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Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  8,092 ratings  ·  813 reviews
From the author of EXPECTING BETTER, an economist's guide to the early years of parenting

With 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 wi
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Penguin Press
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Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Kate Lobo
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
90% of the book can be distilled into: the research and data on xyz is inconclusive, so do what’s best for your family and it’ll probably all be fine. Didn’t really learn anything super significant, except that apparently economists think that having a higher quantity of children means they will be lower quality. Not really my style of parenting book
Mazie Lynn
As a parent, it is quite difficult for me to suspend all bias in favor of the evidence and I do not believe this author has been able to either. Although she admits her particular bias in one section of the book (spanking), a few snarky comments in other sections leave me feeling as though she has other unclaimed biases in play. There was some helpful fodder for thinking through the many issues parents confront in the earliest days, months, and years of their children's lives, but I suspect folk ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
With a few exceptions, the overall gist is that there isn't a ton of high quality research to prove one parenting choice is better than another so you should use your judgement and do what's best for your family. I do think this is an important message but there was nothing groundbreaking here for me.
Manal Omar
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Now that Sultan and I are expecting, we decided to do much reading on parenting (and by that I mean i do the reading, he does the listening). This is my first parenting book, and I can say it passed with flying colors as a perfect starter!
Emily Oster writes about early parenthood, how to manage and deal with all the little stuff that nobody tells you about as a first-time parent, and she supports all of that with "excellent" data.
She also goes beyond the early months until preschool. Shedding
Jillian Doherty
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Gretchen Alice
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like I mentioned before, I’m not pregnant, I just dig science. And this is a pretty good compilation of research related to baby stuff, though a lot of the advice boils down to do what works for your family so both baby and parents are in a good mental head space to deal with the stress of having a new person. Also, vaccinate your kids, obviously.
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m not a huge fan of parenting books- there is seldom anything “new” or revolutionary. This book is less about advice and looking at global numbers. Vaccines - great. Infant crying - it’s awful and there’s not much you can do about it. Safe sleep - important, but looks at the data from an unemotional standpoint. Sleep training - doesn’t hurt the kid, can be good for everyone’s mental health. Breastfeeding - not as great as we pretend it is. Potty training - happens later than it used to, your k ...more
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
Like Expecting Better while I was pregnant, Cribsheet summarized the start of the evidence on most of the things I spend my time thinking about these days. Thanks to Cribsheet, I gave my son a pacifier as soon as he got home from the hospital without worrying about"nipple confusion". He is already sleeping extremely well and isn't even old enough for sleep training, but it's nice to know it will be a reasonable option if he goes through a sleep regression later. I only wish the book were longer ...more
Rachel Bryan
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mostly not relevant for me anymore - with a 28-month old, I've already made most of the infant and toddler decisions discussed in this book. But, I love her approach and agree that data is interesting and empowering. I identified with her very much. My favorite chapter title: "Wait, you want me to take it home?" which is exactly how I felt when discharged from the hospital with a 2-day old infant.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
M. Nasiri
It is my Blinkist read about parenting.
Cribsheet provides a unique and insightful perspective on early-childhood parenting – that of an economist. Given its focus on decision-making, cost and benefit analysis, risk assessment, and data interpretation, the academic discipline of economics provides a useful framework for thinking about the difficult decisions that new parents have to make when raising their babies.
(Blinkist summary)
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
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! 😂
Cirbsheet summarized the studies, or lack of studies, that guide the advice we received on a wide range of parenting topics. I like Oster's writing, and her summaries of findings changed my perceptions around some of the early parenting decisions we made (let alone understanding better what science backed up certain recommendations). It's also a good jumping off point to further reading for areas to go deeper.
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Liked her first book a lot more. I did a BA in economics, so her more technical digressions made sense to me. Not sure if that would hold true for someone with no econ background. Also the stats basically amount to no one really know for sure. If you're pregnant and bored, read this. Otherwise, I'd skip or skim it.
Alicia Bonk
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Read this book, make your own evidence-based decisions that work for your family, and stop worrying about what others are doing or saying with their children. Audiobook- totally recommend! It was nice being able to not pay 100% attention on subjects I didn’t need evidence based convincing on.. such as vaccinating your children (yes, please do). So much good information in here... one of my favorites: breastfeeding does have benefit on infants in early months, but after that, no major benefits co ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
This book is a solid follow-up to Expecting Better, covering the first few years of life. I really liked it and it aligns perfectly with my own parenting philosophy. So why three stars? Well, reading parenting books is more like "homework" than anything. Luckily this one is short and to the point. If you are looking for reinforcement on your own views of circumcision, solid food, sleep training, etc. then look elsewhere. For almost every issue, Oster reviews the data and then concludes there's n ...more
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
I was inclined to give 3 stars, in line with some of the other reviews claiming the book says nothing more than "studies suggest xyz is beneficial, but if it doesn't work out for your family, don't do it". It's true, this is the advice quite often, becoming increasingly visible towards the end of the book. But then again, as a kid ages there are so many variables that can have an effect on everything from academic excellence to social behavior, that we should not expect to find mechanisms or cau ...more
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
Not a ton of clear direction, but that’s really the point: The evidence on parenting decisions is often mixed or inconsequential, despite what we are told in the media or by our neighbors, friends, or family. I found it to be a bit of a relief.

My favorite part was actually the last page... maybe even the last sentence: “At the end, let’s raise a glass to using data where it’s useful, to making the right decisions for our families, to doing our best, and- sometimes- to just trying not to think a
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are always more neuroses around the corner when you’re parenting.

Dr. Oster’s economist take on parenting is refreshing. Here’s the data to make informed decisions, and most of that data comes down to: do what works for you, and try to worry less.

I wish I’d had this book when my kid was younger.
Eliz L
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Good overview of the many decisions required of new parents and what the body of research says about their impact on kids and parents.
Hannah Edinburgh
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I didn’t really read the whole thing, I skimmed parts of it, because they are not relevant to my life right now. But I love the data she presents. It’s very reassuring, and not alarmist, as all other data on parenting seems to feel. I will probably buy this when I am closer to this stage of life.
Sarah Grider
Sep 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mama-bear
Another quick and interesting read from Oster. I didn't enjoy this as much as 'Expecting Better' but that may just be because there are less studies for her to dive into for older kiddos. My main takeaways from this book were that parents should: read to their kids ASAP, sleep train, and pick a discipline method and stick with it.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids
Basically there’s no conclusive evidence about anything related to parenting and you kinda just need to figure out what works for you and your family...except vaccinate, duh. Even tho I like EO, this book was a real slog and felt like a chore to read. I’d skip it and just use common sense...
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Anecdote is not data". An extremely helpful book for new and expectant parents. It was so much better than the textbook style encyclopedia I had and non-comparable to the plethora of information available online. Seeing data and graphs, and knowing it was screened by an economist provide so much credibility and relief. Reading about babies and childcare won't make you an expert parent, but we will go into this at least knowing some portion of the issues waiting to be discovered.

“…you basically
Missy Heard
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this generation, mom’s have it rough with all the controversial “Mommy war” things such as breastfeeding, being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, what school to send your kids to, potty training methods, how to discipline, etc. The list goes on and on. As a person who loves FACTS, the author - an economist - dives into the strongest studies to help you make choices that are best for you and your family.
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
having a kid sounds like a lot of work. i learned a lot!
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a partial review since I haven’t actually read the whole book yet - only the chapters on the immediate days/months after labour.

But it’s a winner for me and I’ll be buying this to keep on hand and refer to over the next 5-6 years. I love Emily Oster’s matter-of-fact and completely non-judgemental style. The way she presents the data, decision-making models and the options available just makes me feel much more competent and relaxed, and eases a lot of my anxieties.

Ultimately there is no
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Emily Oster is an American economist and bestselling author. After receiving a B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard in 2002 and 2006 respectively, Oster taught at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She later moved to Brown University, where she holds the rank of Professor of Economics. Her research interests span from development economics and health economics to research design and experi ...more

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