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Today I am absolutely delighted to feature an interview with two amazing authors.  Jessica Grose is the author of the just-released book Screaming on the Inside: The Unsustainability of American Motherhood, and Yael Schonbrun is a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor at Brown (my colleague!) and the author of the new book Work, Parent, Thrive.
Today's discussion: a lens into thinking more generally about where data comes from, and whether we can be confident in what it tells us.
This episode was inspired by a question I get frequently. It’s some version of “I’m pregnant and my doctor said it’s important to work out but that I shouldn’t get my heart rate above 140. Is this true?”  Let's look at the data!
Mastitis. If you’ve had it, the word itself prompts a reaction. When I mentioned the topic in our ParentData Slack channel, one team member commented, “Just the thought of this gives me a fever.” For me, the salient memory is adhering to the advice to feed the baby first from the affected breast. I love my son, but I did not love him at that moment. But let's dive in!
Pacifiers are a big deal but also a source of stress. This is true with infants, when people worry about risks (nipple confusion?) but also see possible benefits (SIDS prevention?). And it’s true later on, when parents become concerned about possible downsides to long-term use. Today I will dive deep, deep into the data.
For  charts of the survey data, please visit https://www.parentdata.org/p/how-long-does-it-take-to-get-pregnant
In this moment, I am still getting a lot of questions about illness and seeing family. I will note, however, they are mostly not about COVID. People — especially those with young kids — are more worried about flu and RSV. The pandemic isn’t over, but it’s reached a place for most people where COVID is part of a broader landscape of illness. The turducken we build this year for Thanksgiving is going to be one we consider keeping indefinitely; it’s one we could have had in earlier, pre-COVID years, except  we were not thinking about it.
One of my favorite things to do is peruse relevant journals and see what they are up to that I’m not hearing about in the New York Times or in the scary headlines you send me on Instagram DMs. Today I’m going to surface the results of one of those perusals. I spent a few hours in JAMA Pediatrics, a top pediatrics journal. Here’s some of the interesting stuff I found, plus a bit of speculation at the end about why they didn’t pop up in your news feed. Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
Several months ago, timed with the paperback publication of The Family Firm, I wrote a post encouraging people to consider what “one thing” they’d like to change to make their daily life a little easier. You guys wrote in with absolutely amazing things — many, many more than we could follow up on. But we picked a few representative cases and did a deep dive into the problem and possible solutions. It’s now been enough time for a trial. So — did these ideas work? How do they look when we follow up?  Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
Today I’m addressing two of the big panic buttons that have come across my desk recently. First, the paper on hair straighteners and uterine cancer. Second, the FDA removal of Makena, a drug to prevent preterm birth, from the market.  Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
A vasectomy is a low-risk procedure that provides excellent (permanent, though sometimes reversible) birth control. In an effort to help readers who've written it about it, and anyone else who is thinking this through, today is a vasectomy deep dive. Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
Today, I'm curious about the question of whether we are sicker than “usual.” For many people, it feels that way. But we also know that fall is always a time of respiratory viruses. I believe there are two potential explanations for the current state. One is that there actually is more childhood illness — especially respiratory illness — than there was in 2019. A second possibility is that we are back to 2019 rates and we just forgot what it felt like. So which is it? This didn’t prove easy to answer. But today I’m going to tell you how I went about it. For more on this subject, including graphs from this post, check out ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
Today’s post is an interview with writer Marnie Hanel on her new, incredibly beautiful book about packing lunch boxes for your kids. When this book was first brought to my attention, I scoffed. I am nothing if not a hater of high-pressure lunch packing for children. However: I was convinced to consider the book by the fact that one of my children’s lunch boxes came back pretty much uneaten most days. But I didn’t just want to do an interview — the pitch of the book is that this can be easy. Is that true? I needed to evaluate.  Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
My inbox, and my Wednesday Instagram stories, are usually a good barometer of where people are in their concerns about COVID. In the past several weeks, nearly all of the questions I get are about vaccines, and specifically how to navigate what sometimes feels like confusing messaging. Today I want to try to help by talking through three somewhat specific questions. First: What is the value of getting the bivalent booster? Second: vaccines in pregnancy. Is there a best time to get boosted? Third: vaccines for the under-5 set. Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably get a sense that I like to run. As part of this very intense hobby, I recently acquired a pair of “super shoes” — the new-technology racing shoes that supposedly make you faster. When I posted about them, I got questions, and also some skepticism. One commenter told me (nicely) that her husband feels the research does not support the value of these shoes, or that only the Nike versions work. This really felt like a question for data. Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
Listen, I know you don’t want to think about this. I know you’re settling down with your coffee, hoping this will be about preschool or vaccinations, or really anything except itchy bugs that infest your child’s head or butt. However: sometime later (hopefully much later), you will thank me when you see worms in the toilet and you know what to do.   Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had impacts on children that go far beyond the effects of disease. We are beginning to get a better understanding of the impacts on school-age children, especially around learning. Many of the readers of this newsletter, however, are parents to smaller children. And if you’re in this group, you might have heard some scary coverage about COVID and infant development. But are those concerns real? Or just fearmongering?Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
I get many questions in the category of “I’m worried about [FILL IN THE BLANK]. Should I be?” Sometimes these questions are in the immediate panic category (“A new study said gummy bears cause cancer!”). And some are more of a constant low-level concern. I want to address perhaps the most consistent of the latter: Zika. Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
Lots of people ask whether Montessori school is better. Or replace “Montessori” with whatever parenting philosophy you want. Today I’m going to start with a dive into the limited data. And then I’ll explain why, in fact, that question is unanswerable and makes no sense to ask.  Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
Today’s ParentData episode is about ParentData — where we are, where we are going, and answering some questions about how it gets produced. Want more on pregnancy and parenting? Subscribe to the ParentData newsletter for free at ParentData.org. You can also become a paid subscriber for access to the full ParentData archive (searchable by topic) and an extra newsletter every week.
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