The Baby is a Teacher for Us ALL!

Jan Wells, new Certified HUG Teacher, massage therapist, and very proud Grandma from Cary, North Carolina, shares a HUG Your Baby moment!

Julie’s sister, Camry, is visiting when I stop by to spend some time with Julie, her husband Jim, and their beautiful, two-week-old daughter, Avery. Julie had called a few days earlier; she had heard about HUG Your Baby from a friend, and she and Jim were feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Avery is a great baby, but after all the new-baby visits and all the advice they received from well-meaning relatives and friends, Julie and Jim have begun to doubt their abilities as new parents. They need reassurance that they are doing a great job already.

I invite Camry, who was close to delivering herself, to join us, but she politely declines. “Thanks, but this is my second baby. I know all there is to know about babies!"

As I set up, Avery is just beginning to arouse from her morning nap. Out of the corner of my eye, I see her parents go to her crib.

Smiling at her parents’ innocent intuitiveness, I explain that babies have two sleep states which they cycle through about every 50-80 minutes: light/active sleep, and deep/quiet sleep. In their active sleep, they will often appear awake; they may smile and coo or fuss a bit. Their eyes may even open. Giving Avery time to figure out what she wants is a great idea, I tell Julie and Jim. If it is time to feed her, helping her wake up from active sleep is perfect.

Rather than scooping her up right away, Jim quietly watches for a minute. “I've noticed that sometimes, if we let her lie there a second,” he whispers, “she’ll actually put herself back to sleep! It’s really weird, but she does it. I guess she needs a few minutes more of sleep.”

“And if it’s time for a feeding, we will get her up. She feeds better than if we rouse her out of that deep sleep you mentioned.," Julie explains. “When we do need to help her wake up we call her name softly. That almost always helps her wake up to where she's much more ready to eat, get a diaper change, or even play.”

Today, Avery chooses to go back to sleep, and soon we hear her tiny, deep rhythmic breaths; she has transitioned back into a deep sleep, a time when her little body concentrates on growing.

As we continue to talk, I see Jim and Julie’s confidence as parents return. The suggestions about swaddling and bringing Avery’s arms to her chest when she fusses make sense to them. “We’ll definitely add those to our ‘bag of tricks’!” Julie says. When Avery finally wakes up, Jim is all set to play a follow-the-ball game with Avery that we watched on the HUG Your Baby DVD. "I didn't know you could play with a two-week-old!” Jim exclaims.

A few weeks later, when I return to show some infant massage and movement techniques, all are doing well. “Avery is really getting good at calming herself, and now we know how to help her everytime she needs us,” Jim says. Julie adds that Avery is a wonderful teacher for them. “How smart she already is!

And by the way, my sister Camry just called to see if she could borrow our HUG DVD; it seems that her second baby is even more of a handful than her first!”