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

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

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 wi...

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Title:Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool
Author:Emily Oster
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Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool Reviews

  • Jillian Doherty

    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.

  • Sarah

    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.

  • Alicia Bonk

    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

    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 compared to formula. Biggest benefit of breastfeeding was for the mother - lowers chances of breast cancer by 20-30% (sign me up). I could go on forever about this book. I will stop there.

  • Katherine

    This is loads better than

    in following through on the promise of "here's the research that's been done so far and how you might make a decision about this." With the exception of the subsection on nipple confusion*, the content lines up with other reading I've done. I suspect this might be because with pregnancy advice, there was a resistance to unnecessary changes in pre-existing habits, whereas

    This is loads better than

    in following through on the promise of "here's the research that's been done so far and how you might make a decision about this." With the exception of the subsection on nipple confusion*, the content lines up with other reading I've done. I suspect this might be because with pregnancy advice, there was a resistance to unnecessary changes in pre-existing habits, whereas with the actual raising of kids, it could be approached with more of a fair blank slate.

    I appreciate that there's a lot of room to apply your own values and adapt to your particular family situation. I think there could probably be more done to err on the side of, "what seems likely we might have evolved to be better adapted for," but I often think that anyway.

    *I think there's a legitimate beef with the term "nipple confusion" to dissuade against pacifier usage or bottle feeding if you have goals to exclusively breastfeed, but I think the author may have misunderstood the mechanisms behind why pacifier usage and bottle feeding would detract from breastfeeding goals. Probably it should be called "insufficient demand to drive up milk supply" or "bottle preference" instead--using pacifiers to allow comforting from sucking could replace nursing that's needed to establish demand for milk supply, and bottle feeding without paced bottle feeding allows for much faster eating with much less work, which could lead to pumping over nursing, which can also lead to supply concerns and less adapting of the breastmilk to the child's needs like creating antibodies to illnesses they might have. Perhaps these effects are not that large, but it seems a stretch to me to then conclude that pacifier use and bottle feeding have no effect on breastfeeding duration.

  • Maya

    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.

  • Lesley

    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.

  • April

    I am reviewing an ARC of this book I received through Edelweiss.

    I LOVED Oster's first book

    . 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

    . 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.

    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.

    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

    . 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

    , "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.

  • Rachel Bryan

    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.

  • Indra

    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! 😂

  • 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

    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 folks drawn to a book like this will still spend a great deal of time researching on their own. Maybe some researchers will appreciate the gaps in evidence noted in this book and begin work filling them in. Oh, and, she and her medical editor seem to have overlooked that diastasis recti abdominis is often the reason for the "mommy tummy" she deems as mysterious.

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