Book 33: Cribsheet

Title: Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, From Birth to Preschool
Author: Emily Oster
Started: July 19, 2019
Finished: August 2, 2019
Pages: 322
Genre: Parenting

First Sentence: As infants, both of my children loved to be swaddled - wrapped up tightly in blankets to sleep.

Summary: [From BN] 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 greater 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 strangers on 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.

Thoughts: Let me start out by saying that this book is good. Sadly, it's just no as good as her book on pregnancy. I think the key difference in quality is because there is just SO MUCH you can talk about with pregnancy. Even with the science, every kid and culture is different. Oster does a great job of covering the basics, but the book is a little scattershot and not as focused as Expecting Better. What Oster still does extremely well is walking you through the existing science, offering the good and bad of each scenario, and giving you nice little wrap ups. The main lesson of this book is that parenting is hard and you just have to try your best to find what works best for you and your kid(s).

Rating: 7/10 [Very Good]