy is a low-risk procedure that provides excellent (permanent, though sometimes reversible) birth control. In an effort to help readers who've written it about it, and anyone else who is thinking this through, today is a vasectomy deep dive.Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.…
 
Today, I'm curious about the question of whether we are sicker than “usual.” For many people, it feels that way. But we also know that fall is always a time of respiratory viruses. I believe there are two potential explanations for the current state. One is that there actually is more childhood illness — especially respiratory illness — than there …
 
Today’s post is an interview with writer Marnie Hanel on her new, incredibly beautiful book about packing lunch boxes for your kids. When this book was first brought to my attention, I scoffed. I am nothing if not a hater of high-pressure lunch packing for children. However: I was convinced to consider the book by the fact that one of my children’s…
 
My inbox, and my Wednesday Instagram stories, are usually a good barometer of where people are in their concerns about COVID. In the past several weeks, nearly all of the questions I get are about vaccines, and specifically how to navigate what sometimes feels like confusing messaging. Today I want to try to help by talking through three somewhat s…
 
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably get a sense that I like to run. As part of this very intense hobby, I recently acquired a pair of “super shoes” — the new-technology racing shoes that supposedly make you faster. When I posted about them, I got questions, and also some skepticism. One commenter told me (nicely) that her husband feels the …
 
Listen, I know you don’t want to think about this. I know you’re settling down with your coffee, hoping this will be about preschool or vaccinations, or really anything except itchy bugs that infest your child’s head or butt. However: sometime later (hopefully much later), you will thank me when you see worms in the toilet and you know what to do. …
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has had impacts on children that go far beyond the effects of disease. We are beginning to get a better understanding of the impacts on school-age children, especially around learning. Many of the readers of this newsletter, however, are parents to smaller children. And if you’re in this group, you might have heard some scary …
 
I get many questions in the category of “I’m worried about [FILL IN THE BLANK]. Should I be?” Sometimes these questions are in the immediate panic category (“A new study said gummy bears cause cancer!”). And some are more of a constant low-level concern. I want to address perhaps the most consistent of the latter: Zika.Want more on pregnancy and pa…
 
Lots of people ask whether Montessori school is better. Or replace “Montessori” with whatever parenting philosophy you want. Today I’m going to start with a dive into the limited data. And then I’ll explain why, in fact, that question is unanswerable and makes no sense to ask. Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsle…
 
Today’s ParentData episode is about ParentData — where we are, where we are going, and answering some questions about how it gets produced.Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and …
 
I have another special treat for you. You’re going to hear an interview that I did on Instagram Live with Dr. Liza Aguiar. Liza is a pediatric urologist and when we asked you to submit questions for her, you sent us hundreds. In this conversation, we were able to dive deep into some of your questions about circumcisions, daytime potty training, nig…
 
Today’s discussion is a heavy one: it’s about stillbirth. Like miscarriage or birth trauma or countless other parts of pregnancy and parenting, this is not a topic that’s easy to discuss. The result of that lack of ease is a lack of discussion. But the lack of discussion can leave people feeling unprepared and alone in loss. It also makes it more d…
 
Today I’m recommending (very briefly!) several books that I think will resonate with this audience. They are all completely different. Hopefully at least one will work for you…Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentDa…
 
Surprise! I'm releasing a talk that I gave at this year’s SXSW EDU conference. It is my hope that everything I write gives you more confidence talking about data and bringing it into your decision-making. This talk focuses on what we can (and cannot) learn from data and how to use it in our everyday lives. If you've ever wondered what it's like as …
 
This is not the first time I’ve discussed Tylenol in pregnancy. It’s not the second time either! But the topic keeps coming up. The latest iteration was a series of scary Instagram posts, some of which reference a possible class-action lawsuit. Yet advisory bodies like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society f…
 
An interview with social worker and writer Miranda Featherstone on eggs, sperm, and sex ed.Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.…
 
My mom, Sharon Oster, died in June. When it happened, I desperately wanted to write something to honor her and my memories, but it was impossible. Now I'm feeling ready.Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData arch…
 
One of the topics I talk and write about most frequently is the value of early allergen introduction in preventing allergy development in children. A natural follow-up question, though, is: What if my child does have an allergy? In today's episode, we're going to dive in to the world of oral immunotherapy (OIT).Want more on pregnancy and parenting?…
 
Continuing with our theme of back-to-school week, today we are talking about homework. Is it important? Or is it just a way to force parents to stay up late finishing their children’s Pilgrim dioramas and reliving our childhoods through Model Magic clay? What does the data say?Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsle…
 
We’re heading into back-to-school week in my neck of the woods, and in honor of that, this week ParentData is school-focused. Today we have an interview with education expert Michael Horn about his new book, From Reopen to Reinvent: (Re)Creating School for Every Child.Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for …
 
Several months ago, the CDC issued new guidelines on developmental milestones that completely eliminated crawling from its list. This change prompted some pushback from physical and occupational therapists, who argued that skipping the crawling milestone is a cause for concern. What is the source of this worry, and is it supported in data? Want mor…
 
About 18% of women in the U.S. use antidepressants regularly. By far the most common antidepressants are the SSRI class. Both pregnancy and the postpartum period can be times of significant stress and mental health challenges, making the question of use of SSRIs during these periods a salient one for many people. Today, I'm going to discuss the dat…
 
At the end of last week, the CDC released new guidelines for COVID, both for the overall population and for schools and child care settings. I want to discuss that today, in the hopes of making clear what it means for parents.Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become…
 
Last week on Instagram, an account with over a million followers shared a “fact”: eating hot dogs in pregnancy increases child brain cancer risk by 33%. I posted immediately to dispel this claim, and to discuss the limitations of the study referenced. But here's the full data dive on this and similar studies.Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Su…
 
Today I want to talk about two fears that parents have been bringing to me: parechovirus and monkeypox. As parents of small children (which most of you are), how much should these change your behavior?Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at parentdata.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for ac…
 
EMFs are everywhere, and so, it seems, is fear of them. But what does the data say? Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at emilyoster.substack.com. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.…
 
Today: A decision tool for labor induction. A review of the new evidence on COVID vaccines and periods. And a slightly longer dive into pain management and natural alternatives to an external cephalic version for breech babies. Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at emilyoster.substack.com. You can …
 
The presence of BA.5 has raised significant concerns about reinfection and prompted questions from readers like “Are we all just going to get COVID every three weeks now?” You know how we can better answer these questions? Data. Let’s go.Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at emilyoster.substack.com…
 
Last week, a reader asked: "My oldest is a big fan of Disney princesses, and I have friends who make a big deal about how girls who like princesses grow up to be less successful than girls who like superheroes. I was wondering if the research supports that?" I got curious reading this. What, precisely, do we know about Disney princesses and their i…
 
After the horrifying events in Uvalde, many people wrote to ask about guns, about their child’s safety, about what they could do. I didn’t think I had the expertise to talk about this, but I thought immediately of Megan Ranney. She’s a practicing emergency physician, Academic Dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, and a longtime r…
 
The TL;DR is that I do not think this paper makes a compelling case that video games are good for cognitive development, any more than other papers make the case that they are bad. Beyond that, it’s revealing about the big-picture issues in asking this question.Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at…
 
When new guidelines like this are released, a natural question is why and, more specifically, what changed in the data or social fabric to push it forward. I want to talk through that today, for both the breastfeeding and sleep guidelines.Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at emilyoster.substack.co…
 
Today I want to dive into two things that, in the moment, you may obsess over even if I doubt they will haunt your dreams later: Cocomelon and balance bikes.Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at emilyoster.substack.com. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive…
 
Last week, the first kids under 5 were vaccinated against COVID. Not surprisingly, I have followed this closely. Today I'm going to try to step back and give people a framework for understanding why and how the vaccines work. My focus in this post is not on convincing people to vaccinate. Instead, I want to help people navigate the details of their…
 
Today the FDA met to discuss emergency use authorization for two vaccines for children six months to 5 years old. They voted this afternoon to approve the vaccines (the vote was 21 to 0 in favor for both vaccines). In preparation for the meeting, the FDA issued reports on the Moderna and Pfizer filings. I want to run through that data today along w…
 
A while ago, I published a newsletter on literacy, with education professor Emily Solari. There were big lessons there, and I’m happy to see (not due to me, obviously) that the importance of phonics has come to the fore in the past couple of years. Many people wrote in to ask whether there were a similar set of lessons for math or, more generally, …
 
Recently, Time named me one of their 100 most influential people of 2022. It’s hard for me to express how honored and, frankly, surprised I was by this. For a while, I thought it might be fake. When I realized it wasn’t, it dawned on me to be happy, but also very, very grateful. Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData news…
 
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