Ep. 55: Laura Attempts Sleep Training
July 22, 2019
Laura discusses her attempt at sleep training her five-month-old baby using the Taking Cara Babies method, and Shanna talks about troubleshooting her baby’s early-morning wakings. In this week’s special segment, “They Said What?”, the new moms reveal the shocking and/or unusual things that people have said to them lately. Finally, they reveal their BFPs and BFNs for the week. Shanna’s baby is 27 weeks old, and Laura’s baby is 23 weeks old.
- BabyCare Reversible Play Mat (Good Dinosaur / Cute Alphabet) Get it from Bed Bath & Beyond (linked here) and you can use a 20% off coupon!
- BabyCare Reversible Play Mat (Busy Farm)* Available on Amazon as well as Bed Bath & Beyond *affiliate link
- Original Blackout Pleated Paper Shade* Laura uses these inexpensive paper shades to help black out light leaks in her nursery. *affiliate link
- Top Culprits for Early Morning Wakings From Laura's baby-sleep guru, Taking Cara Babies.
- Taking Cara Babies Online Sleep Courses* These are the online video sleep classes that are helping Laura get her baby to sleep through the night! *affiliate link
This episode's sponsors:
Big Fat Positive: A Pregnancy and Parenting Journey is sponsored by BetterHelp. Join over 1 million people taking charge of their mental health. BetterHelp connects people with licensed, professional therapists in a safe online environment. BFP listeners get 10% off their first month. ?
Get the full studio experience at home with thousands of classes for body, mind, and spirit. Get 30 days free and 50% off an annual membership with code BFP (case sensitive).
Laura Birek: Welcome to Big Fat Positive with Shanna and Laura. This week we have our weekly check-ins, we have our special segment, They Said What?! where we experienced some mistaken identities and we have our BFPs and BFNs. Let’s get started.
Laura Birek: Hey, everyone. Welcome to episode 55. Hi, Shanna.
Shanna Micko: Hi.
Laura Birek: Tell us all about what’s been going on with you this week.
Shanna Micko: So my baby is, I almost said 55 weeks old, but this is episode 55. Okay. My baby is 27 weeks old, which means she’s six months and a week and we have a couple things to report. Well, first of all, a report on me in the real world, I had a birthday.
Laura Birek: Woo-hoo!
Shanna Micko: Woo-hoo! It was terrible.
Laura Birek: What?
Shanna Micko: Oh my God, I could not believe it. I woke up with the absolute worst migraine and I get really, really bad ones occasionally. Not that often and I was like, this one’s going to last three days.
Laura Birek: No.
Shanna Micko: I could tell right away. Yes, not only does having a horrendous migraine bomb out your birthday, it’s really hard to take care of a baby while you’re also laid up with a terrible, terrible headache.
Laura Birek: Oh, God.
Shanna Micko: I don’t necessarily get like the eye stuff, but I get kind of queasy and just dizzy and I just want to lay down and luckily, Steve took the day off to celebrate my birthday.
Laura Birek: Good.
Shanna Micko: So he was just basically on childcare duty all day and I napped and stuff. So it was good. I got some downtime and I took the day off work too.
Laura Birek: Is there a better birthday present than to have someone take care of the kids when you have a migraine?
Shanna Micko: I’d rather have them take care of the kids when I don’t have a migraine. But yeah, I wasted a personal day of work by I took a vacation day basically for my birthday and so that kind of was a bummer. But whatever, it is what it is. Another thing I was going to mention about this week is you know how CeCe was on Zantac for a really long time.
Laura Birek: For her reflux.
Shanna Micko: Yeah, so we finally stopped it.
Laura Birek: Oh, wow.
Shanna Micko: At the last appointment, I told him I’d kind of started tapering down a little bit, because we talked about that at the four month appointment and he’s like, “What you’re doing now is the lowest effective dose. So maybe another week of that and see what happens when you stop.” I was like, “Okay, let’s see what happens when I stop.” It’s been fine. It’s been good. It’s been great.
Laura Birek: She hasn’t had any flare-ups or anything?
Shanna Micko: No, I wanted to mention that to give light at the end of the tunnel. For anyone who was struggling with reflux with their babies, I think it’s possible if your baby’s doing well to kind of get off of that and they can do better now that her digestive system is up and running and kicking on all wheels is what I’m saying.
Laura Birek: I think it’s also maturing of the sphincter at the top of your stomach.
Shanna Micko: Maturing of the sphincter: the name of my next novel.
Laura Birek: You know what’s real mature is the fact that we can’t say sphincter without laughing about it.
Shanna Micko: Oh my God, I know right. Hilarious. I think that it’s all gotten a lot better.
Laura Birek: That’s so cool.
Shanna Micko: Then the other thing is she’s been waking up really early in the morning. She sleeps through the night, but she’s been doing these 5:00 a.m. wake ups.
Laura Birek: No, thank you.
Shanna Micko: Yes, it’s so hard. I want her to at least sleep till six. Of course, I’m taken to the internet. I’m like, how do I solve this problem? Taking Cara Babies actually had a great article. She was like, 10 things that could be contributing to early morning wake ups.
Laura Birek: I’ve read it.
Shanna Micko: You have. Okay. So a couple of them applied to me, which is the room’s not dark enough, because the sun does come up here right now around like 5:15, 5:30 a.m. and we have blackout curtains, but light still comes in. She’s like if even a sliver of light comes in, if you could see your hand in front of your face, it’s too light in the morning. I was like, well. Crap. So I got this paper and taped up paper to the windows behind the blackout curtains and stuff and napping, you don’t want your baby to sleep too much or you want him to be awake long enough before bed. So I’m trying to adjust that and we haven’t solved the problem yet. We are working on it. So it’s ITBD.
Laura Birek: I’ve read that article a bunch of times, because I also have been suffering from early morning wakings more so before we moved the baby into his own crib. But it’s still been going on. So yeah, I went crazy with the blackout too. It looks like an insane person’s room, but we have the problem where our nursery has double doors that are glass, so it’s so hard to really block out the light. Now what I have is, do you remember when we shot the first short film that I ever wrote and directed that you starred in TTYL back in the day?
Shanna Micko: I do.
Laura Birek: Do you remember how I had to buy a bunch of blackout fabric to make my apartment look really dark, because it was set at night and we shot it during the day?
Shanna Micko: That you put back your own curtains.
Laura Birek: I never got rid of it. Now it’s like hanging over the existing curtains, because we bought blackout curtains. But it turns out blackout curtains are not true blackout, so I hung those over and then I had to seal all the edges for light leaks. It really does look crazy, but I’m with you on that. The early morning waking suck.
Shanna Micko: They suck so bad, because I just don’t want to start my day that early. It’s so hard. I feel like my anxiety and energy obviously is just so much worse throughout the whole day when I have to get up so early and start the day like that. The other thing I was wondering is if maybe I need to have Steve give her a little bit more milk at the dream feed. Maybe that’ll hold her over. So we’re going to kick that up. I think he’s been doing like four or five ounces of formula and so we might kick that up to six and see what happens. I’ll report back and let you guys know if we solve this problem. It’s a tough one.
Laura Birek: The one benefit of waking up that early is that by like 9:00 a.m., you’re like I’ve been up for so long.
Shanna Micko: But it really stretches out the time you’re conscious in your life.
Laura Birek: It really does.
Shanna Micko: There’s the looking on the bright side. Oh my gosh, those are my check-ins for this week. What about you? How old’s your baby?
Laura Birek: He’s 23 weeks and if you recall last week, I said we were going to start sleep training this week.
Shanna Micko: Details.
Laura Birek: Here we are. We started sleep training. You know what, Shanna? Hold on one sec. I’m going to go get my logs.
Shanna Micko: Okay.
Laura Birek: They’re just on the table outside.
Shanna Micko: Wow. You log stuff. I’m so curious.
Laura Birek: I will. One second.
Laura Birek: We are doing the Taking Cara Babies method. As I discussed in the last episode, I love Taking Cara Babies. I especially love that she gives you videos to watch, so we watched all the videos. We were all prepared and then in her workbook that you get with the video class, she has these sleep charts that she says it takes 14 days to do the full sleep training. Though most babies don’t require the whole 14 days, but that’s considered your span that you need to have set aside for sleep training and I have the logs for this week. I’ll post a picture of my logs.
Shanna Micko: Yes.
Laura Birek: It’s really interesting at the top she makes you write my why/sleep mantra. It’s basically the deep reason you want to do sleep training so that you can look at it in the middle of the night.
Shanna Micko: That’s a good idea.
Laura Birek: When the baby’s crying and you’re like, I should just go in, you could look back at your mantra and be like, no, this is it and I’ll read you mine for the first day. I change it every day. So my night one was because sleep is important for mental health.
Shanna Micko: So true.
Laura Birek: It’s 100% true. You write down all the naps of the day and our naps are still a mess, so don’t even ask me. But you write down the naps and then you write down the time you put the baby in the crib and then she does 5, 10 and 15 minute pop-ins and then you keep going every 15 minutes until the baby falls asleep and you write down exactly how many pop-ins you do.
Shanna Micko: What is a pop-in according to her review?
Laura Birek: The pop in is you walk in. It’s a 15 to 20 seconds. For the first three nights, you’re allowed to touch the baby and reassure them, but not pick them up and then you just like, say, “I love you. You’re doing great. It’s time to go to sleep. I love you so much.” Whatever you say basically reassuring it’s time for sleep thing and then you leave 15 to 20 seconds max. That’s the pop in. The idea is you’re supposed to reassure the child that you exist. That you haven’t gone away forever, but not actually do the comforting techniques like rocking or feeding or any of that stuff. Night one we put him down at 6:46, because he had woken up three and a half hours before that from his last nap. She wants you to keep a two and a half to three hour wake window, so we went way over it. But it was like, I can’t put the baby to bed at 6:15. I’m thinking now maybe that was probably the right way to go or move it a little earlier. But 6:46 went down. 6:51 I had to pop in. Seven o’clock I had to pop in. 7:15 I had to pop in. He finally fell asleep at 7:23. So that was 37 minutes of crying. I cried about five minutes of that 37 minutes.
Shanna Micko: Actually, that’s really good. Good job, Laura. I might have cried all 37.
Laura Birek: It was hard. Let’s see. I have notes. Corey did the first pop in and I did the second one. That’s the one where I was like, I can’t do this. It’s so hard. He’s so sad. He doesn’t say “mama” yet, because he’s not there yet. But the way he cries sounds like mama. It’s so fucking manipulative.
Shanna Micko: That’s so no.
Laura Birek: He goes like, mum, mum. My boobs just ache. I’m just like, I just want to scoop him up. But I looked back at my mantra and I remembered what was happening. One thing Cara tells you to do too is to step away from the video monitor, which was helpful. Do something else.
Shanna Micko: Yes.
Laura Birek: Look. Glance. Make sure the baby’s safe that they don’t have a leg totally stuck in the rails or whatever. We tried to make dinner and step away and he went to bed after 37 minutes and it wasn’t 37 minutes of nonstop crying. He kind of went in waves. But then he went to bed and I felt kind of terrible and then he got a dream feed at like 10:30. Then I did the middle of the night feed at 2:38. Very precise. But the idea is we’re also trying to wean the night feedings. We talked about this a lot in a previous episode. What Cara says is that you need to make sure that when you do a night feeding, you are the one who initiates it. So if the baby wakes up and cries, it sounds terrible to say reward that behavior, but you want to teach them that waking up and crying doesn’t result in a feeding. But luckily on the first night that didn’t happen. We’re moving on to night two. We have seven nights all together under our belt and I promise I won’t give you every number of every day. But the first night he cried for 37 minutes and it was awful. Night two, when I put him down 7:09 p.m., asleep in four minutes.
Shanna Micko: What? You didn’t even have to go in once?
Laura Birek: I did not have to go in once.
Shanna Micko: Damn. That is some success. That’s amazing.
Laura Birek: I was ready to send Cara a freaking gift basket.
Shanna Micko: Right. Fruit on a stick or whatever they call it.
Laura Birek: Edible arrangements that no one actually eats.
Shanna Micko: Exactly.
Laura Birek: Night three was a little worse. We were back to 25 minutes at the beginning and he did wake up once at 2:46 a.m., but night four, zero minutes of crying.
Shanna Micko: Oh my God. That’s awesome.
Laura Birek: Zero minutes.
Shanna Micko: Wow. That’s so cool.
Laura Birek: Then he did wake up at 1:11 a.m. and cried for about 28 minutes according to my logs. That sucked, but we were due for one of those. Once he fell asleep, then I went and did the middle of the night feed and I had gotten down to four minutes of feeding him and then the next night, oh Jesus, I’d almost forgotten about this and this was only two nights ago: zero minutes of crying on night five. But then he woke up at 2:09, 5:50, 6:06, 6:11 and then he finally woke up at 6:50 for the day. One of her things is you have to keep them to at least 11 hours from bedtime. That could help with your early morning wakings, I guess.
Shanna Micko: Yeah, I recall that’s one of the things she was mentioning is adjusting bedtime, but I feel pretty solid about my bedtime. It’s usually between 6:30 and 7 and I just don’t think I can move that any. I think that would be about 11 hours.
Laura Birek: 5:30 would be 11. Something to think. Anyway, we’re almost to the end.
Shanna Micko: Cool.
Laura Birek: That night no night feed.
Shanna Micko: What?
Laura Birek: That night he woke up four times, but that’s because he had completely weaned off of his night feeding. So it makes sense, right?
Shanna Micko: Yes, to be hungry at that point.
Laura Birek: Exactly. So we’re done with the night feedings. We still do a dream feed. She teaches you how to wean it, but I actually don’t want to wean the dream feed, because my baby’s still in the 10th percentile in weight and he’s staying on his curve, but I’m not eager to remove one more meal.
Shanna Micko: Especially that you’re awake anyway.
Laura Birek: He’s not awake for the dream feed, but I am. You know what I mean? So it doesn’t really matter. We have two more nights to catch up. On night six, he went down again with zero minutes of crying, which is freaking amazing to me. This is a baby who I used to have to boob to sleep every single night.
Shanna Micko: You putting him down awake?
Laura Birek: 100% awake.
Shanna Micko: Because I know last episode you were like, I’m still nursing him to sleep. That’s huge.
Laura Birek: I’m sorry. I should have clarified this. No, part of the deal is you have to put them down awake.
Shanna Micko: What do you do between feeding him and putting him in bed?
Laura Birek: This is a problem, because the first couple nights he was falling asleep at the boob and I had to figure out what to do and I found in her booklet she tells you how to deal with that and basically I had to leave all the windows open, not open to the outside world. But the light coming in and not turn on the white noise, just basically do everything I could to make sure he stayed awake and what I’ve figured out how to do is I brush his hair while talking to him about his day.
Shanna Micko: That’s so adorable.
Laura Birek: That’s now part of our routine and man, sometimes he hates it. He’s like, why are you keeping me awake? All he wants is the boob. There has actually been a couple nights where I’ll brush his hair and I’m feeding him and he keeps popping off being like, why are you talking to me? I want to just go to sleep. Finally I realized, wait, it’s not that he is hungry that he keeps going to the boob. It’s that he wants to fall asleep and this is how I’ve taught him sleep happens.
Shanna Micko: That’s interesting.
Laura Birek: He’s mad. He would literally pull off the boob and look at me like, what are you doing? When I figured that out, I was like, okay. This is you telling me you’re ready for sleep. So I just cut the feeding, because also he had just had solid foods. He ends up having a feeding about an hour and a half or two hours before the final feed of the day. I know he’s full and he’s going to get the dream feed. I know he’s not starving, so I started putting him down and it works, Shanna.
Shanna Micko: Great.
Laura Birek: Two nights ago, zero minutes of crying, but he did wake up at 4:22 a.m. and cried for 78 minutes.
Shanna Micko: Ooh.
Laura Birek: I do have to say that was not solid crying. That was not crying at the top of his lungs for 78 minutes. That would be horrible. It was like cry, cry, cry. Sleep for a couple minutes. Wake up again. Cry, cry, cry. But we did have to pop in five times. So that was definitely the worst we’ve had.
Shanna Micko: That’s ouchie.
Laura Birek: But here, I’m just ending on a good note, because last night I’m going to take a picture of this log because I want people to see it.
Shanna Micko: Proof.
Laura Birek: Put him down at 7:29 p.m. Zero minutes of crying. Zero nighttime wakes.
Shanna Micko: Wow.
Laura Birek: He slept through the night all by himself and I woke up every two hours to check the monitors to see if he was okay.
Shanna Micko: Damn. Same with me. I remember that first night she did it I was just like, I got to check. Is everything okay?
Laura Birek: I’m hoping that I’ll get more comfortable, but it’s just so weird having him be quiet for 11 hours.
Shanna Micko: So weird. It’s a big transition for us too.
Laura Birek: I know. I need to retrain my brain. But I am so happy. We technically still have another week of sleep training. We’ll see if he regresses at all, but I’m ready to name my second baby Cara at this point.
Shanna Micko: There you go. The best gift in the world.
Laura Birek: For anyone who is thinking about sleep training, I highly recommend it. I think I was a person who thought, no, it’s too harsh. It’s too cruel. But it’s not. It really isn’t. Obviously, you don’t want to do this with a baby who’s say younger than five months. If they cry, they need you and they don’t understand that if you are gone for five minutes you’re going to come back. But a six month old baby knows. A five and a half month old like my baby, it wasn’t a damaging thing we did. I actually feel really good, because he wakes up so happy, Shanna.
Shanna Micko: Good.
Laura Birek: It’s the cutest thing. He wakes up, he’s all smiles and I’m like, look, sleep is important for mental health.
Shanna Micko: It totally is and you’re giving him the gift of knowing how to put himself to sleep, because the thing is the babies learn that skill. They are able to acquire the self-soothing and the ability to put themselves asleep at that age. At that age, we can help them learn it. I think that’s great and I’m really proud of you guys. I know how hard it is. So yay!
Laura Birek: Yay. Okay. Unless you want to talk about more bedtimes, should we take a break and then go on to our special segment?
Shanna Micko: Yeah, let’s do it.
Shanna Micko: We’re back and this week our special segment is They Said What?! where we talk about the interesting things that people have said to us that are baby, pregnancy, parenting related. Laura, what do you have for us?
Laura Birek: You might recall that we had my friend, Keri Hurley-Kim, who is a pharmacist on the show in episode 14 and Keri was pregnant at the time and she has had her baby.
She had her baby two months before my baby was born and we hang out a lot and recently Keri was at work. She’s gone back to work and her husband had the day off and her husband and I actually have been friends since elementary school. His name is also Steve, because every one of my guy friends is named Steve. So Steve had his baby and I had my baby and we went to the Huntington Library and Gardens, which we’ve talked about before. It’s a beautiful botanical gardens near me and so we just went. We were walking around with the babies and at some point, Steve went with his baby in his carrier to go get us some food and I was staying back at the table to keep a table safe for us and a woman walks over and she said, “I just want you to know your babies are gorgeous.”
Shanna Micko: Babies is plural.
Laura Birek: Plural. I was like, “Thank you. But that’s just my friend. He has a baby and I have a baby and they’re not related.” She looked so confused, Shanna.
Shanna Micko: What?
Laura Birek: She turns to me kind of with disdain like I was trying to trick her. She said, “You and your friend had babies at the exact same time?” I was like, “They’re two months apart. Also, I should mention that Steve is Korean and I’m white and our babies don’t really look like each other.”
Shanna Micko: No, they don’t.
Laura Birek: They’re two months apart and they don’t look like each other. But the weirdest part about it it’s kind of an honest mistake. I guess you’re not looking that close. You don’t know. They could look like they’re the same age. The thing that’s weird is she kind of doubled down on it and she wouldn’t let it go and she was like, “So you’re here with your friend and you both have babies, but they’re not both your babies.” I was like, “Correct. That is the true statement.” But here’s the thing that really pissed me off is that if we were two women, it would not even be an issue.
Shanna Micko: It’s because it’s a dad.
Laura Birek: It’s so weird for people I think for dads to be out with their babies that it just had to mean that we were a couple. Anyway, I told Steve when he came back and he thought it was I think fucking weird is what he said.
Shanna Micko: It’s so weird.
Laura Birek: Of course, I texted Keri and told her and she was like, fuck the patriarchy. That might not have been her exact words, but that was the sentiment. She was like, why can’t a dad be out with his daughter and just have a nice day? Why does everyone have to think you’re a couple? I was like, I know!
Shanna Micko: I think it’s like you said, an honest mistake to think you are a couple, that’s totally fine. But the fact that she was basically accusing you of lying about it, she wanted to catch you in this lie is so weird.
Laura Birek: She stuck around. She wanted facts. She was like, wait, “How old’s your baby?” She wouldn’t leave.
Shanna Micko: Like, I need to see the birth certificate.
Laura Birek: Then she wanted to give me advice. She was like, “It doesn’t last very long. Take a lot of pictures.” I’m like, “On it. Thank you.” I thought that was a little weird and a little bit like, can’t a guy be out with his baby and the mom not be around? It kind of sucks. I know that your Steve, I should say, has talked about how much it sucks that a lot of men’s bathrooms don’t have changing tables. That’s shitty. Men go out with their babies. But I actually had a kind of similar but different situation where I was mistaken for a mom recently. I am a mom, but not this particular mom. I was out at a restaurant another time with another friend and his toddler and I was actually there with Corey too. Corey and I and the baby were there and our friend was there. But Corey took my baby to go get changed. The man taking the baby to get changed in the bathroom.
Shanna Micko: What? Shocking.
Laura Birek: It was a blowout too. He’s a good one. So I was left with this friend and his toddler and his toddler was running around.
My friend has a very sort of hands off approach to parenting I want to say. He wants to make sure his kid can run around and have a good time. I don’t know if we are going to go in that same direction, but I respect his parenting choices and I’m not going to do anything different, but it was to the point where the kid was running sort of around to different people’s tables and talking to the other adults at the tables and interrupting their meals. At some point, one of the people who were sitting at another table turned to me and clearly gave me the get your kid in line look.
Shanna Micko: She didn’t look at him. She looked at you.
Laura Birek: No, then she made some kind of snide comment like, “They have a lot of energy, don’t they?” I was like, “Yeah, it’s not my kid, lady. So I don’t know what to say.” But people were definitely looking to me to reign this kid in and he was not my child. I don’t know. What do you do in that situation?
Shanna Micko: Literally nothing. I don’t think I would, because I’m not going to call my friend out and be like, sorry, that’s not my kid. That’s his kid. I wouldn’t do that. I think I’d probably just like grin and kind of laugh and be like, haha. I know. Or something.
Laura Birek: I think it was super awkward. I do think I kind of made a point to be like, so when is your wife going to come out with us again? Just a little bit throwing the friend under the bus, but I’m just like, look, it’s not my kid. I don’t have the authority. I have just as much authority as you have.
Shanna Micko: Or what if you just got up and walked like completely away from the kid, away from the entire situation? That would’ve blown their minds.
Laura Birek: Oh my God.
Shanna Micko: But you could, because it’s not your kid.
Laura Birek: Not your kid. That’s true. Just like, see ya. I do think that they realized what was happening when my husband came back with my baby, but too little too late, people. Stop judging parents.
Shanna Micko: Exactly.
Laura Birek: Stop assuming that the mother is the default caregiver. That’s the problem. I just figured it out: default caregiver.
Shanna Micko: Yes, that’s what we are.
Laura Birek: Should be equal. Damn it. Oh, okay. Anyway, that’s what people have said to me while I’ve been out and about. I have a baby. I am a mom, but I am not either of those baby’s moms. I should wear a sign like I am the mother of this one. This one belongs to me. So what have people said to you lately when you’ve been out and about?
Shanna Micko: I was in the grocery store recently and I was in line to check out and I walked to this grocery store. I took a walk with the baby in a stroller and on the walks, often I have my headphones in. I’m either listening to a podcast or this particular time I was talking to my mom on the phone. So I’ve done my shopping and I’m in line and I had my headphones in talking to my mom and I kind of see this woman out of the corner of my eye and I just assume she’s cooing at the baby, because you know people do that a lot. It just didn’t stop and then at some point, I realized she was talking to me and I was like, “Mom, hold on a second.” I take my ear bud out and she’s like, “Your baby’s really cute,” and I’m like, “Thanks.” That’s fine. Interrupt my phone call to tell me that. That’s great and I thought that was the end of it and so I put the ear bud back in and then she kept going and then she was like, “How old is your baby?” I’m like, “Okay, mom. I’ll call you back or whatever.” This is back when CeCe was three months old, by the way. I was like, “She’s three months old.” She’s like, “I never took my baby out when they were that young,” and I was thinking, you didn’t take your baby out in public for three solid months? To me that was already a little bit excessive and I was like, “Yeah. Okay.” Then she was like, “You must be a second time mom. Huh?” I was like, “Actually, I am.” She’s like, “I can tell. You’re very relaxed.” I was like, that seems like a compliment, but it also feels a little bit like an insult. Do you know what I mean?
Laura Birek: Someone recently saw me, I was all dressed up to go to a wedding and she saw me and she was like, “How the fuck do you look that good for having just had a baby?” That on the surface sounds like a compliment, but I know that this woman would probably kill herself if she weighed as much as I did. She’s one of these LA women who are very much a stereotype, who are very conscious about their looks and their physique.
I was just like, “I know that you don’t mean this. So why are you saying it?” Go on. So she said, “You must be a second time mom.” I’m going to give you a backhanded compliment that’s really an insult.
Shanna Micko: “You must be a second time mom. You’re very relaxed.” I definitely am more relaxed. At the same time, I’m also more anxious this time around. It’s very weird this experience of raising a second child. It’s got a lot of nuance to it and in some regards I am more relaxed, but me talking on the phone while I’m out with my three month old baby getting groceries is not particularly chill in any way. I don’t think. I felt like it was a very normal circumstance, so I don’t know why she felt like she needed to break into my world and tell all of this to me. People really love to just nudge in there into your existence and share themselves.
Laura Birek: When they shine a spotlight on stuff like that, then it’s like, wait, am I doing it wrong? You know what I mean?
Shanna Micko: Should I have not brought my child out into the world? Sometimes moms have to go back to work at six weeks and have to bring their kid into childcare. It’s unrealistic I think to not bring your kid into the world at three months.
Laura Birek: I do think this is a thing though, because I remember when I was lurking on the BabyCenter message boards for my January, 2019 birth club, there were a lot of people who were saying that they’re not taking their baby out till after three months. I was just like, how? Oh my God, that you must go stir crazy. I guess it’s safer for germs during flu season.
But I thought it was completely unrealistic and also, I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to.
Shanna Micko: Yes, I think it would have driven me crazy and sure, of course it’s safer to not expose your kid to anything. I get it. But we have to find a balance of our own sanity and also, in a way I don’t know if it was her trying to prop herself up for being such a self-righteous rule, following parent. She probably sacrificed a lot to not leave the house literally for three months. Good for her. But don’t take it out on some random mom at the grocery store just trying to get some carrots.
Laura Birek: You got to get those carrots.
Shanna Micko: I got to get carrots. But anyway, so that’s my like They Said What mind your own business story. But then the other day I had a random opposite experience.
Laura Birek: Let’s end this on a high note. It sounds like this is good.
Shanna Micko: Everything happens when I’m in line apparently. I was in line at a cafe getting ready to order my food. This young woman comes up behind me and was like, “Hi, baby.” Talking to my baby and then almost immediately it was like, “Hi, baby. Don’t you just have the most wonderful mother in the world? Your mom is just number one.”
Laura Birek: Aww.
Shanna Micko: I was like, “Hello. Who are you? Thank you. You’re right.” She’s like, “Your mom is the most special person in the world.” That is odd because you know everyone dots on the baby and so for her to just be like, “Baby, you just need to know that your mom is number one.” I was like, “Aww, that’s really sweet. Thank you. That’s really, really nice.” Then she cooed at the baby for a little while and then she’s like, “How old’s the baby?” I told her and she’s like, “Wow. You look great. I would’ve never guessed.” I know yours felt like an insult in a way, but mine…
Laura Birek: No, there’s a difference. I can just tell from the tone and recounting it. There’s a big difference.
Shanna Micko: Yes, this felt so sweet and genuine. This energy of this woman was very sweet and kind, and I was just like, “Thank you so much.” So I thought that was really sweet and that kind of made my day. It’s so weird to get compliments from random strangers that part of me was like, is this woman hitting on me? I am not sure.
Laura Birek: That would be a really weird way to pick up dates.
Shanna Micko: It would, but anything’s possible. People say the weirdest things.
Laura Birek: True. You wouldn’t expect it. Your guard is down.
Shanna Micko: Maybe she has a thing for women with young babies.
But all in all, I was happy and that kind of made my day. It was just nice to hear a nice thing from a stranger.
Laura Birek: That is super sweet. In extracting the differences, she just told you, “You look great.” The woman who talked to me said, “How the fuck do you look so great?” There’s such a huge difference in the way that’s phrased.
Shanna Micko: The tone is different.
Laura Birek: It’s like, what have you done?
Shanna Micko: Who are you to look so good?
Laura Birek: I think I look fine. I’m very happy with my body and I’m working very hard on body positivity. I’m fine with it. I just know that like, if she woke up tomorrow weighing what I weigh and looking what I look like, she would be probably really distraught. So it’s a lot nicer when someone says, “You look great,” versus, “How the fuck do you look so great?” Same sentiment. Very different meaning.
Shanna Micko: Absolutely.
Laura Birek: That’s good. I might start telling new moms, like when I coo over their babies, I might steal that and be like, “You have the best mom in the world.
Look at you, your mom’s taking you out and showing you new things.” That’s so sweet.
Shanna Micko: It’s so sweet. Honestly, it was a wonderful thing to hear and this is a little bit of synchronicity. Just like the day before, I happened to come across a post on Facebook. It was one of the illustrators that I like to follow and she does parenting mom illustrations and one of it was like, for anyone who needs to hear this today, it was an illustration of a little baby and a little thought bubble and in the thought bubble was a picture of the baby’s mom. The mom had a thing that said like, “Number one,” and that kind of blew my mind a little bit, because my husband’s too and the family and everything. But you are kind of number one to your baby, because that’s all they know when you love them so much and you take care of them and I’m a very busy mom the second time around and I get distracted. I’m multitasking a lot and sometimes I worry a little bit about my connection with my baby and that was just a wonderful thing to see and remember that I am super important to my baby no matter what and I take great care of her. Then to also hear that from a random stranger so randomly, it reinforced that in a way and it just made me feel good.
Laura Birek: That’s so sweet. It’s almost like, how there’s this conspiracy theory that your phone is listening to you about this?
Shanna Micko: I totally believe it by the way.
Laura Birek: They start showing you ads for things that you just talked about. She’s like the human version of that.
Shanna Micko: Oh my God, that gave me chills.
Laura Birek: It totally is.
Shanna Micko: Google knows that I liked that Instagram image and then sent me a human form.
Laura Birek: What if we’re in the Truman Show?
Shanna Micko: I think we are. Someone’s just like watching everything I do.
Laura Birek: But wait, are you Truman or am I Truman?
Shanna Micko: I don’t know. I think we’re both Truman’s in our own show.
Laura Birek: Okay.
Shanna Micko: I don’t know.
Laura Birek: We’re crossovers. This is a great segue to our BFPs and BFNs. You think we should take a break?
Shanna Micko: Let’s do it.
Laura Birek: Okay.
Laura Birek: So we close every episode with our big fat positives or big fat negatives of the week. Shanna, do you have a BFP or a BFN for us?
Shanna Micko: A BFP.
Laura Birek: Yay.
Shanna Micko: This is an awesome one. I mentioned earlier I felt horrible on my birthday and it sucked, but the weekend after my birthday just a couple days ago was fantastic, because Steve had planned a wonderful adults only outing with friends. It was like a dinner and dancing to this swing band and drinks and it was so fun and my mom is my BFP this week.
Laura Birek: Aww.
Shanna Micko: Because she came into town and she was with us all weekend and she’s like, “I’m watching your kids so you can go out and have so much fun. I will take the monitors.” She took both the monitors all night. She woke up with my kids at night.
Laura Birek: Wow. Really?
Shanna Micko: She woke up with my kids in the morning, so we got to go out and have fun and sleep and sleep in a little bit. I still had to wake up to feed CeCe.
Laura Birek: Your boobs can only take so much.
Shanna Micko: Yes, my mom woke up with her when she woke up at five.
Laura Birek: Good.
Shanna Micko: She woke up at five, so my mom woke up with her and helped her get back to sleep. My mom is my lifetime BFP for being an amazing mom and I love her so much.
Laura Birek: That’s awesome.
Shanna Micko: But this particular weekend was great. We had so much fun. It was fantastic. So yay.
Laura Birek: That’s so fun and I had to miss it, because we had previously scheduled conflicts and I had to stay home.
Shanna Micko: I know. I was so bummed you missed it.
Laura Birek: Hopefully, next year we can do it. I’ll make sure to get a babysitter in advance and part of the reason was I didn’t want to get a babysitter during sleep training.
Shanna Micko: That totally makes sense.
Laura Birek: But boo, boo, I’ll have to go next year. But it looked like a ton of fun.
Shanna Micko: It was great. This place that we went it’s called the Cicada Club Downtown LA has a dress code. So we were all inspired to dress up very fancy.
Laura Birek: That’s awesome.
Shanna Micko: I wore a sequin sparkly dress and it was just fun as hell to dress up, go out with adults, have a couple drinks and dance to live music. It was fantastic.
Laura Birek: Will you post a picture to our Instagram of your sparkly sequin dress?
Shanna Micko: Ooh, I think maybe I will.
Laura Birek: Yay.
Shanna Micko: So thank you, mom. I love you so much. Thanks for being my BFP.
Laura Birek: She’s awesome. Your mom’s great.
Shanna Micko: I know she is so great. What about you? What do you have this week?
Laura Birek: I also have a BFP.
Shanna Micko: Woo.
Laura Birek: Which is the Baby Care Reversible Play Mat.
Shanna Micko: Tell me more.
Laura Birek: My baby for whatever reason, I don’t know how this happened, but he loves tummy time he has since he was tiny and so what we’ve been doing is just using quilts and blankets and stuff, but he’s starting to try to think about scooching and start thinking about crawling and I realized that the blankets were kind of slippery underneath him. Also, he’s still a happy spitter. So he spits up a bunch and we constantly were washing these blankets, because he was spitting up on it. Once he spits up on it, you can move him to a different part of the blanket once or twice, but then it’s over. So I finally realized, you know what? I need a play mat and I saw on my Pasadena mom’s Facebook group, someone recommended this particular one and they have it on Amazon, which we’ll link to. But they also have it on Bed, Bath and Beyond where you can use one of those 20% off coupons that you always have to get it. It’s really cute. They have a million different designs. You can get ones that just kind of look like an area rug with a Chevron design or whatever and then you can get ones that have a railroad or whatever. The one we got one side is dark blue with these bright cartoon dinosaur patterns all around and then the other side is like a beige. They call it cute alphabet where there’s an alphabet: A is for apple, B is for bear or whatever. It’s just really squishy and cute. It claims to be non-toxic. I honestly didn’t look into it that much, because I don’t want to know what it claims to be. It’s so comfy and it’s really big, so he can actually have a lot of room. We can put all those toys on it and here’s the real bonus is that it’s big enough for you to sit on with the baby. There’s no more cobbling together pillows to put under your butt. We have hardwood floors. So it sucked to sit on the floor next so my ankle bones were always getting sore from sitting cross-legged. It’s all of that too. I really like it: The Baby Care Reversible Play Mat. The other cool thing is that once he starts crawling, they make a gate specifically for it with a fence.
Shanna Micko: What are the dimensions? Do you know?
Laura Birek: The dimensions are it’s basically 83 inches by 55 inches. It’s pretty big.
Shanna Micko: That’s great.
Laura Birek: You could get two of them and put them together and make a bigger fence if you want. So that’s cool. But it’s so great with spit up. Spit up you wipe it right off. Don’t have to move the baby. It’s awesome.
Shanna Micko: That’s so cool.
Laura Birek: We’re really into it. I don’t know why it took me so long to get a play mat. What was I thinking? I thought the quilts would do, but you live and you learn. That’s my BFP for the week and my ankles are no longer sore.
Shanna Micko: Yay.
Laura Birek: Should we wrap it up and get back to our babies?
Shanna Micko: Let’s do it. Thank you guys so much for listening. If you want to join the conversation, want to tell us what your They Said Whats are recently, you know we would love to hear them. Laura, where can everyone reach us?
Laura Birek: We are on all the social medias. We are on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook at BFP Podcast. We also have a Facebook community group you can join. Just search for Big Fat Positive community on Facebook and request to join. We will approve you. We also have a website, bigfatpositivepodcast.com
Shanna Micko: If you love our show, we would appreciate it if you would rate or review us on any platform that you listen or recommend us to your pregnant or new parent friends. Big Fat Positive is produced by Laura Birek, Shanna Micko and Steve Yager.
Laura Birek: Thanks for listening, everyone. We’ll see you next week.
Shanna Micko: Bye.
Laura Birek: Bye.