Cribsheet Book Summary – Evidence based Parenting Tips

Author: Emily Oster

Short Summary
Cribsheet (2019) is a book in which an economist shares her point of view regarding parenting.  Emily Oster, in her book, guides the parent-to-be and prepares them to make better decisions for their newly born in the light of economics.
cribsheet book

Detailed Summary

The Cribsheet book is written by an economist, Emily Oster, who guides the parent-to-be about parenting. She has tried to help them to make better decisions for their baby through economics.

As we are aware of the fact that parenting is a hard task and a great responsibility. It takes a lot of years, and we have to make a lot of hard decisions for ourselves and our baby. From taking care of the baby yourself or considering a nanny or a day-care.

There are different parenting styles, and every parent must struggle a lot to raise a strong, smart, and successful kid.

Every parent, at some point, needs someone’s guide to parenting. Whether it’s some relatives or a family member or an online tool. There are a lot of books out there that can help a parent-to-be for making better choices.

But the Cribsheet book gives the parenting guide through economic principles. As an economist, Emily has focused on economic principles like cost-benefit analysis, risk assessment, and monetary and non-monetary benefits.

You might be interested in reading the Think Like a Rocket Scientist Summary book.

Cribsheet Book Summary – Key Points

Parenting is not an easy task to do. The newly parents are always in search of guides and parenting tips. If the same case is with you, you must delve into this book’s insights to learn about How to do parenting in a more absolute and proper way.


First of all, the writer in her book focuses on decision-making. The decisions that parents and parents-to-be have to make for their baby. She says that at the end of the day, it’s totally up to them to choose what’s better for them and their baby. As everyone knows what’s better for them.

“Which goes to show, again, that parenting is much more about the child than about the parent.”

Nanny or a day-care

But according to an economist, for decision-making, cost-benefit analysis is used. For making the right decisions in economics, economists consider cost-benefit analysis. It is analyzed which decision requires more cost and gives more benefit.

Just like that, if we relate it to parenting. A working mom-to-be struggles with managing time to look after her baby and her job. She considers hiring a nanny or putting her baby in daycare.

From an economist’s point of view, cost, and benefit are analyzed. Daycares often charge less as compared to a nanny. So cost analysis says that daycares will be a better decision. But on the other hand, if we analyze the benefits, hiring a nanny will be a better move as she gives more attention and takes good care of the baby.

So, it’s all your personal choice. If you can afford the charges of a nanny, you can hire her. Similarly, if you are financially unstable and cannot afford a nanny, consider daycare. 

Salary vs Childcare

“If I choose not to breastfeed, I don’t want to acknowledge that there are even small possible benefits to breastfeeding. So I encamp myself in the position that breastfeeding is a waste of time.”

Secondly, the Cribsheet book shares the situation in which a working mom-to-be must decide between her job and a childcare expense. If she quits a job, she has to think about sending her baby to daycare or not.

From an economist’s point of view, she has to compare her salary with the daycare expense. If your salary is low and the daycare charges are more then you will probably lose money.

Again, the writer Emily says that the decision is up to you. If you are a workaholic and love your job, you will surely continue and consider daycare for your baby. But if you want to spend time with your child and give extra attention to your newly born, then the opportunity cost factor is used as an economist guide. This means that if you are financially independent and just want to spend time with money, then quit your job.

In addition, the early years of raising a baby are hard, and your baby needs your full attention. Moreover, studies have revealed that breastfed kids are smarter and more intelligent than formula-fed kids.

Breastfed kids’ IQ level is higher than formula-fed ones. Moreover, breastmilk benefits not only the babies but also the mothers who breastfeed their kids are considered more educated.


Similarly, co-sleeping is also mentioned by the author in her book. Co-sleeping is considered dangerous for kids, as studies reveal that it increases the chances of SIDS.

SIDS is sudden infant death syndrome that is caused by co-sleeping in infants. So, the question that the mothers should sleep with their children or not can be answered by economics. And from an economist’s point of view, a risk-assessment strategy is used.

The risk of SIDS from sleeping with the child is 0.14 for every 1000 births. Just like that, the risk of infant death by a car accident is 0.20 for every 1000 births. So, comparing both statistics, we can say that the risk of infant death from a car accident is greater.

If there are some negative impacts caused by co-sleeping, then at the same time, there are some advantages as well. So, as risk assessment is important, then it is also important to what you feel better for your child

Who would I recommend the Cribsheet Book summary to?

The Cribsheet book is highly recommended to all parents-to-be who need a parenting guide. Moreover, working parents, especially mothers, struggle to make the right decisions between their job and their kids.

Cribsheet Book Summary - January 2022

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