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Cribsheet
Cover of Cribsheet
Cribsheet
A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool
From the author of EXPECTING BETTER, an economist's guide to the early years of parenting
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 great 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 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 tradeoffs 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.
*Includes a Bonus PDF of graphs.
From the author of EXPECTING BETTER, an economist's guide to the early years of parenting
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 great 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 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 tradeoffs 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.
*Includes a Bonus PDF of graphs.
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  • From the cover Introduction

    As infants, both my children loved to be swaddled— wrapped up tightly in blankets to sleep. Our blanket of choice was something called the Miracle Blanket, which involved a complicated wrap-ping procedure that only Houdini himself could have escaped. We had about nine of these blankets, since we feared we would run out and have to use a swaddle covered in poop.

    Swaddling is great, and it can help your infant sleep. But there is a downside: you can't use it forever. At some point, your kid will get too big and you'll have to stop. Now, a first- time parent might not assume that this is a problem, but breaking the swaddle habit is no easy task.

    With our daughter, Penelope (kid number one), breaking the swaddle led to worse sleep habits, followed by a long reliance on a product called the Rock 'n Play Sleeper, which I still have nightmares about. Other parents have told me stories of seeking secret online sources for larger-size swaddles. There are women on Etsy who will create a swaddle blanket for your eighteen- month- old. Please note: Just because there is a secret market for something on Etsy doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea. One of the features of having a second child is you can have a do-over on all your perceived mistakes. As an "experienced parent," you can make sure that anything you look back on with regret you'll fix on this round. At least, that's what I thought. Breaking the swaddle was at the top of my list. I was going to do it right this time.

    As Finn (kid number two) approached four or five months old, I made a plan. First, for a few days I'd swaddle Finn as usual, but leave one arm uncovered. Then, a few days later, after he adjusted to that, I'd take the other arm out. Then I'd uncover his legs. Finally, I'd dispense with the whole swaddle. The internet assured me that this way we'd lose the swaddle without also losing any (hard-won) sleeping skills.

    I was ready to start. I put a date on the calendar and informed my husband, Jesse.

    Then, one extremely hot day shortly before the assigned start date, the power went out, and with it the air conditioning. Finn's room was 95 degrees. It was approaching bedtime. I panicked. When fully deployed, the swaddle blanket was many layers of fabric. Finn would roast.

    Should I keep him awake in the hopes the power would come back on? It could be days. Should I just swaddle him and figure he'd be hot? This seemed irresponsible and also kind of mean. Should I just hold him while he slept and not put him in the crib at all until it cooled down? This was also very hot, and experience suggested he wouldn't sleep for long in my arms.

    My best-laid plans set aside, I put him to bed in a diaper and onesie. No swaddle. I explained it to him as I nursed him to sleep, drenched in sweat.

    "Finn, I'm sorry, but it's so hot out! We can't use the swaddle. But don't worry, you can still sleep. I know you can do it! Now you'll be able to suck on your fingers! Won't that be nice?"

    With a big smile, I put him in his crib, unswaddled, and left the room. I prepared for the worst. Penelope would have screamed bloody murder. Finn, though, just made a few surprised noises and fell asleep.

    Obviously, an hour later the power came back on. By then Finn was sleeping. I asked Jesse if I should go in and swaddle him now. Jesse told me I was nuts, and collected all the Miracle Blankets for the charity bin. As I lay in bed that night, I wondered if Finn would sleep worse now, if I should go dig the blankets out of the bin and wrap him in one. I was tempted to jump on the computer and read stories of swaddle- induced sleep...
About the Author-
  • EMILY OSTER is a professor of economics at Brown University and the author of Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong—and What You Really Need to Know. She was a speaker at the 2007 TED conference and her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Esquire. Oster is married to economist Jesse Shapiro and is also the daughter of two economists. She has two children.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Karissa Vacker was a wonderful choice to perform this enlightening collection of research on parenting young children. Along with an appealing voice and flawless phrasing, her narration has the perfect personality for this work--a sincere and breezy quality that makes listeners feel at home and makes them forget they're listening to heavy-duty science offered by a Harvard-trained economics professor. Emily Oster's writing is both casual and articulate as she describes the empirical evidence on issues like prenatal diets, birthing room practices, breastfeeding, bed-sharing, day care, potty training, eating problems, and two parents working. Oster's research summaries will especially help mothers juggling too many responsibilities feel more secure when handling the myriad choices new parents face. T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Cribsheet
Cribsheet
A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool
Emily Oster
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