New Certified HUG Teacher Reaches Out to Pregnant Women in Prison


Sydnie Arnold is a doula and has just completed the Certified HUG Teacher program. She has much to offer women in the Birth Behind Bars program in her community, Lutz Flordia. Celebrate her work with these women.

I first saw Jan present the HUG program at the 2008 DONA Conference. I liked the way she presented sleep states and the Zones. I had taught sleep states as part of a baby care class when I worked at two different hospitals in the past. I remember how boring that topic seemed. Jan found a way to make it interesting. I was already a certified Happiest Baby on the Block instructor. My thinking when I left the conference was that The HUG would dove tail nicely with that program. I planned to later look into the certification process.

A few months after the conference I became a grandmother for the first time and got very distracted with a granddaughter (who refused to breastfeed). The HUG got put on the back burner while I pursued more lactation training and grand-mothering.

In 2010 I went to work with For The Love of Birth's Birth Behind Bars program teaching and providing doula services for pregnant inmates. In May 2011 the doulas in our program began the Certified HUG Teacher course. When I received the materials, I got started right a way. I took a weekend and confined myself to our office in order to complete the first 2 parts of the program;"Helping Parents Understand Their Newborn" and "Strategies and Skill Building". Wow, I thought I would be through the certification process in no time!

However, documenting a few "Parent Visits" took some time. Besides teaching for the Birth Behind Bars program, I teach private Lamaze Childbirth Education classes. Because of privacy issues, I would need to do my "Parent Visits" with these private clients. I presented The HUG to the first 2 clients for whom I provided home postpartum visits. Enthralled by the material, both couples suggested that I present The HUG as part of my "baby class".

Since then I have dropped the Happiest Baby information and replaced it with The HUG in my "baby class". I believe the old saying that, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." The HUG techniques teach how to read the baby to avoid that Rebooting Zone. Happiest Baby techniques are about what to do when the baby has already had "a melt down" or stays in the Rebooting Zone most of the time. I've learned that if a parent can use The HUG techniques early on, they can prevent their baby from going form Rebooting to melt down. And, life is much more pleasant for all!