"Sharing The Baby", Not Just Information

Christine Lichte is an experienced lactation consultant  in Warrensburg, MO. Though she has cared for new mothers for many years, she shares how HUG Your Baby has enhanced the teaching and support she provides.

I am a hospital based lactation consultant.  Most of the babies I work with are between 1 and 3 days old.  Most of the mothers I work with are tired and overwhelmed with information.  I am guilty of talking too much and trying to teach mothers everything they need to know about breastfeeding!  I have become better and usually end my talk when I see mom’s eyes glaze over!  I have found that in the first few days mothers do not always have a lot of questions so our conversations tend to be one-sided.  I never thought much about this and just assumed the mothers appreciated all of the wisdom I had to share! 

Since learning the HUG technique I have noticed a change in my approach to patient teaching -- and, for the better.  The “Start Here, not There” idea has really helped me.  I provide information to mom based on what the baby is doing at that moment. Parents love to talk about their baby!  I have found that the conversation becomes much more interactive once we start talking about the baby. I tell mom and dad about the HUG program and encourage them to keep in touch with me over the next few months if they have questions about their baby’s behavior.  By offering this followup I don’t have to overwhelm this young mother with all the information she might need over these action-packed weeks.

A common question from parents before they are discharged from the hospital is, “Do I need to wake my baby for feedings every 3 hours or let her wake on her own?” I used to explain that it is important for babies to breastfeed frequently and to watch for feeding cues.  I still explain this, of course, but now I talk with the parents about the Resting Zone and the 2 types of sleep.  I also talk about the HUG approach to waking a sleepy baby. I feel this information makes it easier for the parents to follow their own baby's behavior instead of  trying to fit their baby into some preconceived mold.

Parents spend many hours just watching their baby from the minute they are born.  They practically notice every breath, every twitch, every facial expression.  We don’t have to tell parents to watch their babies, we just need to explain to them what they are seeing and what it means!  I am looking forward to sharing The HUG technique with even more parents and to hopefully begin teaching a regular HUG Your Baby class!