Review of Cribsheet

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  • Analytical
  • Scientific
  • Well Structured


From the moment your baby arrives, you face big decisions. You want to do what’s best, but advice from family, friends, experts and the internet often conflicts. Economist Emily Oster combed through hundreds of studies on early parenting and identified which produced the most reliable results. She debunks parenting myths and uncovers misinformation you can discard. Armed with trustworthy data, Oster helps you choose what works best for your family and your baby.

About the Author

Professor of economics at Brown University and mother of two Emily Oster also wrote Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong – and What You Really Need to Know.


Solid data and a framework for decision-making enable you to choose what is right for your family.

From the moment you give birth, Emily Oster understands that you face endless decisions about your baby’s best care. When you seek advice, everyone has a different opinion. Oster recognizes that the internet causes more confusion than it offers valuable help, and so-called experts conflict. She offers research-based information that indicates what the data say about common issues in the early years of parenting. “You and I may see the data and make different decisions,” the author writes, “but we should both come to the data as the first step.”

Solid, reliable research, Oster explains, analyzes the effects of one factor when all other factors remain constant. Randomized, controlled trials compare a “treated” group to a “control” group. Observational studies compare one group to another without controlling all variables. Case-control studies gather data on a specific group – say, children who read early – to ascertain what factors contribute to that behavior. In general, Oster notes that these studies prove less reliable than the others. Anecdotal evidence refers to one experience or the things people say, such as, “My friend breastfed her six kids, and they all went to Harvard!” As statisticians are quick to note, “Anecdote is not data.”

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