Ep. 46: How to Calm a Crying Baby

May 20, 2019

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This week, Laura gives an update on her baby’s naps, and Shanna reveals some surprising news about her baby’s childcare. Also, Laura and Shanna chat with pediatrician Dr. Robert Hamilton, author of the book “Seven Secrets of the Newborn,” about how to quickly calm a crying baby and more. Finally, they reveal their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Shanna’s baby is 18 weeks old, and Laura’s baby is 14 weeks old.

*This interview was recorded in April 2019, over a year before Dr. Hamilton’s involvement in America’s Frontline Doctors, and we do not endorse or support that group.

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Episode Transcript


Shanna Micko: Hi. Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shanna and Laura. This week we have our weekly check-ins, we have a special interview with Dr. Robert Hamilton, the inventor of the Hamilton Hold, which was a viral YouTube sensation, and the author of the book, 7 Secrets of the Newborn and we wrap things up with our BFPs and BFNs. Let’s get started.


Shanna Micko: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the show. This is episode 46.

Laura Birek: Hello.

Shanna Micko: Laura, hi.

Laura Birek: Hi.

Shanna Micko: Hi, how are you doing? Give us your weekly check-in. How old’s your baby?

Laura Birek: My baby’s 14 weeks old. Getting big. So if you recall last week I shared I think it was my BFP, which was stringing two nap cycles together.

Shanna Micko: Oh, yeah. That golden nugget. Good stuff.

Laura Birek: Yeah, well that all went to shit this week.

Shanna Micko: What? No, you gave us all hope last week, Laura. What happened?

Laura Birek: I have no idea. It worked great for a week solid and then it just stopped working.

Shanna Micko: He’s like, mom, I’m going to fuck with you, because I’m a baby and that’s what I do.

Laura Birek: Pretty much. There was one day where I was just trying to get him to go back to sleep and he wasn’t doing it. I thought I was going to start crying only and not because there was anything wrong, but he was crying. I just really was emotionally attached to having another 40 minutes to myself.

Shanna Micko: I like that that’s a thing that was putting you over the emotional edge.

Laura Birek: It was, because I had stuff to do. Up to that point, I had been pumping and trying to just eat breakfast really quickly and I didn’t have me time and I was like, okay, I’m going to have 40 minutes of me time. Probably would mean doing my own laundry, real exciting stuff. But I was like really excited to do it and then he just would not go back to sleep. I had to take some really deep cleansing breaths. So anyway, we’re back to the saga of the no napping baby. He naps for 40 minutes max at a time. I don’t know what to do.

Shanna Micko: It’s so frustrating and it’s frustrating too, because it’s like, they don’t get enough sleep. At least my baby she’s cranky after that, because it’s like, I know you need to sleep more.

Laura Birek: I saw what it was like when he did get good naps, which completely translated to amazing nights, like a super easy time putting him to bed and just better sleep in general. He’s waking up about once a night right now about 3:30 in the morning. That’s totally reasonable. I do a dream feed at 10 and 3:30 and I love that, but now the naps are all screwed up. It’s again anyone’s guess how well he is going to sleep at night and I’ve seen the other side and this is just so painful.

Shanna Micko: It’s almost like more torture to have been given that little gift of seeing the other side and now you’re like, oh great.

Laura Birek: Yeah, I know. Anyway, so that’s the bad news this week. The good news is that my mom is back in town.

Shanna Micko: Oh, nice.

Laura Birek: She has facilitated basically me doing anything that doesn’t involve holding a baby.

Shanna Micko: Good.

Laura Birek: Basically, her job is she comes here and she holds the baby and he will nap when someone’s holding him. So she will hold him while he naps and she loves it. She loves the cuddles and I will like do a project. So this time I decided I needed to sort all of his baby clothes and put aside all the stuff he’s grown out of, because he’s just now growing out of his newborn in three month sizes. But the problem is that they were all kind of mixed in. I had all these different piles from when he was first born. I tried sorting them when he was first born. But also at the time, I didn’t know what he was going to fit in. With the newborns either, you just don’t know how it’s going to go, what the trajectory is. It’s kind of sad, because I found this closet full of newborn clothes, like a little cubby full of newborn clothes that he never wore and never will.

Shanna Micko: Aww.

Laura Birek: I know. It’s not that sad. The kid has more clothes than I do.

Shanna Micko: That’s true, because he did receive a lot of hand-me-downs.

Laura Birek: So many hand-me-downs. I’ve bought him two outfits and people have just given us so much clothing and we love it and they’re so cute. Like our friend Emma Prit sent us a ton of clothes from his son, Oliver and they’re just like the cutest clothes and he keeps asking like, “Do you want more?” I was like, “Yes, please send more.” That’s actually why we did this big sort, because Emma had just sent this huge box of Oliver’s clothes and they’re older clothes. So I was like, okay, we got to do a big sort. So I Marie Kondo that shit. 

I took everything out of his drawers and I did actually what we did at your shower and I got bins and labeled them for all the different sizes and just sorted and folded and now they’re all organized and they’re organized for the future too. That’s the best part.

Shanna Micko: That really is. That’s very helpful to six months rolls around. Boom, just go get that bin and you’re ready to go.

Laura Birek: Yes, I’m so excited about. I’m not sure. Do other people get excited about organizing like that? Other than Marie Kondo, she clearly gets excited by that.

Shanna Micko: Well, there must be others, because that show does have an audience and I think it just takes a certain kind of person and I am that kind of person. I love that kind of stuff, so I’m on board with you there. Are you keeping these things you’re sorting like the newborn stuff? Are you handing them down, giving them away? What’s your plan?

Laura Birek: I wanted to pay it forward, but I think we might delay to pay it forward, because we are talking about having another kid. As you know, I think we’ve talked about that. But you know I’ve always thought of having two kids, so I don’t want to get rid of them yet and I also feel like people don’t give you as much stuff for your second kid. Was that true with you?

Shanna Micko: Oh, yeah. I haven’t gotten much and I accept everything from the first one just like, well maybe I’ll have a girl in the future, because I was also, planning to probably have two if I could and it all worked out.

Laura Birek: Yes.

Shanna Micko: So there you go.

Laura Birek: A lot of the clothes he has are actually pretty gender neutral too. Like if I end up having a girl in the future, I’m sure I’ll want to buy her some freely stuff that belies my feminist underpinnings.

Shanna Micko: There is nothing wrong with a flouncy skirt. Baby, I love it.

Laura Birek: That is true. Actually, it’s very feminist to embrace the pink and the unicorns. That’s a topic for another day, but there’s nothing wrong with “girly stuff.” But I do think a lot of it is reusable, especially the newborn stuff like grays.

Shanna Micko: Yes.

Laura Birek: There’s a lot of bears. I feel like bears have been very in. Bears and sharks are a thing.

Shanna Micko: Oh, okay. That must be for the boy stuff, because I’m not feeling that on the girl end.

Laura Birek: Not a lot of shark. I feel like with Baby Shark though, don’t you think it’s going to start coming creeping back in?

Shanna Micko: Yeah, definitely. Baby Shark doo, doo, doo, doo.

Laura Birek: No, no, no.

Shanna Micko: Pinkfong is going to sue us for the rights to that.

Laura Birek: I think that was fair use, especially with me screaming over it. Anyway, that’s basically my week. How was your week? How old is your baby now?

Shanna Micko: She’s 18 weeks old and there are a couple things going on. First of all, I think a couple weeks ago I talked about how my maternity leave is ending and I haven’t been sure what to do, because the cost of daycare with two children is astronomical and blah, blah, blah and my husband and I talked about it and looked at the numbers and decided to pull CeCe out of daycare. We had her all signed up for this wonderful daycare.

Laura Birek: Wow.

Shanna Micko: We went and toured it. It was fantastic. If I was going to leave her anywhere, it would be the place to leave her and just couldn’t pull the trigger on it and we called and asked them if we could get any money back. 

We totally expected to lose all the money that we put down, because we’d paid for the first half month and all this stuff. The reason being, because it was just so expensive. It kind of didn’t make sense and I figured I could maybe work from home. I just needed to figure something else out, so it was a huge leap of faith. I don’t know what’s going to come. All I know is I don’t have childcare for my baby and my maternity leave ends very soon

Laura Birek: Oh my God.

Shanna Micko: I’m thinking I might see if there’s any flexibility in my job that I’m going to return to. If there’s anything I could do to work from home or work part-time or do something. It feels crazy and insane and really scary that we did this, but it also feels right. The day that I made this decision, I was nursing her and she just looked up in my eyes and stared at my eyes so intently.

Laura Birek: Manipulative band. Little adorable eyes staring up at you.

Shanna Micko: Yes, they really are. I get choked up thinking about it, because it almost felt like she was saying, I’m glad that you’re doing this. So I don’t know what’s going to happen. I will update you all.

Laura Birek: So this is like a big leap of faith. Do you think maybe your work would be okay with that? I feel like it’s got to be tricky to ask, hey. So I’ve been gone for all this time and now can you throw me a bone on this other thing too?

Shanna Micko: Yeah, it’s huge. They allowed me to work from home for about a month before my maternity leave ended, because I was just so sick and very exhausted and I needed time to recuperate and they were flexible with that. It’s a job I can do remotely. I have everything I need to work from home. I’ve proven to them that I can do it. So we’ll see. I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Laura Birek: I don’t know if you’ve talked about this on the show. I know a lot of moms are always looking for ideas of jobs that they can work from home and you say your job is one where you can work from home. Do you want to tell our listeners what you do when you’re not making a podcast?

Shanna Micko: Yeah, I write copy and I’m a copy editor for a large entertainment company. So writing and copy editing, that’s something I need internet access, my computer, email. I need to be connected to all my coworkers and receive copy requests and be able to watch shows and read scripts and write stuff. Copy editing and copywriting is absolutely something you can do from the comfort of your couch, so I’m very fortunate in that regard. It’s not like something where I’m a waitress at a restaurant, like you have to physically be there to deliver pizzas and mimosas to people. I don’t know why I pair those two things together. I honestly can’t think of two items that go together less than that.

Laura Birek: Really? I would always eat pizza and I would always drink a mimosa. So that would follow. Okay. I wouldn’t say no is all I’m saying.

Shanna Micko: Yes.

Laura Birek: Maybe not my top choice.

Shanna Micko: Two delicious things.

Laura Birek: Two great things.

Shanna Micko: Anyway, we’ll see what happens.

Laura Birek: Keep us posted. It’s a little ballsy of you. Not going to lie. You’re just going with your gut. I love it and doing what you think is right for your family, even if you don’t know how it’s going to work out. So I admire that.

Shanna Micko: I have contingency plans. I feel like if this doesn’t work out, then I’m like, okay, I can stay home and I can also pull my other daughter out of preschool and maybe I could just be a stay-at-home mom for a while and really save all the daycare money. So I’m like piecing together things in my mind, but it would be nice to work from home and save that money. There you go.

Laura Birek: All right. We will be excited to hear an update, but shall we take a quick break and then move on to our next really cool segment, which is an interview with Dr. Robert Hamilton?

Shanna Micko: We should.


Laura Birek: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the show. We have a very exciting special segment today, which is an interview with Dr. Bob Hamilton. He’s the creator of the Hamilton Hold, which is a video you might have seen, it went viral a few years back and he is the author of a new book called 7 Secrets of the Newborn: Secrets and (Happy) Surprises of the First Year. Thank you Dr. Bob for coming to on our show.

Dr. Bob: Thank you Laura and Shanna for having me.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, thank you.

Laura Birek: So you are currently in practice in Santa Monica on the west side of Los Angeles. How long have you been working as a doctor?

Dr. Bob: I’ve been out here in Santa Monica for 35 years. Hard to believe I say that and I kind of go, wow! But since 1984, when I finished my training over at UCLA, I came into practice here in Santa Monica and I will tell you it’s been a wonderful time.

Laura Birek: It’s a beautiful place to have set down roots too. You picked well.

Dr. Bob: I hearken from Northern California from a smaller town up there a place called Eureka, California, which is nestled among the redwood trees and so when I came to LA, I will tell you I was a little bit of a naive one. I didn’t really know the community that well nor did I know the geography, but you’re right. There are times when I look at my wife and I say, wow. We really landed well and we’re grateful every day.

Shanna Micko: So aside from having expertise of being a pediatrician for 35 years, you also have a lot of experience with a family of your own. Can you tell us a little bit about your family?

Dr. Bob: Sure. Happy to do so. My wife and I were those kind of rare people that ended up having children really young and we were both 22 when our son Josh was born. As I frequently tell people, the reality is that when my wife told me she was pregnant and was going to have a baby was probably one of the most amazingly unnerving moments of my life. I couldn’t believe it. But one thing went from there. Josh was born and I learned something very cool that having a child was actually a wonderful joy. It was a good thing. It was what I would call a big fat positive.

Laura Birek: Yay! We love that.

Dr. Bob: Yay!

Shanna Micko: That’s great.

Dr. Bob: Which was very different than what a lot of my friends told me who said, “Hamilton, your life is going to be destroyed and you’re not going to fulfill your goals,” and all that. Anyway, one thing led to the next. We ended up having five more children after that. We have a total of six and we’re oddballs out there definitely in LA and after 17 years of having children, now we’re actually having grandchildren. We’re up to eight with number nine coming to us in August, so we have a full nest.

Shanna Micko: Cool. Congratulations on the ninth. That’s exciting.

Laura Birek: Yeah.

Dr. Bob: Very exciting.

Laura Birek: So that leads me to my first question, which is in your book, you have a clearly stated agenda, which is that you want people to have babies and to feel good about having babies, which I think is a really interesting sort of message, because we don’t get that a lot these days. I think a lot of women we’re delaying getting pregnant or having kids, because either it doesn’t make sense with our careers or we’re scared that it’s going to make us sad and tired and change our personalities completely and so there’s all this negativity around and your message is very counter to that. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about your sort of positive take on having kids and why you’re sort of feeling like you’d need to spread this message.

Dr. Bob: To share that. Yes, you’re absolutely right Laura that the reality is that the culture is saying something quite different to young people and I know that the majority of the people who are listening to your podcasts are people who are young mothers or about to be a mother, so we’re kind of preaching to the choir here. But the reality is that the culture today is saying a lot of things to people: get your education, get established, travel the world, have fun, do things, don’t necessarily dive in to commitment too early, think about it. I will tell you actually, my wife and I have four daughters. So I’ve actually given this advice to my own children. I’m not that much different, but my concern is that a lot of people are putting having children to the very back burner of their life and I don’t know if I’ll be able to have the power or the ability to move it from the back burner to the front burner, but maybe I can move it to the middle burner. I’m telling you that I have a lot of mothers who come into my practice in their mid-thirties who’ve had their first baby, they’re delighted to have a child and they look at me and I say, “How do you feel being a mother?” They look at me with tears in their eyes and they say, “I never thought it would be like this. I am overwhelmed with love. I’m overwhelmed with joy,” and then they ask me a question, “Why didn’t anybody tell me how cool it was?” I don’t have a good answer for that.

Laura Birek: We’re back. There was a little bit of a technical difficulty. So we’ve got Dr. Hamilton now on the phone, so the audio might sound a little different. But you were telling us about a young woman. I call them young women, because I’m a woman in her mid-thirties. So I like to think of myself as a young woman who came into your practice with a newborn.

Dr. Bob: You are young, dear.

Laura Birek: Thank you. You said that she was really surprised by how she felt about motherhood.

Dr. Bob: Yes, I think that fatherhood slays you. You realize that this is deeper and grander and more incredible and real profound. It’s a profound moment in your life and one of the things that several moms have looked at me and said, “Why aren’t we talking about this? Why didn’t anyone tell me what an incredible joy and blessing and how it would change my life and why aren’t we talking about this?” I actually think we kind of are to a degree I don’t think the culture is completely turned off to children, but I think that we are not really putting it as a priority as much as we did. I think a lot of women out there in their mid-twenties, late twenties, if you said, do you want children? I’ll go yeah, sure. I do. It’s kind of one of these things that I think we have kind of a far dignified goal and that’ll place them in too. By the way, men are probably more out there than anybody. Men will go, whatever. Yeah, sure. But I think we’ve lost the prioritization of really having children and I tell people that I really want to be that one out there in the culture if I’m not the only one, but I want to be one out there who says to people, having kids is great. Go for it.

Shanna Micko: I just love that in your book. I started reading it and just felt almost refreshed by that attitude, because I feel like I was one of those mothers. It was just like, oh my God, this is wonderful and amazing and I was like 37, 38 when I had my first and so thank you for spreading that message, Dr. Bob. I appreciate it.

Dr. Bob: You’re welcome. Well, it does hit home a little bit. I have a daughter. Look, I love all my daughters, but one of my daughters recently married and she’s exactly around your age. I won’t divulge her age, but the reality is she just got a baby a short time ago about three months ago and she looked at me and she said, “Dad, I am so in love with this child.” She’s got a master’s degree and she had a big job and she had a huge amount of responsibility and you can see that this is kind of catching her a little bit by surprise. I kind of go, “Yeah, now you know why your mother and I are so insane, because you do kind of fall in love with these children and at least you have a little bit of empathy for your parents now.”

Shanna Micko: Yeah, if I had started at 22, I might have six too, because I really have fallen really hard in love with my babies and I’m getting teared up just hearing you talk about all this love for babies.

Dr. Bob: I love it. How many do you have if I can ask?

Shanna Micko: Two.

Dr. Bob: You have two. Okay. Well, part of the joy is actually when you have another one and actually watch the incredible richness of that interaction between the two of them. When you multiply that by a couple more, God bless you if you have more, you probably say I’m enough: two and done. I get that. But the point is that every time you see that your children interacting with each other, there is another level of joy that is there.

Shanna Micko: That’s so beautiful. So can we talk about your viral video really quickly? You shot to fame a few years ago by doing a video telling people how to calm a newborn. Can you tell us what the Hamilton Hold is and how you came up with it?

Dr. Bob: Happy to do that. So this was a crazy little clunky dink of my life. Like I said, I’ve been in practice for over 30 years and look, I feel comfortable with children. This is my world. In my home I’m with children. So it was natural for me that after I saw a child and if a child I examined them in the labor and delivery or wherever it was the babies would frequently be crying, it was a natural thing for me to want to pick them up and comfort them and I would do that and I would grab their arms, hold each arm in front of them and kind of swallow them really is what you’re doing and then hold them at a 45 degree angle, grab their little bottom with my other hand and gently kind of rock them up and down. I tell people I jiggle their little booty and shake booty and by doing that, you really do calm a child down. You can watch my video, everybody.

Shanna Micko: Yes.

Dr. Bob: It works really, really well and so I think that my friend Harvey Karp tells me that I’ve dipped into what they call the calming reflex and that is exactly what happens. Anyway, it works really well and I randomly put that up on YouTube video my patients said, “Dr. Hamilton, you should put that on YouTube,” and I said, “Okay. I’ll do it.” I’m a procrastinator by my nature and so eventually, I got around to it. I did it and lo and behold, the thing went insane, viral. I got invitations to go to New York and be on talk shows, but a derivative of that too was that I was approached by St. Martin’s Press in New York and they said, “Hamilton, you want to write a book?” I said, “Let me think about it,” and then I said, “Yeah, I do have something I can share with the culture” hence the book 7 Secrets of the Newborn.

Shanna Micko: Fantastic.

Laura Birek: I remember that video. This is before I was even thinking about getting pregnant, but I had a lot of friends who were getting pregnant and having kids and had newborns and it just spread like wildfire, because when you’re in the newborn phase, you’re looking for anything you can do to help and so it was this ray of hope for so many of my friends.

Shanna Micko: It actually worked. So that’s what made it amazing. I used it on my first born for sure.

Dr. Bob: Yeah, it does work and this funny. I was actually invited to go to Beijing, China and I was on a game show. This is so random.

Shanna Micko: Oh, wow.

Dr. Bob: My little game show. I had to calm five children within five seconds and keep them calm for 10 seconds. Okay. Now, I didn’t have to do all five at the same time, but I had to do them sequentially to win the prize. It was a crazy thing and they said, “You think you can do this?” I said, “I absolutely know I can do this,” and so lo and behold, I did. I went over there. I had a really wonderful time, but no, it really does work. I can’t take credit for it working. 

It just is a phenomenon and I will tell you, I’m happy that a lot of people all around the world really have seen this video and it brings me joy to think that people are actually driving a moment of peace in their life as a result of them watching the video.

Laura Birek: It’s amazing what happens with the internet. What catches on and how can really help people I think it’s great.

Dr. Bob: Agreed. When people said, “Hamilton, your video’s going viral.” I tell people that as a doctor going viral is a bad thing. You have a lot of diarrhea or you have a very bad cold, so now I have a new definition of going viral.

Laura Birek: That’s amazing.

Shanna Micko: That’s so great.

Laura Birek: Another theme in your book I noticed is that as new parents, you’re constantly bombarded with marketing and messaging from people and just sort of what’s in the zeitgeist about whether you’re doing it “right,” and right in massive air quotes, where there’s one right way to raise a child and if you veer off the path and you don’t get the right toys and you don’t get into the right school and you don’t do all these things: play with the best developmentally appropriate toys at all times, you’re ruining your child. This is sort of the message we get at all times and it seems like in your book, you really want us to understand that parenting can be intuitive and fun and you don’t need all that extra stuff. Can you talk a little bit about your philosophy there?

Dr. Bob: Sure. Happy to. Let me back up and just say a little bit of comment here about what I also do. I spend a lot of time doing medical mission trips to Africa and Central America. So I’ve been to Africa 26 times and so I know the continent pretty well. I go there and I see young mothers who have virtually nothing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen, you guys, a stroller in Africa. I’ve been there many times, I’ve been there weeks in my life, months in my life and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stroller or anything. These people live very to the bone lives and I got to tell you, they’re wonderful mothers and the children are phenomenal. They’re great children. They’re obedient. They’re kind, they’re gracious. You know what? You don’t need a lot of stuff to raise a wonderful child and you’re right, the messaging out there. We live in a very consumer world and that’s who we are and I don’t necessarily want to scream against that. I’m a consumer as much as anybody, but the reality is that when it comes down to children, what they really need is you and your love. We want to do right for our kids. So yes, we want to get them the right mattress, we want to get them the right this and that make their life as simple and good as we possibly can, get them immunized. Okay.

Laura Birek: Yeah, we’re all for immunizations on this podcast, by the way.

Dr. Bob: God bless you for that. I thank you for supporting that, but the point is we do this for our kids, because we love them and there’s nothing wrong with that. But really what children need more than anything is they need the attention of a parent who looks them in the eye and says, you’re the greatest kid in the world. I love you. If you do that and you do that on a consistent basis, all that other stuff is background noise really and it means nothing and you’ll understand. I know you’re both mothers of young children. I’ve listened to your show. I love your show. It’s very cute.

Shanna Micko: Thank you.

Dr. Bob: Anyway, mark these words. A year from now, you’ll look back and kind of go, why did I worry about that? Why did I need to have that? You’ll understand, but anyway, a lot of that stuff you do, you don’t need a lot of stuff. I tell people for the first month, the first month should be one big, huge skin to skin extravaganza. So you are laying naked in your bed breastfeeding your child and telling them they’re wonderful. They’re great. If nobody does it for a month, but if you did that for a month, it’d be a good way to start your life together with your child.

Shanna Micko: That sounds nice. So kind of along that thinking with easing some of our anxieties as parents, I wanted to ask you in your book, you have a section on the month by month developments of children, kind of where they are and what can you tell young parents or old parents or any parents about any anxieties they might have about their babies reaching milestones?

Dr. Bob: This is a big issue. Of course, I have parents who come into my office every day and say, “Look, I’m in baby group and my baby is not doing equal to the other kids in the group.”

Shanna Micko: Exactly.

Dr. Bob: Well, the reality is that we’re all quite different people and even within a family, you’ll have one child. I had a mother in today for example who said, “My little boy seemed to be a little bit more verbal than my little girl,” number two child for her. I said, “Okay,” and I went through my little questions. Her daughter is perfectly normal for her age, but her little boy who is a couple years older than her seemed to be a little more precocious, maybe. I can give a lot of explanation for that. Number one, he was a number one child and number one children get incredible amounts of attention from their mom and dad, they’re talked to and so they tend to be a little more precocious in different ways. But number two child in this situation this woman, that kid is a perfectly normal kid and I told her that and the reality is that we’re quite different and the mule that we grow up in is quite different. Barring some horrible, abusive situation, I’m talking about a healthy life in a healthy family and you’re not going to have kids walk at the same age or talk at the same age or roll over at the same age or whatever. They’re going to have different dimensions. Some are going to be a little bit pumper than the other ones. Anyway, there is a huge amount of variability and I think all you have to do is cast your eyes out the window and look at the people walking by, are they not different? Don’t they look different? Are they boys and girls, men and women, old and young? They walk differently if you watch them closely. We’re all quite unique and so we have to be careful that there is no perfect child and there is no perfect developmental progression.

Shanna Micko: That’s great. Thank you.

Dr. Bob: You’re welcome.

Laura Birek: So something that’s been on our minds, because Shanna has a four-month-old and I have a three-month-old is transitioning to solid foods and so I know that I have heard different things. Some people do it at six months. Some people do it at four months, and then there’s also the question of allergens and how to deal with introducing allergens. I remember when my now 17-year-old nephew was first born, the advice was to avoid peanuts for the whole first year and now I know that’s flipped, and I know you have a lot to say about this. So could you tell us?

Dr. Bob: Sure.

Laura Birek: What should we do? How do we navigate this?

Dr. Bob: I remember very well one of the most imminent pediatric allergist in the entire nation gave a lecture, which I got. He recommended no peanuts till children were three years of age.

Laura Birek: Wow.

Dr. Bob: He’s now flipped too, but basically the research has shown there were studies, which have been done which have been extensive and verified that by early exposure to allergen, things like peanuts and milk and eggs, early on can actually mitigate allergies in up to 80% of cases. Now, this is a big deal. I generally in terms of going back to your original question of feeding children, I usually tell people six months of age simply, because I’m saving people a lot of work. But children don’t need food earlier than that generally, unless you’re losing your milk or they’re really, really big children they’re waking up a lot at night. I make exceptions for those children, but generally, children really don’t need food beans until six months of age. That being said, there was actually a product on the market called Ready, Set, Food. I’m sure you’ve heard of this where they are actually little packets of what we call protein powder of peanuts and eggs and milk whereby giving it to them and exposing to them, I’m talking about really tiny amounts of protein powder, early on actually does reduce their allergies by a significant amount. So yes, we’re beginning to really push that. You’re exactly right. It is completely flipped from what our recommendations were not that long ago.

Shanna Micko: Do you mix the protein powder in a bottle?

Dr. Bob: It comes in a little packet and you actually just pour into the bottle one time a day.

Shanna Micko: Cool. That’s called Ready, Set, Food?

Dr. Bob: Ready, Set, Food.

Shanna Micko: Okay.

Dr. Bob: It’s out there. If you Google it, it’ll pop up at you clearer as a bell.

Shanna Micko: Great.

Laura Birek: We’ll post links to your book and to Ready, Set, Food and other things we talked about on our website in the show notes, bigfatpositivepodcast.com for anyone who’s looking for them.

Shanna Micko: Then with all our guests, we ask that they share a BFP, a big fat positive, anything they have that they enjoy, or lately that’s parenting or kid related. Do you have something you could share with us, Dr. Bob?

Dr. Bob: A big fat positive? You know what? I’ll tell you what my big fat positive is a kid named Teddy. Teddy, who’s my grandson. He’s two and a half months of age and my daughter, who I referred to earlier, doesn’t live that far from my office. So I go in every morning before I come over here to the office and I go, “I need a Teddy smile today to get me going.”

Shanna Micko: Aww.

Dr. Bob: So I go in and we roast Teddy and say, “Okay, Teddy, look at your grandpa,” and he looks at me and he gives me a gummy little smile, which is so delightful and I go, “Okay, now I can face today.”

Shanna Micko: Aww, that’s so wonderful. I think I can face the day now that I’ve heard that.

Laura Birek: I know. I love it so much.

Dr. Bob: So that’s my big fat positive, whatever.

Laura Birek: We love it and we love that you took the time to talk to us on the podcast. We are so grateful, even despite all of our technical difficulties that you hung in there and gave us a little bit of your wisdom for our day.

Dr. Bob: You’re welcome.

Laura Birek: So I just want to remind everyone that the book is 7 Secrets of the Newborn. You can get it on Amazon or wherever books are sold and we’ll link to it at bigfatpositivepodcast.com.


Shanna Micko: So we wrap everything up with our weekly BFPs and BFNs. Laura, what do you have for us this week?

Laura Birek: I have a BFP.

Shanna Micko: Ooh.

Laura Birek: This is a BFP that I should have done a long time ago, but I am getting to it now and that’s what’s important. My BFP is my mother-in-law, Sherry. The reason I should have done this before is first of all, she’s wonderful. But also, because she watched my baby while we were doing the Emily Oster interview a few episodes back.

Shanna Micko: Oh, that’s right.

Laura Birek: Duh, that should have been my BFP that episode. But I think I had some products, so I was ready to talk about that. Anyway, the point is that she came up from Long Beach to watch the baby, just to make sure that he didn’t cry during our big interview, of course, then the gardeners came during the interview, so that screwed everything up. But she was so great and she’s just a lovely person and she takes care of the baby. Like whatever we ask her to, she’s really eager to take care of the baby and it’s just really nice to have her around. Also, I know she listens to the podcast. I’m not just saying this because you listen, but hi. It’s just nice to have a mother-in-law that you like and trust.

Shanna Micko: Absolutely, and to have a mother-in-law that lives nearby. Long Beach is a bit of a drive from LA, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s very close. It’s closer than my mom and closer than my mother-in-law when she lives in the other part of country half the year. So that’s great.

Laura Birek: Yeah, Long Beach is like 45 minutes away, an hour. Could be more with traffic, but when there’s no traffic, it’s like 45 minutes away. So it’s convenient.

Shanna Micko: Yeah.

Laura Birek: We try to go down and visit her as much as possible and she comes up. We sort of alternate, but it’s nice to have a mother-in-law that you like and is around and helps you out. So thanks, Sherry. We love you.

Shanna Micko: Yay, Sherry! Awesome.

Laura Birek: Okay. How about you? What do you have: a BFP or a BFN?

Shanna Micko: I have a BFN.

Laura Birek: All right.

Shanna Micko: That is restaurants, stores, businesses, whatever that do not have changing tables in the bathroom.

Laura Birek: Oh, boy. Tell me about it.

Shanna Micko: Man, I went to lunch the other day with our friend, Jen.

Laura Birek: Yes, Jen, who we mention like every other podcast. We got to get her interview on the books.

Shanna Micko: We really do, so you guys got to meet Jen. 

So I was having lunch with Jen at one of our favorite Thai restaurants. We love this place. We go there all the time and CeCe was with us and she had a big old dump in the middle of lunch, TMI. That’s not the kind of thing you can really put off. You know a wet diaper, it’s like, all right, I can put that off till I get home. It’s just a little uncomfortable, but it’s like, no, I need to change that now and I’m like, I know that the bathroom in this place does not have a changing table. It’s kind of a small restaurant, a single bathroom.

Laura Birek: Another one.

Shanna Micko: You’ve been there.

Laura Birek: Oh, yes. Great food.

Shanna Micko: Fantastic food. I’m not going to name them, because I don’t want to shame them for this, but what do you do? I’m absolutely never going to change a diaper in the middle of a restaurant. I just won’t do that. I feel like I’ve seen that before and I’m just not going to do that and so Jen’s like, “You know what I’ve done before is just change the baby on the bathroom floor.”

Laura Birek: But that’s so rowdy.

Shanna Micko: It’s so gross. But I remember she told me that when my first baby Elle had the same problem. We were out somewhere. 

She’s like, “You could just put the changing pad on the floor, because what else can you do?” I’m like, that is so disgusting. I was almost like holding my nose figuratively as I went in and did this, because I’m so grossed out by it. I was like, okay, I’ll just do it and luckily, the bathroom floor in this restaurant was not bad.

Laura Birek: Oh, that’s good.

Shanna Micko: Actually, it seemed pretty clean like someone had probably mopped it that morning. So I just put the thing down, put the baby down. She never touched the floor. You know what I mean?

Laura Birek: Yeah.

Shanna Micko: She just touched the changing mat and so I did it and I’m just like, gosh, I wish places just had a little changing table, it’d make my life a lot easier.

Laura Birek: Also, it’s hard on your back to do stuff on the ground. Did you end up sitting on the ground too or squatting awkwardly over her?

Shanna Micko: Squatting awkwardly. I feel like I’m a pro at changing diapers at this point. I don’t have to spend a lot of time down there and just stinky. I don’t know, blah.

Laura Birek: I ran into that problem recently at another one of my favorite restaurants. 

I can’t remember what it was and I went in and then saw there was no changing table and I was coming back out and I think a staff member saw me and could tell what had happened and he was like, “We have a portable changing table, one second.”

Shanna Micko: What?

Laura Birek: They wheeled over this foldable, kind of plastic line canvas thing that’s on a metal frame and popped it out and locked it in and it was a portable changing table.

Shanna Micko: That’s cool.

Laura Birek: Apparently, that’s a thing. So I don’t know if our favorite Thai restaurant has that, but it’s worth asking in the future I guess. I literally had no idea.

Shanna Micko: Who would think to ask that? They should put a sign in the bathroom that’s like, “Moms, if you need a changing table, ask us about our portable one.”

Laura Birek: Right.

Shanna Micko: That’s cool. That’s a great idea and I wish more restaurants had that. That would be fantastic.

Laura Birek: Well, now I know we’re not to go to lunch if the baby’s due for a big old poop.

Shanna Micko: Yeah, exactly. You got to time it just right. Normally, I’m totally fine with doing a car change. I might have just done it in the trunk, opened the trunk and put the changing pad down. But my trunk is a disaster. Especially once you have two kids, it’s like that car is, I’m embarrassed to say, but there’s just too much stuff: stuff trash, equipment. There’s just no place in the car to do it.

Laura Birek: The things we do for our babies.

Shanna Micko: Anyway, I think that’s it for this week. Laura, what do you think?

Laura Birek: Yeah, let’s wrap this up.

Shanna Micko: All right. We so appreciate you listening. We appreciate everyone who’s been reaching out to us online: Instagram, Facebook. It’s so wonderful to hear from you. Laura, how can they reach us?

Laura Birek: We are on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook at BFP Podcast. We also have a Facebook community group you can join. Just search for Big Fat Positive Podcast and ask to join and I will add you. We also have a website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com where you can read the show notes and you can also send us a message.

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.

Laura Birek: Bye.