Books Moms Need :: Cribsheet by Emily Oster


For a new mom, every decision seems like the most important decision – whatever you choose is going to have an effect on your kid for the rest of their lives, right? If you are like me, you try to find reliable information to support the decisions you make. But, it’s difficult with so much conflicting information out there.

I happen to be a librarian and I am trained in finding the “good” research, however, that didn’t really seem to help me with these decisions. I would read the “good” stuff, but then I still searched Google for everything from if I should breastfeed and for how long to how much screen time was OK to when I should start solid foods. I read books and websites and asked on Facebook groups about all of it (those mom groups? Please take that information with a grain of salt…).

However, if I would have had this book, I would have saved SO MUCH TIME (and so much guilt, shame, etc. about some of the decisions I made).

Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool by Emily Oster is a book all new parents need. After reading this one, I’m going to go ahead and recommend Expecting Better by the same author. 

Oster is a Professor of Economics at Brown University. In this book, she looks at the research about most of the important decisions that you’ll make those first few years of your baby’s life and really lays out a bottom line. What will happen if you decide not to breastfeed? Are vaccines safe? Are your kids ruined if you let them watch television?

To new moms, I would say ditch Google and Facebook groups and read this book. Not only will you learn how to make informed decisions, but you’ll enjoy reading it. Oster is informal in her writing and funny. She is a mom so she also explains how she is making her own parenting decisions. 

Hopefully, she’s working on one for tweens and teens. I think I might need her in several years! 

What are you reading? What books have been helpful as you’ve navigated motherhood?

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Valerie Byrd Fort was born in Florida, but when she was four years old, her family moved to the midlands and never looked back. She is mom to Katy (human) and to Lucky, Mozzy, and Penny (rescue dogs). She is married to Marty Fort, owner of the Lexington School of Music, Columbia Arts Academy, and Irmo Music Academy. She is an Instructor for the School of Library & Information Science at the University of South Carolina, where she teaches Children’s Literature to future classroom teachers and librarians. She is also Coordinator for Cocky's Reading Express, the University of South Carolina's literacy outreach program. Valerie is passionate about books, literacy, libraries, and reading aloud with children of ALL ages. She writes about books and other literacy related topics on her blog, Library Goddess. In her free time, Valerie enjoys reading, Barre3, going to Target and endless scrolling of social media  


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