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Publisher's Summary

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 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 trade-offs can be profound. How do you make your own best decision? 

Armed with the data, Oster finds that the conventional wisdom doesn't always hold up. She debunks myths around breastfeeding (not a panacea), sleep training (not so bad!), potty training (wait until they're ready or possibly bribe with M&Ms), language acquisition (early talkers aren't necessarily geniuses), and many other topics. She also shows parents how to think through freighted questions like if and how to go back to work, how to think about toddler discipline, and how to have a relationship and parent at the same time. 

Economics is the science of decision-making, and Cribsheet is a thinking-parent's guide to the chaos and frequent misinformation of the early years. Emily Oster is a trained expert - and mom of two - who can empower us to make better, less fraught decisions - and stay sane in the years before preschool.

*Includes a Bonus PDF of graphs. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Emily Oster (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

“Parents new and old will find reassurance in this commonsense approach.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Parents who find comfort in statistics, and especially those who enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s works, will appreciate [Cribsheet].” (Booklist

What listeners say about Cribsheet

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If you are a chronic worrier like me, read this.

The author used humor mixed with data to provide peace of mind to a new parent.

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Helpful

This is a well thought out and incredibly helpful book for any new parent. I love the non judgmental and data driven approach. Emily also includes anecdotes to keep it relatable and interesting.

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Awesome book

Loved how the content was based on quality research. I’ll definitely recommend this to my friends!

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  • Lklns
  • 2019-05-14

Good, but it seems like there isn't a lot of data

Many of the conclusions were, "there's not enough data to know, so do whatever you want," which was a little disappointing!

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  • Yanina Sarquis Adamson
  • 2020-01-18

Loved every chapter except one

I loved this book. There is so much research put into it that my scientist heart rejoyced with every study the author Emily Oster cited. She explained them all in a simple way for everyone to understand and she was even funny along the way. In addition, the narration by Karissa Vacker could not be better. I will in fact be looking for other things narrated by her. However, I have to mention one section that I profoundly disagreed with. The DISCIPLINE chapter. Here, she says that "there is a punishment component in discipline". No no no and no. She goes on to say that rewards and punishments are the way to go, including time outs. Any new parenting book will tell you that these approaches do not work. If the kid cannot do whatever you are asking him to do, it's because they can't. This premise ("kids do well if they can") is the base of all new parenting books. If you do a simple google search, you will see that "time outs" have been replaced by "time ins". If a child is misbehaving it is because he is disregulated, and if he is disregulated he needs a caring adult to co-regulate him until he can do it for himself. Sitting by himself in a corner will not accomplish this. Moreover, "children's compliance" is not a good metric of effective discipline, as kids can learn to follow orders just because they are afraid and not having learned a thing about emotion regulation. If you want a great and short parenting book that discusses discipline read/listen to Janet Lansbury's "No bad kids". To know what to do with older kids read/listen to Dr. Ross Greene's "Raising human beings", and for an explanation of why these approaches work, read/listen to Mona Delahook's "Beyond behaviours", or Dan Siegel's "The whole brain child".

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  • Addicted to Amazon
  • 2020-05-31

I hate to say it but data has its limits

This book will not tell you much more then this, parenting isn’t a science or if it is, scientists haven’t figured out how to test it. I don’t mean to be a spoiler, there is lots of great data in this book. So much in fact that the author concedes that the data isn’t definitive. So if you like conclusive data that tells you “if you do action ‘a’ you will get result ‘x’ “ then you will not find your answer here. This does not mean an absence of a conclusive answer is proof that the opposite is true, because really, most times neither side shows proof. So it will probably leave you in the same spot you started on for most questions. I did take a star because she could have done a better job explaining things (like she did in her first book). For instance, CO-sleeping. She seems against it, which is fine. However, she should still present both sides of the argument. In here she under represented the co-seeping side , failing to explain why Drs advise not to co-sleep. (It’s because most parents fail to follow basic guidelines, like no blankets, don’t drink, etc). Once basic guidelines are accounted for co-sleeping is deemed healthier for baby and momma. Unfortunately, most parents have failed to understand the safety precautions. It’s kinda like saying cars aren’t safe for kids but failing to mention it’s because most people don’t use car seats (not true, for demonstration purposes). I value this author because she is known for laying out facts and not trying to influence opinion. Her book lets the reader make an informed decision. Her first book was great at this, this book less so. Maybe it was the less decisive data? Either way, it’s interesting if you are a data junkie. It won’t give much insight for the average parent wanting to know conclusive parenting best practices. Sorry.

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  • Jecoco
  • 2019-05-07

Great content, cloying narration

I like Emily Oster’s work and enjoyed this book. Unlike the matter-of-fact content, the narration sounds like a patronising, condescending morning talk show host.

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  • Kindi Wahlstrom
  • 2019-05-17

biased but overall well done

This is a good book with some good advice. there are some obvious personal biases in the author's writing but she does a good job looking at different subjects from an analytical point of view. As a pediatrician I agree with most of what she says, although she does make suggestions that are skewed toward what she wants the data to be interpreted as. I would advise people to discuss things with their doctor before making decisions. But altogether one of the better books on this topic.

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  • Alice
  • 2020-02-10

It’s fine

It’s a good book, and I really respect the valiant efforts the author made at being evidence-based. I think it’s hard to encompass all of early child parenting succinctly, and it seems like she’s done a good job picking and choosing the most relevant topics. The main issue I have with this book (and most what-to-expect style books) is that the author writes for a Type A audience and I am just not that. I’m 8 months pregnant and skeptical of basically everything. The book assumes parents have a baseline need/desire for apps that track baby feeding/pooping schedules, want to have a discussion on vaccines, or want to go on multiple nanny/daycare interviews before making any choices about childcare. My type B self starts with the assumption that if most people turn out fine and diseases went away when vaccines became mainstream, why waste so much time thinking? Just pick a daycare or nanny that’s convenient for the budget, get the shots, and worry about something else. The book concludes with the data-driven finding that shots are good and that childcare styles don’t matter that much, so I feel have learned nothing that will change my anticipated parenting style. I’m still waiting to read a parenting book geared toward the Type B parent.

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  • Joseph Pollard
  • 2020-09-06

Approach worked better for pregnancy guidelines

I liked Oster’s book Expecting Better, so I was hoping to like this one as well. What I found though, was that Oster’s approach to evaluating the current research on parenting choices was not very thorough and made me doubt her ability to evaluate medical research. Economic research is not the same as medical research and I’m not sure Oster has the background to be evaluating large bodies of data that pertain to sometimes complex medical decisions like breastfeeding, vaccination, or circumcision. As a healthcare professional myself, I’ve looked at some of the studies she references and have come to very different conclusions than she did, leading me to believe she was unable to properly evaluate research from a field of study that was different from her own. Some of the topics are so extensive and complex that they really deserve their own book, not a short chapter. The chapter on breastfeeding especially, failed to even mention one of the most important aspects of breastmilk vs formula around which a lot of the current research revolves, the gut microbiome. A major motivator for many mothers working hard to breastfeed their children is proper gut development and protection from leaky gut, not necessarily that they’re worried their children won’t graduate high school if they use formula. Oster maybe should have just left some of these more difficult subjects out if she didn’t have room to thoroughly evaluate all the research on the subject.

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  • Emporio
  • 2020-08-20

Waste of time with some dangerous recommendations

The narration is tainted with millennial speak using phrases such as “like, sort of, kind of” ect. which destroys any credibility the author may otherwise have had. In addition, much of the content is personal anecdotes about the author’s own pregnancy and child rearing experience which provides no value to a listener seeking well researched data. There are also some recommendations the author gives without any thought to consulting research like giving your infant soy formula milk if the mother cannot produce enough milk on her own. This left me dumbfounded considering the dangers of soy to infants and adults alike.

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  • Breanna Grace
  • 2020-08-03

One-Sided, Selfish Parenting Book

I could not finish this book because it is so against my parenting style. I love to read different points of view but this is stating a style as fact. For example it states that breastfeeding is optional if you don't want to do it and formula fed babies have the same outcome, which is false. It also states that sleep training including letting a child cry it out is best when that is proven to not help the child. I get that the author parents differently however stop stating that it is fact when it most certainly is not.

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  • Kandace
  • 2020-11-07

I (heart) Data and Science

With all the advice floating around, I love this unbiased, research driven yet compassionate approach