Parents As Teachers' (PAT) Exciting Collaboration with HUG Your Baby


During this year Robin Roberts, Parents As Teachers (PAT) State Coordinator in North Carolina initiated research to evaluated the benefit (or not) of HUG Your Baby's training and resources for PAT professionals. She recruited parent educators from across the state who wanted to enhance their care of newborns and their families.  

(Partial) Review of Literature:
Research confirms that when mothers receive effective parent education they experience increased confidence, increased sensitivity to their babies, enhanced maternal-infant interactive skills, and a more positive perception of their infants (Fulton, Mastergeorge, Steele, Hansen, 2012; Nugent, Petrauskas, & Brazelton, 2009). Parents who understand and respond effectively to changes in a baby’s states and to stress responses increase that newborn’s ability to eat, play, and learn, and decreases the baby’s shutting down response (Papousek, Schieche, & Wurmser, 2008; Tronick & Beeghly, 2011). Therefore, new parents need information that helps them read their baby’s body language and recognize their baby’s capabilities (Karl & Keefer, 2011). Furthermore, parent learning is enhanced when information is demonstrated rather than simply described (Gardner & Deatrick, 2006) and is offered in language that is familiar to parents.

PAT Study:
Eighteen parent educators participated in this pilot program.  They completed HUG's online courses: "Helping Parents Understand their Newborn" (Part I) and "HUG Strategies and Skill Building" (Part II). Participants then utilized The HUG 20-minute parent education DVD and their HUG skills with their clients.

A Pre- and Post-Test confirmed that professional participants significantly increased both their knowledge about newborn behavior and their confidence to teach young parents.
  • The average pre-training score was 51.2% correct.  The average post-training score was 73.5% correct.   The difference in the means of the pre and post training scores is significant at the 95% level.  (See Figure 1)
  • The average pre-training confidence score was 2.5 (on a 4-point scale from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree).  The average post-training score was 3.6.  Ten of the fifteen items were significantly different at the 95% level; three were so at the 90% level, and two items were not significantly different. 
What professionals had to say about the HUG Your Baby program:
Overall, participants were very satisfied. Following are some comments by these professionals. 
  • "HUG works great with teens."
  • "...incredible to see parents learn and understand the stages of development."
  • "...easy to use this online course."
  • "Easy to use the HUG DVD to enhance parent visits..."
  • "Practical tool to use with families."
  • They gained knowledge about their baby
  • They could articulate at least one specific area of learning
  • Even second and third time parents had much to learn from HUG Your Baby

Parent’s response to HUG teaching:
Forty-seven of forty-eight (98%) parents provided substantive answers to an open-ended question about what they learned. Forty-four of 48 (92%) answered that HUG Your Baby could improve their parenting by giving them information about and skills to: better understand their baby, understand their baby’s sleep and crying cycles, get their baby to the best state for eating and playing, and appreciate their baby’s ability to pay attention. They reported feeling more confident as parents and would recommend The HUG to others.   

Contact information:
HUG Your Baby looks forward to collaborating with national PAT leadership about the possibility of making HUG resources and training available to the larger PAT community.

For more information contact: Robin Roberts, NC State Coordinator -  (robin.roberts@ncpat.org) and/or Jan Tedder, HUG Your Baby  President - (hugyourbaby@earthlink.net)

Partial bibliography:
  1. FultonJ., Mastergeorge, A., Steele,J., Hansen, R. (2012). Maternal perceptions of the infant: Relationship to maternal self-efficacy during the first six weeks' postpartum. Infant Mental Health Journal. 33(4) 329-338.
  2. Gardner, M., Deatrick, J. (2006). Understanding interventions and outcomes in mothers of infants. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 29, 25-55.
  3. Karl, D., Keefer, C. (2011). Use of the Behavioral Observation of the Newborn Education Training for teaching newborn behavior. JOGNN Jan; 40(1):75-83.
  4. Nugent, K., Petrauskas, B., Brazelton, B. (2009). The Newborn as a Person. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc
  5. Papousek, M., Schieche, M., & Wurmser, H. (2008). Disorders of Behavioral and Emotional Regulation in the First Years of Life. Washington, DC: Zero to Three Press. 
  6. Tronick, E. & Beeghly, M. (2011). Infants’ meaning-making and the development of mental health problems. Am Psychol 66(2):107-119.