Japanese Certified HUG Teacher Helps a Mother Avoid Giving Formula

Yasue Ota has been a registered midwife in Japan for about 10 years and is now teaching maternity nursing and midwifery at Juntendo University in Chiba. Yasue discovered The HUG website and was attracted to the words, ‘Baby Zones and SOSs’. Yasue thinks that “HUG Your Baby Zones and SOSs” are such a wonderful and easy tool to help new parents understand their baby.

Read the exciting account, below, of how using The HUG kept one Japanese mother from giving formula!

I visited Maya when she was 2 weeks old. That was just 1 week after leaving the hospital. Her mother, Tomoko, told me that Maya cries all the time. Tomoko felt that perhaps her breast milk is not enough for her baby. So Tomoko was wondering if her baby might need a little formula. I shared with Tomoko the following ideas about a baby’s crying:

Most normal, healthy babies begin to cry more around forty-two weeks gestation, or two weeks after birth (if the baby was born full-term). Babies typically move from crying two hours a day to crying three hours a day by six weeks of age. Then their crying tapers to about one hour a day by twelve weeks of age.

I explained some easy-to-remember tips to Tomoko, who says what all new parents holding a crying baby say: “Just tell me what TO DO!” Sharing HUG Your Baby concepts, I told Maria:

T – Talk to your baby. Lean over and use a persistent, sing-songy voice close to her ear. Give your baby a few seconds to notice and respond to your voice.

O – Observe your baby's efforts to contribute to his own calming.

Maya was crying loudly while I talked to Tomoko. We paused to observe Maya’s efforts to calm herself. We were delighted to see Maya bringing her hand to her mouth, sucking her finger, and starting to quiet. Tomoko was surprised to learn that babies have instinctive behaviors that help them calm down.

I added another tip to DO (to calm the baby): If the baby is still crying, hold her arms against her chest and continue that quiet, persistent talking—and encourage the baby to suck your finger or the breast, or swaddle her safely.

Maya started to cry again and Tomoko leaned over the baby and spoke quietly into her ear. When Maya continued to cry Tomoko waited a moment and then noticed that the baby smacked her lips. The baby then quiets right down when Tomoko holds her tiny but strong arms securely against her chest. With a smile on her face, the mother then brought the baby to the breast for a good feed. “Now I see how I can work it all out without any formula!” Tomoko tells me.


I really feel pleasure in seeing the "ah ha" moments parents have when I use The HUG ideas and teaching strategies as they relate to their individual baby. I think HUG Your Baby is such a useful tool for facilitating breastfeeding, fostering mother-baby bonding, and enhancing parent confidence.

Newly Certified HUG Teacher Enjoys "Broadcasting" Baby's Behavior

Sandra Janovitch is a postpartum doula in Durham, North Carolina. Let’s hear about her experience becoming a Certified HUG Teacher.

As a Postpartum Doula I recognize that new parents are overwhelmed by how their lives have changed since they brought their newborn home. An easy postpartum transition has proven to be the most effective defense for postpartum depression. Being a PP doula gives me the opportunity to gently guide families through the postpartum time by helping parents learn the signs of baby communication and the skills to attend to the baby’s needs thereby promoting strong bonds.

At first I presented The HUG in a disconnected manner, as if it were information separate from having a baby. As I became more comfortable with the concepts and had the opportunity to work with more babies, I realized that as a postpartum doula I’m like an instruction manual myself. It’s my job to help parents understand their baby.

The HUG has given me the training to integrate necessary information and skills into my regular PP visits. During visits I pay close attention to the mother/baby and partner/baby interaction as well as to the baby’s behaviors. I like to introduce parents to their baby’s behavior by broadcasting what I observe. “Oh look, your baby has her hand to her mouth/ sucking on her tongue.” Then I make a suggestion, such as, “I wonder if the baby wants to eat. Let’s try to feed him. Wow, look, he must have been hungry!” Next I reiterate the baby’s behavior and what it meant. The next time the baby puts her hand to her mouth/ sucks her tongue I’ll point out the behavior to the parents and ask them to say what the baby is telling them.

I use this method, incorporating all the HUG Zones, SOS signals and calming techniques, over the course of several visits. After I’ve visited with the family 2-3 times we watch the video and go over the slides and discuss any questions or concerns. I love how the parents will say, “Oh yeah. We talked about that" or "I remember you showed that to me.”


I am grateful to have a program that answers the age-old question: "Does this baby come with instructions?”

Is my baby getting enough milk?

Every mother wonders at some time, "Is my baby getting enough milk?" We often advise mother to "just watch the baby", but what are these mothers suppose to be watching for?

Two important things to watch include baby's output and weight gain. I find it helpful to use the following visual when discussing the output. A baby would be expected to have one stool on day one, two on day two, three on day three, four on day four, five on day five and six on day six. Six stools a day would continue until about four to six weeks when the breast milk composition changes to more casein and less whey protein. Stools drop with baby only stooling once a day, every few days or even less often.

Secondly, a mother will be instructed to watch for weight gain. We expect a gain of one ounce a day once baby regain birth weight by ten to fourteen days.

Dr. Jack Newman offers use a helpful way to see if a baby is nibbling (taking in little milk) or drinking (getting needed calories.) Watch these videos and notice how the movement of the chin and pauses between "drinks" is the key to this observation. Dr. Jack Newman videos
http://nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=6&Itemid=13

Daddy Knows Best (Sometimes!)


Chastity Owens, a newly Certified HUG Teacher, is a high school social worker from Chicago, Illinois. She is incorporating HUG Your Baby into her work with teen moms and new families. She shares how the HUG techniques have enhanced her work with young families.

RJ was said to be born at 37 weeks at gestation; however, the doctors said that he was 35 weeks by examination. “What does that mean?” Melinda, RJ’s mother, asked. I explained to Melinda that the doctors thought she was 37 weeks when RJ was born. However, RJ appears to resemble a baby who was born at 35 weeks because he was about 5 pounds at birth.

I explained to his parents that observing the body language of an early baby is critical to helping him grow and develop.  Though he can look like he is ready to be in this world, he can be easily over-stimulated and is likely to struggle with his sleep wake cycles.

As I talked to the baby, I observed his behavior. RJ took self-comforting actions such as making sucking movements and bringing his hand to his mouth. I used one of his rattles and played with RJ, shaking the rattle and moving it so that RJ could follow it with his eyes. When I held RJ’s hands to his chest, he pushed it away and placed his hands around his face. I recognized these early feeding cues and placed baby skin to-skin with his mother.

After a good feed, RJ engaged in active sleep for about 5 minutes. I talked gently to RJ and rubbed his back and he settled back and then showed his parents what deep sleep looked like: characterized by being totally still, not making any sounds, with regular heart rate and breathing. 

“That’s what I do,” Robert Sr., RJ’s father said. “When he wakes up in the middle of the night, I rub his back and tell him that it’s okay.”  I validated Robert Sr.’s actions and explained that as babies mature they must pass from deep sleep to light sleep and back to deep sleep in order to learn to sleep for longer periods of time. However the lactation consultant at the hospital had explained to Robert and his mother that babies born early are still developing these sleep patterns. RJ will need to be put to the breast to feed more frequently until these sleep patterns mature. I reiterated that as RJ moves past his due date, rubbing his back is a great alternative to picking him while he’s still engaged in active sleep in the middle of the night.  

Knowing that there is a lot to learn about caring for an early baby, I made plans see this family more frequently over the next few weeks.

“A Maria No le Gusta mi Leche”



"A María no le gusta mi leche!", Declara la joven madre. "No debe ser lo suficientemente buena para ella. Creo que es tiempo de darle la fórmula. "

Sus palabras sorprenden a la enfermera de la clínica. Maria, con cuatro semanas de edad, había recuperado su peso al nacer en tan sólo diez días y estaba creciendo velozmente, a una onza por día. Veo sus mejillas se empezaban a llenar, y ella está ensuciando sus pañales que da gusto. ¿Por qué esta pensando que su madre que la lactancia va mal?

"Ella no parece satisfecha", explica la madre de María. Después de un profundo suspiro, esta joven madre agrega: "y ella parece estar mas fastidiada esta semana".

Cuando fue con el bebé a las dos semanas para pesarla, la enfermera le había dicho que todo iba bien con la lactancia. El bebé estaba agarrándose muy bien, se podía escuchar como tragaba la leche.  El papá llevaba un registro cuidadoso de pañales mojados y las heces. Pero la mamá de María se está dando cuenta de algunos comportamientos, no relacionados con la alimentación,  que la estaban preocupando, haciéndola pensar que ella tenía una producción de leche insuficiente.

Las investigaciones sobre la lactancia materna nos demuestran que las preocupaciones de esta madre son comunes. Estas investigación muestra que una madre le vigilará de cerca para ver si su bebé se pone en un estado de alerta y  la mirará profundamente a los ojos. Ella se dará cuenta si ella es capaz de calmar a su bebé con eficacia, y se sentirá mal si su bebé está irritable o difícil de consolar.

La enfermera se apresura a entender las necesidades de la madre, por lo que ella comenta con entusiasmo, "¡Ella se ve tan feliz contigo! Cuando usted habla con su bebé, se le relaja la frente, sus ojos se abren, y las cejas suben. "Un momento más tarde, continúa," Cuando usted habla, levanta la cara hacia la suya y mueve sus brazos en círculos suaves sobre su cabeza- casi como si estuviera bailando con usted. "

Entonces la enfermera invita a la madre a ver a María jugar algunos juegos infantiles   “La joven madre sonríe y le entrega su bebé a la enfermera. La enfermera la balancea suavemente para llevarla a un estado lo más atenta posible, "El Estado de alerta" Los ojos de la bebé aclaran  y mira fijamente al cascabel rojo que tenía la enfermera a unos 20cm de su cara. A medida que la enfermera lentamente mueve el cascabel, los ojos de la bebé sigue con atención el juguete de un lado al otro. La mamá se sonríe y dice “creo que es muy inteligente”

Mientras cargaba a María cerca de la cara de su madre, la enfermera alenta a la joven madre a llamar el nombre de su bebé. Al principio cuando escucha la voz de su madre se queda quieta, y luego sus ojos parecían moverse haia su madre.  La madre está encantada al ver que su hija movió su cabeza hacia la dirección de su madre y luego se da cuenta cómo sus ojos se clavan en una mirada entrañable. Con una gran sonrisa la mamá de María coge a la bebé de las manos de la enfermera y acurruca su cabeza en el pliegue del cuello suave del bebé. La madre se lleva una de sus manos a su pecho para suprimir la inesperada bajada de leche.

Después de haber aprendido más acerca de las maravillosas habilidades de María, su madre parece relajarse. Ahora es más fácil para ella escuchar los comentarios tranquilizadores de la enfermera mientras discuten comportamientos en los cuales el bebé se muestran inquieto, los cuales son normales (que comienzan alrededor de las dos semanas de edad) y cómo calmar a un bebé.


Tres meses más tarde, la mamá de María es una estrella de la lactancia materna y una defensora para las otras madres. Una tarde, vino a  clase de lactancia de la enfermera para discutir los desafíos y alegrías de la lactancia materna. Abrazando a su bebé, ella comenta "¡No sólo cuenten los pañales mojados y sucios. Conozca las increíbles habilidades de su recién nacido y usted sabrá a ciencia cierta que la leche materna es perfecta!"

Italian Certified HUG Teacher

Benedetta Costa da più di trent’anni  fa parte dell’International Association Infant Massage.Membro fondatore dell’Associazione Italiana Massaggio Infantile (www.aimionline.it), Benedetta è ora diventata la prima insegnante certificata HUG in Italia. Leggi delle sue esperienze con l’ HUG!
Nel 1983 sono stata formata come insegnante di massaggio del bambino da Vimala McClure, autrice del libro “massaggio al bambino Messagio d’amore . Una delle lezioni più importanti ricevute da Vimala è quella di riconoscere il valore del “chiedere il permesso al bambino prima di incominciare il massaggio. Vimala dice che “chiedere il permesso” è un modo meraviglioso per mostrare rispetto e amore al bambino, riconoscerlo come persona che ha la piena libertà di dire Sì o No. La sfida allora è quella di ssere in grado di capire come il bambino dice okay a ricevere il massaggio oppure  che non è disponibile o ha bisogno di un'interruzione. Capire i segnali del bambino e aiutare i genitori a leggere il  suo linguaggio del corpo, è fondamentale nell'insegnare e nell'imparare l'arte del massaggio.

L'anno scorso Han Tedder ha presentato HUG Your Baby  (Help, Understanding and Guidance for Young Families) at the Annual General Assembly in Bologna.  Tutti I partecipanti hanno imeditamente colto la connessione tra I concetti di HUG e il loro lavoro nell'insegnare ai genitori a riconoscere il momento migliore per il massaggio del bambino. Le persone presenti hanno capito quanto sia cruciale  aiutare (Helping), capire (Understanding) e guidare (Guiding) I genitori a riconoscere I segnali dei bambini, le Zone , gli SOS (Segnali di iper stimolazione)
Dopo  Bologna ho incominciato il programma per  Certified HUG Teacher  (insegnante HUG certificato) con l'obiettivo di imparare di più e promuovere la sua diffusione nel mio Paese.con I geniotir e gli Insegnanti di Massaggio Infantile. 

La mia prima esperienza è stata molto vicino a casa e al mio cuore: la nascita del mio primo nipotino! Mi sono incantata nell'osservare la sensibilità di mia figlia e la sua attenzione ai segnali SOS. Sicuramente ha fatto la differenza nel'interagire con lui o nel tenerlo semplicemente a contatto pelle-a-pelle.
Recentemente ho offerto il primo corso HUG Your Baby ad un gruppo di quattro donne in gravidanza, una nonna di un a bimba di 3 giorni e un fratellino di 3 anni. Ho fatto vedere il DVD HUG in italiano e presentato le Zone, gli SOS e il Pianto, argomento che ha destato mokto interesse nei partecipanti.  Quando abbiamo fatto pratica delle modalità per calmare I bambini usando delle le bambole , mi sono deliziata a vedere il fratellino che ha voluto provare anche lui! Tutti I partecipanti hanno espresso feedback positivi sul corso; hanno confermato che era una buona idea coinvolgere anche altri membri della famiglia e che “assolutamente” avrebbero consigliato il corso a parenti e amici
Nelle mia prima visita a casa come  insegnante HUG  ho aiutato una mamma e la nonna a calmare la bambina che piangeva e a distinguere il sonno attivo dal sonno profondo. Sarà interessante ascoltare di più sulle loro esperienze nei miei prossimi incontri.    

Nella miaseconda visita è stato bellissimo osservare un'altra bimba in un omneto di interazione faccia-a faccia con la sua mamma. La mamma era sorpresa della capacità della bambina di imitare la protrusione della lingua. Ho provato a far girare la testa nel rispondere alla mamma che la chiamava con ilk suo nome.Sebben la bimba fosse in uno stato di veglia quieta, non si è girata verso la mamma. Adesso so che questo è un comportamento normale e ho rassicurato la mamma che potrà vedere queste abilità svilupparsi e continuare a crescere nelle settimane successive.
Ho molte speranze di poter condividere HUG Your Baby con genitori e colleghi in Italia. Il DVD HUG è ora disponibile anche in italiano e stiamo lavorando alla traduzione del corso online HUG per Operatori professionali.

Nonostante al giorno d'oggi I genitori hanno un facile accesso a Internet, numerose pubblicazioni, pediatri, amici nonni, c'è sempre molto da imparere e di sostegno. Sebbene il bambino resta sempre il più GRANDE MAESTRO, I genitori hanno bisogno di oservare e capire il linguaggio del corpo del bambino. I corsi e le risorse di HUG Your Baby , possono fornire a loro e agli operatori della prima infanzia che li assistono, informazioni e capacità che possono fare la differenza!