Lisa Mather is a hospital based Lactation Consultant with a background in Pediatrics serving families in Huntersville, North Carolina . She brings additional skills to these families as a certified infant massage instructor. And, now she is progressing through the process of becoming a Certified HUG Teacher in order to further enhance her care of new mothers, fathers and their baby. She tells us a story today of how HUG Your Baby connects to the families in her community.
I have always based my practice on empowering the families not only to breastfeed but to understand their babies. I have the privilege of teaching prenatal breastfeeding classes and continue the relationship for the next 2 years in the outpatient lactation center. I find that most of the families are overwhelmed with information before and immediately after delivery. Through the years, I have been guilty of trying to teach them everything they need to know before discharge.
I began a program called Cuddle Me Closely about the importance of skin to skin from birth through the first few weeks. This is to enhance family bonding and helps parents understand their babies and respond appropriately to their behaviors and developmental needs. I found that parents want practical techniques that would help them care for their baby. I went in search of this information and found that the HUG technique of “The Start Here, Not There” idea has really helped me provide the information based on what the baby is doing at that moment.
Typically the “Second Night” is what I refer to as initiation night. Babies are fussy, constantly crying and are on and off the breast cluster feeding. This is the night that parents “need a break” frequently begin using pacifiers and asking for formula bottles to help sooth their babies. They want the nurses to take the babies to the nursery for a few hours if not all night. I decided to pilot the HUG technique. Upon entering the room a mother was attempting to put a pacifier into the baby’s mouth several times. She had him swaddled; however he continued to cry.
With mom’s permission I picked the baby up, brought him close to my mouth and began to shush in his ear and sway him up & down. He instantly calmed down. This opened the door of communication on how they could learn what their baby was telling them. We briefly discussed Zones, SOS and Sleep patterns. I told the mom and dad about the HUG program and encouraged them to schedule a follow up outpatient Lactation visit with me. During this appointment we will weigh the baby, feed the baby and weigh the baby again. We will review the latch and HUG techniques about feeding, sleeping and crying. I explain that planning for this appointment we will allow them ample time to get all the help and encouragement they need without overwhelming them before discharge.
Empowering, educating new parents to understand and respond to their babies is a gift that will last a lifetime.