Emily Oster

8 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

Your Questions, Your Advice

Your stories for the week

Emily Oster

8 min Read

We’re on a short break this week, so we are passing today’s newsletter over to you. A few months ago, we started the Wins and Woes series, with your parenting successes and struggles and your questions. Among the best things about this series have been your comments to one another. They’re warm, they’re comforting, and they’re helpful. They remind us every time of the motivation for this series, which was this post on your best parenting advice.

Today, in case you hadn’t had time to read all these in real time, we’re re-upping some of the questions and comments. Hopefully you find something here that resonates.


Wins, Woes, and Second Kids

Reader question: I have two daughters: a 16-week-old and a 26-month-old. When we had the first, I was very confident staying alone with her from the get-go; it was natural. After the second arrived, I cannot even imagine taking care of the two on my own. I completely freak out at the thought of it, and I feel like a wimp. How old does the old one have to be for this to feel a bit easier? Does this feeling ever go away? Am I going to feel like a superhero mom ever again?

Top comment: I just wanted to add that obviously there are a ton of moms in here saying they are right there with you, but I did experience this as well, and at least part of the problem was actually postpartum depression/anxiety. I went to therapy all along, but I finally started on medication when my baby was 10 months, and it made a huge difference. I no longer stress about having them both at home or taking them out. I do think some of it was also time and practice (actually being alone with them), but for sure the meds helped. This may not be your situation at all, but I just wanted to mention it in case it resonates. Postpartum Support International is a good place to look for resources. And even if it isn’t PPD/PPA, having someone to talk to is always helpful. Thinking of you!

Wins, Woes, and Twins

Reader question: I just found out I’m having identical twins and am freaking out. I have your books but am looking for something more specific to the twin experience that isn’t going to be too fluffy and can help me prepare. I’ve looked myself, and there is so little — it’s so isolating! Any recommendations on what to read?

Top comment: Mom to identical twin 14-month-olds here. Found When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads to be very helpful. You’ve got this!!

Wins, Woes, and Finding Hope

Reader question: I am a female founder, run a company (bootstrapped from scratch, no investment, no inherited wealth), and parent two kids (5 and 7). I had a miscarriage and went through IVF for one, and the Roe v. Wade news has hit me pretty hard. I’m struggling with believing that my daughter will have the same choices as my son. It’s such a grind to be a working mother and so hard to continue to reinforce gender equity at the moment. I welcome ideas, support, and general positivity. Everywhere I turn, everyone is so down and depressed and I have to believe our daughters have something to look forward to!

Top comment: Seventy-year-old Granny Bear here (yes! I subscribe to ParentData to better support my daughters). Having marched in the ’70s in support of a woman’s right to choose, I can’t believe where we are now. But from my 50+-year perspective, I truly, truly believe that the arc of the moral universe always bends toward justice. Hang in there, Mama. You are doing the world’s most important work.

Wins, Woes, and Food Fights

Reader question: Our nearly 2-year-old son still throws tons of food on the floor at every meal — even food he likes, once he’s had enough, and a lot of food he won’t even try! This gets very messy. We’ve asked him to hand food to us or let us know when he’s done, but he seems to get joy from throwing it. Teachers say he does the same thing at day care. Anyone have tips?!

Top comment: I read somewhere to have a special empty bowl on the table where they are supposed to put icky or extra food in. It starts by having a concrete place to put the food they don’t want so they specifically know what to do instead of throwing. Same logic as having an assigned spot for the sippy cup so they don’t throw that!

 Wins, Woes, and Biting

Reader question: My 18-month-old has started to bite her friends. It’s the first time we are being challenged to really react and discipline her, but as first-time parents I honestly don’t know where to start. She is so young that methods like time out or explaining it all to her just don’t seem realistic. Where do we begin with our discipline journey!?

Top comment: For the biter — we use this type of phrase from Big Little Feelings: “It’s okay to feel mad/frustrated/silly, but it’s not okay to bite/pinch/hit. I’m going to move my body/little brother away to keep me/him safe.” Repeat ad infinitum.

Wins, Woes, and Maternity Leave

Reader question: My maternity leave is ending next week. I’m really struggling with missing time with my daughter but also continuing my career that I worked so hard to achieve.

Top comment: Be intentional about expanding your circle of working moms. Many of my friends cut back or quit their jobs after kids, which of course is a valid choice, but seeing them take their kids to the zoo in the middle of a workday was so hard. I still love and spend time with those friends, but I’ve also cultivated more friendships with those who go through the same working-mom struggles. It makes the whole thing feel normal, which helps with the guilt. Also, one day soon your sweet cuddly baby will be a toddler, and I promise some days you will practically throw them into their classrooms 🙂

“I’m at a Loss”

Reader question: My 3.5-year-old has been potty trained for over a year but goes through phases where she has multiple accidents a day. WTF do I do??

Top comment: As a pediatrician, I unsurprisingly might advocate that “Sick of poopy pants” visits their pediatrician. Are accidents only poop or pee or both? Does it happen overnight? Could be constipation, or behavioral, or something that requires medical attention. But either way, the pediatrician could help suss it all out.

Wins, Woes, and SPF

Reader question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of moving away from family? We love our family but also dislike where we live. Feeling guilty. Is moving away bad?

Top comment: We live about 2,000 miles from both sets of parents. My son is now 1.5 years old. Pros: We have great, high-paying jobs and feel very professionally fulfilled. We also really love the area we live in. Cons: Babysitting is harder to come by, holidays require a long plane flight, which is always stressful, we have to be picky about what things we fly in for, and there’s the not-so-subtle comments from the grandparents about how we’re so far away. We deal with this by doing weekly video chats and at least two weeklong visits per year (affordable thanks to our jobs!). We’re thinking about kid #2 and asking ourselves if it’s worth moving back East. Ultimately, I think we will stay where we’re at, but when we buy a house I will place a very high priority on a guest room!! The way I see it, I know I would have some big regrets if I moved, and that would probably make me cranky around my kids. I also ask what advice I would give to my own child if he were struggling with this decision. I’d like to think I would have the courage to say, “I love you so much. I’ll visit you anywhere. Do what makes you happy.”

Your Parenting Wins and Woes

Reader question: How do you respond when your toddler says he needs to sleep in your bed because he “doesn’t want to sleep alone”?

Top comment: This is so hard! I often say, “You’re not alone, we are just on the other side of the wall taking care of you”” or remind them that one of your jobs as parent is making sure everyone gets good sleep, and you’ll all sleep better in your own beds.

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Wins, Woes, and Autism

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Close up of a postpartum belly with baby hands.

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Should I Try Stomach Binding Postpartum?

Ask ParentData

Emily Oster

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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
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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
...

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
...

I’m calling on you today to share your story. I know that many of you have experienced complications during pregnancy, birth, or postpartum. It’s not something we want to talk about, but it’s important that we do. Not just for awareness, but to help people going through it feel a little less alone.

That’s why I’m asking you to post a story, photo, or reel this week with #MyUnexpectedStory and tag me. I’ll re-share as many as I can to amplify. Let’s fill our feeds with these important stories and lift each other up. Our voices can create change. And your story matters. 💙

#theunexpected #emilyoster #pregnancycomplications #pregnancystory

I’m calling on you today to share your story. I know that many of you have experienced complications during pregnancy, birth, or postpartum. It’s not something we want to talk about, but it’s important that we do. Not just for awareness, but to help people going through it feel a little less alone.

That’s why I’m asking you to post a story, photo, or reel this week with #MyUnexpectedStory and tag me. I’ll re-share as many as I can to amplify. Let’s fill our feeds with these important stories and lift each other up. Our voices can create change. And your story matters. 💙

#theunexpected #emilyoster #pregnancycomplications #pregnancystory
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OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio!

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio! ...

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio!

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio! ...

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio!

OUT NOW: My new book “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available on April 30th. All of my other books came out of my own experiences. I wrote them to answer questions I had, as a pregnant woman and then as a new parent. “The Unexpected” is a book not to answer my own questions but to answer yours. Specifically, to answer the thousands of questions I’ve gotten over the past decade from people whose pregnancies were more complicated than they had expected. This is for you. 💛 Order now at my link in bio! ...

Is side sleeping important during pregnancy? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on whether sleep position affects pregnancy outcomes.

Being pregnant makes you tired, and as time goes by, it gets increasingly hard to get comfortable. You were probably instructed to sleep on your side and not your back, but it turns out that advice is not based on very good data.

We now have much better data on this, and the bulk of the evidence seems to reject the link between sleep position and stillbirth or other negative outcomes. So go ahead and get some sleep however you are most comfortable. 💤

Sources:
📖 #ExpectingBetter pp. 160-163
📈 Robert M. Silver et al., “Prospective Evaluation of Maternal Sleep Position Through 30 Weeks of Gestation and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 134, no. 4 (2019): 667–76. 

#emilyoster #pregnancy #pregnancytips #sleepingposition #pregnantlife

Is side sleeping important during pregnancy? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article on whether sleep position affects pregnancy outcomes.

Being pregnant makes you tired, and as time goes by, it gets increasingly hard to get comfortable. You were probably instructed to sleep on your side and not your back, but it turns out that advice is not based on very good data.

We now have much better data on this, and the bulk of the evidence seems to reject the link between sleep position and stillbirth or other negative outcomes. So go ahead and get some sleep however you are most comfortable. 💤

Sources:
📖 #ExpectingBetter pp. 160-163
📈 Robert M. Silver et al., “Prospective Evaluation of Maternal Sleep Position Through 30 Weeks of Gestation and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes,” Obstetrics and Gynecology 134, no. 4 (2019): 667–76.

#emilyoster #pregnancy #pregnancytips #sleepingposition #pregnantlife
...

My new book, “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available for preorder at the link in my bio!

I co-wrote #TheUnexpected with my friend and maternal fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Nathan Fox. The unfortunate reality is that about half of pregnancies include complications such as preeclampsia, miscarriage, preterm birth, and postpartum depression. Because these are things not talked about enough, it can not only be an isolating experience, but it can also make treatment harder to access.

The book lays out the data on recurrence and delves into treatment options shown to lower risk for these conditions in subsequent pregnancies. It also guides you through how to have productive conversations and make shared decisions with your doctor. I hope none of you need this book, but if you do, it’ll be here for you 💛

#pregnancy #pregnancycomplications #pregnancyjourney #preeclampsiaawareness #postpartumjourney #emilyoster

My new book, “The Unexpected: Navigating Pregnancy During and After Complications” is available for preorder at the link in my bio!

I co-wrote #TheUnexpected with my friend and maternal fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Nathan Fox. The unfortunate reality is that about half of pregnancies include complications such as preeclampsia, miscarriage, preterm birth, and postpartum depression. Because these are things not talked about enough, it can not only be an isolating experience, but it can also make treatment harder to access.

The book lays out the data on recurrence and delves into treatment options shown to lower risk for these conditions in subsequent pregnancies. It also guides you through how to have productive conversations and make shared decisions with your doctor. I hope none of you need this book, but if you do, it’ll be here for you 💛

#pregnancy #pregnancycomplications #pregnancyjourney #preeclampsiaawareness #postpartumjourney #emilyoster
...

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
...