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A Tale of Two Lives: Pediatrician Mom Blogs About Parenthood, Child Health Issues and Breaking Health News

January 11, 2010

Seattle Children’s Hospital today announced the launch of “Seattle Mama Doc”, a new pediatric health blog geared towards parents of young children. Authored by Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBe, the blog offers anecdotes of parenthood and insight on child health and safety issues.

Seattle Children’s Hospital Launches “Seattle Mama Doc” blog

Seattle Children’s Hospital today announced the launch of “Seattle Mama Doc ”, a new pediatric health blog geared towards parents of young children. Authored by Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBe, the blog offers anecdotes of parenthood and insight on child health and safety issues.

A pediatrician and mother of two young boys, Swanson understands firsthand the joys and challenges of being a parent, and hopes to empower other parents by helping them make sense of pediatric health issues.

“We as a pediatric community are often parents, too,” says Swanson. “We’re giving advice just like we would want to get for ourselves, which is ‘here’s how to protect your child and sleep well at night and feel like you’re doing it right.’”

“I want this blog to reach parents who want another voice to listen to when they hear news about something happening in pediatrics, and are asking themselves, ‘Gosh, I wonder what our pediatrician really thinks’ or ‘I wonder what she’s doing with her own kids,’” Swanson adds.

From general health and safety topics such as preventing injuries on moving day, traveling with a child during the holidays or breastfeeding, to issues in the media like H1N1 vaccination, Swanson offers a unique perspective as both a pediatrician and a mother. By sharing her own ups and downs of parenthood, Swanson hopes to build a sense of camaraderie with her readers, and lessen the fear and confusion they may be experiencing. Excerpts from her blog include:

  • My story of 9 stitches, 2 parents who feel as deflated, flat and small as the bottom of your worn shoe, a near 3-year-old boy, and 1 orange popsicle.  This is about our mistakes and the dangers of the events that followed moving day in my world, October 31, 2009.
  • If it were my child, I would not use Benadryl on the airplane, car or train to knock my kid out.  I never have and hopefully never will. My rationale is part philosophical and part safety based. Benadryl is a medicine designed to help children with symptoms of allergies. It's an anti-histamine (it works against histamines produced by cells in the body as a response to an allergic trigger). But when you give an oral medicine, it enters the blood stream and has effects all over the body.
  • Both of my children are under age 4 and at higher risk for developing complications including hospitalization, severe infection or even death from H1N1 flu. My kids got their first H1N1 shot as soon as it was available and their second dose 1 1/2 weeks ago. We were really scared of getting H1N1 at the time. Now, we're not. Getting my kids the H1N1 shot was not a "leap of faith." I would never want to have to take that kind of "leap" when thinking about how to care for and protect my children. Especially if I had a choice.

According to a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project survey , 61% of Americans look for health information online, with the majority of these reading someone else’s commentary or experience about health-related issues.

“The abundance of online noise invokes fear in all of us when making decisions for our children,” Swanson adds. “At the end of the day, we as parents just want to do what is right.”

“If we can start talking about health findings in ways that are more empowering to families rather than threatening, I think we’ll make a lot more progress,” Swanson concludes.

Swanson is a mother of two and a member of the medical staff at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She is also a clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and a community-based pediatrician at The Everett Clinic in Mill Creek, Wash.
Swanson earned her Bachelor of Arts with Honors in psychology from Kenyon College in Ohio, and her medical degree and Master’s in Bioethics (MBe) from The University of Pennsylvania. She completed pediatric residency training at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

To watch a 2-minute video interview of Dr. Swanson, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec_LUH36ymU .

Subscribe via RSS to “Seattle Mama Doc”
Follow Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson on Twitter
Follow Seattle Children’s Hospital on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

About Seattle Children’s

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Seattle Children’s has been delivering superior patient care while advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit www.seattlechildrens.org or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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