Lori Wade is a labor and post-partum doula in Louisville, TN. Though she has worked with new moms and dads for years, Lori has discovered that The HUG offers her families another layer of learning about their newborn. She has a story to tell:
As a labor and post-partum doula, I have the privilege of walking alongside a couple as they transition to parenthood. They have read all the books on pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, and they feel pretty confident in their up and coming new role as parents – that is, until their little bundle of joy is released from the care of the hospital staff and turned over full-time to the parents to care for. Suddenly, it is like someone just flipped a switch. I suddenly see a look of uncertainty and insecurity come over their faces, and tension come over their bodies, as they desperately try to calm, soothe and understand the cries of their newborns.
I am always asked, “What do we do now? Does the baby know us? We don’t think our baby likes us.” I immediately tell them that not only does their baby “like” them, but the baby is communicating with them, wants to be close to them, wants to engage with them and even play with them. The parents look at me with bewilderment as I hold their brand-new baby, and softly call her name. She immediately turns towards me and seems intent on what I am saying to her. I ask if they have a rattle or other noise making toy. I show them how their baby loves to interact.
I hand her back to her mother and the baby starts to get a little fussy. Mom says, “I just don’t understand. I just fed and burped her and then changed her diaper. What's wrong now?”
I tell her what a great job she is doing with her baby and explain that this, too, is normal behavior. I put my hand on the mom’s shoulder and remind her to relax and breathe. It’s good for her and her baby.
At one point the baby turns away and I explain that she is showing an “SOS” or Sign of Over-Stimulation. The parents are amazed. I go on to explain that the baby has different “Zones” and sometimes she just needs to rest or "Reboot" before she is ready for more interaction or play. I explain what the cues from her baby mean and suggest that Mom watch for those SOSs. I show Mom and Dad how to decrease stimulation and increase support when they see an SOS. Both Mom and Dad are amazed and eager to try these new techniques with their baby.
When I return in a few days, both parents seem much more relaxed. They enthusiastically greet me and can’t wait to show me how they now know how to “play” with their baby. After a few minutes the baby is clearly showing an SOS. Mom speaks up quickly and reminds Dad, “That’s an SOS. Try decreasing stimulation for a few minutes!” It’s at that moment that I realize they’ve got it! They understand their baby’s cues. They know what she is telling them and they are comfortable using The HUG techniques with their little one. The information they have obtained is priceless, and I am grateful to see their confidence increase and their tension melt away as they settle more capably and comfortably into the wonderful journey of parenthood.
© HUG Your Baby 2012