Update: Are Pacifiers Good, Bad, or Meh?

Emily Oster

13 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

Update: Are Pacifiers Good, Bad, or Meh?

What the data says

Emily Oster

13 min Read

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a restful and healthy weekend.

I’m often asked questions about pacifiers. Do they cause nipple confusion? Do they prevent SIDS? Do they impact language development? Do they mess up your teeth? Will my kid need one forever — and how do we cut it out? So today, I’m bringing back an old favorite from the archive to hopefully help you feel less worried and more informed about the risks and benefits of pacifiers and thumb-sucking.


Pacifiers: The Good, the Bad, and the Sucky

November 18, 2021

When my children were infants, I recall not having a pacifier right now as a major parenting fear, perhaps due to the frequency with which I lost them. One result was we had them around everywhere. Even years later, I would occasionally find a lone pacifier in the corner of some unused luggage or a hidden pocket of a jacket. When I said I was going to write about pacifiers, someone messaged to ask if I would please address the question of whether they really needed to change them out every six weeks. The answer is no, although you should watch for rips or other physical damage and dispose of them if you see that. But my first thought in reading the question was What kind of wizard has held on to a pacifier for six weeks?!

My point is, 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 when they need to take the pacifier away, about possible downsides to long-term use.

Today I will dive deep, deep into the world of pacifiers. First, pacifiers in infancy. Second, pacifiers in older kids. And, yes, we’ll talk about thumb-sucking, too.

Pacifiers in infancy: Pacification, nipple confusion, and SIDS

The primary reason parents use pacifiers for infants is to, well, pacify them — calm them down, have them cry less, etc. A lot of experience suggests this works, and there is randomized trial evidence that pacifiers are helpful during (for example) painful procedures like blood draws. Generally, the “soothing” value of the pacifier is well-established.

If this were the only consideration with pacifiers, the stress level would be dialed way down. If you want to pacify your kid, use it. If not, don’t. What ups the stress are the two other considerations. First, the fear of “nipple confusion” — that using a pacifier will make it less likely that you breastfeed successfully. Second, the possible benefits in terms of SIDS reduction. If you really go down the rabbit hole, you see the links between these: breastfeeding is thought to lower SIDS, so if pacifiers also lower SIDS risk but also lower breastfeeding success… This rabbit hole is a lot even in theory, let alone when you first arrive home with a three-day-old baby.

The good news is that these trade-offs are not what they are made out to be, mostly because nipple confusion is not supported in the data.

I dove into the topic of nipple confusion in Cribsheet. This is a classic example of correlation-is-not-causation. It’s true that infants who use a pacifier are less likely to breastfeed; those things are correlated. However, the relationship does not seem to be causal: in randomized trials, discouraging pacifier use has no impact on breastfeeding. This has been seen in multiple trials and is summarized in a meta-analysis.

Perhaps my favorite of the individual studies of breastfeeding and pacifier use is this one, which included 281 women in Quebec, randomized into either discouraging or not discouraging pacifier use. The researchers found that pacifier use was less common when it was discouraged but that there was no difference in breastfeeding rates. This is the randomized conclusion, which echoes others: no causal link. What I like about the paper, though, is that it also compares breastfeeding rates at three months for moms who choose to use a pacifier or not without the randomization. Basically, it looks at the correlations directly.

The graph below (from my book) shows the two analyses — the randomized and non-randomized. If you focus only on the non-randomized data, it looks like pacifier use lowers breastfeeding rates. But that’s just a correlation! And we know that, because we see the randomized data in the same population.

Conclusion: Pacifiers do not cause nipple confusion or interfere with breastfeeding. They don’t! Stop worrying about this!

On the flip side, you’ll hear that pacifiers can reduce SIDS risk. These conclusions are based not on randomized data but on case-control studies (example meta-analysis here). The results are consistent in showing that pacifier use is associated with a lower risk of SIDS (perhaps a 10% reduction), although without randomization it is challenging to draw very strong conclusions.

Overall: pacifiers in infancy offer some obvious upsides (soothing) and some possible upsides (SIDS reduction) and do not appear to have risks. So they are worth trying! Some babies do not take to them well, and you shouldn’t panic about that either.

Pacifiers in babyhood: A note on sleep

If you use a pacifier, as your child ages, there may come a time when the pacifier starts to fall out of their mouth at night and they cry. A 2-year-old can reach around the crib or bed and find the pacifier again, but a six-month-old often cannot. And you may find yourself being called in to put the pacifier back in their mouth many, many times.

How should you deal with this?

First, at this stage the highest risk of SIDS has passed, so the value of the pacifier beyond the soothing part has diminished. Second — I’ll go into this more below — at this age there isn’t any strong reason for your child not to use a pacifier at night. Therefore … what to do about it is entirely up to you.

There are really two options.

Option 1: Go in and replace the pacifier when it falls out.

Option 2: Do not go in and replace the pacifier when it falls out.

The second option is, basically, a form of sleep training. If you do this, your baby will cry for a while, and then a couple of days in, they will figure it out. I’ve written more about sleep training in general here; this is just a slight variation.

The downside of option 2 is the crying. The downside of option 1 is you may kind of have to do it forever. Which you choose will probably depend on the consistency with which this happens. If it happens once or twice, replacing it is probably a good idea. If you find you have to go into your baby’s room 15 times every night, this may be unsustainable.

One important note: If you face this choice, make it thoughtfully and stick to it. Just like with infant sleep in general, you’ll make your life harder if you swap back and forth between things. Your baby will be confused, it will take longer to get where you want to go, and you’ll be tired. Trust me, and learn from my first baby mistakes.

Pacifiers (and fingers/thumbs) in toddlers

Many babies who use pacifiers in sleeping drop them after infancy. But not all, and pacifier use is common among toddlers, through the age of 3, 4, or beyond. Use of pacifiers in this age range is often bundled together with finger- or thumb-sucking as “non-nutritive sucking” behaviors. And the questions loom: Are these behaviors risky? If so, why? And what could you do about them?

There are three primary downsides linked to pacifier use: concerns about language development, ear infection risk, and stuff about teeth. Thumb- and finger-sucking concerns largely focus on the teeth part of this.

Up-front caveat to everything: nothing below is randomized. Studies here rely on observational data — comparing kids who use pacifiers or suck their thumbs to those who do not. The result is that, at a minimum, we want to think very carefully about what the biases are in the data and what we can really learn from it.

Language development

In principle, you can imagine that using a pacifier frequently would impair language development. In practice, the data doesn’t look like it supports this concern. Here’s one study, which shows no differences in speech patterns between habitual pacifier users and others. Another showed a slightly elevated risk of “atypical speech errors” but found no other differences, and even this difference appeared only in younger children and is associated only with prolonged daytime use, not nighttime use.

In general, I read from these findings limited reasons to be concerned about language development links to pacifiers.

Ear infections

Many studies have pointed to pacifier use as a risk factor for ear infections (otitis media). These aren’t randomized, as noted; instead, they estimate what factors are linked to development of ear infections in children.

One example is a meta-analysis from 1996, which looks at the links between ear infections and many different variables. Pacifier use was associated with a slightly increased risk of ear infections, though not nearly as strongly associated as day care outside the home, family history of ear infections, or parental smoking. Other studies echo these basic patterns.

These citations are fairly old, and the way we treat ear infections has changed some. A more recent study, from 2008, shows a very moderate and not significant increase in ear infections associated with pacifier use (32% of children who do not use a pacifier developed an ear infection over four years, versus 35% with a pacifier). All together, this suggests a small, plausible but not certain link between pacifier use and ear infections. The fact is, a lot of kids get an ear infection even without using a pacifier. Using one could increase it a little, but it probably matters much, much less than other factors like basic underlying predisposition.

Teeth

The main concern about pacifier use and thumb- or finger-sucking is the effect on teeth. This is certainly the area with the most data.

There are many studies, going back to at least the 1970s, showing links between pacifier use and “malocclusion” (crooked teeth). Pacifier use, and finger- and thumb-sucking, are associated with various teeth issues (overbite, overjet, etc.). One study, for example, followed 80 mother-infant pairs, collected data on their pacifier use (and other variables), and measured dental features up through 30 months. It found pacifier use and finger-sucking associated with various dental issues through 30 months.

Among the larger studies is one in Hong Kong that collected data on 1,114 children ages 2 through 5 and, again, found a link between pacifier and finger/thumb sucking and dental issues (overbite, open bite, etc.). And a review from 2016 argues for consistent links between both pacifier and finger-sucking and dental issues in the primary (i.e. baby) teeth. In that review, pacifier use was more problematic than finger-sucking.

Although there is a fair amount of it, the quality of this evidence isn’t airtight. A 2018 review concluded with “High level of evidence of the effect of sucking habits on orofacial structures is missing.” In lay terms, the evidence they found in either direction wasn’t very good. And it’s difficult to think about magnitudes here, especially as they relate to functional dental structures. A doubling of the risk of a class II incisor relationship doesn’t obviously link to a particular outcome.

Part of the reason this is held up as the most likely consequence of pacifier usage or thumb-sucking is that it makes sense mechanically. It isn’t surprising to think that sucking on something that puts pressure on your teeth would change the shape of the mouth.

So … do you need to cut it out? And how?

Looking at this in totality, I see a mixed bag. Ongoing pacifier use or finger-sucking seems to have some impacts on teeth shape. How important this impact is — how you weigh it against the fact that your child likes the pacifier — seems ambiguous to me. Your child may be more likely to need braces as a result, but they also may well need them anyway.

Should you get rid of the pacifier, though? Is it necessary? On the one hand: at some point, most kids do give it up on their own. Peer pressure from friends, general aging — even without intervention, your 6-year-old is not likely to continue to want a pacifier. So you could just wait. On the other hand, the concerns about pacifier use and teeth are much more significantly cited with ongoing use past two or three years (some citations suggest the long-term effects appear only after four years). This means that worrying that your 13-month-old is still using a pacifier is unnecessary.

If you find yourself with a child with a pacifier, however, or with a child who sucks their thumb, what can you do about it? The answer actually differs a bit between pacifier and fingers.

In the case of pacifiers, I could find no particular studies on how to get kids to quit. I suspect this is because the only real intervention is … to take it away. This will work if you stick with it, although it will make your child unhappy. In this way, it is not dissimilar to encouraging various other changes in behavior in toddlers and young children. You probably do not want to quit cold turkey with no warning, but there are common-sense approaches (limit pacifier use to certain areas of the house, use a reward chart, get a gift to replace it, etc.).

Finger- and thumb-sucking are more complicated. For one thing, they do sometimes persist longer. And for another, you cannot take away the fingers. As a result, there is slightly more evidence on interventions to limit it, though the evidence is generally of fairly poor quality. It shows some moderate impact of both positive and negative reinforcement and of physical interventions like a palatal expander. This is a metal brace that is inserted in the mouth to make thumb-sucking less comfortable, and it will be a last resort for most people.

This feels a bit like the situation where your child will not poop on the toilet (“stool toileting refusal”). You kind of have to muddle through and hope you eventually hit on a reward/consequence/encouragement/bribe strategy that works.

The bottom line

  • Pacifiers in infancy do not cause nipple confusion, they might have some small positive impact on SIDS rates, and they pacify your child. Recommend!
  • Continued pacifier use through toddlerhood may have some negative impacts on dental structures.
  • Thumb- or finger-sucking also has some impacts on dental structures.
  • These impacts should be balanced against benefits (kids like their pacifiers/thumbs) in a given case.
  • No magic wand for getting kids to give up pacifiers or thumbs. If it’s important to you, find the bribe that works.
A sitting infant holding up pointer fingers on both hands points to something off-camera.

Oct 07 2022

1 min read

Are Nipple Shields During Breastfeeding Bad?

Ask ParentData

Emily Oster
Preteens watch a movie with popcorn at a slumber party.

May 27 2022

4 min read

SIDS Prevention Follow-up

Pacifiers, Heat, and Fans

Emily Oster
Woman looks worried while breastfeeding

Dec 05 2023

3 min read

What Can I Do if I Have Insufficient Glandular Tissue?

I am two weeks postpartum and was just diagnosed with “insufficient glandular tissue.” Is there any data regarding how to Read more

Emily Oster
A new parent in a hospital beds holds a baby during skin to skin contact.

Jan 02 2024

9 min read

Baby-Friendly Hospitals

In 1991 the World Health Organization and Unicef launched a program — the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) — that was designed Read more

Emily Oster

Instagram

left right
Exciting news! We have new, high-quality data that says it’s safe to take Tylenol during pregnancy and there is no link between Tylenol exposure and neurodevelopmental issues in kids. Comment “Link” for a DM to an article exploring this groundbreaking study.

While doctors have long said Tylenol was safe, confusing studies, panic headlines, and even a lawsuit have continually stoked fears in parents. As a result, many pregnant women have chosen not to take it, even if it would help them.

This is why good data is so important! When we can trust the data, we can trust our choices. And this study shows there is no blame to be placed on pregnant women here. So if you have a migraine or fever, please take your Tylenol.

#tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancyhealth #pregnancytips #parentdata #emilyoster

Exciting news! We have new, high-quality data that says it’s safe to take Tylenol during pregnancy and there is no link between Tylenol exposure and neurodevelopmental issues in kids. Comment “Link” for a DM to an article exploring this groundbreaking study.

While doctors have long said Tylenol was safe, confusing studies, panic headlines, and even a lawsuit have continually stoked fears in parents. As a result, many pregnant women have chosen not to take it, even if it would help them.

This is why good data is so important! When we can trust the data, we can trust our choices. And this study shows there is no blame to be placed on pregnant women here. So if you have a migraine or fever, please take your Tylenol.

#tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancyhealth #pregnancytips #parentdata #emilyoster
...

How many words should kids say — and when? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about language development!

For this graph, researchers used a standardized measure of vocabulary size. Parents were given a survey and checked off all the words and sentences they have heard their child say.

They found that the average child—the 50th percentile line—at 24 months has about 300 words. A child at the 10th percentile—near the bottom of the distribution—has only about 50 words. On the other end, a child at the 90th percentile has close to 600 words. One main takeaway from these graphs is the explosion of language after fourteen or sixteen months. 

What’s valuable about this data is it can give us something beyond a general guideline about when to consider early intervention, and also provide reassurance that there is a significant range in this distribution at all young ages. 

#cribsheet #emilyoster #parentdata #languagedevelopment #firstwords

How many words should kids say — and when? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about language development!

For this graph, researchers used a standardized measure of vocabulary size. Parents were given a survey and checked off all the words and sentences they have heard their child say.

They found that the average child—the 50th percentile line—at 24 months has about 300 words. A child at the 10th percentile—near the bottom of the distribution—has only about 50 words. On the other end, a child at the 90th percentile has close to 600 words. One main takeaway from these graphs is the explosion of language after fourteen or sixteen months.

What’s valuable about this data is it can give us something beyond a general guideline about when to consider early intervention, and also provide reassurance that there is a significant range in this distribution at all young ages.

#cribsheet #emilyoster #parentdata #languagedevelopment #firstwords
...

I saw this and literally laughed out loud 😂 Thank you @adamgrant for sharing this gem! Someone let me know who originally created this masterpiece so I can give them the proper credit.

I saw this and literally laughed out loud 😂 Thank you @adamgrant for sharing this gem! Someone let me know who originally created this masterpiece so I can give them the proper credit. ...

Perimenopause comes with a whole host of symptoms, like brain fog, low sex drive, poor energy, and loss of muscle mass. These symptoms can be extremely bothersome and hard to treat. Could testosterone help? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about the data on testosterone treatment for women in perimenopause.

#perimenopause #perimenopausehealth #womenshealth #hormoneimbalance #emilyoster #parentdata

Perimenopause comes with a whole host of symptoms, like brain fog, low sex drive, poor energy, and loss of muscle mass. These symptoms can be extremely bothersome and hard to treat. Could testosterone help? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about the data on testosterone treatment for women in perimenopause.

#perimenopause #perimenopausehealth #womenshealth #hormoneimbalance #emilyoster #parentdata
...

What age is best to start swim lessons? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about water safety for children 💦

Summer is quickly approaching! You might be wondering if it’s the right time to have your kid start swim lessons. The AAP recommends starting between 1 and 4 years old. This is largely based on a randomized trial where young children were put into 8 or 12 weeks of swim lessons. They found that swimming ability and water safety reactions improve in both groups, and more so in the 12 weeks group.

Below this age range though, they are too young to actually learn how to swim. It’s fine to bring your baby into the pool (if you’re holding them) and they might like the water. But starting formal safety-oriented swim lessons before this age isn’t likely to be very helpful.

Most importantly, no matter how old your kid is or how good of a swimmer they are, adult supervision is always necessary!

#swimlessons #watersafety #kidsswimminglessons #poolsafety #emilyoster #parentdata

What age is best to start swim lessons? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about water safety for children 💦

Summer is quickly approaching! You might be wondering if it’s the right time to have your kid start swim lessons. The AAP recommends starting between 1 and 4 years old. This is largely based on a randomized trial where young children were put into 8 or 12 weeks of swim lessons. They found that swimming ability and water safety reactions improve in both groups, and more so in the 12 weeks group.

Below this age range though, they are too young to actually learn how to swim. It’s fine to bring your baby into the pool (if you’re holding them) and they might like the water. But starting formal safety-oriented swim lessons before this age isn’t likely to be very helpful.

Most importantly, no matter how old your kid is or how good of a swimmer they are, adult supervision is always necessary!

#swimlessons #watersafety #kidsswimminglessons #poolsafety #emilyoster #parentdata
...

Can babies have salt? 🧂 While babies don’t need extra salt beyond what’s in breast milk or formula, the risks of salt toxicity from normal foods are minimal. There are concerns about higher blood pressure in the long term due to a higher salt diet in the first year, but the data on these is not super compelling and the differences are small.

Like with most things, moderation is key! Avoid very salty chips or olives or saltines with your infant. But if you’re doing baby-led weaning, it’s okay for them to share your lightly salted meals. Your baby does not need their own, unsalted, chicken if you’re making yourself a roast. Just skip the super salty stuff.

 #emilyoster #parentdata #childnutrition #babynutrition #foodforkids

Can babies have salt? 🧂 While babies don’t need extra salt beyond what’s in breast milk or formula, the risks of salt toxicity from normal foods are minimal. There are concerns about higher blood pressure in the long term due to a higher salt diet in the first year, but the data on these is not super compelling and the differences are small.

Like with most things, moderation is key! Avoid very salty chips or olives or saltines with your infant. But if you’re doing baby-led weaning, it’s okay for them to share your lightly salted meals. Your baby does not need their own, unsalted, chicken if you’re making yourself a roast. Just skip the super salty stuff.

#emilyoster #parentdata #childnutrition #babynutrition #foodforkids
...

Is sleep training bad? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article breaking down the data on sleep training 😴

Among parenting topics, sleep training is one of the most divisive. Ultimately, it’s important to know that studies looking at the short- and long-term effects of sleep training show no evidence of harm. The data actually shows it can improve infant sleep and lower parental depression.

Even so, while sleep training can be a great option, it will not be for everyone. Just as people can feel judged for sleep training, they can feel judged for not doing it. Engaging in any parenting behavior because it’s what’s expected of you is not a good idea. You have to do what works best for your family! If that’s sleep training, make a plan and implement it. If not, that’s okay too.

What’s your experience with sleep training? Did you feel judged for your decision to do (or not do) it?

#sleeptraining #newparents #babysleep #emilyoster #parentdata

Is sleep training bad? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article breaking down the data on sleep training 😴

Among parenting topics, sleep training is one of the most divisive. Ultimately, it’s important to know that studies looking at the short- and long-term effects of sleep training show no evidence of harm. The data actually shows it can improve infant sleep and lower parental depression.

Even so, while sleep training can be a great option, it will not be for everyone. Just as people can feel judged for sleep training, they can feel judged for not doing it. Engaging in any parenting behavior because it’s what’s expected of you is not a good idea. You have to do what works best for your family! If that’s sleep training, make a plan and implement it. If not, that’s okay too.

What’s your experience with sleep training? Did you feel judged for your decision to do (or not do) it?

#sleeptraining #newparents #babysleep #emilyoster #parentdata
...

Does your kid love to stall right before bedtime? 💤 Tell me more about their tactics in the comments below!

#funnytweets #bedtime #nightimeroutine #parentinghumor #parentingmemes

Does your kid love to stall right before bedtime? 💤 Tell me more about their tactics in the comments below!

#funnytweets #bedtime #nightimeroutine #parentinghumor #parentingmemes
...

Got a big decision to make? 🤔 Comment “Link” for a DM to read about my easy mantra for making hard choices. 

When we face a complicated problem in pregnancy or parenting, and don’t like either option A or B, we often wait around for a secret third option to reveal itself. This magical thinking, as appealing as it is, gets in the way. We need a way to remind ourselves that we need to make an active choice, even if it is hard. The mantra I use for this: “There is no secret option C.”

Having this realization, accepting it, reminding ourselves of it, can help us make the hard decisions and accurately weigh the risks and benefits of our choices.

#parentingquotes #decisionmaking #nosecretoptionc #parentingadvice #emilyoster #parentdata

Got a big decision to make? 🤔 Comment “Link” for a DM to read about my easy mantra for making hard choices.

When we face a complicated problem in pregnancy or parenting, and don’t like either option A or B, we often wait around for a secret third option to reveal itself. This magical thinking, as appealing as it is, gets in the way. We need a way to remind ourselves that we need to make an active choice, even if it is hard. The mantra I use for this: “There is no secret option C.”

Having this realization, accepting it, reminding ourselves of it, can help us make the hard decisions and accurately weigh the risks and benefits of our choices.

#parentingquotes #decisionmaking #nosecretoptionc #parentingadvice #emilyoster #parentdata
...

Excuse the language, but I have such strong feelings about this subject! Sometimes, it feels like there’s no winning as a mother. People pressure you to breastfeed and, in the same breath, shame you for doing it in public. Which is it?!

So yes, they’re being completely unreasonable. You should be able to feed your baby in peace. What are some responses you can give to someone who tells you to cover up? Share in the comments below ⬇️

#breastfeeding #breastfeedinginpublic #breastfeedingmom #motherhood #emilyoster

Excuse the language, but I have such strong feelings about this subject! Sometimes, it feels like there’s no winning as a mother. People pressure you to breastfeed and, in the same breath, shame you for doing it in public. Which is it?!

So yes, they’re being completely unreasonable. You should be able to feed your baby in peace. What are some responses you can give to someone who tells you to cover up? Share in the comments below ⬇️

#breastfeeding #breastfeedinginpublic #breastfeedingmom #motherhood #emilyoster
...

Potty training can feel like a Mount Everest-size challenge, and sadly, our evidence-based guidance is poor. So, I created a survey to collate advice and feedback on success from about 6,000 participants.

How long does potty training take? We found that there is a strong basic pattern here: the later you wait to start, the shorter time it takes to potty train. On average, people who start at under 18 months report it takes them about 12 weeks for their child to be fully trained (using the toilet consistently for both peeing and pooping). For those who start between 3 and 3.5, it’s more like nine days. Keep in mind that for all of these age groups, there is a range of length of time from a few days to over a year. Sometimes parents are told that if you do it right, it only takes a few days. While that is true for some people, it is definitely not the norm.

If you’re in the throes of potty training, hang in there! 

#emilyoster #parentdata #pottytraining #pottytrainingtips #toddlerlife

Potty training can feel like a Mount Everest-size challenge, and sadly, our evidence-based guidance is poor. So, I created a survey to collate advice and feedback on success from about 6,000 participants.

How long does potty training take? We found that there is a strong basic pattern here: the later you wait to start, the shorter time it takes to potty train. On average, people who start at under 18 months report it takes them about 12 weeks for their child to be fully trained (using the toilet consistently for both peeing and pooping). For those who start between 3 and 3.5, it’s more like nine days. Keep in mind that for all of these age groups, there is a range of length of time from a few days to over a year. Sometimes parents are told that if you do it right, it only takes a few days. While that is true for some people, it is definitely not the norm.

If you’re in the throes of potty training, hang in there!

#emilyoster #parentdata #pottytraining #pottytrainingtips #toddlerlife
...

For children or adults with severe food allergies, they can be incredibly scary and restrictive. We may imagine that it’s easy to deal with a peanut allergy by, say, not eating peanut butter sandwiches. But for someone with a severe version of this allergy, they may never be able to go to a restaurant, for fear of a severe reaction to something in the air. Right now, there’s only one approved treatment for severe allergies like this and it’s limited to peanuts.

This is why the new medication Xolair is very exciting. It promises a second possible treatment avenue and one that works for other allergens. A new trail analyzed data from 177 children with severe food allergies. Two-thirds of the treatment group were able to tolerate the specified endpoint, versus just 7% of the placebo group. This is a very large treatment effect, and the authors found similarly large impacts on other allergens. 

There are some caveats: This treatment won’t work for everyone. (One-third of participants did not respond to it.) Additionally, this treatment is an injection given every two to four weeks, indefinitely. This may make it less palatable to children. 

Overall, even with caveats, this is life-changing news for many families!

#xolair #foodallergies #allergies #peanutallergy #emilyoster #parentdata

For children or adults with severe food allergies, they can be incredibly scary and restrictive. We may imagine that it’s easy to deal with a peanut allergy by, say, not eating peanut butter sandwiches. But for someone with a severe version of this allergy, they may never be able to go to a restaurant, for fear of a severe reaction to something in the air. Right now, there’s only one approved treatment for severe allergies like this and it’s limited to peanuts.

This is why the new medication Xolair is very exciting. It promises a second possible treatment avenue and one that works for other allergens. A new trail analyzed data from 177 children with severe food allergies. Two-thirds of the treatment group were able to tolerate the specified endpoint, versus just 7% of the placebo group. This is a very large treatment effect, and the authors found similarly large impacts on other allergens.

There are some caveats: This treatment won’t work for everyone. (One-third of participants did not respond to it.) Additionally, this treatment is an injection given every two to four weeks, indefinitely. This may make it less palatable to children.

Overall, even with caveats, this is life-changing news for many families!

#xolair #foodallergies #allergies #peanutallergy #emilyoster #parentdata
...

If you have a fever during pregnancy, you should take Tylenol, both because it will make you feel better and because of concerns about fever in pregnancy (although these are also overstated).

The evidence that suggests risks to Tylenol focuses largely on more extensive exposure — say, taking it for more than 28 days during pregnancy. There is no credible evidence, even correlational, to suggest that taking it occasionally for a fever or headache would be an issue.

People take Tylenol for a reason. For many people, the choice may be between debilitating weekly migraines and regular Tylenol usage. The impacts studies suggest are very small. In making this decision, we should weigh the real, known benefit against the suggestion of this possible risk. Perhaps not everyone will come out at the same place on this, but it is crucial we give people the tools to make the choice for themselves.

#emilyoster #parentdata #tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancytips

If you have a fever during pregnancy, you should take Tylenol, both because it will make you feel better and because of concerns about fever in pregnancy (although these are also overstated).

The evidence that suggests risks to Tylenol focuses largely on more extensive exposure — say, taking it for more than 28 days during pregnancy. There is no credible evidence, even correlational, to suggest that taking it occasionally for a fever or headache would be an issue.

People take Tylenol for a reason. For many people, the choice may be between debilitating weekly migraines and regular Tylenol usage. The impacts studies suggest are very small. In making this decision, we should weigh the real, known benefit against the suggestion of this possible risk. Perhaps not everyone will come out at the same place on this, but it is crucial we give people the tools to make the choice for themselves.

#emilyoster #parentdata #tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancytips
...

Parenting trends are like Cabbage Patch Kids: they’re usually only popular because a bunch of people are using them! Most of the time, these trends are not based on new scientific research, and even if they are, that new research doesn’t reflect all of what we’ve studied before.

In the future, before hopping onto the latest trend, check the data first. Unlike Cabbage Patch Kids, parenting trends can add a lot of unnecessary stress and challenges to your plate. What’s a recent trend that you’ve been wondering about?

#parentdata #emilyoster #parentingtips #parentingadvice #parentinghacks

Parenting trends are like Cabbage Patch Kids: they’re usually only popular because a bunch of people are using them! Most of the time, these trends are not based on new scientific research, and even if they are, that new research doesn’t reflect all of what we’ve studied before.

In the future, before hopping onto the latest trend, check the data first. Unlike Cabbage Patch Kids, parenting trends can add a lot of unnecessary stress and challenges to your plate. What’s a recent trend that you’ve been wondering about?

#parentdata #emilyoster #parentingtips #parentingadvice #parentinghacks
...

As of this week, 1 million copies of my books have been sold. This feels humbling and, frankly, unbelievable. I’m so thankful to those of you who’ve read and passed along your recommendations of the books.

When I wrote Expecting Better, I had no plan for all of this — I wrote that book because I felt compelled to write it, because it was the book I wanted to read. As I’ve come out with more books, and now ParentData, I am closer to seeing what I hope we can all create. That is: a world where everyone has access to reliable data, based on causal evidence, to make informed, confident decisions that work for their families.

I’m so grateful you’re all here as a part of this, and I want to thank you! If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to sign up for full access to ParentData, this is it. ⭐️ Comment “Link” for a DM with a discount code for 20% off of a new monthly or annual subscription to ParentData! 

Thank you again for being the best community of readers and internet-friends on the planet. I am so lucky to have you all here.

#parentdata #emilyoster #expectingbetter #cribsheet #familyfirm #parentingcommunity

As of this week, 1 million copies of my books have been sold. This feels humbling and, frankly, unbelievable. I’m so thankful to those of you who’ve read and passed along your recommendations of the books.

When I wrote Expecting Better, I had no plan for all of this — I wrote that book because I felt compelled to write it, because it was the book I wanted to read. As I’ve come out with more books, and now ParentData, I am closer to seeing what I hope we can all create. That is: a world where everyone has access to reliable data, based on causal evidence, to make informed, confident decisions that work for their families.

I’m so grateful you’re all here as a part of this, and I want to thank you! If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to sign up for full access to ParentData, this is it. ⭐️ Comment “Link” for a DM with a discount code for 20% off of a new monthly or annual subscription to ParentData!

Thank you again for being the best community of readers and internet-friends on the planet. I am so lucky to have you all here.

#parentdata #emilyoster #expectingbetter #cribsheet #familyfirm #parentingcommunity
...

Just eat your Cheerios and move on.

Just eat your Cheerios and move on. ...

The AAP’s guidelines recommend sleeping in the same room as your baby “ideally for the first six months.” However, the risk of SIDS is dramatically lower after four months, and the evidence in favor of the protective effect of room sharing is quite weak (both overall and even more so after four months). There is also growing evidence that infants who sleep in their own room by four months sleep better at four months, better at nine months, and even better at 30 months.

With this in mind, it’s worth asking why this recommendation continues at all — or at least why the AAP doesn’t push it back to four months. They say decreased arousals from sleep are linked to SIDS, which could mean that babies sleeping in their own room is risky. But this link is extremely indirect, and they do not show direct evidence to support it.

According to the data we have, parents should sleep in the same room as a baby for as long as it works for them! Sharing a room with a child may have negative impacts on both child and adult sleep. We should give families more help in navigating these trade-offs and making the decisions that work best for them.

#emilyoster #parentdata #roomsharing #sids #parentingguide

The AAP’s guidelines recommend sleeping in the same room as your baby “ideally for the first six months.” However, the risk of SIDS is dramatically lower after four months, and the evidence in favor of the protective effect of room sharing is quite weak (both overall and even more so after four months). There is also growing evidence that infants who sleep in their own room by four months sleep better at four months, better at nine months, and even better at 30 months.

With this in mind, it’s worth asking why this recommendation continues at all — or at least why the AAP doesn’t push it back to four months. They say decreased arousals from sleep are linked to SIDS, which could mean that babies sleeping in their own room is risky. But this link is extremely indirect, and they do not show direct evidence to support it.

According to the data we have, parents should sleep in the same room as a baby for as long as it works for them! Sharing a room with a child may have negative impacts on both child and adult sleep. We should give families more help in navigating these trade-offs and making the decisions that work best for them.

#emilyoster #parentdata #roomsharing #sids #parentingguide
...

It was an absolute pleasure to be featured on the @tamronhallshow! We talked about all things data-driven parenting and, in this clip, what I call the plague of secret parenting. To balance having a career and having a family, we can’t hide the fact that we’re parents. If mothers and fathers at the top can speak more openly about child-care obligations, it will help us all set a new precedent.

Watch the full segment at the link in my bio 🔗

#tamronhall #tamronhallshow #emilyoster #parentingsupport #workingparents

It was an absolute pleasure to be featured on the @tamronhallshow! We talked about all things data-driven parenting and, in this clip, what I call the plague of secret parenting. To balance having a career and having a family, we can’t hide the fact that we’re parents. If mothers and fathers at the top can speak more openly about child-care obligations, it will help us all set a new precedent.

Watch the full segment at the link in my bio 🔗

#tamronhall #tamronhallshow #emilyoster #parentingsupport #workingparents
...

Invisible labor. It’s the work — in our households especially — that has to happen but that no one sees. It’s making the doctor’s appointment, ensuring birthday cards are purchased, remembering the milk.

My guest on this episode, @everodsky, has come up with a solution here, or at least a way for us to recognize the problem and make our own solutions. I’ve wanted to speak with Eve for ages, since I read her book Fair Play. We had a great conversation about the division of household labor, one I think you’ll get a lot out of!

Listen and subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster in your favorite podcast app 🎧

#emilyoster #parentdata #parentdatapodcast #parentingpodcast #householdtips #fairplay #invisiblelabor

Invisible labor. It’s the work — in our households especially — that has to happen but that no one sees. It’s making the doctor’s appointment, ensuring birthday cards are purchased, remembering the milk.

My guest on this episode, @everodsky, has come up with a solution here, or at least a way for us to recognize the problem and make our own solutions. I’ve wanted to speak with Eve for ages, since I read her book Fair Play. We had a great conversation about the division of household labor, one I think you’ll get a lot out of!

Listen and subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster in your favorite podcast app 🎧

#emilyoster #parentdata #parentdatapodcast #parentingpodcast #householdtips #fairplay #invisiblelabor
...