New Certified HUG Teacher Understands: Tired, but Determined!


Karen Corbin is a new Certified HUG Teacher! She has worked with the California WIC program for 26 years and knows the challenges of being a new mom and dad. Karen will include her HUG skills in her classes for parents with newborns up to one year of age.

As I entered the home I had seen an all too familiar face of exhaustion. The family I was about to encounter had just moved from their own home into the home of the mother in law. Although, very receiving of her son’s family to include two boys and a two week old baby girl, to downsize and live with family members can be very difficult.

Raelyn is Joanna’s long awaited baby girl born at 40 weeks gestation. This is her 3rd delivery but this time labor and delivery was a fast 30 minute unmediated birth. Breastfeeding was difficult from the beginning with little experience, but Joanna was determined to breastfeed this time.

After learning and giving Raelyn time with suck training, Joanna felt she was well on her way. Joanna was recovering fast, had gotten thru the move and now baby was eating better, at this point mom’s thinking was that her exhaustion was normal, and some exhaustion was expected after all she had been thru a lot in the last two weeks.

“She’s awake and eats all the time” Joanna explained as we sat down, she points to her baby sleeping. “I just got her to sleep”.

Raelyn was in a deep sleep, no body movement, regular breathing, not easily awakened, not even with all the activity going on around her.

“Lets continue to keep an eye on baby, as I start the Understanding the Secret Language of a Newborn training”.

We were about 10 minutes into the training when Raelyn started some body wiggles, eyes began to open and shut, and some sucking movements with her lips. Joanna stopped what we were doing and went over and picked up baby and began to pat on the back, for her to return to sleep. “See what I mean, she hasn’t’ been a sleep long”. Baby’s skin color turned redder, and her movement increased with more squirming of her arms and legs. Her breathing is becoming more irregular until she begins to cry, and mama puts her to the breast, where she falls back to sleep.

Joanna is unfamiliar with infant sleeping cycles. All babies have two sleep cycle deep/still sleep and light active sleep. Deep still sleep is when baby’s body is still, breathing is deep, and makes no sound. Light active sleep is when the body wiggles, hands and legs might jerk, eyes can flash open, and maybe some baby sounds. Baby appears to be awake, but is still asleep. All babies go between these two cycles a number of times night and day.

As we continued with the training, baby Raelyn once again minutes later started with the light sleep activity, but this time Joanna watched her body and facial movements as baby went back into a deep sleep state. Joanna states “see if I hadn’t known about the sleep cycles I would have picked her back up”.