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Hear My Interview on NPR! And a few thoughts on it…

I was thrilled to be interviewed by Rachel Martin for NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. The interview aired yesterday, but you can listen to it and read the transcript here:

‘Science of Mom’: Scientist Sorts Through Studies So Parents Don’t Have To

I’m not going to even try to pretend that this was not a HUGE deal to me. I grew up listening to NPR every single day. We lived in a very small house, where the bedrooms were all basically right off of the kitchen, and the sounds of Morning Edition woke me up just about every morning. We listened to NPR in the car on the way to and from school and then back at home while we made dinner. The familiar voices of NPR hosts and the opening jingle were a part of my childhood. And while some kids might dream of being a professional athlete or famous actor, I dreamed of being on NPR. I figured that a good life goal was to do something interesting or useful enough to justify an NPR interview. I never dreamed that it might come out of a parenting blog, but life is full of unexpected surprises.

I recorded the interview with Rachel Martin on last Thursday morning. We’d had the interview scheduled for a week or so, but it wasn’t until about 10:30 that morning – 30 minutes before I needed to leave for the studio – that the show’s producer sent me a list of topics he thought Rachel would ask about. I was actually surprised by a few of them, so I took a few minutes to think through some answers and jot down notes.

Meanwhile, I was counting on my husband to watch BabyM and pick up Cee from her morning camp while I was at the studio. He had come home from a night shift that morning but then left for a bike ride, and he was just a few minutes late in returning from his ride. I was imagining him in injured in a ditch on some lonely highway and started making plans to get BabyM up from his nap and take him with me so that I could make the interview on time (never mind the missing husband!). But luckily, my husband made it just in time to give me a sweaty kiss and take over kid duties, and I drove to KLCC, my local NPR affiliate station. It wasn’t until I arrived at the studio door that I realized that I had left my notes at home.

Oh well. I took a couple of deep breaths and a drink of water. Someone showed me how to put on the headphones and pull up close to the microphone, and before I knew it, I was talking with Rachel Martin.

me at KLCC after interviewRachel was so easy to talk to, and that helped me to at least pretend to be relaxed. We talked for about 20 minutes, but the interview was edited down to about 5 minutes. I expected this, because I know that author interviews on the show usually run about that length. Also, if you listened to the full tape of our interview, you would have heard me say, “Hang on, I lost my train of thought….” in the middle of it! So I’m sure that the show’s editing made me sound better.

I was really happy with how the segment turned out and thought the show did a great job with it. However, in the editing process, a little bit of nuance was also lost. It’s really tough to address four big parenting questions in five minutes. For example, when Rachel and I talked about cord clamping, we also talked about the concern of greater risk of jaundice with delayed cord clamping. I think the benefits of delayed cord clamping probably outweigh that possible risk, but it’s still important to acknowledge both risks and benefits that come with any decision.

When we discussed bedsharing in the full interview, I described the limitations of the evidence base on this question – how the studies don’t always do a great job of accounting for all of the other factors that matter to sleep safety, among them alcohol and drug use, smoking, bedding, and breastfeeding. I also emphasized that there is good evidence that sleeping close, though on a different surface, is protective against SIDS, a message that I feel is too often lost in public health campaigns about safe sleep. I’m glad that they included my mention of cosleeping on couches and chairs as far more dangerous than intentional bedsharing. It’s a really complex question, and I devote an entire chapter to it in my book. I hope that the edited interview at least gave a hint of that complexity.

Rachel also asked me about vaccines. She noted that this issue is controversial among some parents, and I pointed out that while I cover lots of controversial questions in my book, on this one, the science is really clear that the benefits of vaccinating your kids far outweigh the risks. I was bummed that this discussion wasn’t included in the final segment, but I understand given the time constraints. And again, I thought the folks at NPR did a tremendous job of distilling our conversation into the most important points.

It was all really fun for me, and I learned a lot, too. I really take my time with writing and love the written word as a medium for discussing science with heart and nuance – and I think parenting discussions really require this. But it’s also an important skill to be able to be accurate, concise, and conversational, so it was fun to have the opportunity to practice that on NPR. Big gratitude to NPR for choosing to feature my book and recognizing that science can be helpful to parents!

Amazon is currently sold out of my book, but you can still order it and receive it as soon as they get it in stock. Check these other sellers to see if they have it in stock: Johns Hopkins Press (use discount code HNAF for 30% off), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s, Indigo, Kobo, and Indiebound – or order it through your local independent bookseller. Oh, and thank you to readers who have left great reviews on Amazon! Each one really helps my book, and it makes my heart sing to hear that you liked it!

  1. wow I love you science mom


    August 24, 2015
  2. Well done keep on riding the rollercoaster of this dream hold every memory close and cherished. Spend time to take in all that is happening to think it throw and enjoy. But also take note of any bad events and learn from them. So when this part ends you got every memory and keepsake there to relive when having a bad day at home. And make sure you keep telling us all the details so can be there right beside you.


    August 24, 2015
  3. What a cool experience! I was interviewed by the news once, after my car was vandalized and I wrote a funny blog post about it. They pretty much edited out everything except me bobbing my head wildly, while saying in a really weird mid-western accent, “If yer gonna do it, do to yer own gaaahrawge!” I’m not even from the mid-west. The end result? My husband mocks me endlessly. But regardless, it was fun! Good for you for being brave enough to put yourself out there!

    Liked by 1 person

    August 24, 2015
  4. I’m happy you were on. A realized dream is wonderful. I agree with sharing beds. My kids didn’t always sleep with me, but on occasions and right now, my grandson snuggles up and waking every day with his smile and wonder of what’s outside, gives me more benefits than it probably gives him.


    August 24, 2015
  5. krs #

    Any reason your book is listed under medical books on amazon? It seems like it belongs in Parenting & Relationships : Parenting : Early Childhood.


    August 25, 2015
    • I know, that seems weird. It is listed under Parenting and Relationships – Family Relationships – Motherhood. It may be listed under Early Childhood as well but just not ranking as highly there. Either way, I’ll check with my publisher. Thanks!


      August 25, 2015
  6. Congratulations Alice! As a longtime fan, it’s a wonderful feeling to see your continued success!


    August 27, 2015
  7. We are NPR fans here, too. That must have been thrilling for you! 🙂


    August 29, 2015
  8. Nice post and great thoughts.


    September 8, 2015
  9. So glad I found your blog! No nonsense. It’s like coming up for air!


    October 6, 2015

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  1. Hear My Interview on NPR! And a few thoughts on it… | RashidaSaleem
  2. Where I’ve Been: Busy with Media Coverage of The Science of Mom! | Science of Mom

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