Cribsheet Book Summary By Emily Oster

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Cribsheet (2019) is an incredibly informative and insightful book that delves into early-childhood parenting from the point of view of an economist.

The author takes a unique approach, using economic principles to explore the major decisions that parents need to consider when raising their babies.

This book provides cost and benefit analysis, risk assessment and data interpretation – all for the purpose of helping you make more informed choices when it comes to parenting.

It also looks at important topics such as education expenses, genetics and nutrition, work-life balance and more.

If you're a new parent looking for a different way to approach your next big decision, this book is definitely worth checking out.

Cribsheet Book

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

Author(s): Emily Oster

Rating: 3.6/5

Reading Time: 27 Minutes

Categories: Parenting

Author Bio

Emily Oster is an acclaimed author and professor of economics at the esteemed Brown University.

With a PhD in economics from Harvard University, her career has been noteworthy and well-respected within her field.

Eager to make a difference, Emily decided to put pen to paper with her book Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong – and What You Really Need to Know.

Not afraid to question traditional wisdom, her work caused controversy but also generated respect through its thought-provoking concepts.

In addition to this novel, Emily's articles have appeared in esteemed publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Esquire - further showcasing her expertise.

She also spoke at the 2007 TED conference which only further emphasizes Emily Oster's accomplishments in academia as well as writing circles.

The Crib Sheet For Parents: How Economic Reasoning Can Help Make Difficult Decisions

Crib Sheet For Parents

Are you ready for one of the ultimate tests of adult life? Having a baby is a big decision and it can be stressful, but don’t worry: you’re not in this alone.

Emily Oster’s Cribsheet book aims to provide you with the resources you need to make difficult parenting decisions with confidence.

By combining economic reasoning with child psychology, Oster has created a tool that will prove invaluable to expectant parents: the crib sheet.

This small but powerful guide outlines principles that will come in handy when making important parenting decisions.

And by leading readers away from questionable research, Oster provides advice based on reliable sources whenever possible.

So if you want to pass this ultimate test of adulthood, get yourself a copy of Cribsheet and see how much easier parenting can be when armed with the right information!

Forget Right And Wrong – Approach Parenting Questions Like An Economist

Trying to make decisions about parenting can be an incredibly stressful and confusing prospect.

After all, you are being asked to make life-altering decisions for the health, safety, and well-being of your child when you yourself may be exhausted and overwhelmed by this new role.

And often times it can be hard to discern which advice is worth following– different sources offer radically opposing opinions on what is “right” or “wrong” for your baby.

Worse still, the advice that parents are given is rarely delivered neutrally; instead, it comes laced with moral judgment.

So a mother might feel like she’s not only deciding between formula feeding and breastfeeding but also choosing between being a good mother and bad mother.

It’s easy to see how this might cause any parent great anxiety and distress.

But if we approach parenting decisions like economists do, we come up against the realization that there are never any right answers in these situations.

That changes the way we think about decision making altogether–from finding the one right answer to navigating our way among competing tradeoffs with greater ease and flexibility.

The Economics Of Parenting: How Personal Preferences And Circumstances Shape Decision-Making

When it comes to parenting decisions, economics can help us realize that these decisions involve both monetary and non-monetary inputs, and how those factors stack up against each other depends on individual circumstances and preferences.

Take the example of choosing between a nanny or a daycare.

If you’re middle-class and don’t have much disposable income, the price difference will be more important than if you’re wealthy.

But even with the same financial costs for either option, different people might arrive at different conclusions depending on their own preferences.

Social opportunities provided by daycare may matter to one person but not another.

In other words, from an economic standpoint there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to parenting decisions–every decision is personal and should be considered carefully in light of individual circumstances and preferences.

A Step-By-Step Framework For Making Decisions As A Parent: Weigh Costs And Benefits, Account For Your Priorities, And Consider Your Preferences And Circumstances

Costs And Benefits

When it comes to parenting, modern economics tell us that there’s often no single right answer to our decisions.

While we may not have all the answers at hand when reality tests our parenting skills, we can equip ourselves with a general framework for making these parental decisions.

Economic reasoning can provide us with this useful framework for decision-making.

We need to begin by identifying the costs and benefits associated with each of the choices in front of us, then factor in our individual preferences and circumstances before coming to a decision.

For example, if you’re trying to decide between going back to work or staying home with your child after you give birth – consider the different implications this decision could have on your baby’s childhood development and adulthood, on your own happiness and success, as well as any monetary calculations involved (such as lost income).

This will help you make an informed decision that is best tailored towards your individual needs.

Weighing The Opportunity Cost And Marginal Value Of Going Back To Work As A Parent

As parents, we naturally want to make the best decision for our families.

For those of us who are trying to do this with an economist’s decision-making framework, one key aspect is understanding trade-offs.

We can illustrate this idea by looking at a hypothetical example.

Say you don’t have any relatives to watch your baby and there isn’t free childcare in your area.

In order to go back to work, you’d need daycare or a nanny, which will cost money.

If your salary is low and the cost of childcare high, going back to work might actually reduce the amount of money in your bank account.

On the other hand, if your income is greater than childcare costs then you’d be making more money–but maybe not by much.

Then it comes down to weighing up these trade-offs: how much value do you place on spending time with your child vs having additional income that could be used to save up for retirement or take a vacation?

In other words, what kind of opportunity cost are you willing to pay in exchange for increased financial stability? Ultimately, this economic reasoning can help determine the best parenting decisions that take into account both non-monetary and monetary considerations.

The Delicate Balance Between Parental Convenience And Baby Safety

When it comes to parenting, we often encounter decisions that require us to weigh the potential risks and advantages of different choices.

In theory, this should be a rational process where you consider both sides of the equation and decide which one weighs more.

But in practice, our emotions might interfere with our thinking due to fear of putting our child in any sort of risk.

To make the best decision possible for these considerations, an economic decision-making framework can be applied – and one such approach involves assessing the potential risks associated with each option and weighing it against the ultimate benefit of choosing it.

For instance, co-sleeping with your baby has a 0.14 per 1,000 births risk but offers convenience and more sleep for parents – two considerations that are necessary to their mental health and well-being.

Ultimately how you weigh these benefits against the risks is up to you as there is no right or wrong answer.

Rather, careful assessment of both sides are essential to making a sound decision regarding potentially risky parenting choices.

Determining The Benefits And Risks Of Parental Decisions Is Complicated By Unrecognized Variables

Parental Decisions

For any parent, deciding what is best for their children can be an incredibly difficult task.

In making such decisions, variables can be divided into two columns: one subjective, personal side and the other empirical, factual side (costs & benefits of the options).

While one would presume the facts are often simpler to understand than navigating the preferential elements, studies show that this is not necessarily the case.

Take breastfeeding as a popular example.

While studies have found a correlation between breastfeeding and higher IQs in children – averaging seven points higher on average – this does not necessarily prove causation.

This is because there may be additional unmeasured variables at play here which do indeed provide a causal link between these two components.

Such potential confounding variables may include things like education level (women who breastfeed typically have higher education levels) or income level; both being correlated to higher IQs on their own.

Research must therefore strive to account for such confounding variables in order to arrive at more accurate conclusions regarding the effects of any given parenting practice on child outcomes.

Often times researchers do adjust for these elements within their data – only diminishing correlations between factors slightly upon doing so – before making a definitive statement about causation.

However skepticism should still remain when confronting such results as reality is far too complicated for us to accurately measure every single component affecting outcomes when it comes to parenting decisions.

Weighing Evidence To Informed Parental Decision-Making

When it comes to making parental decisions, it’s important to have access to reliable data.

The most reliable type of research available is a large-scale randomized controlled trial.

In this type of trial, researchers recruit a large group of parents, randomly assign them into two groups (a treatment group and a control group), and then test for the effects of the given variable (in this case, breastfeeding).

By splitting participants into two groups like this, you can be more certain that the correlations between variables are due to causality rather than other outside variables.

Plus, if in addition to correlation you can also determine a causal mechanism behind the link between phenomena you can feel even greater confidence in your findings.

The only large-scale randomized controlled trial conducted about breastfeeding found only two significant links: a four percent decrease in diarrhea and three percent reduction in skin rashes such as eczema.

It looked at other effects on child health but was not able to establish any meaningful correlations.

This shows just how important these tests are when gathering reliable data that can inform parental decision-making.

The Silver Medal For Research Goes To Observational Studies

Silver Medal

When trying to make an informed decision regarding parenting, parents today often rely on the data collected from research-based studies.

While randomized controlled trials (RCTs) provide the gold standard of research and evidence, observational studies can also offer a great deal of insights and valuable data to help with parental decision-making.

Observational studies involve collecting data on both breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding parents and their children and then comparing the two groups to see what kinds of differences arise from each option.

The larger the sample size is in these studies and the number of confounding variables that are accounted for can significantly increase their accuracy in providing useful information for parents.

Additionally, when siblings from the same family are compared (e.g., one nursed and one not), there is a far smaller chance that any confounding variables will be overlooked.

Further reliability may be derived by controlling for parental socioeconomic backgrounds as well.

When multiple, large-scale, well-controlled observational studies come to similar conclusions, there is usually a higher level of confidence in their results, even though these findings may only provide limited insights into decisions surrounding childrearing.

For example, despite popular beliefs to the contrary, observational studies have provided growing evidence that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of ear infections among children—but not much else beyond that at this point in time.

Nevertheless, quality observational studies still provide reliable data for parental decision-making which should not be discounted.

Be Skeptical Of The Findings Of Case Studies: Small Sample Size And Lack Of Randomization Leaves Room For Error

When it comes to parenting, it’s important to be informed about the best practices for raising your children.

In order to do that effectively, you need to consider all available sources of information.

But when it comes to case-control studies, it’s important to approach them with caution.

Case-control studies involve looking at groups of people who display certain outcomes or symptoms and trying to see what they have in common.

While this type of study can provide valuable insight into potential risks and benefits of certain parenting practices, there are some key issues that make these types of studies particularly unreliable.

Due to their small sample size, case-control studies can be subject to confounding variables and other underlying differences among the people in the study group.

Furthermore, when relying on self-reported information from parents about events that happened in the past, recall bias can lead to inaccurate results.

For these reasons, if you’re a parent looking for reliable information regarding your parenting decisions, it’s important to approach case-control studies with skepticism – making sure that any findings are backed up by larger randomized control trials or observational studies before relying on them.

Wrap Up

The final key message to take away from Cribsheet is that parenting requires you to weigh both your own personal circumstances and preferences, as well as the potential costs and benefits of your decisions to yourself and your family.

As you make these decisions, it’s important to remain informed with scientific research – while randomized control trials and observational studies can be trusted, case-control studies should be viewed skeptically.

Lastly, remember to relax.

There’s a lot of things that could happen with our children, but most are unlikely.

In trying to anticipate every potential thing that could go wrong, we become frazzled and too anxious to think about our parenting decisions properly.

Take it from the author – enjoy your time with your child and try not to worry!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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