Everett Clinic pediatrician, mom, and blogger Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, known online as SeattleMamaDoc, takes on the how, what, why, and who questions of parenting in new book from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
As a “digital physician” and the mother of two young boys, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson finds herself at the forefront of using social media tools in medicine. “I believe that doctors have to reach patients and families where they are, to provide them with up-to-date and essential health care information,” she says, “and where they are is online.”
A strong proponent of the power of social media to transform parents’ access to evidence and medical information, Dr. Swanson partnered with Seattle Children’s Hospital four years ago to create the successful “Seattle Mama Doc” blog, which to date has received 1.5 million unique visitors and averages over 35,000 monthly views. Its companion @SeattleMamaDoc Twitter feed has over 20,000 followers and was named one of TIME magazine’s Best Twitter Feeds of 2013.
Now, nearly 500 blog posts (and many, many more tweets) later, Dr. Swanson draws on her experience to provide simple answers for parents in her first book, Mama Doc Medicine: Finding Calm and Confidence in Parenting, Child Health, and Work-Life Balance (American Academy of Pediatrics, $16.95 paperback, March 4, 2014).
A refreshing parenting guide, Mama Doc Medicine blends experience with expertise, alongside Dr. Swanson’s openness and candor. In its pages, she gives parents balanced information on nearly 100 different topics; clarifies conflicting medical opinions; shares research findings; discusses controversial parenting issues; and offers helpful resources. To illustrate how it feels to make challenging parenting decisions, Dr. Swanson also writes about what she does with her own children, bringing the practical together with the personal.
The book’s first part, Prevention, showcases recent research and marries experience in the office and online spaces to provide snippets and ideas to protect children and set them up to thrive. Part 2, Social-Emotional Support, focuses on children’s learning and growth and how parents can best do what is right. Part 3, Immunizations, covers vaccine safety and fears surrounding getting children immunized, putting the spotlight on underreported issues and research on the topic, and addresses parents’ concerns. Part 4, Work-Life Balance/Mothering, explores what Dr. Swanson calls “the jungle of the stay-at-home mom/working mom dialogue” and how work/life balance needs change and shift as children grow.
Packed with infographics, “Mama Doc Vitals” summary boxes, helpful charts and illustrations, and tweets from Swanson’s @SeattleMamaDoc Twitter feed, Mama Doc Medicine guides today’s moms and dads on: • how to get a toddler to sleep through the night • potty training • flu shots • screen time • teen drinking • violent video games • the truth about vaccines and alternative schedules • how to inspire generosity in children • helping a child through separation anxiety • surviving tantrums • how doctors screen autism spectrum disorders • competitive parenting • and much more.
“When I first started to blog, I wanted to share what it felt like to be a parent and pediatrician authentically,” Dr. Swanson writes. “I wanted families to hear the ‘whole story,’ not just what they were supposed to be told. I wanted to detail truths from new research with parents, doctors, and caregivers everywhere. Moreover, I wanted to share my own experience – that of a mom with the unique advantage of having the latest knowledge and science within arm’s reach.”
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, is practicing pediatrician in Mill Creek with The Everett Clinic
and the mother of two young boys. She is the Executive Director of Digital Health at Seattle Children’s Hospital and is a clinical instructor at the University of Washington. She appears weekly on KING5 News television in Seattle and blogs regularly for The Huffington Post.
About the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
The AAP is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, and pediatric surgical care specialists dedicated to the health, safety, and well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Information at www.aap.org.
Mama Doc Medicine: Finding Calm and Confidence In Parenting, Child Health, and Work-Life Balance
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, FAAP
American Academy of Pediatrics
ISBN: 9781581108378 | Pub date: March 4, 2014
Paperback | $16.95 | 375 PP