Cribsheet Book Summary – January 2022

Author: Emily Oster

Short Summary
Cribsheet (2019) is a book in which an economist has shared 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
Source: amazon.com

Detailed Summary

The Cribsheet book is written by an economist named 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 has to struggle a lot in order 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 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.

Cribsheet Book Key Points


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.

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 is requiring more cost and giving more benefit.

Just like that if we relate it with parenting. A working mom-to-be is struggling with managing time looking 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 is analyzed. Day-cares 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 benefits then 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 to hire a nanny then consider day-care. 

Salary vs Childcare

Secondly, the Cribsheet book shares the situation in which a working mom-to-be has to make a decision between her job and a childcare expense. If she quits a job, she has to think about sending her baby to daycare or not. For that from an economist’s point of view, she has to compare her salary with the day-care expense. If your salary is low and the day-care 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 then you surely continue your job and consider day-care for your baby. But if you want to spend time with your child and give extra attention to your newly born then as an economist guide, the opportunity cost factor is used. This means that if you are financially independent and just want to spend time with money then quit your job.

In addition to this, as early years of raising a baby is 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 is not only beneficial for the babies but also for the mothers who breastfed their kids are considered more educated.


Similarly, co-sleeping is also mentioned by the author in her book. Co-sleeping is considered dangerous for the kids as studies reveal that 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 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 the statistics, we can say that 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 what you feel better for your child

Who would I recommend Cribsheet Book summary to?

Cribsheet book is highly recommended to all the parents-to-be who needs a guide on parenting. Moreover, working parents especially mothers who are facing difficulty in making the right decisions between their job and kids.