My book, The Science of Mom: A Research-Based Guide to Your Baby’s First Year, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2015, with a fully up-to-date second edition published in 2021. It’s an intensely researched book that captures the curiosity of a scientist and the angst of new parenthood, with an overarching goal of giving parents the tools to evaluate scientific evidence as their children grow. The book was named one of Science News’ favorite books of 2015 and was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition.


Available from Johns Hopkins University Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s, Bookshop, Indigo, Kobo, and Indiebound – or order it through your local independent bookseller.

Media Coverage:

Praise for the 2nd Edition:

“Alice Callahan has given parents an invaluable resource. She addresses many of the questions new parents have by digging deeply into the science, explaining not just the research but all the context that’s essential to interpreting it. Her advice is thoughtful, measured, and clear. I wish I’d been fortunate enough to have The Science of Mom on my bedside table when I transitioned to motherhood.” ~ Melinda Wenner Moyer, author of How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes

“Reading The Science of Mom is like having brunch with your best friend who has delved into the science of parenting’s thorniest issues, and who then breaks it down for you with warmth and compassion over a nice latte. This is a must-read for parents looking to make evidence-based decisions around feeding, sleep, and vaccinating their child.” ~ Alexis Dubief, author of Precious Little Sleep

“Callahan cuts through the confusion, giving parents permission to focus on what matters and enjoy parenthood so much more.” ~ Dr. Phil Boucher, MD, FAAP, pediatrician

“The Science of Mom is everything a parent needs during that critical and exhausting first year: a voice of reason that’s easily browsable and always grounded in science.” ~ Tara Haelle, science writer and coauthor of The Informed Parent: A Science-Based Resource for Your Child’s First Four Years

Praise for The Science of Mom:

“Finally, someone has brought some science—and some sense—to the mommy wars. Should be required reading for all new (and old) parents.” ~Emily Oster, PhD, author of Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong—And What You Really Need to Know

“This is science-based medicine writing at its best. Callahan doesn’t cherry-pick. She knows how to evaluate the entire body of research and put it into perspective along with practical parenting considerations… If I had three thumbs, I would give this book a 3-thumbs-up recommendation.” ~Harriet Hall, MD, Science-Based Medicine

“Alice Callahan has written a breakthrough book, combining the compassion, warmth, and angst of a mother with the measured reasoning of a scientist. She helps parents not only understand how science works, but how they can access that science to answer their questions. She’s found a way to access the scientist in all of us.” ~Paul A. Offit, MD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

“[Callahan’s] compassion and empathy for the difficulties of parenting shine through in every chapter, from breastfeeding to vaccines to feeding to sleeping.” ~Tara Haelle, Forbes

“Too many of today’s parents treat science as a weapon, using it to justify some choices and condemn others. Yet, most don’t fully understand what science can and cannot tell us. By giving parents a comprehensive understanding of how science relates to parenting, Alice Callahan has helped us turn this weapon into a tool for peace. Callahan untangles basic scientific concepts, reveals the realities and limitations of research, and advocates for a measured approach to parenting science that eschews absolutes and acknowledges nuance. The Science of Mom is a rare gem in the parenting canon—smart, sensitive, and a lifesaver for a generation of parents caught in the nebulous spider’s web of Internet ‘wisdom.’” ~Suzanne Barston, author of Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn’t

“Families routinely search for health information. The Science of Mom makes it easy collecting evidence for health decisions and putting it into perspective with a mom-to-mom connection. Callahan’s advice is thoughtful, backed by science and feels fueled of love. She is willing to provide powerful advice when detailing the science and safety of vaccines. Keep this book in arm’s reach as you support your infant for calm and direction.” ~Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, FAAP, Seattle Children’s Hospital, author of Mama Doc Medicine: Finding Calm and Confidence in Parenting, Child Health, and Work-Life Balance

“Fascinating! Think of all the controversial, hot-button topics that parents obsess about in a child’s first year—from vaccines and feeding, bed-sharing to sleep training. Weighing the scientific evidence, Callahan offers balanced insights and in-depth answers—a far cry from the oversimplified advice prescribed by many ‘parenting experts.’ The result: a must-have guide that’s substantive and extremely engaging.” ~Jena Pincott, author of Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies? The Surprising Science of Pregnancy

“Yes! An easy-to-read, fascinating, nuanced review of the science behind new parents’ biggest health questions. Many of these issues—infant sleep, breastfeeding, vaccines—have or will hit your ‘Should I panic?’ button. With gentle guidance, Alice Callahan puts your fears to rest.” ~Tracy Cutchlow, author of Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science (and What I’ve Learned So Far)

“Dr. Callahan isn’t bossy, and isn’t out to tell you what she thinks. Her book tells you what the science says, and explains how we know what we know, and what things we still need to learn more about. There’s humility and warmth, here, which I think parents of newborns will find reassuring.” ~Dr. Roy Benaroch, MD, The Pediatric Insider

“[Callahan] takes a compassionate, non-preachy approach with a goal of not telling the reader what to do but rather how to seek wise advice and make smart decisions…and to enjoy having a baby, which is what it is all about…” ~Live Science

Chapter List:

  1. Show Me the Science: A Crash Course in Evidence-Based Parenting
  2. Cutting the Umbilical Cord: When Is the Right Time?
  3. Of Injections and Eye Goop: Newborn Medical Procedures
  4. For Once, Sit Back and Watch: How Newborns Explore, Communicate, and Connect
  5. Milk and Motherhood: Breast Milk, Formula, and Feeding in the Real World
  6. Where Should Your Baby Sleep? Sleep Safety and the Bed Sharing Debate
  7. In Search of a Good Night’s Sleep (Or Something Like It)
  8. Vaccines and Your Child: Making a Science-Based Decision
  9. Getting Started with Solid Foods: When and How to Begin
  10. Eat, Grow, and Learn: The Best Foods for Babies
BabyM and I check over the page proofs for The Science of Mom in February 2015.
BabyM and I check over the page proofs for The Science of Mom in February 2015.