Emily Oster

6 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

With a Whimper…

Emily Oster

6 min Read

Vaccine, Redux

I do not usually do follow-ups so quickly, but all of my emails after the last newsletter focused on just two questions, so I thought a quick follow-up was in order.

Breastfeeding (and a little more Pregnancy)

Breastfeeding is not a contraindication for the vaccine. There is no reason to think vaccination would prove a problem for lactating women.

In addition, I wanted to share this excellent summary from the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, which makes a strong case that both lactating and pregnant women should be included in vaccination pushes. The whole thing is worth reading, but their bottom line is that there is no reason to think this vaccine would be a problem for women in these groups, and that excluding them is therefore not appropriate (and, indeed, maybe unethical).

Long Term Impacts

The second question I got a lot: how can we be sure there are no long term impacts of the vaccine? What if there are issues in 5 or 10 years?

One answer is, of course, we can never be sure. This is part of the uncertainty we are going to have to live with in the pandemic. One could ask the same (indeed, many have!) about long term impacts of the disease. Or long term impacts of isolation. Or of lost schooling, or of depression. There are many long term impacts we will only learn about in the long term.

But a second answer is that there is absolutely no reason to think there would be long term impacts of these vaccines. mRNA is a new technology, in some ways, but it uses a well known biological process. And the basic idea behind the vaccine — to encourage the immune system to develop protection — is the same one we use for all vaccination. There is just no reason to think there would be some secret long term impact here.

“Not with a bang, but a whimper” – TS Elliot

With vaccine approval, we are starting to talk about “the end”. How will this end? What will the end of the pandemic look like?

The first winter I lived in Providence, it snowed a huge amount. There were multiple snow events with more than a foot of snow. For my birthday, in February, Jesse and I went to Boston and walked around the North End, through passageways made in snow drifts which towered above our heads.

After every snowstorm, it would first be eerily silent, and then plows would clear a bit of a path. But they were not very effective. For most of the winter, every road we drove on was down to a single lane.

And then, slowly, slowly, it melted. Roads became two lanes again, we rediscovered toys lost in the snow. Boston had stored some of their excess snow in giant piles in parking lots, where the last of it melted only in July.

This is how the pandemic will end, too. It will end slowly. In drips. We will not awake one morning to find large indoor singing events are back on everywhere. We will not find ourselves all burning our masks in a bonfire on the first day of vaccination.

Part of this is because vaccination will not be immediate. Yes, approval this week will probably mean the first vaccines before Christmas. But widespread vaccination will take time. Kids will be later. The NY Times Vaccine Line told me I was behind 267 million other people. If we think we need 60 or 70% of people vaccinated to achieve some kind of herd immunity, then it won’t be achieved in January, that’s for sure. Nor will it happen all at once on some date.

But the availability of vaccine will bring on the slow melt. We can expect less spread as more people are vaccinated (even if their vaccination does not protect others, which is an open question, they will at least be less likely to have it). Less spread will bring with it more opening. In most places, a lot of reopening metrics are linked to community spread levels. If there is less COVID with 30% of the population vaccinated than 0% vaccinated, then more restaurants, bars and, perhaps, schools will be open.

If you had to ask me to look into my crystal ball, I think the summer will look more normal. Maybe some travel again. More camps for kids (even though they are unlikely to have been vaccinated, a lot of camps operated successfully last summer so I’m guessing this will spur them on). More of us will be back in our offices for more time, if we want. But I don’t think we’ll see large scale music festivals or huge parades (I might be wrong!) quite yet.

The slow melt goes beyond the vaccine issues, though. It’s going to take us time to return to where we were before, emotionally. I cannot be the only one who sees people hugging on TV and is like What are you doing?!!?!?! STOP THAT!!! One of my kids told me the other day that when they are around people who are not their family without their mask they “feel naked.” I suspect those of us who wear masks religiously will be wearing them in grocery stores for a long while, even as the mandates to do so fade.

It has been a scary, weird, isolating time. It still is. The steps out will be baby ones. And, of course, on the other side not everything will go back to the way it was. I am very confident we’ll have more Zoom meetings in lieu of travel. Although I hope to do some of my August book tour in person, I suspect I’ll get a chance to Zoom some of it, too. And I predict that we’ll see way more masking in general, especially during flu season.

Why mention all this now? It’s been on my mind because I think some of at least my stress is the continued feelings of uncertainty. The end is “in sight” but, like, where? And I think this is part of what makes it hard to continue vigilance, and also to just exist. At least for me, recognizing that it will not appear all at once like some kind of jack in the box is helpful. But also recognizing that two months from now things probably will look somewhat better is also helpful.

Hang in there, people.

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Happy Father’s Day to the Fathers and Father figures in our ParentData community! 

Tag a Dad who this holiday may be tricky for. We’re sending you love. 💛

Happy Father’s Day to the Fathers and Father figures in our ParentData community!

Tag a Dad who this holiday may be tricky for. We’re sending you love. 💛
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“Whilst googling things like ‘new dad sad’ and ‘why am I crying new dad,’ I came across an article written by a doctor who had trouble connecting with his second child. I read the symptoms and felt an odd sense of relief.” Today we’re bringing back an essay by Kevin Maguire of @newfatherhood about his experience with paternal postpartum depression. We need to demystify these issues in order to change things for the better. Comment “Link” for a DM to read his full essay.

#parentdata #postpartum #postpartumdepression #paternalmentalhealth #newparents #emilyoster

“Whilst googling things like ‘new dad sad’ and ‘why am I crying new dad,’ I came across an article written by a doctor who had trouble connecting with his second child. I read the symptoms and felt an odd sense of relief.” Today we’re bringing back an essay by Kevin Maguire of @newfatherhood about his experience with paternal postpartum depression. We need to demystify these issues in order to change things for the better. Comment “Link” for a DM to read his full essay.

#parentdata #postpartum #postpartumdepression #paternalmentalhealth #newparents #emilyoster
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What does the data say about children who look more like one parent? Do they also inherit more character traits and mannerisms from that parent? Let’s talk about it 🔎

#emilyoster #parentdata #parentingcommunity #lookslikedaddy #lookslikemommy

What does the data say about children who look more like one parent? Do they also inherit more character traits and mannerisms from that parent? Let’s talk about it 🔎

#emilyoster #parentdata #parentingcommunity #lookslikedaddy #lookslikemommy
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SLEEP DATA 💤 We asked you all about your kids’ sleep—and got nearly 15,000 survey responses to better understand kids’ sleep patterns. Comment “Link” for an article that breaks down our findings!

This graph shows sleeping location by age. You’ll notice that for the first three months, most kids are in their own sleeping location in a parent’s room. Then, over the first year, this switches toward their own room. As kids age, sharing a room with a sibling becomes more common. 

Head to the newsletter for more and stay tuned for part two next week on naps! 🌙

#parentdata #emilyoster #childsleep #babysleep #parentingcommunity

SLEEP DATA 💤 We asked you all about your kids’ sleep—and got nearly 15,000 survey responses to better understand kids’ sleep patterns. Comment “Link” for an article that breaks down our findings!

This graph shows sleeping location by age. You’ll notice that for the first three months, most kids are in their own sleeping location in a parent’s room. Then, over the first year, this switches toward their own room. As kids age, sharing a room with a sibling becomes more common.

Head to the newsletter for more and stay tuned for part two next week on naps! 🌙

#parentdata #emilyoster #childsleep #babysleep #parentingcommunity
...

Weekends are good for extra cups of ☕️ and listening to podcasts. I asked our team how they pod—most people said on walks or during chores. What about you?

Comment “Link” to subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster, joined by some excellent guests.

#parentdata #parentdatapodcast #parentingpodcast #parentingtips #emilyoster

Weekends are good for extra cups of ☕️ and listening to podcasts. I asked our team how they pod—most people said on walks or during chores. What about you?

Comment “Link” to subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster, joined by some excellent guests.

#parentdata #parentdatapodcast #parentingpodcast #parentingtips #emilyoster
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Humility. That’s why. That’s the whole reason.

#emilyoster #secondbaby #parentingjokes #parentinghumor

Humility. That’s why. That’s the whole reason.

#emilyoster #secondbaby #parentingjokes #parentinghumor
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Bug season is upon us. Besides annoyance, this can bring up safety concerns, particularly with ticks. They are carriers of diseases, most notably Lyme disease. So what’s the best course of action?

Prevention is key! I suggest:
⭐ Regular tick checks
⭐ Using bug sprays with DEET 
⭐ Wearing long sleeves and pants in the woods

Some parents worry about DEET, but repellants with up to 30% DEET are recommended by both the CDC and AAP. The data says you’re in the clear, so go for it. Enjoy your summer!

#parentdata #emilyoster #tickseason #bugbites #bugspray

Bug season is upon us. Besides annoyance, this can bring up safety concerns, particularly with ticks. They are carriers of diseases, most notably Lyme disease. So what’s the best course of action?

Prevention is key! I suggest:
⭐ Regular tick checks
⭐ Using bug sprays with DEET
⭐ Wearing long sleeves and pants in the woods

Some parents worry about DEET, but repellants with up to 30% DEET are recommended by both the CDC and AAP. The data says you’re in the clear, so go for it. Enjoy your summer!

#parentdata #emilyoster #tickseason #bugbites #bugspray
...

The list of what not to do while pregnant feels longer than a CVS receipt. At ParentData, we want to empower you to make the right decisions for you. 

What an amazing group of women, and an honor to speak at the #MomsFirstSummit debunking parenting myths. 

What are some pregnancy rules you chose to bend after being empowered by data?

#emilyoster #parentdata #pregnancyproblems #pregnancymyths

The list of what not to do while pregnant feels longer than a CVS receipt. At ParentData, we want to empower you to make the right decisions for you.

What an amazing group of women, and an honor to speak at the #MomsFirstSummit debunking parenting myths.

What are some pregnancy rules you chose to bend after being empowered by data?

#emilyoster #parentdata #pregnancyproblems #pregnancymyths
...

Looking for Memorial Day Weekend plans? Might be the perfect time to give potty training a shot. Potty training is notoriously difficult, and we unfortunately don’t have a lot of evidence-based guidance on what works best. So I asked the ParentData community to fill out a survey and share their knowledge — about 6,000 people responded.

👉Comment “Link” for a DM to an article that summarizes all of the best potty training advice we collected. 

Remember, you are not alone in the potty training struggle! It can be incredibly challenging, so please give yourself some grace.

#emilyoster #parentdata #pottytraining #pottytrainingtips #toddlertips

Looking for Memorial Day Weekend plans? Might be the perfect time to give potty training a shot. Potty training is notoriously difficult, and we unfortunately don’t have a lot of evidence-based guidance on what works best. So I asked the ParentData community to fill out a survey and share their knowledge — about 6,000 people responded.

👉Comment “Link” for a DM to an article that summarizes all of the best potty training advice we collected.

Remember, you are not alone in the potty training struggle! It can be incredibly challenging, so please give yourself some grace.

#emilyoster #parentdata #pottytraining #pottytrainingtips #toddlertips
...

We’re hiring an Associate Editor at ParentData! More details at my link in bio. Please share with the great writers and data-loving people in your network. 📊💻

We’re hiring an Associate Editor at ParentData! More details at my link in bio. Please share with the great writers and data-loving people in your network. 📊💻 ...

Do you brand things a certain way to get your kid to accept it? Like calling carrots “rabbit popsicles”? Or telling them to put on their “super speed socks” in the morning? Share your rebrands in the comments below! You never know who you might be helping out 👇

#emilyoster #funnytweets #relatabletweets #parentingjokes #kidssaythedarndestthings

Do you brand things a certain way to get your kid to accept it? Like calling carrots “rabbit popsicles”? Or telling them to put on their “super speed socks” in the morning? Share your rebrands in the comments below! You never know who you might be helping out 👇

#emilyoster #funnytweets #relatabletweets #parentingjokes #kidssaythedarndestthings
...

Have you ever panic-googled a parenting question when everyone else is asleep? If so, you’re not alone. 

Today is the first episode of a new biweekly series on my podcast: Late-Night Panic Google. On these mini-episodes, you’ll hear from some familiar names about the questions keeping them up at night, and how data can help. First up: @claireholt!

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

#parentdata #emilyoster #claireholt #parentingstruggles #parentingtips #latenightpanicgoogle

Have you ever panic-googled a parenting question when everyone else is asleep? If so, you’re not alone.

Today is the first episode of a new biweekly series on my podcast: Late-Night Panic Google. On these mini-episodes, you’ll hear from some familiar names about the questions keeping them up at night, and how data can help. First up: @claireholt!

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

#parentdata #emilyoster #claireholt #parentingstruggles #parentingtips #latenightpanicgoogle
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Sun safety is a must for all ages, especially babies! Here are my tips for keeping your littlest ones protected in the sunshine:
☀️ Most importantly, limit their time out in hot weather. (They get hotter than you do!)
☀️ Keep them in the shade as much as possible when you’re out.
☀️ Long-sleeve but lightweight clothing is your friend, especially on the beach, where even in the shade you can get sunlight reflecting off different surfaces.
☀️ If you want to add a little sunscreen on their hands and feet? Go for it! But be mindful as baby skin tends to more prone to irritation.

Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on the data around sun and heat exposure for babies.

#sunsafety #babysunscreen #babyhealth #parentdata #emilyoster

Sun safety is a must for all ages, especially babies! Here are my tips for keeping your littlest ones protected in the sunshine:
☀️ Most importantly, limit their time out in hot weather. (They get hotter than you do!)
☀️ Keep them in the shade as much as possible when you’re out.
☀️ Long-sleeve but lightweight clothing is your friend, especially on the beach, where even in the shade you can get sunlight reflecting off different surfaces.
☀️ If you want to add a little sunscreen on their hands and feet? Go for it! But be mindful as baby skin tends to more prone to irritation.

Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on the data around sun and heat exposure for babies.

#sunsafety #babysunscreen #babyhealth #parentdata #emilyoster
...