Cribsheet
From the author of EXPECTING BETTER, an economist's guide to the early years of parentingWith EXPECTING BETTER, award-winning economist Emily Oster spotted a need in the pregnancy market for advice that gave women the information they needed to make the best decision for their own pregnancies. By digging into the data, Oster found that much of the conventional pregnancy wisdom was wrong. In CRIBSHEET, she now tackles an even great challenge: decision making in the early years of parenting. As any new parent knows, there is an abundance of often-conflicting advice hurled at you from doctors, family, friends, and the internet. From the earliest days, parents get the message that they must make certain choices around feeding, sleep, and schedule or all will be lost. There's a rule--or three--for everything. But the benefits of these choices can be overstated, and the tradeoffs can be profound. How do you make your own best decision?

Cribsheet Details

TitleCribsheet
Author
ReleaseApr 9th, 2019
PublisherPenguin Press
ISBN-139780525559252
Rating
GenreParenting, Nonfiction, Family

Cribsheet Review

  • Jillian Doherty
    January 1, 1970
    As a first time, new mom I was very interested in Oster's down to earth views on parenting, especially with her practical background. She quickly addresses common themes of not knowing what information to trust, and pointing out a better-established recourse.Everything from the scary days after delivery, to what to do when nothing makes sense, to how to work toward better relationships with your partner. She also gives earnest information how all the practicality of newborn to toddler life - fro As a first time, new mom I was very interested in Oster's down to earth views on parenting, especially with her practical background. She quickly addresses common themes of not knowing what information to trust, and pointing out a better-established recourse.Everything from the scary days after delivery, to what to do when nothing makes sense, to how to work toward better relationships with your partner. She also gives earnest information how all the practicality of newborn to toddler life - from swaddling, punishing, school prep and letting things go (which i do feel there is a parental pressure to equally do and not do). My favorite part is that she summarized each chapter with refreshingly clear bullets at the end of each part - so helpful!!Galley borrowed from the publisher.
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  • April
    January 1, 1970
    I am reviewing an ARC of this book I received through Edelweiss.I LOVED Oster's first book Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong - and What You Really Need to Know. It relieved a lot of my concerns about pregnancy and childbirth and I would consider reading it again if I have a second child. I recommend it to all new moms. I was super excited that she now has a book for babies and toddlers because my son is just under two. I was hoping for some insight into things like I am reviewing an ARC of this book I received through Edelweiss.I LOVED Oster's first book Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong - and What You Really Need to Know. It relieved a lot of my concerns about pregnancy and childbirth and I would consider reading it again if I have a second child. I recommend it to all new moms. I was super excited that she now has a book for babies and toddlers because my son is just under two. I was hoping for some insight into things like feeding and discipline. What I didn't like: Most of my disappointment with the book comes from the difference in available data on pregnancy and on small children. There are a lot more variables, as she will tell you, once a child is out in the world and these variables only get more complicated as the child gets older. It's hard to tell whether staying at home or working or having a nanny really affects a child's educational achievements because there are so many other contributing factors in families that choose each of those options. Because of this, most of the scientific suggestions are vague. The entire book can almost certainly be summed up as "Studies suggest that x has more positive effects, but the effects are not positive enough to outweigh a negative impact on your family's individual lifestyle." For example... She goes pretty deep into sleep training (I was biased as pro-sleep training going in, so take that into consideration). She concludes that sleep training generally does not cause harm and results in better sleep for both children and parents. HOWEVER, she points out that if sleep training will cause you anxiety and you are happy with an arrangement that doesn't involve sleep training, then that will most likely be better for your family. That's pretty much how all the recommendations go. That's something I really liked about her analysis, but it also meant I didn't get the same sense of comfort from data that I got from the first book.What I liked: The same things that were great about Expecting Better are present here. She takes apart studies on everything from breastfeeding to potty training. What I learned from the book is that any of the things we obsess about at each stage probably don't have the impact that we fear it will. Toward the beginning she elucidates a bit on the "Mommy Wars" and the reasons we fight so hard to justify our decisions and, unfortunately, deride the parenting decisions of others. It feels important that we are doing the best thing for our kids objectively. And if what we are doing is objectively right, then other moms are objectively wrong. This book tears that apart. Like Amy Poehler said in Yes Please, "Good for you, not for me." This book helps you look at the cost/benefit analysis of things like early toilet training and Montessori preschools and make your own informed decision that is probably different from your sister's, but also better for your family.There's an anecdote she tells at the end of the book where she frets about the possibility her daughter being stung by a bee to her pediatrician. When she asks the pediatrician for advice, the pediatrician says "Don't think about it." It's not good advice for every situation, but for certain ones it's perfect.I don't think this book is as "must read", but if you need a little perspective or feel like you're doing it all wrong, it is a helpful tool for affirming your decisions and making sure they match your family's values.
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  • Indra
    January 1, 1970
    I wish I came across this book a year and a half ago! As a spreadsheet lover and a somewhat paranoid at times, “helicopter” parent, this was incredibly insightful and soul nurturing. I just wish it had more in detail chapters on very specific topics and more data! 😂
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  • Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    In summary, there's a lot of parenting advice online that is based on bad data (or no data at all). Emily presents what data is known, but with the caveat that parents also need to consider what works best for them and their family.When our loved ones get pregnant, they will now be getting a copy of Cribsheet and Expecting Better.
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  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    Another excellent, research based parenting book that's essential reading. She makes some controversial observations:--Studies show that sleep training works without detrimental affects. Let that baby cry (well, not a super young baby)--While there's evidence that watching more than 3 hours of TV a day can cause a decline academically in children under 4, there's not really any evidence about less than that. Also, despite what seems like a constant barrage of anti-screen time studies, there actu Another excellent, research based parenting book that's essential reading. She makes some controversial observations:--Studies show that sleep training works without detrimental affects. Let that baby cry (well, not a super young baby)--While there's evidence that watching more than 3 hours of TV a day can cause a decline academically in children under 4, there's not really any evidence about less than that. Also, despite what seems like a constant barrage of anti-screen time studies, there actually haven't been many research studies into its affects.--Children before 18 months that attend daycare perform slightly less well academically up to fifth grade, while children who go to daycare after 18 months perform slightly better academically than average. After fifth grade? They all perform about the same to all the kids (including those with a stay at home parent)That last point was most helpful to me. I want to put my 16 month old in a part time daycare when she turns two, but there's so much guilt out there about how children need a stay at home parent. Well, it looks like it doesn't really matter. Of course, it does matter financially.This is a book I'll be recommending. It doesn't cover all the things (or even most the things) I worry about--especially in the first year--but its research is vital.
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  • Maya
    January 1, 1970
    I loooved Oster’s “Expecting Better” (and recommend it to every pregnant friend), and I waited months for “Cribsheet” to come out. This book has the same data-informed approach and friendly tone. However, it just didn’t seem like this book was packed with as many reassuring aha’s as Expecting Better was. The fertility and pregnancy topics that Oster covered in EB were largely grounded in research that is hard for a layperson to find and even harder to interpret. By contrast, the early childhood I loooved Oster’s “Expecting Better” (and recommend it to every pregnant friend), and I waited months for “Cribsheet” to come out. This book has the same data-informed approach and friendly tone. However, it just didn’t seem like this book was packed with as many reassuring aha’s as Expecting Better was. The fertility and pregnancy topics that Oster covered in EB were largely grounded in research that is hard for a layperson to find and even harder to interpret. By contrast, the early childhood topics that are covered in Cribsheet are Very easily researched and well reported by news outlets and parenting sites on a regular basis. I had already run across most of the data Oster cites here in my own research over my son’s first 11 months of life. I do think I would have found this book to be much more useful had I read it in the first couple months. So I would recommend to new parents as worth reading, albeit less essential than Expectjng Better.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for honest review. Many parenting books tend to go in one of two directions: very scientific or very emotionally based. Cribsheet is a great book for those of us who like data and statistics to back up decisions, and Emily Oster does an excellent job throughout balancing different viewpoints and interpreting the data that supports or refutes various claims..Where I think this book would be most useful is to have in the home (or pick Thanks to the publisher, via Netgalley, for an advance e-galley for honest review. Many parenting books tend to go in one of two directions: very scientific or very emotionally based. Cribsheet is a great book for those of us who like data and statistics to back up decisions, and Emily Oster does an excellent job throughout balancing different viewpoints and interpreting the data that supports or refutes various claims..Where I think this book would be most useful is to have in the home (or pick up from the library) as a reference to pick up when dealing with various parenting milestones. While it's packed with lots of fantastic information, it's not necessarily one that begs to be read as a whole, and instead would be more useful to have available when the time comes to make decisions.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I adore this book just as much as I did Expecting Better. It will join EB as my #1 recommendation to anyone planning to get pregnant, pregnant, or with young kids.
  • Angela
    January 1, 1970
    A breath of fresh, rational air. This was as good as I expected - as good as I was hoping for - and I would auto-add it to all baby registries.Emily Oster is an economist and prof at Brown University who specializes in the empirical evaluation of policy programs around the world; specifically, she is one of the "randomistas", i.e. economists who specifically worry about establishing good causal inference. (You'd think ALL economists worry about this - and they definitely, sorta, kinda do. Mostly A breath of fresh, rational air. This was as good as I expected - as good as I was hoping for - and I would auto-add it to all baby registries.Emily Oster is an economist and prof at Brown University who specializes in the empirical evaluation of policy programs around the world; specifically, she is one of the "randomistas", i.e. economists who specifically worry about establishing good causal inference. (You'd think ALL economists worry about this - and they definitely, sorta, kinda do. Mostly. But the "randomista revolution" is a relatively new thing in economics, maybe ~20 years old.) She also wrote what I consider to be the best pregnancy advice book out there, Expecting Better. Given this background, she brings three important - NAY, CRITICAL - skills to the How To Do Things genre:1. An understanding of data and research quality; namely, the ability to disentangle correlation from causality. This is especially crucial for things like, for example, the research around breastfeeding (dramatic music).2. The theoretical approach to dealing with risk and uncertainty. This is one of my favorite parts of economics: people are systematically irrational (as Dan Ariely would say) in their behavior around risk and uncertainty. GOD, I LOVE BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS - it's so wonderful. See The Undoing Project for an eminently readable, pop intro to the field. With regards to parenting, the best example of behavioral econ principles is our behavior around SIDS - people are (justifiably) terrified of SIDS, a low-probability, catastrophic event. "Safe sleeping" means placing infants on their backs, not in your own bed, with tight-fitting sheets and nothing else. But some infants don't sleep well (okay, ALL infants don't sleep well), so parents are tempted by co-sleeping/bed-sharing - something that, if you listen to the American Academy of Pediatricians, IS SO VERY CRAZY DANGEROUS OMG. But Oster notes that, if you look at the data, we are implicitly taking larger risks every day - for example, kids are more likely to die in car accidents than while co-sleeping (if done safely, i.e. no smoking/drinking parents, etc), but, well, the AAP isn't at all advising against driving with your child!3. A decision-making framework, given this data and our understanding of the risks. That is, being explicit about preferences (utility!), costs (including mental health!), thinking about the marginal value of stuff, the expected value of stuff (i.e. its value to you multiplied by the probability of it happening), and the net present value of stuff (i.e. the value of some future something, discounted by your internal patience).If you have a background in economics, if you've tinkered with econometrics and are wise in the ways of Stata, then all of this is your everyday bread and butter. Oster's genius is applying this field's wisdoms to a realm that is usually ignored by economists (though not all!) - parenting - and writing it as a pop advice book. I mean, Oster doesn't actually ADVISE anything - rather, she provides a methodology for making decisions and, where possible, the best data and research evidence to help make that decision.Some TL;DR:- "Breast is best" at reducing, in the first year of life, gastrointestinal infections from 13% to 9%, and reducing rashes from 6% to 3%. It has no long-term benefits to the child. It might reduce breast cancer risk in the mom.- "Cry it out" sleep training improves sleep for everyone in the family, and the effects last for years - YEARS. It also reduces maternal depression, because sleep, people.- Development milestones have enormous distributions. (i.e. The Wonder Weeks app is most likely bullshit - since how can we pinpoint "wonder WEEKS" when literally some kids roll over/crawl/walk/talk MONTHS before or after other kids?!) Where your kid falls in these distributions doesn't matter for anything in the long run.- Daycare, nanny, stay at home, work, etc. - all have (basically) no effect on the kid. - Marital satisfaction declines after kids - oh well!- The discipline described in Bringing Up Bebe and Brain Rules for Babies - i.e. time-outs and an "authoritative" (not authoritarian) style - works.- Introduce allergens early. Also, the food stuff from Bringing Up Bebe is evidence-supported.Oster also includes a chapter that I think every pregnant woman should read: what happens those first few weeks postpartum! My only critique is Oster's equivocation around some of the fashionable parenting ideas out there. Sometimes she's basically like "There's no evidence this works, but there's no evidence it DOESN'T work - so if you want to, go ahead!" My gripe about this is that - while she's correct, from a statistical philosophy POV - that is, "absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence" - I would have stressed that Your Parenting Philosophy Du Jour is just as valid as believing that, say, the color of your car is a meaningful input into your parenting. My point being: something that is completely lacking in evidence, but fashionable, does not necessarily merit equivocating acceptance. But I guess Oster is (a) more generous/less judgey than me, and/or (b) casting a big net cuz sales!Highly recommended. Yay econ.
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  • Alana
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most overwhelming things as a parent is making decisions about what will be best for your child and your family. I’ve definitely had my preferences about sleep training, baby feeding, and discipline, but I think every mom doubts herself sometimes and wonders if she’s really doing things the “right” way or if she’s completely screwing up her child. This is why we needed Emily Oster’s book. Her pregnancy book Expecting Better was like a guidebook for me during pregnancy, and although I One of the most overwhelming things as a parent is making decisions about what will be best for your child and your family. I’ve definitely had my preferences about sleep training, baby feeding, and discipline, but I think every mom doubts herself sometimes and wonders if she’s really doing things the “right” way or if she’s completely screwing up her child. This is why we needed Emily Oster’s book. Her pregnancy book Expecting Better was like a guidebook for me during pregnancy, and although I had to wait 2 years for this parenting book, it was definitely worth the wait. Oster simply outlines the research behind many of the big parenting decisions, including how and what to feed our children, vaccinations, discipline, education, screen time and potty training. Just like in Expecting Better, she doesn’t give advice but simply outlines the research, allowing the reader to use that information to guide their own decision making. As a mom, I’ve loved reading about which decisions don’t really seem to matter much in the long run, and which I should take a little more seriously. This book helps me feel like an informed parent, which allows me to feel more confident as a mother. But my favorite part of this book is that in almost every chapter, Oster doesn’t just discuss how parenting decisions affect the children, but the parents as well. Almost all parenting advice that you read only talks about the children, but what about us? We are also impacted by our parenting choices, and we should consider our own well- being when making any decisions about our family. I hope that this sparks a new trend in parenting advice, where parents are allowed to think about themselves also.
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  • Varina
    January 1, 1970
    As the mom of a three year old, this book was basically a vindication of every parenting decision I’ve ever made. Breastfeeding? Sure! Formula? Also sure! Think the AAP’s guidelines on rooming in for ONE YEAR are a little insane? Yes, yes they are. Work or stay at home? You do you. I’m not sure I ever thought that sleep training my son was anything but 100 percent healthy all around - especially for me - but good to know the data back that up, too. Read to your kid. Don’t let them watch eight ho As the mom of a three year old, this book was basically a vindication of every parenting decision I’ve ever made. Breastfeeding? Sure! Formula? Also sure! Think the AAP’s guidelines on rooming in for ONE YEAR are a little insane? Yes, yes they are. Work or stay at home? You do you. I’m not sure I ever thought that sleep training my son was anything but 100 percent healthy all around - especially for me - but good to know the data back that up, too. Read to your kid. Don’t let them watch eight hours of TV per day, but don’t sweat sticking them in front of it while you do other things. The only thing she comes down strongly on - because the data support it - 1) don’t smoke; 2) vaccinate your children for god’s sake (& everyone else’s); & 3) don’t fall asleep on the couch with your baby. Essentially: use common sense. Oster divides the book into life stages - pre baby, infant, baby, toddler, and a few additional tips. Childbirth in general - wish I’d had this information beforehand; sort of wish, about eight weeks out from round two, I hadn’t had the reminders. (Though I agree heartily - take ALL the mesh underwear. And the perineum ice packs.) Also fully agreed with her section on relationship with one’s partner: you will likely hate him. Get more sleep and assign him tasks, and eventually you may be insane enough to try for another. Surprisingly, the major theme in Oster’s book is the lack of statistically significant data. Basically, we’re all just out there, trying to do our best. So we can probably cool it on all the mom judgment.
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  • Marie
    January 1, 1970
    Great book for new parents I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed her last one. This book doesn't tell you what to do but rather it tells you what studies can prove about different things regarding infants and toddlers. She also admits that with some things the data just is not there. I would recommend this book to soon to be parents or parents with babies and young toddlers or for anyone interested in the facts surrounding some of the biggest debates on baby and toddler care.
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  • Jen Michel
    January 1, 1970
    I like Emily’s style of writing and presenting stats on various parenting topics. She is open with what she has tried but also shares alternative options. I like that she gives readers the chance to review the studies and their results, rather than just citing one study to back up her opinion. I feel like I have more well-rounded knowledge on these topics than I might from other books.
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  • Stephanie Itelman
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVED Expecting Better and had the same high hopes for this one. Unfortunately the lack of insights or clarity (likely because unfortunately there is no manual for raising kids!) Made this book far less gripping or impactful.
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This book is full of accessible information about issues related to parenting babies and toddlers. I recommend it if you like like data.I received an ARC from NetGalley. The book will be released on April 23, 2019.
  • Abbie Joiner
    January 1, 1970
    wonderful self help parenting book!
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I am a neurotic new mom, and while this certainly didn't get rid of my neuroses, having hard numbers helped a little.
  • caitlin
    January 1, 1970
    Review copy courtesy of Edelweiss. A thoughtful, carefully organized look at all the issues of the first few years with a baby. I wish I had had this book two years ago because most of the first chapter outlined struggles I had right away with having a baby.
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