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Cribsheet summary - available in audiobook and text formats 14m 49s


Emily Oster

As any parent knows, there is often conflicting advice about how to parent from doctors, family members, friends, and of course the internet. Who's right? Emily Oster is an award-winning economist who used her training in research and data-analytics to find the answers in the numbers.


The Bottom Line

An Ivy League economist makes choices easier for new parents by arming them with data and a healthy understanding of the principles of research-backed decision-making.

I. Introduction

Even with so much science and research at their fingertips, parents still rely on old wives’ tales, gut instinct, outdated strategies handed down by their own parents, and conflicting advice from internet forums. With Cribsheet, Brown University economist (and mother of two) Emily Oster aims to set the record straight for those who’d rather make decisions based on hard data.

The book came out on the heels of Oster’s previous hit, Expecting Better, which takes a similar data-based approach to debunking conventional wisdom about pregnancy. The author’s guiding argument in both is that data and science can help you make better decisions in life, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t also apply those principles to your parenting choices.

Rather than offering an answer to questions about breastfeeding, circumcision, sleep training and more, Cribsheet arms parents with the information needed to understand the pros, cons and risks associated with the choices they make. The book is broken down into four categories: the first few days, the first year, years one to three, and home life as a new parent.

II. The True — and Limited — Benefits of Breastfeeding

III. To Vaccinate or Not: The Evidence Is Clear

IV. Nanny vs. Daycare: The Decision Depends on Getting Real

V. Sleep-Training Doesn’t Harm Babies (and Helps Their Parents)

VI. Loosening the Grip of Baby “Milestones”

VII. The Parent Trap

The Takeaway


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Also in the 'The Early Years' Collection