The Power of "Start Here not There" a Certified HUG Teacher Learns!



Newly Certified HUG Teacher, Nicole Frens, "Gives A HUG" as a childbirth educator and birth doula in Estes Park, Colorado. Nicole uses The HUG resources in her childbirth classes and on home visits with new moms and dads. Her passion and enthusiam for her work with young parents echoes in her communication with me throughout this Certification process, and especially through this story she shares:

Happy to have a captive audience, I had assured my birth doula client that I WOULD be sharing my new HUG information with her at her postpartum visit 4 days after giving birth. This second-time mom was happy to listen to any information I had for her. I had the opportunity to use The HUG Strategy, ‘Start Here not There’, when she mentioned her concerns about breastfeeding. I found I could blend my usual post-birth doula discussion naturally with the HUG material. I wasn’t sure how much she already knew, having already had a newborn in the house just 2 years before, but I felt good sharing what I know about newborn behavior. She was hugely thankful for the HUG brochure I gave her, noting that she could use the reminder information.

During our meeting she was confident, happy, and loving her easygoing baby. Though I felt like she probably knew much of what I shared, she listened attentively to all I said.

It surprised me to get another call from her in less than a week. Breastfeeding wasn’t going so great all of a sudden, and she needed help. As soon as I entered her house I learned that not only was she having painful breastfeeding sessions, but her formerly easygoing baby was showing another side of himself, and had just ended a long screaming session. At our last visit she had appeared to be politely listening to me. Now she was searching for help on many things.

We addressed her now cracked and bleeding nipples, and I interspersed reminders of the information I had given her before. "Remember, he isn’t so good at multi-tasking, so maybe swaddling him will help," I remarked. "He’ll be better at latching on if he’s not already crying," I reminded her. "And, look for those feeding cues and then try to bring him to the Ready Zone," I commented. "Notice when his movements become jerky, and get ready to act if necessary," I suggested.

This young mother was taking in all I said and seemed eager to watch for the newborn behaviors I was describing. Feeling a tad out of control and having pain with breastfeeding had motivated this mom to seek more help and advice. Sharing information with her seemed easier now that we had specific concerns to address.

It’s not that I think a HUG visit should always happen after the parents have cried ‘uncle’, but maybe they’re more receptive if so…