New Certified HUG Teacher Gives DADs The HUG!

Laura Knisley, IBCLC is an experienced lactation consultant in Lynchburg, Ohio. She has spent many years helping a brand new baby get to the breast, encouraging a first-time mother, and preparing a new mom and dad for the trip home as new parents. But, becoming a Certified HUG Teacher has enhanced and broadened her view of how she works with such families. Here is the story she shares.

The first week of breastfeeding is a team sport. Of course, the breastfeeding team includes Mom and baby.  However, we often overlook another important team member -- Dad.
Jeff was wide-eyed during our breastfeeding class, taking it all in. His wife Rachel was pregnant with their first child and due in a week. Jeff watched the videos on skin to skin right after birth and practiced positioning and latching with the breast models and baby dolls--something dads can shy away from. He really perked up when introduced to HUG Your Baby and concepts on how to calm and to observe a newborn “Zones.”  He asked lots of questions, so many that Rachel seemed a bit embarrassed.

A few days later I ran into Jeff in the hall on the mother baby unit.  As a new dad, he looked exhausted but happy. “Rachel had gone into labor last night but ended up having a C-section for fetal distress,” he explained. He related the details of the evening leading up to delivery and, of course, pulled out his cell phone and showed me a picture of their new baby, Kaleb. I smiled and commented on the fact that he was holding Kaleb skin to skin in the recovery room. Jeff beamed, “Yeah, I did skin to skin just like you recommended when Rachel came out of surgery. When I saw that Kaleb was in the ‘Ready Zone,’ I handed him to his mom and watched him wiggle down to her nipple and latch right on.” He then showed me a picture of his baby boy snuggled up to his mom’s nipple and exclaimed, “Check out that latch!” 

Later Rachel reminded me how invaluable dads are to the success of breastfeeding. She explained how exhausted she was after labor and a C-section. “I had forgotten that babies sleep so much and was struggling to wake Kaleb up to nurse. Jeff reminded me to watch for the Ready Zone, and it really worked!” she beamed.  “He is also an expert on that HUG sway which calms Kaleb down and helps him wake up to eat.” She shook her head and smiled, “If it weren’t for Jeff, I would have given up on breastfeeding.”