New Certified HUG Teacher, Julee Waldrop, has a DNP from Duke University, is a Family and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and is an Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. She has been working with parents and children for 25 years and teaching nurses and nurse practitioners for over 15 years. Today she shares with us her research expertise and upcoming plans to study the impact of using The HUG Your Baby tools and techniques with young families!
Most of us will keep on doing something if it is working, right? For example, Jan Tedder, creator of HUG Your Baby, has been doing this great work with parents for many years. She knows that it helps parents connect better with their babies and helps babies to grow and develop. She knows this because she has experienced it personally. Many of you feel the same way about The HUG. I know I do.
However, it is also important to demonstrate in a systematic and replicable way, as with research, that programs developed and disseminated to help parents become better at parenting really make a measurable difference. This is why at the College of Nursing at the University of Central Florida my research team and I are getting ready to test the hypothesis that high-risk parents who participate in The HUG parental education program will increase their parental self-efficacy compared to parents who do not participate in the program.
Well that sounds nice, but you might ask who are “high-risk” parents? High-risk parents are defined in this study as those who are single, who are 19 years old and under, whose insurance is Medicaid, and who are from an ethnic minority. Research has shown that such parents often have a tougher time adapting to parenthood.
And what is “parental self-efficacy”? That is a term used to describe the strength of a parent’s belief in their ability to accomplish the tasks of parenting. For example, knowing when a baby is hungry, being able to calm a fussy baby, or identifying when a baby is ready to play.
We are also going to compare symptoms of depression and stress in moms who participate in The HUG program and those who do not, as well as exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding and sleep patterns between the two groups. There may be more benefits to participating in The HUG program than just improving confidence in parenting. That is what this research project will be all about. Stay tuned for periodic updates as the data are collected and analyzed. In the meantime, keep sharing The HUG!