Luz Chavez is a Certified Lactation Counselor and serves young families in El Paso, Texas. She recently attended the Breastfeeding on the Border workshop in New Mexico and is the first to complete the Certified HUG Teacher program. We are proud of her! Here is her story.
In 2004, I began the journey of becoming a breastfeeding instructor. Though midwives at our local birth center taught me everything they knew about lactation, I never stopped researching on my own, updating the classes I was teaching and improving the care of mothers I was supporting at the birth center.
Breastfeeding is my passion. But, all along I felt that something was missing in my classes and counseling interactions, I knew I could give more. Finally, I found what was missing when I learned about HUG Your Baby.
To continue my education in the Maternal-Child Health field, I completed HUG’s two-hour online training in March and then attended the "Breastfeeding on the Border's" all-day workshop in Sunland Park, NM. Jan Tedder, the creator of HUG Your Baby, taught the workshop. One of my favorite moments of the day was the exercise we did to better understand how the same event in a mother’s life can be lived totally differently depending on the mother’s physical, mental, and emotional state. As educators, sometimes we forget that each case is different even when the situation is the same!
Since the workshop, the way I teach and communicate with families has changed for the best. Learning about the baby’s Zones and sleep phases has taken my interactions with parents to a completely new and deeper level. Now I am initially more focused on the baby’s behavior and then I give my attention to the specific breastfeeding issue. Because of this new approach, parents seem to open up more about their other questions or concerns. The more I know about these mothers and fathers, the more I may be able to help them have a smoother postpartum period and to offer better care to the baby and to the mom.
I became a Certified Lactation Counselor in 2014 and am now working toward my IBCLC certification. The amount of knowledge acquired through the HUG Your Baby workshop will enhance my skills as a Lactation Professional and help me prepare for the IBCLC exam in 2020.
On a personal level . . . Although my baby will be two years old soon, the workshop gave me tools to read her better and anticipate her behavior. As others have said after the HUG workshop, “I wish I knew this [HUG information] before I had my baby!”