Hello, Mate! And, lots of new "mates" are coming our way!
Newborn "Zones" and "SOSs" (Signs of Over-Stimulation), yet they (understandably) struggle as they try to explain these ideas in a role play. So, the room lights up with laughter, drama and downright silliness (which I love), as these seasoned birth and parenting professionals act out a distressed mother ready to give up breastfeeding "because my baby doesn't seem to like me." Some play the role of a father convinced that "all a baby does is eat, poop and sleep. There's not much for ME to do."
reviewing the literature on fathers' roles. He was keen to comment on the fact that many fathers have a lot of experience being coached (as an athlete or musician or woodworker) and therefore have considerable potential to become a dynamic coach for their partner, a new mom. "But guys need SPECIFIC skills," Jim begins, "not just a warm and fuzzy 'you're doing great, honey!' Let's teach a dad how to see what a good latch looks like. Lets make him an expert in noticing early SOSs. Let's show him how to comfort a baby and, most importantly, let's demonstrate for him how ready a little baby is to interact with his father!" I was inspired by this man--as I have been for 35 years!
Certified HUG Teacher in Hobart. She was MY teacher as we problem- solved together about how to find the right balance between distinguishing early feeding cues of the newborn (wiggling, smacking of lips, and vocalizing) from similar, but later, signs of active sleep (once breastfeeding is well established). Mothers suffer if a well-fed, thriving baby (2-4 weeks old) is put to the breast every time he wiggles into active sleep. And, certainly a newborn suffers in the first weeks of life if those early feeding cues aren't addressed with skin-to-skin contact, an effective latch, and a growing sense of confident breastfeeding in the mother.
We close the all-day workshop by noting what was most important to each participant today--and how she will work these tips, tools and techniques into her work next week. I am not surprised to hear that the HUG Strategy, "Broadcasting" a baby's behavior, is most frequently appreciated. (I will explain "Broadcasting" further in a future blog.) I LOVE hearing this because I am convinced that "Broadcasting" a baby's behavior will: 1) enhance a professional's ability to actually SEE more of the baby's behavior; 2) endear the parent (who appreciates, more than anything, someone taking an authentic interest in their offspring) to the professional; and 3) immerse the professional in the utter joy of being in this intimate moment with a new family.