Your Guide to Vaccines During Pregnancy and Early Childhood

Emily Oster

13 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

Your Guide to Vaccines During Pregnancy and Early Childhood

How they work; preparing for the 2023 cold, flu, and COVID season; and more

Emily Oster

13 min Read

There was a time — let’s say, 2019 — when people did not talk as much about vaccines. It’s not that they never came up, but COVID has made vaccination more visible and more controversial than it once was.

We are now roughly on the other side of the pandemic at some new vaccine normal. But the level of interest and discussion hasn’t returned to baseline — my casual analysis of Google Trends suggests that interest in the term “vaccine” is about four times higher this week than in the corresponding week in 2019. People are talking more about vaccination, thinking more about it, and weighing more options.

Adding to this: the landscape of seasonal vaccination has changed. In 2019, there was a flu vaccine. Flu is still here, but it’s been joined by COVID and, for some, by the option for an RSV vaccine. I’ve been getting a lot of questions on these — which to have, when, who, etc., etc. It’s time to do some explaining.

Today’s post is in four parts, and we’ll link here so you can skip down to the part you want.

  1. How do vaccines work? A (very) brief explainer
  2. The seasonal vaccine landscape in 2023: flu, COVID, RSV
  3. Vaccines in pregnancy
  4. Routine childhood vaccinations

Part One

How do vaccines work?

To understand how vaccines work, it’s useful to start with viruses; in particular, with what happens when you become infected with a virus.

In broad terms: viral exposure prompts action from the immune system.

Your immune system has many parts. Some of them are general, designed to ward off any pathogen (for example, your nose hair). Some of the components are targeted. When you become infected with a particular virus, cells of the immune system are engaged to create antibodies to the antigen (the virus cells). These antibodies are designed to latch onto the antigens and destroy them. As your body makes more and more antibodies, they (hopefully, in most cases) overwhelm the antigens and neutralize the virus. Along the way, you may feel ill, but as your antibodies win, you’ll start to feel better.

Once you are better, the antibodies stick around in your system for a while. The value of this is that if you encounter the virus again in the short term, you’re ready for it and you can fight it off quickly (and likely not be sick at all). Over time, antibodies fade but your body retains memory T cells, which remember how to make the antibodies. This means that the next time you encounter the virus, even if it is after the antibody-retention period, your body is ready to fight more quickly. This is why the second (or later) time you encounter a virus, you’ll generally either not get sick or get less sick.

Vaccines work by mimicking the virus, prompting the production of antibodies and memory T cells, but without making you sick. The result is an immune system that is ready if it encounters the virus in the wild, but without the initial need to be exposed to the illness.

There are a number of different ways a vaccine can do this. The most common traditional vaccines are made with inactivated viruses. Flu vaccines, for example: the virus is grown in chicken eggs, treated with a chemical to kill it — so it cannot make you sick — and used in the vaccine. Even though the virus is dead, it has the same structure, and your body recognizes it as an invader and produces antibodies to it.

Most COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines (m = messenger). These vaccines work slightly differently. Rather than containing a killed form of the virus, the vaccine contains instructions for your own cells to produce a single protein from the virus (in the case of COVID-19, the spike protein). When you get the COVID-19 vaccine, some of your cells get instructions to produce this protein. They produce the protein, and your body recognizes it as foreign. You create antibodies to the protein, which also serve as antibodies to the virus. If you encounter the COVID-19 virus in the wild, then you’ve got the antibodies ready.

(There are a couple other ways to make vaccines, but these are the primary approaches for the vaccines we commonly use.)

Regardless of mechanism, the basic idea is the same: find a way for your body to create antibodies to the virus without actually becoming sick from the virus. Once you do that, you’re good to go.

Variation in efficacy

Before moving to specific vaccines, a quick comment on variation in efficacy. There are some vaccines — the childhood measles vaccine is a classic example — that are incredibly effective. A child who is fully vaccinated for measles is not only extremely unlikely to get measles — like, extremely unlikely — but is also extremely unlikely to spread measles. This is because the immunity delivered by the measles vaccine is extremely durable and the vaccine generally delivers what is called sterilizing immunity. Basically, the length of time the pathogen takes to replicate is sufficiently long that the immune system response is faster, and it never really gets going. The transmission of measles is therefore cut off.

There are other vaccines, like the seasonal flu vaccine, where the effectiveness is lower. One reason for this is that there is some guesswork in making the flu vaccine, and depending on how close the match of the vaccine is to the circulating form of the virus, efficacy may be more or less. It’s nearly always the case that a flu vaccine lowers the risk of getting the flu and makes it less severe if you do get it, but it doesn’t always fully protect you.

With this background, let’s move to some specifics.

Part Two

The seasonal vaccine landscape in 2023 — flu, COVID, RSV

Before the pandemic, there was one seasonal fall vaccine: flu. During the pandemic, the COVID-19 vaccine was introduced — at first whenever available, but increasingly now moving to a seasonal schedule. This year, immunization from RSV (vaccines for adults; a related immunization product for babies) was introduced.

Should you get all of them? Who should get them?

Flu

Seasonal influenza kills a large number of Americans every year — the CDC provides estimates in the 15,000 to 50,000 range. Mortality from the flu is highest in infants and (especially) older people. School-age children are the group most likely to be sickened by flu, though, since schools are locations of high flu risk.

The seasonal flu vaccine is an effective method for lowering illness risk. There are a few ways to see this in the data, but my favorite work is by my friend Dr. Bapu Jena, who has a study in which he shows that kids with summer birthdays are less likely to be vaccinated for the flu than those with fall birthdays, because of the timing of their well child visits. The fall-birthday children are, in turn, less likely to get the flu and less likely to spread the flu to elderly family members.

Flu vaccines can lower illness risk for adults as well. For older adults, a flu vaccine is especially crucial, since flu is a major source of mortality. The good news is that side effects from flu vaccines tend to be quite mild.

The optimal time to get the flu vaccine, assuming a normal flu season timing, is around mid-October. (This is also based on Bapu’s research, and on the logic of how long antibodies last.) This provides maximum protection through a February flu surge. (The flu season has moved a bit earlier in the past few years, so I can also see a case for doing this now.)

Bottom line: Everyone should get this vaccine, ideally in mid-October.

COVID

At this point, it is appropriate to think about the COVID-19 vaccine updates as similar to the flu vaccine. Like the flu vaccine, the COVID vaccine will be reformulated every year to match circulating variants. We should expect a new vaccine — we can call it a booster, but I’m not sure that language helps — every fall.

The COVID vaccine will lower the risk of serious illness and hospitalization. We also expect it to have a small and short-lived impact on the risk of any illness. The size of this impact is unclear, partly just due to the limited data we have so far. The impacts on outward transmission are likely very small.

An important distinction between COVID and the flu is the age profile of risk. COVID has a much stronger age skew than the flu. The risk of serious illness and hospitalization for younger people is very low; this is especially true for children. When the primary value of the vaccine is to lower the risk of serious illness, the value of vaccination is much lower for this group than for older adults.

The CDC has recommended the seasonal COVID-19 vaccine for everyone over six months. This is in contrast to (for example) the U.K., which has focused on vaccination for older adults and younger adults with comorbidities. There are arguments for both approaches, and there is disagreement even within the U.S. about the appropriateness of this universal recommendation.

From an individual perspective: if you’re over 65, or you’re under 65 and you are at higher risk (due to other illnesses, being pregnant, or having a larger body), you should get the vaccine. If you’ve got older parents, encourage them to get it. A higher uptake in older adults will save lives.

If you’re a healthy adult, or you’re thinking about this for your children, the value is lower. Certainly, reasonable people will choose to get vaccinated in this group, and other reasonable people will not. For example: within my household, one adult is planning to get the shot and one is not.

One note: If you’ve had COVID within the past couple of months, there is no need to get this vaccine.

Bottom line: Older adults, or younger adults with immunocompromise (including pregnant women) should definitely get this vaccine unless they have recently had COVID.

RSV

RSV vaccines are the newest of these three, and I’ve written extensively about them in recent weeks, so I do not want to fully rehash this. You can read about vaccines for older adults here, and about the monoclonal antibody for infants here. An important note is that this shot for infants is not a vaccine; it actually delivers the RSV antibodies directly.

The clearest-cut recommendation here is for older adults, where the RSV vaccine has been shown to effectively lower mortality. The second clearest indication is for infants, where the monoclonal antibody (sold under the name Beyfortus) has been shown to lower hospitalization risk. The vaccine can be given at birth, and is approved for neonates and infants entering their first RSV season (so, those under nine months or so). It can also be given to children up to 24 months who are at higher RSV risk. The efficacy data is really impressive, and pediatricians are excited. A note is that this is not universally available yet, but keep asking!

There is also an approved vaccine for pregnant women that would provide some protection for their infants. The approval for this was more complex because of some worries in the trials about preterm birth. Whether to take this during pregnancy is something to discuss with your doctor.

Bottom line: Older adults should get this vaccine. Infants should get the monoclonal antibody if available. Pregnant people should discuss with their doctor.

Part Three

Vaccines in pregnancy

There are two reasons to get vaccines during pregnancy. The first is that pregnancy is a form of mild immunocompromise, so there is added value to vaccination for things that might make you sick. For example: both seasonal flu and COVID vaccines are recommended more strongly for pregnant women than for non-pregnant women of similar ages.

The second reason to get vaccinated is to pass antibodies on to your infant, which will protect them in the early weeks or months of life, before they can be vaccinated themselves. Both the Tdap vaccine and the new RSV vaccine are examples of vaccines that are geared toward infant protection, not mom protection. Non-elderly adults are not at high risk from either pertussis or RSV, so the only reason for these vaccines is the protection of the infant.

An important question about vaccination in pregnancy is timing. For infant protection, the ideal timing for vaccination is in the early part of the third trimester. This is enough time for antibodies to develop, but also close enough to the end that they are retained for several months post-birth. For the vaccines (Tdap and RSV) that are focused on infant protection, this is the optimal timing.

For the COVID and (especially) flu vaccine, there is a competing factor, which is protection of the mother. Flu can be quite serious in pregnant women, so there is an argument for vaccinating early to protect the mom. The value for the infant is also there, so the timing is not obvious. This is something that’s worth discussing with your doctor, and depends both on the exact timing of birth around the flu and COVID season and on your individual risk factors.

Part Four

Routine childhood vaccinations

Routine childhood vaccinations: pertussis, hepatitis B, measles. The ones that have been standard, in many cases, for decades. They’ve saved literally thousands, perhaps millions, of lives. And, yes, they still make some people nervous.

When I wrote Cribsheet, I spent many, many weeks researching vaccines and vaccine resistance. It’s a topic I’ve written on in my academic work, and it’s something I care a lot about. This isn’t the place to revisit that discussion, although if you’re feeling vaccine-anxious about routine childhood vaccination, I urge you to read that chapter of the book.

The bottom line — there and here — is that these vaccines have been widely tested and subject to scrutiny that is far outside of virtually any other medical intervention, and they’ve come out well. They’re safe, and although the diseases they protect from are rare, we do see deaths from pertussis in infants every year, and routine measles outbreaks in undervaccinated populations.

Please: get the routine vaccinations, even if they are the only ones on this list you get.

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We are better writers than influencers, I promise. Thanks to our kids for filming our unboxing videos. People make this look way too easy. 

Only two weeks until our book “The Unexpected” is here! Preorder at the link in my bio. 💙

We are better writers than influencers, I promise. Thanks to our kids for filming our unboxing videos. People make this look way too easy.

Only two weeks until our book “The Unexpected” is here! Preorder at the link in my bio. 💙
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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