Ep. 39: Understanding Your Baby: Interview with Ayelet Marinovich

April 1, 2019

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Laura and Shanna interview pediatric speech language pathologist and parent educator Ayelet Marinovich about how to interact with your baby in ways that benefit his or her development. Also, Shanna discusses her baby’s tumultuous week, and Laura talks about taking her baby to the doctor to test for hip dysplasia. Finally, the new moms reveal their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Shanna’s baby is 11 weeks old, and Laura’s baby is seven weeks old.| This episode’s show notes – https://bigfatpositivepodcast.com/ep-39/ | Get social – Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bfppodcast/ | Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/bigfatpositivepodcast/ | Email – [email protected] | Our mom-tested ultimate baby registry list – https://bigfatpositivepodcast.com/registry/

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Episode Transcript


Laura Birek: Hi. Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shanna and Laura. This week we have our weekly check-ins. We have a special interview with Ayelet Marinovich who’s going to teach us how to talk and interact with our babies without going totally crazy and we have our BFPs and BFNs. Let’s get to it.


Laura Birek: Hi. Welcome to episode 39, everyone. Hello, Shanna.

Shanna Micko: Hi.

Laura Birek: What’s going on with you this week? How old’s your baby now?

Shanna Micko: She is 11 weeks old.

Laura Birek: Aww.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, she’s a cutie pie and this week has been a roller coaster. I mean, it’s all a roller coaster, but this particular week I have felt the highs and lows like I’m on one of those crazy roller coasters at Magic Mountain, because I don’t know if she’s going through a growth spurt or what, but the first part of the week was horrible sleep. So fussy. 

Fussing at the boob, just eating a ton upset and then she slept like a champ, 12 hours straight with just one wake up for a 15 minute feed. I was like, oh my God, everything’s changing and I was just so happy and celebrating. Then of course, that only lasted a couple days and then she started a leap or something, but I just feel like I’m getting whiplash from the experience of parenting my child this week. I never really know, like, is she actually going through a growth spurt or what’s going on? She just was eating a lot more than usual and just fussing a lot more and upset and I was looking online as I do for all my parenting advice.

Laura Birek: Of course, Dr. Google.

Shanna Micko: Yes, and KellyMom, which is like a big breastfeeding site was like, when your baby’s going through a growth spurt, you can expect your own body to be more thirsty or more hungry than usual and I was like, oh my God, totally. I was eating voraciously. Whereas in the first few weeks I had no appetite and I’m like putting down entire Jersey Mike’s sandwiches this week.

Laura Birek: Love those Jersey Mike’s sandwiches.

Shanna Micko: It always comes back to those. Yum. Yum. Another interesting thing I learned in my Google searching is try not to supplement during a growth spurt, which is what I actually did, because I was like, there’s no way she’s getting enough from me. Especially before bedtime, it just seemed like she was just starving and just dying to have more milk and so I supplemented before bed. So what I learned is that you probably shouldn’t do that, because during those growth spurts, you want to signal your body to make more milk to provide for the baby.

Laura Birek: Oh, that makes sense. So it’s half. It’s training the baby, but it’s also training you.

Shanna Micko: Yes, I’ve been in intense training this week.

Laura Birek: Doing that Rocky montage of breastfeeding.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, exactly. But the two nights where she slept amazing, wow, that was incredible. I got up to feed her, but Steve got his first two solid night’s sleep since she was born, because our other child didn’t wake up either and so he got some great rest.

Laura Birek: It’s amazing with just a little bit extra sleep, how much you feel like a new person?

Shanna Micko: Yes.

Laura Birek: My guy’s been sleeping just a little bit longer and even just one extra hour of sleep a night, you’re just like, the world is my oyster. I can do anything today. I got four consecutive hours of sleep last night.

Shanna Micko: Hallelujah. It’s wonderful. It’s amazing.

Laura Birek: But 12, I can’t even imagine. Oof.

Shanna Micko: I know. I just keep telling myself she’s getting older, she’s learning it. She had a little regression there from those couple nights, but she’s almost three months now and she’s just going to keep getting better and better. I’m really trying to stay positive and just be like, she’s getting better. She’s working towards it and I know she’ll get there eventually.

Laura Birek: How long does your older daughter Elle sleep at night, your three-year-old?

Shanna Micko: Probably about 10 to 11 hours.

Laura Birek: That’s nice. They still get up early, but at least you get a good chunk in the middle there.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, they usually wake up around 6:30, 7, which I’m a morning person anyway. I don’t mind getting up early. This is harder of course when you’re up all throughout the night doing things.

Laura Birek: It’s one thing getting up at 6:30 when you went to bed at 10 and you slept the whole night. It’s another thing when you went to bed at 10 and then woke up at 2 and then woke up at 4 and you were up for an hour every time.

Shanna Micko: Exactly. That’s exhausting, but that’s pretty much it for me. What about you? How old is your baby?

Laura Birek: He’s seven weeks old this week.

Shanna Micko: Okay.

Laura Birek: The social smiles are coming hard and fast now. I think they officially started last week. He was definitely doing the social smiling at about five and a half to six weeks I think is when it really started. But now, you can get a reliable one out of him. You know what I mean?

Shanna Micko: Yeah.

Laura Birek: In six weeks, they were social smiles, but you never quite knew when you were going to be blessed with one. Now, you just have to do a cute little song or dance or tickle him or something and he just goes into this big smile.

Shanna Micko: Aww.

Laura Birek: It’s so cute. He’s so happy in the mornings just to see us. He wakes up and he just starts smiling at us and I’m just like, you’re the cutest thing in the whole world.

Shanna Micko: Love it.

Laura Birek: The hardest thing though is so you know how you’re not supposed to make eye contact with them at night in theory when they wake up for feeding at night, because it supposedly stimulates them.

Shanna Micko: Right.

Laura Birek: Have you heard this?

Shanna Micko: Yeah.

Laura Birek: So I guess the theory is that faces are very stimulating for babies and so you’re not supposed to look at them if you can avoid it. That’s very hard.

Shanna Micko: I like staring at his forehead.

Laura Birek: But I have noticed it’s true. Especially like for instance right now, I just put him down for a nap and we were texting, because we were trying to record and it’s going to happen. I’m putting him down, but I realize I have to turn my face away from him so that he doesn’t stare at me and just stay awake. But the smiles are very, very fun. But the problem is that in the middle of the night, he’s all smiles too. So like 3:00 a.m., he’ll wake me up to feed him and I’ll feed him and then I go to burp him and he is just looking up at me with this big old smile and it’s so hard to not just be like, “You’re the cutest to the boy in the world.” I’m not supposed to look at you and there’s this little baby just smiling. It’s torture.

Shanna Micko: That is such torture.

Laura Birek: But anyway, it’s really cute and I usually fail and I end up engaging with him in the middle of the night, but he’s only going to be little for a short time.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, exactly.

Laura Birek: Then the other thing we’re doing is we’re working on the sleep schedule. I’ll check in with that later, but it seems to be going well. We had two big things this week: he actually went and got a hip sonogram to check for hip dysplasia. Did I tell you about this?

Shanna Micko: Oh, no. But is he predisposed for that because of his breech position?

Laura Birek: Exactly. Apparently, my doctor said that they like to do it with all breech babies. As listeners may know, I had a planned C-section, because he was real breech. His butt was wedged down on my pelvis and his legs were straight up. He was in pike position and so when he came out, my mom being a pediatrician, she thought she felt a clique in his left hip, which is a sign of hip dysplasia. But then by day two it was gone. So she was worried about it and so I had gone to my pediatrician. She said she didn’t feel any cliques, but she said we always send kids who are breech to get the hip sonograms anyway. So I took him to the imaging center and it was so sweet. It was an adult sonogram machine.

Shanna Micko: Oh my God, he must have looked so tiny on there.

Laura Birek: I wish I had taken a picture, but it was just me. Corey was at work. They set up these pillows to get his little hips. He was such a good little boy. They just sort of unsnapped one side of his diaper and then did one side and then did the other side.

Shanna Micko: Aww.

Laura Birek: He was like this tiny little baby on this huge exam table. It was really cute.

Shanna Micko: That’s so cute. Well, what is hip dysplasia exactly? I don’t know.

Laura Birek: I don’t know too much about it, but what I do know is that basically the ball and socket joint dislocates, right? So it’s like frequent dislocation of the hip joint.

Shanna Micko: Oh, okay.

Laura Birek: Babies are very flexible and stuff, so it can happen more easily in babies and it happens in a lot of babies, not just breech babies. But it’s something that is super simply taken care of if you treat it as an infant, like you put them in this harness that they wear for a certain number of weeks and then they’re fine. It’s sort of like a brace. But if you don’t treat it, you can end up with really, really terrible side effects as an adult: not being able to walk, walking with a major limp. Just like really, really bad stuff. So you want to make sure it gets checked out and if your kid gets diagnosed with it, I can imagine it’s really rough at first. 

But it’s such a short period of time of treatment for most kids for like a lifetime of normal mobility, so it’s a huge benefit.

Shanna Micko: Good. Did you get the results back?

Laura Birek: Yes, I did and everything was normal. His left hip was a little bit more lax than his right hip. But he’s totally normal, so we don’t have to do the brace, which I’m pleased.

Shanna Micko: That’s good news.

Laura Birek: So that was the big event of this week.

Shanna Micko: All right. Very exciting.

Laura Birek: Well, we’ve got a really great special segment this week, but shall we take a break first?

Shanna Micko: Let’s do it.


Shanna Micko: Welcome back to the show. We are very excited for our next segment. We’ve got a very special interview with Ayelet Marinovich. 

She is a pediatric speech language pathologist, a parent educator and imperfect mom and founder of Strength in Words. Ayelet, welcome.

Ayelet Marinovich: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, you’re welcome. So you have two children, right?

Ayelet Marinovich: I do have two children. I have a two-year-old and a five-year old.

Shanna Micko: Okay. Very good. So how did you become interested in the field of study that you are in?

Ayelet Marinovich: Sure. Well, that’s a good question. Laura and I went to college together.

Laura Birek: Reed College.

Ayelet Marinovich: I was a theater and Russian literature major.

Laura Birek: The most useful majors.

Ayelet Marinovich: Yeah.

Laura Birek: We were both theater lit majors.

Ayelet Marinovich: Yeah, we were. I was like, wow. This is going to be so useful.

Laura Birek: A lot opportunities are just going to be thrown at me.

Ayelet Marinovich: So I moved to New York in my early twenties as you do and I became a makeup artist and an admin at a school and a babysitter and a part-time this and a part-time that and an intern and all of the things that you do. Then I got really tired and I knew that I wanted to work with other people. I knew I wanted to be in a helping profession, but I had no idea what that might look like. So I was working at a school and one of the other educators there was like, “Well, with your background in theater and your interest in language, what about a language therapist?” I was like, “Oh,” and then I started looking into the field of speech language pathology and realizing that, oh, well my best friend’s aunt is a speech therapist. Then this person is one and everyone has like, I went to speech therapy or whatever it was. Everyone has like an in to the field. So I just started talking to people about it and realizing that it combines so many of my interests such as child development, psychology and I like to communicate as you might have noticed and why don’t I help other people communicate too? So I loved that I could serve tiny, tiny people and old, old people and everything in between, do habilitative and rehabilitative and I just love the field so much. That was how I got started.

Shanna Micko: Very interesting. So is there one main issue that you see with children in speech development? Is there a top thing that parents could look out for or that you see?

Ayelet Marinovich: Well for the purposes of our conversation, the biggest thing that I think can help families is just having a general sense of that trajectory of early communication development. My personal specialty is early intervention. So I specialize in work with infants and toddlers as a speech language pathologist. But then with my other business Strength in Words, I work as a parent educator helping families with infant and toddlers of all developmental levels who don’t necessarily have concerns or may have concerns and don’t know whether they’re valid concerns or not, because I find that when we have access to good high quality information about how our young, tiny people learn and develop, then we can make those informed decisions about what to do about that. First of all, there’s milestones checklists that you can get from your doctor of course. But that only goes so far, right? Like you know that your baby’s supposed to be saying their first word around age one, but what if he’s not? Or how do I get there? What are the other little things that need to happen beforehand and what does that look like? Or we know that we’re supposed to “read and talk and sing” and all of those things to our babies, but what does that look like with a six-month-old? What might it look like if I’m an introvert? What if I don’t have a good singing voice? All of these questions that we have, and what I try to do is to take that worry away and help parents understand that it’s not about the stuff, because we are of course being bombarded all over the place by wonderful advertisements for subscription boxes and developmentally appropriate educational toys and all of that stuff. But if we understand more about the basis of interaction and how infants and toddlers learn in all areas of development, then we have a much better feeling about the ways that we can support that development.

Laura Birek: So you have two books out now. The first is Understanding Your Baby, which I am using as my Bible right now, which is awesome, because I love how you set it up because it’s a week by week sort of what you can and should be doing that’s developmentally appropriate with your baby, but it’s not overwhelming in that I think the week seven I can’t remember if this is the week it’s like sing to your baby. I read ahead a little bit. It’s like one major thing, so it’s not every week. I just went to my doctor. When I went to his last appointment, she gave me a worksheet of all the things you should be doing.

Ayelet Marinovich: Wow.

Laura Birek: I think there’s 36 things on it and you look at it and you’re just like, I can barely get through the day. You know what I mean? How am I supposed to do 36 activities? Is that something you can sort of speak to the sense of being overwhelmed?

Ayelet Marinovich: Totally. The reason why I started doing what I’m doing as a parent educator is because I had my own kids. Because when you work with families with infants and toddlers, you come into parenthood thinking, oh, well. I got this. I know all this stuff. It’s crazy. It’s so intense and it’s so overwhelming. When we had my first, we were actually living abroad in London and I started holding like little playgroups or music classes or whatever, just like parent support groups in my home, because I was totally overwhelmed and feeling the most vulnerable that I’d ever felt in my entire life. But the thing that I was not struggling with was what I could do with this tiny human and I found that so many of the friends that I had made who were also new parents, they were struggling with that.

Shanna Micko: Can I interrupt really quick?

Ayelet Marinovich: Yeah, absolutely.

Shanna Micko: By what to do with your baby, you don’t mean like feeding and changing the diaper. You mean more like interactive play activities?

Ayelet Marinovich: I mean my baby is fed and swaddled or changed has a new diaper and he’s staring into my eyes, now what?

Shanna Micko: Been there.

Ayelet Marinovich: You’ve all been there. Like, okay. Now what am I supposed to be doing? Whether you’re prepping to go back to work in three months or whether you’re planning to be a stay at home parent or whatever it is, we know that we have this finite amount of time and there’s all this pressure to do it right. Another air quote, “do it right. Get it right.” That’s really overwhelming and we know that we want to take advantage of this sort of special precious time, but figuring out sort of how to do that or how to do that best or how to do that easily and confidently is hard and I think so many of us struggle. But you’re right, Shanna. It’s that piece about, okay, how can I be supporting my baby? I know that they’re learning about something, but my child is a little blob, so what exactly is he learning about? Also, I know I’m supposed to be talking to my baby, but what are some good ways to do that? Or why is that game peek-a-boo actually developmentally beneficial? The fact is what I try to help families see is that you’re probably already doing it and you’re you already have all the stuff that you need. What you need is probably attached to you already: fingers, a voice, a face. Anyway, it’s I think we ask the question, what do I need to get to stimulate my baby’s development? What are all the things that I can fill my house up with? What are the essential things so that I don’t fill my home up with all the crap and all the stuff that actually feels unnecessary? So I’m here to say that you already have everything you need. It’s either attached to you or it’s in your kitchen probably and so it’s just a matter of figuring out how to sort of unlock the power of those everyday objects and of the everyday your caregiving routines that you’re already performing, like taking a bath or changing a diaper and other daily things that you do. Maybe your baby’s not putting on your shoes, but your toddler is. Getting your shoes on or going outside or checking the weather or checking the mail. All of those things are daily routines, things that happen regularly and all of those things are things that you can take advantage of and maximize the power within.

Shanna Micko: Can you give us a specific example or two since Laura and I both have newborns? Maybe something that would be appropriate at around our baby’s age.

Ayelet Marinovich: Yeah, okay. How old is your baby Shanna right now?

Shanna Micko: 11 weeks.

Ayelet Marinovich: If you flip to the page in my book for instance, it takes you to 11 weeks old and this one is all about routines and rituals. So you’ve got a paragraph and it’s all about how caregiving routines are often the most powerful opportunities for learning, because like I was just saying, they happen every day throughout the day. 

So your baby is experiencing and participating in her or his own way in those daily routines and also learning about interaction and what will eventually be things that she can predict, what will come next and the transition that will happen between those things from the end of one activity to the start of another one. So we think of those caregiving routines, like waking up, going to sleep, eating or drinking or nursing, washing, or bathing or diaper changing. But then there’s also things like, creating ritual out of those things. Then you’ve got what you can do. This is a fact. This is developmentally happening in your child’s life that routines and rituals are useful and I cite all the research that I have there and then what you can do to make those times actually special for your baby things like singing a special song or saying a specific phrase during one of those times. So like for instance, your baby wakes up from the crib and you go every day to the window and maybe you sing a song that you knew from Raffi, like a sun song, or you ask about the weather or you just say like, “I wonder what the weather is.” Or even when you’re changing your baby’s diaper, you might say like, “Oops, change your diaper,” or something like that every time so that you can sort of ritualize these routines and events that happen.

Shanna Micko: Right.

Ayelet Marinovich: Without putting additional pressure I have to say this thing, it’s just like, this is another thing that you can do. By ritualizing these events, you’re creating opportunities for your tiny, tiny baby to learn about things that happen over time, learn about patterns. That’s cognitive development. Sequence events, that’s also cognitive development, but you’re also filling in all this language. Whether it’s the same words over and over, you’re giving those speech sounds. So whether or not your baby understands those words, is it relevant? Because you’re teaching about the melody of the language or languages you speak, you’re teaching about the speech sounds that you create and what those look like on your mouth when you say them. You’re holding your baby up or putting her down or moving her around in different ways, supporting her motor development. Of course, this is interactive between the two of you. So that’s also social and emotional development. So in that teeny, tiny little moment that you’re already having with your baby, because when she wakes up in the morning, you go to her whether she’s in your room or another room and you pick her up. So in that moment, there’s a ton of things that you can do that’s just one extra second probably and you’re supporting all the areas of development right there.

Shanna Micko: That’s so cool. I wanted to see if this thing I’ve been doing with my daughter would qualify for what you’re talking about.

Laura Birek: Case study. Let’s hear.

Shanna Micko: Case study. So she has been taking baby Zantac for a few weeks now because of her reflux and so it’s three times a day. I have to give her, her little thing of her syringe of medicine and so every time it’s time to do that, I bring it up to her face and I say, “Medicine. Medicine.” So it’s cute to know that it’s time to put the syringe in her mouth and taste it and I swear after doing that for a few weeks now, she kind of opens her mouth for me when I say, “Medicine. Medicine.” So is that something like you’re talking about adding a little something to a routine?

Ayelet Marinovich: Absolutely. You just gave her a tactile cue by putting something on her mouth or next to her mouth. A visual cue: you’re putting it next to her mouth, she can see it and an auditory cue: you’re saying the same thing over and over.

Shanna Micko: Cool.

Ayelet Marinovich: Well done.

Shanna Micko: Thank you. That’s cool. It’s nice to know that you can unintentionally aid your child’s development.

Ayelet Marinovich: But that’s the whole point, right? We’re already doing it. So when we understand the developmental basis for the things that we’re often already doing, like singing a lullaby or walking around the house with your baby in your arms or playing peek-a-boo or whatever it is, we are number one more likely to keep doing it and do it more. Also that helps with our own confidence and it helps decrease the overwhelm. So it’s very powerful.

Shanna Micko: That’s awesome.

Laura Birek: Can I ask? For me, I have my own case study question. There’s lullabies and there’s all these baby specific things, but I personally very much enjoy walking around singing the entire Hamilton soundtrack to my son.

Ayelet Marinovich: Totally.

Laura Birek: Am I setting him up for a lifetime of thinking he needs to participate in duals or are we okay?

Ayelet Marinovich: Okay. So there’s a couple things that I want to say. Number one, the reason why things little nursery rhymes and finger plates and simple tunes like that are helpful is because they tend to have similar features of what we call infant directed speech. What that is is we’re thinking about how do you talk to your baby, Laura? Like if you look down and you talk to them, you’ll probably do something like, “Hi, how are you? Oh, what’s going on? You’re doing this.” Right?

Laura Birek: Yes.

Ayelet Marinovich: Most likely your voice gets a little higher in pitch. Most likely you slow down your words slightly and most likely you shorten your utterance, your sentence. Maybe you use repetitive words. Maybe you use a similar pitch contour like, “Hello, hello.” This basic stuff. These are things that we do as parents and caregivers and people around babies. In every language around the world, in every culture, there are features of what we call infant directed speech and it’s those kinds of things: a slower rate, a higher pitch, repetitive pitch contouring, all of these things. It even happens in sign language: slower hand motions. It’s pretty amazing. So it’s powerful stuff and there’s a ton of research that supports the idea that your baby actually is more attuned to it. You do it, because your baby can see that it’s more interesting. 

You’re shifting something from the norm and you’re maybe making more eye contact and maybe you’re physically closer to your baby when you’re doing it sometimes and your baby hears that adjustment in your voice and reacts. There’s research to support the fact that babies and young toddlers focus more on you when you talk like that and they pay attention for a longer period of time, which is fascinating and amazing and you’re already doing it.

Laura Birek: It’s so natural to do that.

Ayelet Marinovich: It’s a thing that is innate to almost all of us. This is not to say like, “Oh, booger booger. You want your whoa, whoa,” blah, blah, blah. I’m not talking about changing the words to babify them. I’m talking about the way that you’re talking, that sound and the melody of your voice. Now, I keep saying melody for a reason, because there’s infant directed speech and then there’s infant directed music and those things are the kinds of things like play songs that we sing, like Skip to My Lou or a hello song or whatever it is that you might hear in a daycare or a preschool or whatever, or on a really annoying YouTube channel.

Laura Birek: Daddy Shark count for that.

Ayelet Marinovich: Can I swear in here, because I really want to say?

Laura Birek: Yes, please. It’s an explicit podcast. Go for it.

Ayelet Marinovich: That shit is chalk. It’s fingernails on a chalkboard. 

There is no reason to subject you or your baby to that shit. But there is a lot of evidence to say that nursery rhymes, finger plays, those kinds of things where there’s that repetitive pitch lullaby, all of these slow, cozy songs that mimic the energy that you want to exude to slow things down or faster play songs that are exciting than so really, there’s a reason why those things exist and they are developmentally beneficial for all of the reasons that we just talked about. That’s not to say that Hamilton has any less developmental benefit. Again, your baby is hearing the patterns of all of these things. Like a melody and rhythm, all of those things, your baby’s like decoding at his or her own level. I’m not saying that they’re able to take it apart and put it back together. Eventually, maybe. But when you are playing or singing songs, you’re having a rich interactive experience. Whatever that song is, whether it’s Hamilton or Wheels on the Bus, you’re creating an interactive experience for your child and that in and of itself is developmentally beneficial.

Laura Birek: That’s good to know.

Shanna Micko: That’s good news.

Ayelet Marinovich: Good news.

Shanna Micko: So Ayelet, you also have a podcast, right? Do you want to tell us about that?

Ayelet Marinovich: Sure. My podcast came out of doing these live groups, because we were living abroad and I was like, well, how can I keep doing this? So the first 30 episodes are sort of like a pocket version of the class kind of. It’s like I take a developmental concept, I explore it through music often and through play and just talk about it. Then more recently with the last 40 or so podcast episodes, it’s getting more early parenthood experiences or getting guest speakers up to talk more about the different developmental ideas or concepts from lots of different perspectives, because I hate the term parenting expert. That’s my nails on a chalkboard, because no one is a parenting expert. There are people who know things, but as we talked about, like when you just start your journey into your own parenthood exploration, there’s no one person or any person who can give you expert advice. You are the person who becomes the expert on your own child and when there are people who can give you more high quality evidence based information, information that you can figure out what to do with to be your own parent and be in your own family and parent your own child, that’s what another person can do, a professional or an educator or another parent. But there’s no such thing as a parenting expert.

Shanna Micko: Makes sense to me. What is your podcast called and where can our listeners find it?

Ayelet Marinovich: It’s called Strength in Words and it’s anywhere that you want to download your podcast. It’s on Apple podcast. It’s on Google and Google Play and Spotify and Stitcher and all those fun places.

Shanna Micko: I listen to some of your podcast and you do some singing and I think you encourage to sing along and listen with your baby and your voice is so pretty and the nicest thing to listen to. I just wanted to listen to you sing like all day.

Laura Birek: Start a singing podcast.

Ayelet Marinovich: It’s a podcast. I do have an album as well.

Shanna Micko: Cool.

Ayelet Marinovich: But the thing about that is I think there are so many ways to infuse more sort of music and language and movement and play into our parenting activities. Some of us are more naturally people who desire to sing and for some of us that is not natural and that’s okay. I think part of the reason why I encourage people to use music is because of the things that we just talked about, because music is such a powerful framework for teaching, for doing anything, for targeting any area of development and for singing about emotions, for singing about actions, for whatever it is. I think people get really stuck in the why I don’t want to subject my baby to my voice or I don’t remember any of the words or whatever it is, but okay. Number one, if you were the person to carry your baby in your belly then your baby has been listening to your voice since about 20 weeks gestation. So your voice is equated with comfort and coziness and warmth. They know your voice, they don’t care whether you can “sing.” Then also, it doesn’t matter if you remember any of the words, because repetition of a song within a pattern, which is a melody with variation, which is changing the words up all the time is awesome. That’s the golden nugget. That’s like the, what’s the word I’m looking for?

Laura Birek: The holy grail?

Ayelet Marinovich: Thank you. It’s the holy grail right there, because as humans, we learn through repetition and when you can change one little thing up like the tempo or the words or whatever it is like, even if you’re just singing on your baby’s name, like Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, whatever your baby is, that’s great. That’s all you have to do and musical experiences are not just singing a song to your baby. They include rocking, listening, adding to the tempo or the rhythm. There’s so many things that you can do.

Shanna Micko: That’s so great. You’ve given us so many tools to help our babies and that’s wonderful. Where can people find your books?

Ayelet Marinovich: They are on Amazon. You can get to them through my website or just look up Understanding Your Baby or Understanding Your Toddler up on Amazon. The Toddler book just launched in early March.

Shanna Micko: Congratulations.

Ayelet Marinovich: Thank you.

Laura Birek: That’s so exciting.

Ayelet Marinovich: Doing great.

Shanna Micko: Cool.

Ayelet Marinovich: Both of the books are in the best-seller. There’s a lot of reviews up on Amazon. You can read more about what other people have to say. So that’s helpful I think.

Laura Birek: What’s wrong, baby. Am I not paying attention to you?

Shanna Micko: Well, I think he’s got the right idea that we probably need to wrap up the interview so we can get to our BFPs and BFNs for the week.

Laura Birek: That’s a good point.

Shanna Micko: So why don’t we get to that after this quick break?


Laura Birek: So our final segment are our big fat positives or big fat negatives or BFPs and BFNs of the week. Shanna, do you want to go first?

Shanna Micko: Yeah, I do. I’m excited to share this. I have a BFP.

Laura Birek: Yay!

Shanna Micko: That is womb sounds on Spotify. Do you guys use Spotify? 

Yeah, you do to listen to music, right?

Laura Birek: Constantly.

Shanna Micko: So anyways, Steve was playing white noise for our baby in the car and it was just rain and whatever and the next track clicked onto sounds from the womb and it’s like woo, woo, woo and a heartbeat and it just sounds very human and womb like and my baby instantly got quiet, got calm in the car and I’ve played it several times since and she just zones out. She loves listening to these sounds. She finds it so calming and there’s a lot of different ones on Spotify. You just search womb sounds and you’ll find them. The only downfall is I drive around Los Angeles feeling like I’m driving around in a uterus, but it calms the baby. It’s fantastic. It’s a nice white noise alternative to rain.

Ayelet Marinovich: Love it.

Laura Birek: Yeah, I have to say pure white noise is getting a little old for me too, so maybe I should try that.

Shanna Micko: Ayelet, do you have a BFP or BFN you’d like to share with us this week?

Ayelet Marinovich: Well, my BFP I suppose is that I feel like I just birthed another thing with this book, which is great and it’s out in the world and it’s done and that’s a huge relief.

Laura Birek: It’s a huge accomplishment.

Shanna Micko: That’s amazing.

Ayelet Marinovich: People seem to like it, which is also a really nice thing.

Laura Birek: Yes.

Shanna Micko: Aww, that’s fantastic. That’s a BFP if I ever heard one. Awesome. Laura, what about you?

Laura Birek: I also have a BFP. It’s BFPs all around.

Shanna Micko: Woo.

Laura Birek: So mine is this thing we call it the egg lamp in our household, but I think it’s official name is the VAVA Night Light. I’d say it’s maybe like an ostrich egg size, maybe smaller. I haven’t seen an ostrich egg in a very long time. Probably a little bigger than a softball, I’d say. It’s a wireless LED not LCD. But LCD and Soundsystem that’s one thing. LED lamp that is touch-activated. So you tap it twice to turn it on, tap it twice to turn it off and it has one setting that’s a warm light that supposedly has zero blue light emissions.

Ayelet Marinovich: I think we have this.

Laura Birek: Do you? There’s a lot of different versions too.

Ayelet Marinovich: Yeah, something like it we had. It was great.

Shanna Micko: Well, we got it, because when we got up in the middle of the night, we’d have to turn on a lamp and then we tried draping blankets over it and stuff, but it never really worked. Then I was like, there has to be a product for this. There’s a product for everything. So I found it and it’s great, because it puts out a very, very dim light and you can set the different levels of how much light you want to put out. But it’s no blue light, so it doesn’t stimulate you or the baby to wake up and it’s worked really well to keep our son nice and calm in the middle of the night and us.

Ayelet Marinovich: That’s great.

Laura Birek: Then if you want, you can switch it to multicolor. There’s another version and it also has a timer. So if you have an older kid, there’s a timer function so that it fades out after a certain amount of time so it can act as a nightlight while they’re falling asleep. All of these things we will link to on our show notes at bigfatpositivepodcast.com and we’ll make sure to link to all of Ayelet’s resources: her books, her podcast, everything, her website. Is it strengthinwords.com?

Ayelet Marinovich: Yeah, strengthinwords.com.

Laura Birek: Awesome. So you guys can all find it and that’s going to be at our website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com

Shanna Micko: I think that’s it for our show. Ayelet, thank you so much for joining us today. It was so fun to talk to you.

Ayelet Marinovich: It was so fun being here. Thank you, guys.

Laura Birek: I’m glad we made it work.

Shanna Micko: Yes, we did make it work. Despite gardeners and babies and all that stuff, we roll with it. If you have any questions or comments for us, please reach out. We love hearing from you guys. Laura, where can they find us?

Laura Birek: We’re on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at BFP Podcast. We also have Facebook community group you can join and like I said, we have our website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com

Shanna Micko: Big Fat Positive is produced by Laura Birek, Shanna Micko and Steve Yager.

Laura Birek: Thanks for listening, everyone. See you next week.

Shanna Micko: Bye.