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One Year and 100 Posts

I missed my one year blog birthday last week. Happy Birthday, Science of Mom!

Photo by Laura at freephotoimages.blogspot.com

AND this little post here is my 100th post! I get nervous every time I press the “Publish” button, so I’m proud that I found the courage to do it 100 times in the last year.

One of the greatest things about writing regularly – whether in a journal, a baby book, or for a wider audience – is that it offers the chance to marvel at how much has changed over time. In the last year, BabyC has grown in ways that simply blow my mind. But that’s true of all children, and there are tangible milestones for evidence – physical size, motor skills, language, etc. Compare a couple of photos, and her growth is obvious:

BabyC at 9 months

At 21 months

My growth as a mother and as a writer has come more slowly and in more nuanced ways. Through struggling to put an intense emotion into words, I have come to know myself better. In fumbling to translate a scientific journal article to something accessible and relevant, I have come to appreciate how much skill this requires. In describing my parenting challenges, I have better-defined the kind of parent I want to be. Writing this blog has been a lifesaver for me in the past year. It has given me a creative and intellectual outlet while BabyC napped. Most importantly, it has given me the opportunity to connect with you all and to enjoy smart conversation with thoughtful parents. Thank you all for reading and commenting and making this year of parenting less isolating and more interesting. Thank you.

My family will be going through some transitions this fall. I will be teaching two college courses – both of them new to me – and BabyC will be spending some time either at a childcare center or with a babysitter in our home. I’m not sure how blogging will fit into all of this, but I want to keep writing. I may have less time to write research-based posts. I may write more about nutrition, since this is the topic of one of the courses I will be teaching. I may write about the eternal quest for balance of work and home satisfaction, which will certainly be shifted during these changes in our family. We’ll just have to see how much time I can squeeze in for blogging and what inspires me.

Since this is a both a milestone and a time of transition for me, I thought I would poll you all to see why you read my blog. Do you come here for the science? For the more personal posts? Because you have a child close in age to BabyC? What drew you to this blog, and what keeps you coming back? Is there something that you’d like to see more of? I love writing these posts, but to be honest, I’m not sure I would do it if I didn’t think anyone was listening. It is really my relationship with you – especially the comments and the emails and the little thumbs up on Facebook – that keep bringing me back to this chair to write. I appreciate you all, and I’d love to hear what you think.

38 Comments
  1. Happy Birthday, Science of Mom. I looked because you were Freshly Pressed. I stayed for the research interprutation and and the parenting stories and lessons. I value the experiences from a mother who is farther along in the adventure than I. I also find your posts motivating. My undergrad was in nutrition (with the original aspirations of being a RD). With my son having so many health problems, I sometimes feel like my nutrition education isn’t relavent since he is so restricted. Reading your posts reminds me that my education can be used to set him in the right direction for healthful eating habits, even if they can’t really be practiced right now.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  2. I found you when you were freshly pressed, but stayed because your scientific posts were so interesting and different. I do like having your other posts mixed in though, as they make you seem so much more real and relatable. With the millions of mommy blogs out there, the science is what makes your unique. Please don’t stop the science posts!

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  3. I found you when my daughter was experiencing some sleep issues, and I was desperately searching for some research on sleep training/bed sharing and some good old fashioned advice. I loved your blog because it was, for me, the perfect combination of facts and research, and a real parent’s perspective. I was so tired of all the opinion posts out there (most of them with atrocious spelling and grammar mistakes!). I stayed because your approach to writing is so straightforward. I love the perspective you have on parenting, especially since I have a daughter who will be 2 in September and am experiencing many of the same milestones. I appreciate your candidness, and am trying to take the same initiative in my own sharing. I truly look forward you each and every post, and hope that you will find a good balance with your new endeavors and will be able to continue. Best of luck, and Thank You!

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  4. Christine Modey #

    Like your other readers, I first encountered your blog on Freshly Pressed. I did an undergraduate degree in chemistry (though I now teach college English), and I still enjoy reading popular science and thinking about how scientific writing gets translated for a general reader (and what is gained and lost in that process). I also have a child who is around BabyC’s age, so your observations about climbing, eating, sleeping, exploring all seem very relevant to my life right now. Best wishes with your return to the classroom this fall!

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  5. I too found you when “freshly pressed”. I love your writing. I envy the work you put in to discuss an issue and the time it must take to research. Every time I read one of your posts, I remind myself that I should read more of the literature, but still haven’t figured out how to find the time. I will continue to follow you in the hopes that one day I solve that little mystery.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  6. I appreciate your unique combination of science and motherhood. You’re neutral and objective, but let us know when to take a study with a grain of salt. It’s very refreshing!

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  7. mt #

    Congratulations on reaching your 1-year blogging anniversary! Yours is one of my favorite blogs on the web. I also found you while doing research on infant sleep, trying to learn how to safely encourage my 3-month-old to sleep as much as possible through the night without burdening him with unfair expectations. I don’t know why, but the subject of infant sleep makes people INSANE on the internet, and your posts were a breath of fresh air! Most people just seem to launch attacks at one another (“Cry it out works, do it or your kid will never sleep, ever!” “Wanting a full night’s sleep is selfish!”), but your blog had actual research presented in a straightforward way. I loved how you were honest about the research affecting your own thoughts about sleep training, and also left room for readers to come to their own conclusions about what is right for their families. It was also great that you took time to delve into the importance of sleep for the entire family–and dismissed the bromides that are often offered to desperate, sleep-deprived parents (i.e. “nap while your baby naps”–an hourlong nap does not a well-rested parent make).

    I *definitely* read your blog for the science. My husband and I are both academics as well and appreciate that you cite the studies you discuss. That kind of integrity means a lot to us.

    Babies are simple creatures, yet so mysterious. I’m sure science will never be abe to get to the bottom of every baby’s individual foibles, but I’m all for being the best-informed parent I can be. Some of the mysteries I’d love to read about are:

    So-called “nursing strikes.” Why why why??? (In case you can’t tell, this has been an issue for us).
    Anything regarding kids and TV. Is it harmful? In what amounts? (My little one is already transfixed by the television–all those colors, all that movement! But I don’t want a little couch potato).
    More about food and nutrition–maybe about the science of taste? How to best encourage a broad palette? I want my son to savor a variety of foods and not be a picky eater.
    Pros and cons of circumcision.

    I’d love to hear your voice on any and all of the above.

    Also, I love hearing about your adventures with BabyC. Thanks for being so generous with your expertise and your personal experience as a mother.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
    • Wow, thanks for the great post ideas! I’ve added them to my list. I’m so glad that you found the sleep posts useful. Those were really hard for me to write because of all the passionate arguments around the internet, but I’ve heard from others like you that they appreciated the non-judgmental information in those posts. And I’m so glad to hear that you and other readers really value the science-based posts. You’re right, babies are mysterious, and if you’re like me, you feel like surely science has something to offer to make our lives as parents easier. I have definitely learned that it is but one piece of the puzzle – there will always be a lot of trial and error and learning as we go in parenting. Still, with all the misinformation around the Internet, a good peer-reviewed paper makes me feel really grounded too. Thanks again for reading!

      Like

      August 8, 2012
  8. Happy Blogoversary! and congrats on 100 posts. . . as a fellow blogger, I have to say that is AMAZING! I can so relate to the little twinge of anxiety every time I click that “Publish” button and the joy, personal growth, learning, and connection that writing and sharing can bring. As a pediatrician, I love your scientific analysis of articles and parenting issues. As a mom, I love your open writing style, regardless of the topic. Best wishes for a smooth transition back to work. I look forward to whatever you are inspired to write about this upcoming year.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  9. Chrystal #

    Happy birthday! I found you through a link by Lisa Sunbury, back when I was having sleep troubles with my 2nd. Love the research as I’m an RN and also really skeptical so I like that you have evidence and research instead of just emotion (but sometimes a break and just a nice story or example is good too!). Been working on starting my own blog up so I can really appreciate the work involved with you getting this far! I’m just headed back to work myself too and with 2 little girls it’s busy for sure. But I love writing and connecting so I think it’ll be worth it. I’m sure you’ll find a way to keep it up even if you have to scale back a bit. Looking forward to more posts!

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  10. I’ve been reading you almost from the beginning! Congratulations! Although I don’t have a chance to comment often (maybe only once before?), I really enjoy reading your posts because our children are very close in age so usually whatever you’re going through, I am too and its nice to hear someone else’s thoughts on it. I like it all: the personal, the scientific, the nutritional- its the combination that makes your blog unique.
    I’ve always admired your ability to put into concrete, real-life terms the different concepts floating around, especially when our babies were younger. I could barely form a complete sentence let alone an entire blog post in those days! Once again, congratulations! And I look forward to reading whatever you do write, whenever you do it!

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  11. Kirstie #

    I can’t remember how I found you, either through a google search for toddler nutrition, or linked from somewhere. I’m in New Zealand so don’t think your blog was in the papers or on the parenting sites here!
    I like the research bases facts you have, I have looked up a few things after you’ve written about them, really enjoy using my brain again!! 😉
    And your blogs cover the same things I’m going through with a 21 month old, it’s always nice to know you’re not the only one!
    Congrats on 100 posts, and happy blog birthday!

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  12. Sally #

    I can only reiterate the comments above. As a Child and Family Health Nurse it’s so refreshing to read a parenting blog which manages to find a balance between the lived experience of parenting and the science behind some of the issues faced by parents on a daily basis. You have a gift for presenting information in an objective, non-judgemental, intelligent and accessible way and yours is one of a VERY small list of blogs I recommend to parents who come to clinic looking for information. I live and work in a rural area and, for some women, the blogosphere is their link to other women experiencing the same dilemmas and delights of parenting. Please keep writing.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  13. Erin #

    Hi. I’m a scientist (postdoc) and also the mother of a 16-month old. I read your blog because I enjoy your balanced and informative way of presenting current parenting-related research. I also love hearing about the adventures of BabyC! She reminds me of my little guy, who also loves to make us nervous with his climbing exploits, collect favorite things in a bag, and of course explore and get into everything. Since BabyC is a bit older than him, when I read your posts it feels a bit like I’m getting a preview of fun stages coming up. Best wishes to you and your family, during the transitions you are making this year. =)

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  14. Congrats! I’m in for the journey. This mothering thing we do seems so unscientific sometimes, but I like that your blog grounds me and lets me know what is tried and true.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  15. Kim Burlingham, MD #

    Congratualtions on your first hundred! I come to you because your science is sound, your words are pure. You have dotted the Is and crossed the Ts for me. You are the mom in my practice in whose child’s exam room I want to stay long past the visit is over and learn from and visit with. You are not “the doctor said” you are ” another mom says.” You are the antidote to the Jenny McCarthy’s of the world. You are my voice to the parents on my facebook page and unbeknownst to you, I am sometimes your voice in the exam room. I read you because you ROCK!

    Like

    August 8, 2012
    • Kim, you just made me day. Oh my goodness, thanks so much for this kind comment. I am so proud to be considered an antidote to Jenny McCarthy. I actually really want to write more about vaccines – there’s probably no more important topic right now. Thanks for the inspiration!

      Like

      August 8, 2012
  16. Wow, I SO appreciate hearing from all of you! It is really inspiring to hear that you value the scientific posts. They take a lot of time to research and write, and though I love doing it, I wouldn’t do it for myself alone. Reading these comments makes me want to dig into a good topic again and get busy writing. Please feel free to share your topic ideas with me, too. Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting, ladies. You’re the best!

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  17. Ree #

    I don’t remember what I was searching for when I found this blog, but I’m so glad I did! I was so frustrated by all the woo out there on the parenting forums, how widely it is accepted as fact, and just how hard it is to find evidence-based information about baby care.

    My first is almost two, so it was an added bonus to read your posts about Baby C as she’s almost the same age.

    Congrats on your 100th post! I do hope you can find time to keep up with the blog. 🙂

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  18. Science-eater #

    I visit this site not only because you write about science but also because you actually know how to think about and write about science. As a PhD student in the neurosciences, I find it very difficult to read many articles ABOUT scientific results (as opposed to reading the primary source). This is because the claims are often way over-stated, misinterpreted, or there was not enough information provided in the summary article about the primary study to actually evaluate it. Your articles succeed in all of these ways. The manipulation and/or the methods are simply stated and the claims are never over-stated.
    I do also enjoy the other entries about parenting and your experience. They are always thoughtful and honest, which, for me, result in compelling and interesting articles.

    As a fun side note, the kind of mental work required to write the research summary articles you include here is some of the best kind of training I have come across for improvings one’s ability to do science. Must help with communicating science in general as well (teaching!).

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  19. I just started following, so I couldn’t say. The science is definitely attractive though! I don’t have a child yet (17 weeks pregnant), but I am just starting to blog and create a little space for myself on the interwebs. I found this post to be very inspiring 🙂

    “In fumbling to translate a scientific journal article to something accessible and relevant, I have come to appreciate how much skill this requires” I went to school for 4 years to do this! There is
    definitely skill involved and you do a fine job 🙂
    Congratulations again, and please please please keep on writing!

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  20. I’ll just add to the chorus of people complimenting how you write about science — you really do make it engaging, and mixing in the personal stories involving BabyC is the icing on the cake. I do hope you manage to find time to continue blogging regularly, and best of luck with the upcoming work/life transitions!

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  21. Vasudha #

    I found your blog while looking for resources on sleep that were not trying to sell either a service or an idea / ideology, and loved that you talk about your personal experiences and observations as well as the science of parenting. The most important thing, as far as I am concerned, is that you talk about nuances and limitations in whatever you read and write about, particularly existing scientific research. One doesn’t see much of this elsewhere, unless you read the actual papers, and I don’t find time for that as I struggle with my baby through his (and our) various transitions. I also keep coming back because I identify so much with all that you write, personal and critical. My son is almost 6 months old, and I feel incredibly lucky when I find a resource like yours that helps get a conversation going (be it with myself, my husband, or in the online community) about issues that matter and will matter to us.

    Like

    August 9, 2012
  22. Teresa O'Mara #

    I found you relatively recently, when researching feeding solid food to my 4-month old son. I have since read all of your posts, and LOVE your combination of science and thoughtful commentary. I really appreciate that you take the time to delve into the research, rather than just regurgitating the headline grabbing results. Congrats on the one year mark, I do hope you’ll continue writing and keeping us posted on the latest developments – scientific and BabyC related!

    Like

    August 9, 2012
  23. Heidi #

    I only found your website last week when I did a Google search in preparation for our sleep training and I appreciated your approach to science and motherhood so much that you got me hooked. Reading your articles on sleep encouraged us through this tough half hour till our little one fell asleep on her own for the first time. She seems to be exactly one year younger than BabyC so many of your older posts speak right into our current situation (especially the ones about food…). I love your attitude when it comes to food, sleep, science and being a mom in general and therefore really hope you will continue to find time to write about these parenting topics from a scientific point of view with, yet a mother’s heart. Your way of looking at science absolutely speaks to my inner geek. I’m really thankful someone takes the trouble to look at all the data, evaluating, combining, and translating it for us non-scientists. So I truely hope to read more from you all the way over here in Germany (where I’m now busy advertising your blog to other parents… ;))!

    Like

    August 9, 2012
  24. I came for the science. I stayed for the nuanced, thoughtful way you handle both the science and the challenges of parenthood. You are a wonderful writer. Keep writing!

    Like

    August 9, 2012
  25. Sarah #

    I really appreciate and enjoy your science based posts, particularly the ones about sleep and breastfeeding (I have a six month old son). I also love reading the comments – your responses are always level headed, which is unusual on the internet (in my experience). And your family/personal posts are wonderful too – its nice to see what drives your curiosity. Please … continue!

    Like

    August 9, 2012
  26. I definitely come for the science. Since leaving college, access to scholarly articles has dwindled. A person could subscribe to a journal, but which do you pick? You bring me what I need to know!

    Like

    August 9, 2012
  27. Jo #

    Happy 100 blog birthday! Please keep writing! Like those above I love the effort that you put in to researching a subject and providing an evidenced-based and balanced view. I come from a medical background and I found it very frustrating that I could never find evidence-based information on anything mummy-related. Prior to your blog everything I read was always opinionated and one sided. Your blog was a breath of fresh air! Thank you!
    Good luck with heading back to work!

    Like

    August 9, 2012
  28. thecoastallivingmom #

    As a fellow college prof, I love the science behind the article you review! It’s good to temper opinions with data. 🙂 Good luck with semester; I’m teaching two new classes as well. It’s a lot of work!

    Like

    August 9, 2012
  29. Sarah #

    As with almost everyone else, I love the science, but in particular the nutrition stuff. So if it makes life easier to focus on that, it works for me too! Good luck with everything – adding in part-time work on top of everything else could be tricky! Looking forward to your posts when you can fit them in 😉

    Like

    August 9, 2012
  30. Larah #

    Hi there! I usually don’t post comments, but for the sake of encouragement I’m eager to leave one now. I am really appreciative of your ability to form your opinion without coming off as critical. We seem to feel the same way about nutrition and play time, etc. anyway, but I feel so encouraged when I read your blog. We do things a bit differently within our family nutritionally and are sometimes criticized for that. Your blog is what keeps me enthusiastic about feeding our daughter the way we do and reminds me that we are not the only ones that feel nutrition is important. I know there wilI be some big changes coming for you and your family, but I urge you to please continue posting. Although, I understand if you do not. For what it’s worth, even if you only post on occasion I will continue to read you and will continue to be a fan. Thank you for all your insight!

    Like

    August 10, 2012
  31. Larah #

    BTW, I love reading everything you post, but I am probably the most interested in the nutrition aspect and the never-ending challenge of fitting in those veggies at every opportunity. The recipes help too!

    Like

    August 10, 2012
  32. I found you via another website (can’t remember which) for your tips on travel with small children, just over one month ago.

    I am a new mom (my little girl is now 7 weeks old), but am also in training to become a pediatrician (one more year of residency to go!). Even though I’ve studied lots of these things, I find that I have so much more to learn now that I’m having to apply it to my own!

    Thus, your summary of the literature on things like nutrition and sleep speaks to my heart. I’ve read through most of your “Best Of” posts, and I appreciate your humble yet knowledgeable perspectives on the various topics! Thanks for so generously sharing your findings with us! I look forward to reading more.

    Like

    August 12, 2012
    • Hi and welcome! I’m glad that you are finding my blog helpful, and you’ve reminded me that I should really update my “Best of” list! It has been a few months…

      Like

      August 15, 2012
  33. Happy blog birthday! I enjoy all of your posts! My daughter is about 6 mos younger than baby c so the “preview” is nice. My favorite part of your writing is your self-reflection on parenting. So often I think I’d do things a little differently if I could have a do- over…. Yours is the only blog I’ve found that admits that sort of desire to improve your parenting practice and it’s so refreshing!

    Like

    August 19, 2012
  34. Celia #

    I don’t know that I’ve ever commented before! I’ve been mulling this post over, trying to remember the many questions that have occasionally entered my mind which I think you would know how to answer. I am not a scientist but I am an academic, and I love sources of reputable information on parenting (and on anything else for that matter). I lack the skills to figure out the science for myself. I am astounded when I see that many parents will believe whatever they want to believe.

    I would like to see a post on multivitamins, particularly for pregnant and nursing women. I take multivitamins, BUT… I seem to hear of contradictory studies on multivitamins with regularity. One study finds that those who take multivitamins live longer, another finds otherwise. I think I read that one study found that the actual contents of many multivitamins doesn’t match up accurately with their labels. And I prefer the idea of getting nutrients and vitamins from “real” food sources (like iron from spinach or folate from broccoli). I know that some multivitamins exist which are, at least in part, “organic,” “non-GMO,” from “whole food” sources, etc. But are such “fancy” multivitamins worth it? Overall, does research suggest that multivitamins are really necessary even if one eats a healthy, diverse diet of nutrient-rich foods?

    I’d also be curious to hear your thoughts on carbs, grains, and gluten. It seems that low-carb diets like “paleo” are really popular right now, but I don’t know of evidence-based information for or against such diets. I am a big fan of whole grains but don’t know what to think of some people’s passions for sprouted grains and others’ intense avoidance of wheat in any form.

    Oh, and also raw dairy. It’s illegal where I live, but I believe it’s legal in many states. I’ve heard such contradictory things about its safety or lack of safety.

    On a related note, have you heard of this book? It’s a very interesting read: http://www.amazon.com/Having-Faith-Sandra-Steingraber/dp/0425189996.

    Like

    August 21, 2012

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