How Society Fails Parents

Emily Oster

11 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

How Society Fails Parents

Dr. Dana Suskind on what it can do better

Emily Oster

11 min Read

In 1995 two researchers named Betty Hart and Todd Risley published a book titled Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children. Drawing on their detailed study of 42 Kansas families, they documented a significant gap in the early-life language exposure of children between income groups. Aggregating across the first three years, they argued that there was a “30 million word gap” between the language exposure of higher-income children and their lower-income counterparts.

Later research has questioned whether the gap is really 30 million words or if it’s smaller. But it is clear the gap is there, and that exposure in early life is correlated with language development later, reading, and other achievement measures. The idea of the 30 million word gap has become a symbol of overall inequality in early childhood.

Dana Suskind is a professor of surgery and pediatrics at the University of Chicago Medical Center and the director of the University of Chicago Medicine’s Pediatric Hearing Loss and Cochlear Implant Program. In 2015 she wrote a book on the word gap: Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain.

That book, which I love, focused on using the insights from this work on the word gap to help people in their own parenting. It talks through the details of the research on language exposure, the importance of talking to kids, and even how to do it. The reality, though, is that a book like this — however helpful at an individual level — isn’t necessarily going to do much to close inequality gaps.

This is in part because of differential exposure to these messages across groups. But it’s also because these inequalities are so deeply rooted in the societal supports we provide that parenting advice alone is hardly going to make a dent. This is a lesson I think about frequently. My popular-writing work — this newsletter, my books — focuses on advice for individual parents about how they can make the optimal choices (using data) given the constraints they face. But in my teaching and my academic work, I think much more about the ways that broader policies impact child and family outcomes, and the inequities in those outcomes.

Dr. Suskind’s new book, Parent Nation, grapples precisely with this second question. How do we build social and policy structures that are broadly supportive of families across the income spectrum? These issues were there before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has exacerbated them — closed schools and child care, unemployment, lack of sick leave, and more. A key point of the book is that we cannot simply expect all of this burden to fall on individual families; building societal supports is non-negotiable.

For anyone interested in child and family policy, parenting, or kids (presumably nearly every reader of this newsletter), this book is a must-read. To highlight why, I asked Dr. Suskind just two — but hard! — questions on how we can reconcile evidence on the importance of the early years of life, and on the best use of limited policy dollars. Enjoy!—Emily


Emily:

One of the tensions I have always seen is that when we look at the impacts of individual parenting choices — say, whether to breastfeed, or how to sleep, or whether to use day care or a nanny, or which child care setting — it’s very difficult to find any evidence that these matter on the margin. And yet: it seems clear (from your book and others) that the first several years of life are extremely important in a broad sense for child outcomes. Do you have thoughts on how we reconcile these two ideas? Is there some missing crucial specific behavior? Or is it something more nebulous?

Dana

This is such an important question, Emily. It’s impossible to ignore the overwhelming — and seemingly increasing — stress that burdens so many parents today. In part, parents worry about every little choice because it’s in our nature to want the best for our kids. I can relate as a mother. And I’ve seen this in all of the families I’ve worked with as both a pediatric physician and a social scientist. In fact, it’s one of the biggest reasons I wrote this new book, Parent Nation. I want to help parents recognize that raising children doesn’t have to be quite so stressful or lonely. That, in fact, society has a significant role to play.

I became especially aware of how much parents worry about individual choices after I published my first book, Thirty Million Words, which distilled the science of foundational brain development for parents and other adults. This, of course, is the science illustrating that foundational brain development is dependent on what happens in the first three years of life. A child’s brain will never be more receptive to experience than it is in this pivotal time. Eighty-five percent of brain growth occurs between birth and the age of 3, a period during which 1 million neural connections per second are formed, which tells us this is a period of incredible opportunity and great risk.

So of course parents want to make the “right” choice at every turn, especially in those crucial early years, which is why parents were constantly asking me for highly prescriptive advice. How many words per day should they be using? What kinds of words? In how many languages?

The reality is, we can’t answer those questions with great specificity. And, as you correctly point out, most individual choices have only marginal impacts. There are no magic answers in parenting, just as there is no magic number of words a baby must hear.

But there are two crucial and specific things children need to build a healthy foundation of cognitive and socio-emotional skills that will serve them throughout life: nurturing interaction with caregivers and protection from toxic stress.

I like to summarize this science by saying that there are many ways to parent but only one way to build a brain.

After all, a child can be nurtured while breastfeeding or cuddling in for a quiet bottle; they can receive rich interaction from a parent at home or a qualified, fairly compensated child care provider. So long as a child receives that nurturing interaction and protection from toxic stress, their young brain will have the opportunity to develop optimally. My late husband — a brilliant pediatric surgeon — who was exclusively bottle-fed as a baby, used to say as I struggled to nurse my firstborn, “Don’t worry, honey, my mother only bottle-fed me, and I turned out okay!”

He was right, of course. But the issue facing our country is that we’ve made it almost impossible for far too many parents to meet those two basic needs. We’ve erected barriers in front of almost everyone — from the mundane to the monumental. And we’re only going to move the needle on improving outcomes for kids with systematic reforms, not individual choices. I actually think this is precisely why parents feel that every decision is so critical: when you have no control over the most important things, you tend to focus on the smaller things you can control.

In recent decades, more and more economic risk has shifted from the broad shoulders of government and business onto the fragile backs of American families. Political scientist Jacob Hacker describes this as “the great risk shift,” and the result is widespread economic insecurity. Other researchers have found that increasing economic inequality (in countries such as the United States) is, understandably, associated with parents pushing harder to ensure their children have a path to security and success. I was born in the 1960s, and I don’t think my parents, who both had advanced degrees, asked me once about my homework! But as economists Matthias Doepke and Fabrizio Zilibotti explain, our economic reality has transformed parenting into a frantic, anxiety-ridden experience.

I want all parents to recognize this! That their experience, their struggles, their stress, is largely driven by our nation’s social and economic structures, not individual choices. One parent I spoke with when writing the book told me, “I felt like I was failing in all parts of my life.” This is such a common sentiment among families today, but I want moms like her to ask “Why is my society failing me?” instead of “Why am I failing at this?”

Honestly, if I had a magic wand and could choose to (a) give the 60 million parents raising kids in this country all the right scientific insights and tools to optimize their behavior or (b) change the societal constructs in which those parents live — I would choose the latter. All parents want the best for their children, and it’s time we recognize that we, as a society, are getting in the way. That we must, finally, take steps to protect the incredible evolutionary gift that bestows on all children the potential to reach their potential.

Emily

You talk about many different policies and support systems in the book. As we’ve seen, it’s tough to pass sweeping legislation with social supports. So I’m curious: If you had to prioritize, what are the three key policy priorities you’d like to see, and why those?

Dana

Ultimately, I think we need to fundamentally reorient our society around support for children and families. But you’re right, of course. Sweeping legislation is hard to come by. Fortunately, there are many discrete policies and practices we can adopt that would begin to move the needle and ensure more children are afforded the promise of their promise. To get young children off to the best possible start, two decades of developmental research tell us that they need two things above all else: nurturing interaction with caregivers and protection from toxic stress. Several relevant policy recommendations flow from this science, but I will focus on three.

First is paid parental leave. Paid leave allows parents time to develop the nurturing relationships that are crucial to healthy brain development. It’s important to remember that learning begins on the first day of life, not the first day of school. The earliest years of a child’s life are full of opportunity but also risk because of the incredible brain growth that occurs during this time.

Fortunately, powerful nurturing interactions between infant and caregiver begin on the first day of a child’s life as well. And yet far too few Americans (only 23% of those employed in the private sector) have paid leave that allows them to maximize those interactions. As you know, the U.S. is the only developed nation not to mandate such leave. Remarkably, 1 in 4 new mothers return to work within two weeks of giving birth!

The economic benefits of paid leave are well established. More recently, studies have also found that paid leave benefits the health of mothers and children. Paid leave is associated with lower levels of postpartum depression, improved infant attachment, decreases in infant mortality and rehospitalizations, and increases in pediatric visits, timely immunizations, and in the initiation and duration of breastfeeding. When fathers take paid leave, it benefits both parents’ mental health; and married parents who both take leave are, even, less likely to divorce.

One incredible new study even compared moms and babies from two groups: moms who received paid leave and those who received unpaid leave. The infants whose mothers had paid leave were more likely to have more high-frequency (and less low-frequency) brain wave patterns. Why is that? Well, the researchers also measured cortisol levels in the mothers’ hair, which are a biomarker of stress. Unsurprisingly, mothers who had paid leave had lower physiological stress than mothers with unpaid leave. It’s important to note this study is only correlational. It was not an RCT [randomized controlled trial]. But it reveals something profoundly important about what we’re getting wrong for too many parents.

Next is an expanded child tax credit. This is a policy that benefits nearly every parent in America. It makes it possible for more parents who want to stay home with their children to do so, and it recognizes and rewards their vitally important work. For parents who want or need to work, a child tax credit can help ease the overwhelming cost of child care. The truth is, raising children is hard and it is expensive. So much so that financial concerns are causing a significant number of Americans to have fewer children than they would ideally like to have. An expanded child tax credit is an obvious way to help such families.

Furthermore, we know that this policy can alleviate poverty, and we know poverty, and its associated toxic stress, is detrimental to development. In fact, neuroscience has demonstrated that children growing up in poverty display differences in the very structure and function of their brain. A 2015 study by neuroscientist Kimberly Noble and her colleagues, for example, found a consistent relationship between the size of a brain’s cortical surface area (which is related to cognitive ability) and socioeconomic factors.

Tax credits for families with young children are among the most effective policies at reducing rates of childhood poverty. We saw this in action during the pandemic, when a historic expanded tax credit brought about an immediate reduction in childhood poverty rates. But when those payments stopped early this year, the rates spiked from 12% to 17% — higher than before the pandemic. We simply cannot allow this to continue. The childhood poverty rate in this country is a stain on our national conscience.

Finally, I’d propose a policy that helps parents spend time with their children and offers protection from toxic stress: portable worker benefits. Portable benefits are connected to an individual rather than a particular job or employer. And in the age of gig work and side hustles, they are critical. Though it’s worth noting they are not an entirely new idea. After all, Social Security is a portable benefit, as are retirement savings plans that travel with an employee. A recent Aspen Institute report suggests that portable benefits should cover independent contractors and part-time workers, not just traditional employees, with companies contributing a fixed rate based on how many hours an individual works for them.

This might seem an odd choice to round out my list, but portable health insurance and unemployment insurance would go a long way to increasing families’ economic security and thus, reducing their toxic stress. At the same time, portable parental leave and unemployment benefits would grant more workers critical time with their children. After decades of the “great risk shift” bringing great uncertainty to the American family, it’s time we shift the burden once again, so that families can focus on the care of their children.

These policies (and others!) are crucial to the future well-being of the American family, society, and economy. And I think the first step in making them a reality is raising our collective expectations of society. I want every parent in this country to realize they should not have to go it alone when it comes to raising children; that society can and should play a role; and that it is time for us to come together to make our needs known with one powerful, united, and undeniable voice.

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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
...

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
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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
...

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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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
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