Your Postpartum Support Team

Emily Oster

20 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

Your Postpartum Support Team

Five professionals you may need after birth

Emily Oster

20 min Read

One of the most common questions we get here at ParentData is How should I prepare for having a new baby? People often focus on the stuff that they need (diapers, onesies), but far more important is the support structure you will have in place.

Even when we recognize the need for support, it can be hard to know exactly what kind of support you need. That’s what today’s newsletter is for. We asked five amazing people who are experts in their fields to describe just what those fields are, and when you might call on them. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

Perinatal psychiatrist 

Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, MD, is a perinatal psychiatrist, the author of the new book Real Self-Care (Crystals, Cleanses, and Bubble Baths Not Included), and the founder and CEO of Gemma, a women’s mental health platform centering impact and equity. She also writes the Substack newsletter Therapy Takeaway

What does a perinatal psychiatrist do?

Perinatal psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in taking care of women and birthing people during pregnancy and the postpartum period, which technically lasts for one year but also can extend longer depending on the feeding decisions that you make. We are the physicians who are most up to date on the latest research and best clinical practices for supporting women’s mental health not only in treating a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder but also best practices for the prevention of maternal mental health conditions when someone is high-risk.

My clinical work is in helping patients make decisions about taking psychiatric medications, like antidepressants or mood stabilizers, during pregnancy and breastfeeding, titrating the doses of these meds, and assessing when someone is ready to come off them and how to do so without triggering a mental health decompensation. In addition to prescribing medication when needed, I provide talk therapy to my patients. Think of us as a first line of defense, a triage system, and your decision-making partner, all rolled into one.

As I’ve written about in my own motherhood and mental health journey, taking steps to protect your mental health as a parent is not selfish; it’s paramount to the health of your family too.

Who should consider going to one?

People who may benefit include:

  • Anyone with a history of a mental health condition at any time in your life — even if it was way back in college
  • Anyone who has previously suffered from a PMAD (perinatal mood and anxiety disorder), had birth trauma or medical trauma, or previously taken antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication
  • Anyone with a history of bipolar disorder or severe obsessive-compulsive disorder who is pregnant or considering pregnancy

Lastly, please know that even if you are two or three (or 10!) years postpartum, you can still see a perinatal psychiatrist. I have never turned anyone away because they waited too long to get help.

What does it cost?

Like all areas of mental health, the ability to find and pay for a perinatal psychiatrist is impacted by your social determinants of health. There’s huge variability in the costs and access to this type of care. A silver lining of the pandemic is that many perinatal psychiatrists can see you virtually. A couple helpful tips if you are navigating this now, or to squirrel away for when you might in the future:

  • Find out if your insurance company has out-of-network benefits. Even if your perinatal psychiatrist does not take insurance, they should be providing you with a “superbill” (basically a receipt). If your insurance has out-of-network benefits, you can submit the superbill and get some portion reimbursed after you have hit your deductible. I know this is more labor and very annoying, and I feel your pain — this is how I pay for my own psychiatrist, and this is how many of my patients afford me.
  • See if your local medical school has a trainee clinic. For example, at George Washington University, where I am on the faculty, we have a low-fee clinic where patients can get five visits with a psychiatry resident trainee (supervised by someone like me) for a sliding-scale rate.
  • Ask your OB to phone a friend: Postpartum Support International runs a free clinician helpline for health-care workers who have questions about medication safety and clinical decision-making. If your birth team isn’t sure about keeping you on your meds, ask them to submit a request here, and a perinatal psychiatrist will follow up with them for a free consultation.

What resources might be helpful?

In addition to my small private clinical practice, I founded Gemma, a platform for women’s mental health courses, community, and conversation, including a Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Mental Health virtual class. I’ve been teaching this class since 2020 — it’s one of my favorites. You come away with a solid understanding of what to keep an eye on for your mental health and a personal list of action items to reduce your risk.

In my book Real Self-Care, I eschew consumer-oriented notions of wellness and instead show you how to make hard choices and prioritize what matters in life, while living in a society that oppresses anyone who is not a rich, white male. It’s written for all life stages, not just parenthood, but given my clinical work, it’s chock-full of stories from my practice. Of course I’m biased, but I think the book is a great starting point for going into tough or scary conversations with your partner, your family, or your health-care team!

Lactation consultant

Jamie O’Day is a registered nurse, international board-certified lactation consultant, mom to three girls, and the co-founder of NAPS (Newborn and Parenting Support). NAPS supports families from pregnancy through early childhood with evidence-based care, support, and services through our team of registered nurses. Jamie knows first-hand as a parent and nurse that there is no one right way to parent, which is why she is most passionate about helping parents cut through all the noise and judgment and find the way that works best for them.

What do lactation consultants do? 

At the most basic level, lactation consultants assess and troubleshoot feeding. They should also provide validation and reassurance that what you’re doing and feeling is normal (or not normal, but they can help!). They can also address simple or more complex issues like painful latch, cracked nipples, recurring mastitis, low or high supply, slow weight gain for the baby, and more.

Beyond the basics, great lactation consultants can also assist with pumping, introducing bottle feeding, creating feeding plans for either term or prematurely born infants, and support your mental health. Another issue highly trained lactation consultants address is TOTs (tethered oral tissue, like a tongue or lip tie). At NAPS, we even go so far as offering a prenatal lactation visit to help establish a relationship ahead of delivery, orient parents to what to expect with breastfeeding, get them set up with choosing and being oriented to their pump, and answering any proactive concerns or questions. This way, we’ve already created a rapport to offer help with not just feeding challenges but also sleep, bottles, creating a plan to return to work and/or travel, mental health resources, and more. Do your research and find an amazing service that truly gives you what you need.

While our philosophy at NAPS is to support parents in all of their feeding choices, we understand that this isn’t the case for all lactation consultants. Short of completely revolutionizing the lactation industry (one day!), I would think about finding the right person to support your feeding choices in two buckets. The first is the bucket you can’t control, i.e. the lactation consultant who comes into your room postpartum or is there on the day that you are in the NICU visiting your baby. If this person ever makes you feel bad or uncomfortable, or is pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do, I would have a one-liner ready to go. Something like, “I am feeling really challenged by this interaction and would like to take a break.” This gives you an out, to either revisit the conversation later or just not have to interact with that person again. In the scenario where you do have control over who you are seeing, like going to see or having a lactation consultant come to see you, you can likely get a sense of their values from their website. Do they state that they are here to support you regardless of your feeding choice — or can help with breastfeeding, pumping, bottle feeding, and combo feeding — or some combination of these words? If not, you can also just ask when you inquire about a visit. But no matter what, no one (consultant, OB, pediatrician, friend, family member, etc.) should ever make you feel bad or judged about how you feed your baby.

Who should consider going to one?

I recommend using a lactation consultant with 100% of clients (if this weren’t an answer for an economist, I would say 1,000,000%!). My goal for this country (and world) would be to include lactation consultations as a routine and normal part of the holistic care women receive after having a baby, not something you have to seek out or ask for on your own. Lactation consultants are not just for breastfeeding issues, and breastfeeding does not come easily to all (really, most). If you are a parent, or know someone who recently had a baby, you know that there are hundreds if not thousands of questions that arise when learning to care for and feed a newborn. Lactation consultants can answer so many of these questions with their vast experience and training.

A good lactation consultant can also be a huge ally for parents throughout their entire feeding journey. This is why we train all of our lactation consultants in alleyship, so they too can provide non-judgmental, ongoing support regardless of how you choose to feed your baby.

What does it cost?

Like most things, it depends a lot on the consultant (years of experience and/or training) and where you live. Some consultants are free through your insurance and/or pediatrician’s office, while many others are private-pay, ranging anywhere from about $80 to $400 per visit. Most insurance companies do reimburse for all or part of a visit from a lactation consultant, meaning you would pay out of pocket for the expense and then submit paperwork to your insurance company for them to reimburse you for the cost.

A lactation consultation may also be an approved expense if you have an HSA or FSA. The number-one tip I’d give when considering cost is to call your insurance and/or HSA or FSA provider before you deliver, so you have the time and energy to navigate your research and advocate for any choices you’d like to make in providers.

What is your best postpartum advice?

Let me focus on the things that we know positively impact outcomes for both parents and babies: proper prenatal education, peer support, sleep guidance, relationship support, and mental health services for individuals and couples.

  • For prenatal classes, things to know are that most insurance companies also reimburse for all or a portion of prenatal classes. So when you call to ask about reimbursement for a lactation consultant, asking about prenatal classes is a great idea. It’s also great to find a class that expands their education beyond the basics and isn’t afraid to talk about parental mental health, ways to feed your baby outside of breastfeeding, how your relationship with your partner changes after the baby, etc.
  • For peer support, you can look within your local community to see if there are any parental resources or groups available, or you can join a virtual group or community. Having the support of other parents who are in it with you is invaluable.
  • For sleep support, coming up with a plan for sleep in those early months with your partner or other support network, and later having a plan for sleep as your baby gets older, can have profound impacts for your own physical and mental health and that of your partner and baby.
  • Step one in understanding the impact of parenthood on your mental health as an individual and with your partner is understanding your risk factors. And then from there, understanding the warning signs and resources that are available to you, whether that is something as simple as a book like Fair Play or Cribsheet (this is not an ad!), or establishing a relationship with a therapist that can help you as an individual and/or as a couple.

Knowing that all of these different facets of preparing for and transitioning into parenthood are ultimately what can positively impact parental and child health outcomes was the catalyst behind creating our annual Nurture by NAPS membership, so that all of these services could be available in one place and parents didn’t need to go looking in a dozen different places for classes, services, and support.

Postpartum doula

Lindsey Bliss is the co-founder of Carriage House Birth, a seasoned full-spectrum doula, a childbirth educator, and a mother of seven. Lindsey is considered to be a multiples expert after giving birth to two consecutive sets of twins. She is the author of The Doula’s Guide to Empowering Your Birth. She has been practicing since 2009 and has supported first-time parents, multiparas, single parents, LGBTQAI+ families, twin births, medicated and non-medicated vaginal births, cesarean births, and VBACs.

What do postpartum doulas do?

A postpartum doula provides focused support and full-spectrum care in the days (and nights) and months after your baby’s arrival, a period long overlooked when reinforcement is absolutely critical. They also provide evidence-based information on things such as infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, bonding with your baby, infant soothing, and newborn care. Families have an easier time with this transition if a good support team is in place. It takes a village.

Who should consider having one?

Because every family’s needs in the weeks after welcoming their new child are radically different, the first job of a postpartum doula is always identifying what those are. From that starting point, postpartum doulas assess and build out reasonable parenting goals for families; they offer guidance with baby feeding; they provide help with essentials like organizing, light cleaning, and cooking; and, perhaps most critically, they are present to emotionally support the new family. Overnight help and referrals (for lactation consultants or other specific needs) are an option too.

Postpartum doulas’ services are applicable for both biological and adoptive families, and if you need care and support after a birth loss, miscarriage, or abortion.

What does it cost?

Postpartum doulas can range in price from $35 to $85 an hour, and rates are typically based on experience level and training. Rates are often higher-priced for supporting families of multiples. There are organizations that exist that provide postpartum services for low cost or free, so please inquire in the area that you live.

What resources might be helpful?

You can always reach out to us at Carriage House Birth for in-person and virtual postpartum doula support.

Some other things I recommend for postpartum care include:

We offer Carriage House Birth postpartum doula training because we believe that postpartum doulas are essential in supporting families in the often-forgotten fourth trimester. We also have a scholarship fund for postpartum doula training that prioritizes Black, Indigenous, Asian, and Latinx people, regardless of income; LGBTQIA2S+; and people who are experiencing financial hardship, in support of our larger goal to provide access for and train doulas who will raise the standard of care for the most vulnerable birthing bodies.

Pelvic floor therapist

Dr. Sara Reardon, PT, DPT, WCS, is a doctor of physical therapy and a board-certified pelvic floor physical therapist with over 17 years of experience helping women with pelvic floor issues. She is the founder and Chief Vagina Officer of The Vagina Whisperer, an online platform with pelvic floor and core exercise programs for pregnancy, postpartum, painful sex, and pelvic floor strengthening. Sara is passionate about normalizing the conversation around pelvic floor health and increasing awareness of pelvic floor physical therapy as a treatment option to prevent and overcome pelvic health issues. She lives in her hometown of New Orleans with her husband and two boys.

What do pelvic floor PTs do? 

Pelvic health physical therapists specialize in treating your pelvic floor muscles, which play a role in bowel and bladder health, sexual health, reproductive health, pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. During a pelvic PT session, the therapist inquires about your symptoms and performs a physical examination, which includes an internal exam of your pelvic floor muscles, through the vagina or anus. This exam assesses for pelvic floor weakness, tension, or pain and, along with your symptoms, determines if you would benefit from pelvic floor strengthening, relaxation, or coordination.

Who should consider going to one?

If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, you should check in with a pelvic health PT:

  • bladder issues, including urinary frequency, urgency, pain, or leakage
  • bowel issues, including constipation, hemorrhoids, fissures, or incontinence
  • pelvic pain, including painful intercourse, painful menstruation, or abdominal, vaginal, or tailbone pain
  • pelvic floor heaviness or pelvic organ prolapse
  • pregnancy-related pain or discomfort
  • postpartum core and pelvic floor weakness or pain (recommend a six-week postpartum checkup)
  • recovery from abdominal or pelvic surgery or cesarean section
  • effects of aging, including urinary frequency, leakage, prolapse, or painful intercourse

What does it cost? 

Cost depends on whether the therapist is in-network or out-of-network with your insurance provider. If they are in-network, it falls under your physical therapy benefits and is typically a set copay or percentage of the cost based on your insurance plan. If they are out-of-network, the price varies geographically but can typically range from $150 to $300 for an hour-long visit.

What resources might be helpful?

Check out the blog post What to Expect in a Pelvic Floor PT Session if you’re curious to learn more. To find a pelvic floor physical therapist in your area, check these PT locators: Pelvic Rehab and Academy of Pelvic Health. For pelvic floor workouts for pregnancy, postpartum, or painful sex, start your 7-day free trial of a V-Hive membership with online, on-demand workouts for your pelvic floor and core or get my free guide with 6 Exercises to Strengthen your Pelvic Floor and Core.

What’s your best postpartum advice? 

First, take the stool softeners. After birth, constipation can oftentimes be more uncomfortable than birth itself. Take stool softeners from day one until your poops are pretty soft and regular, then slowly decrease usage.

Second, check in with a pelvic floor physical therapist at six weeks postpartum. Often, after clearance from a medical provider, you return to sex, exercise, or work, and your pelvic floor and core have not been sufficiently evaluated or rehabilitated. A pelvic health PT should be the standard of care after the major physical transformations of pregnancy and birth and can significantly decrease pain, minimize urinary leakage, and increase pleasure with sex.

Couples therapist

Dr. Ayanna Abrams is a licensed clinical psychologist, the CEO and founder of Ascension Behavioral Health, and a co-founder of Not So Strong, an initiative to improve the mental health and relationship functioning of Black women. Her specialties include racism-based trauma, mood disorder treatment, burnout prevention, and helping people create and re-create healthy romantic, friendship, career, and familial relationships. She has extensive clinical and research experience working with Black people across the Diaspora and has been featured as a speaker or contributing writer in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Essence, Therapy for Black Girls, and Silence the Shame. 

What do couples therapists do?

In short, couples therapists specialize in helping people in romantic partnerships increase relationship satisfaction through decreasing conflict, improving communication skills, helping them build insight into their needs and patterns, and creating more emotional connection through empathy, vulnerability, and emotional/physical closeness. We create a space for couples to practice new skills, learn a lot about themselves and each other, and make better-informed decisions about their future.

Who should consider going to one? 

I would consider seeking couples therapy (and recommend seeking it) preventatively, as opposed to long after a problem or set of problems persists. Clinical and anecdotal data shows that couples often wait too long to seek care, which has more long-term negative effects on the relationship life span and each individual’s personal well-being.

The main reasons to seek couples therapy include: to increase closeness and understanding, to improve communication patterns with regard to conflict resolution and problem-solving, or to practice vulnerability to understand each other at a deeper emotional level. Other reasons include stress and relationship management as it relates to career changes, relocations, adjustments to parenting (new or additional children), or differences in parenting styles/needs, concerns about children’s health or behavior, adjustments to major medical diagnoses/changes in health, in-law dynamics or caretaking responsibilities with older persons, financial distress, traumatic impact and how this shows up in relationships, sex/affection/arousal discrepancies, infidelity, abuse, addiction, and many other concerns, from mild to severe relationship impairment. So basically, seek couples therapy for anything, and we are here for you!

What does it cost? 

The cost varies depending on a clinician’s training and licensure, where they are located, and if the presenting concern is considered a specialty or niche. A therapy session can range from maybe $50 with a licensed clinician in a rural area to $300 with a licensed clinician in a city like Atlanta or New York; it really depends on quite a few factors.

Some insurance panels also assist in sharing the cost of care, so that really helps couples address that potential barrier. Some clinicians may have a reduced-fee option for couples, and some practices train emerging therapists who offer lower fees as they are building their expertise and are supervised by a licensed therapist.

What’s your best postpartum advice? 

As a psychologist who specializes in seeing couples and in working with many families in the postpartum period and beyond, my advice is to talk to each other about things early and often. Do not try to tough these adjustments out alone; do not try to “protect” your partner by not expressing how hard this space is to be in, even if you love it. It’s hard not because you are deficient but because it is just hard, and you deserve to move through this with as much support as you need. Ask for help, clarity, listening, as much as you need to and whenever it will help, and be willing to seek assistance beyond your family and friends. Isolation and burnout in this stage has been staggeringly dangerous for families, with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders on a significant rise, and oftentimes the lack of support system is a key change factor in saving someone’s life, literally.

What resources might be helpful?

I usually recommend reading resources like Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson, All About Love by bell hooks, I Want This to Work by Elizabeth Earnshaw, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Glover Tawwab, and Fair Play by Eve Rodsky.

Seeking care with a therapist who has some experience with your specific concerns (you can ask directly about this) and who shares some aspects of your identities or your partners identities (i.e. race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc.) is also helpful for many. Affirmation of your identities in therapy is crucial to increasing emotional safety, vulnerability, and change processes.

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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. 💙
...

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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