"Opening Our Hearts" - HUG Your Baby Scholarships for American Muslim Birth and Parenting Professionals

HUG Your Baby honors the goodness in every person and strives to meet each new baby--and all those who serve expectant and young families--with an open and welcoming heart. At this time of national strain and division HUG Your Baby wishes to reach out to colleagues who might find themselves, or the families they serve, targets of anger and disrespect.

Belinda M.., a childbirth educator, was inspired by HUG Your Baby. She contacted me to say that she was grateful that "people who look like me" are included in the current edition of the HUG Your Baby video. Our conversation moved me to create a special opportunity for American Muslims who work as birth, lactation, and parenting professionals.

HUG Your Baby is delighted to offer an 80% discount to qualified professionals taking HUG Your Baby online courses. Qualified professionals are: 1) Muslim Americans, who are 2) practicing doulas, nurses, early childhood educators, lactation specialists, or infant massage and childbirth educators, with 3) a desire to begin or complete HUG Your Baby training.

30 scholarships are available. To request this scholarship, please email Jan at hugyourbaby@earthlink.net   Include a description of your current work with young families.

Scholarship prices:



Purchase Streaming Parent Education Video for $15 HERE.


"Looking Back and Looking Forward"

The end of year is a great time to consider what steps should we take to move HUG Your Baby forward.  I thought you'd like to see this brief overview of the growth and development of The HUG!

Ten years ago I was working at SAS Health Care (Cary, NC) when HUG Your Baby was conceived. Early in the 2000s, HUG Your Baby was well received at several dozen nursing, doula, and lactation conferences; I authored four peer-reviewed articles; my husband, Jim, and I created an innovative, multicultural, and inclusive parent education video (now in its third edition), which grew into some of the first online courses for birth, lactation and parenting professionals. It is hard to believe that this HUG video has been purchased by more than 4,000 parents and professionals, and that over 2,000 professionals have completed HUG Your Baby online courses!

Several years ago—when I retired from UNC Family Medicine, and Jim retired from Carolina Friends School—leadership from the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute at UNC-CH, enthusiastic about HUG Your Baby, helped me plan a year of international teaching. During 2013-14 Jim and I took this program to fourteen countries, made 69 presentations, and translated HUG Your Baby materials into seven languages. Today, professionals from Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, the Dominican Republic, Korea, and Japan serve as HUG Your Baby country representatives. This spring, in Durham, I was pleased to offer the first HUG Your Baby Train-the-Trainer course to participants from four countries.

HUG Your Baby continues to expand its outreach. This past year I presented HUG Your Baby ideas and strategies at the national Lamaze, ICEA, DONA, CAPPA, NAPNAP and Healthy Start conferences, as well as at the VA and NC state lactation conferences, and at the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute. Though we returned this year to teach in six cities in Australia and New Zealand, financial constraints required that I turn down invitations to speak at, or submit an abstract to, a number of other national conferences (e.g., WIC, American Nurses Association, Infant Mental Health Association, National Perinatal Association) and several international conferences, including the Midwives International Congress, the Food Security Network, and the Malaysian Breastfeeding Association.

Exciting outreach to national breastfeeding specialists is underway. New Mexico WIC has just registered 250 lactation peer counselors into the "Roadmap to Breastfeeding Success". We hope to research the impact of this teaching on experienced professionals. 

Along with my national and international educational outreach, I am also bringing more attention to local needs. The North Carolina Women’s Hospital, which delivers 4,000 babies a year in Chapel Hill, will include the HUG video on its newborn channel as soon as all its postpartum nurses, childbirth educators and lactation consultants complete the HUG online course. This fall I began offering a home-based lactation consultant practice, in collaboration with Durham Women’s Clinic, as I seek to address an appalling lack of lactation support for parents discharged from Durham hospitals.

HUG Your Baby is also strengthening its evidence base through research ongoing at several Tokyo universities, as well as at a half-dozen sites in the US. A multi-site study of a HUG Your Baby nursing school module is underway at UNC-CH, Duke, and Johns Hopkins. UNC-CH Family Medicine Center is researching the impact of including HUG Your Baby in its family physician residency training.

The presentations I give at conferences are thankfully well-received; however, organizations who plan these conferences increasingly have little or no budget for providing honoraria, travel expenses, or complementary exhibit tables for their speakers. Especially surprising is the fact that some large, well-funded organizations  have expressed interest in HUG Your Baby training and resources but ask to distribute them, without compensation to us, under their organization’s name.  

Every bit of income generated by HUG Your Baby, LLC, goes into creating new educational materials and projects (including designing the HUG app and reaching out to WIC programs, USA nursing schools, and hospitals). Jim and I have grown this business ourselves, paying along the way for a few hours’ help, here and there, from graphic design, media, clerical, and IT professionals.

So one "strategic plan" for this year is to seek some funding for HUG Your Baby to cover travel expenses to pertinent conferences, to hire a part-time person (or persons) to help with outreach and marketing, and to develop the HUG app. Please let us know if you have an idea of someone who might want to partner with HUG Your Baby! Can't wait to see what 2017 will bring our way!



Wow! This Baby IS a Handful!

A young mother, worried about her breast milk, enters the WIC office with her three-week-old baby, Sumi. Carolyn, the WIC counselor, reviews Sumi's chart. After a full-term birth, Sumi has regained her birth weight by 10 days of age and is now gaining between 1/2 to one ounce a day. In addition, mother's careful records show that the baby has 6-8 yellow stools and several wet diapers per day. Why, Carolyn wonders, is this mother worried about her milk supply?

The mother explains that her baby is easily upset; she wiggles and squirms constantly whenever she is lying down. "I just can't figure out what Sumi wants most of the time," the young mother sighs.

Sumi is in peaceful sleep inside her car seat as the mother and counselor chat. After only a small stir, Sumi suddenly arouses with a full, hardy cry. Mother swoops down to pick up the baby, who is already red in the face and whose hands reach out with a wide, jerky movement. The baby wiggles frantically in mother's lap as she attempts to open her blouse to breastfeed. Once brought to the breast, the baby sucks a couple of times then falls off to sleep.

Wow, Carolyn, thinks. This baby IS a handful!

As Carolyn listens carefully to this mother's story, she hears familiar characteristics of a more challenging baby: high activity level, unpredictable schedule, and frequent state (or Zone) changes. Sumi is struggling with Zone regulation issues, which puts this mother at risk for giving up breastfeeding.

A baby exhibiting effective state (or Zone) regulation will transition from one state to another rather slowly, might bring her hand to her mouth, or assume the fencing pose to calm herself down. That baby feels easier to understand and more predictable to the mother.

When Sumi begins crying again, Carolyn leans over and speaks to the baby with a sing-song voice. Surprisingly the baby slows down her crying. Then Carolyn encourages the mother to gently hold Sumi's hand to the baby's chest. The mother is delighted to see Sumi stop crying and look up at her.

Carolyn reviews Sumi's WIC record, which indicates that breastfeeding is going great and that this baby is thriving on her mother's milk. Carolyn demonstrates several more tips for calming a crying baby and reminds mother that babies this age cannot be spoiled. "Spending a little more time with the baby skin to skin and 'baby wearing' will also settle Sumi as she adjusts to being out in the world," Carolyn says. Finally, Carolyn invites the mother to a New Mothers meeting the next day and encourages her to ask for a bit of help at home.

A follow-up phone call a week later reveals that this mother and her baby duo are doing much better. The mother is proud to be a breastfeeding mom and is confident that the support and encouragement of other mothers--and her WIC counselor--will help her meet her breastfeeding goals.



Maternal-Child Nursing Students Gain Knowledge and Confidence from HUG Your Baby Training


Needs Assessment


Research confirms that today’s parents need and want more practical information to understand and care for their newborn. Understanding an infant's behavior and responding effectively to infants' body language promotes parent-child interaction and boosts parent confidence. Consequently, nursing and midwifery students are expected to interact with and teach new parents about newborn behaviors and newborn care, although many initially lack the knowledge and confidence to do so. Education research suggests that computer-based teaching methods, such as online learning modules and web-based videos, appeal to today’s students, enhance learning, and promote confidence and self-efficacy. Video teaching of infant behavior is especially critical because students can SEE the behaviors they are studying without the stress of simultaneously interacting with parents.

HUG Your Baby Online Training Course
HUG Your Baby offers midwifery schools a two-hour, digital program which provides practical, evidence-based information about: newborn behavior, how to interpret and respond to an infant’s cues and body language, and how such information impacts the developing parent-child relationship and breastfeeding success.  This program, available online in Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Japanese  or for uploading to an institution’s digital system, includes: six 10-12 minute video lessons (with convenient “come and go” format);  4 short case studies to read; and a post-test, as well as a course evaluation, to complete. (See this two-minute YouTube description of the course: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeUHk8-fNy4)

School of Nursing Research
Dr. Kathy Alden (alden@email.unc.edu), Associate Professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing (UNC-CH SON), completed a pilot study assessing the effectiveness of this HUG Your Baby course. One hundred pre-licensure nursing students in the control group received UNC-CH SON’s usual maternal-child teaching about newborn behavior and care. Between semesters, the SON’s faculty received HUG training. The following semester a different one hundred students formed the intervention group and received the schools’ usual maternal-child teaching along with this two-hour digital course completed outside of class. 

Research Results
Compared to the control group, the intervention group demonstrated significantly greater knowledge about newborns and increased confidence to teach new parents. In addition, the intervention-group students gave a positive evaluation of the HUG program and recommended that it be incorporated into the traditional maternity course. Dr. Alden has submitted this study for publication. A larger, multisite, replication study is now underway with UNC-CH, Duke University, and Johns Hopkins University Schools of Nursing.

Other HUG Your Baby research available here: http://hugyourbaby.org/hug-research/

Contact Jan Tedder at hugyourbaby@earthlink.net for more information about how to bring this program to your nursing or midwifery program.