Australian Midwife Incorporates The HUG into Her Practice

Sandra Morgan-Young, newly Certified HUG Teacher, is a pediatric nurse, midwife and IBCLC in Parkdale, Victoria, Australia. She now serves young families as a Maternal and Child Health Nurse. With her many years of experience, Sandra is delighted to find that HUG Your Baby training gives her new ways to support the parents she meets. Let's hear what she learned by completing the Certified HUG Teacher training.

Sandra and baby, Owen
It was exciting to realize during my HUG training that I did not need to try and teach parents everything I thought they needed to know all at one time. Though I was concerned I would not have time to include HUG techniques in my already busy consultations, I'm finding that I now spend less time talking generally and more time concentrating on the particular infant I'm with. As a result, I feel an increased connection to parents, who love discussing their infants' personalities and are so proud of their babies' achievements. Consultations have become less one-sided (me talking at parents) and more interactive. And, I notice that parents are not getting that "glazed over" look so much.  

My philosophy has always been to help families enjoy their parenting, see how capable their infant is, and increase their confidence. Parents really want practical techniques, and l find The HUG is easy for me to teach and for parents to understand. Most parents already instinctively use swaddling and swaying and whispering to their infants as means to calm their child. The HUG helps me reassure them that they are on the right track, and then add some additional ideas and techniques.  

I was already aware of some of the HUG material discussed, but this online HUG training gave me a great framework for presenting the material for increased impact. The handouts are useful too. I find The HUG ideas are catchy and memorable and fit easily with other frameworks. They appear to be culturally acceptable, which is so important.

What is great about The HUG is that it is relevant in all the areas that l am passionate about: sleeping, settling, teen parenting, breastfeeding, infant massage, premature infants, depressed parents, and bonding. And, dads love the "Rebooting" idea. Some grandmas have learned ways to be supportive without giving a bottle or food.

l love exploring "goodness of fit" with temperaments of children and their parents. I also like to put a positive spin on individual attributes. For example, I told one sleep-deprived couple that their baby was very mature (since he was born at 43 weeks), and they glowed as they described his ability to play under his gym and on Mum's tummy. 

It is interesting to reflect on "sticky spots" with parents (which I can relate to the literature on 'ghosts in the nursery') and how to respond to and unravel them. The HUG's "Roadmap to Breastfeeding Success" really resonates with me and dovetails well with a recent presentation I made on a similar subject.

The "Just tell me what T. O. Do" tool for helping a crying baby (talk, observe, do or act) has proved to be a useful teaching tool. It also reminded me that the 6-week peak crying period is based on a baby's gestational age.

The thing I have found most challenging is practicing "Broadcasting" a child's behavior. Sometimes I struggle with "Starting Here, not There," as my natural inclination is to take a more "prescriptive" approach to teaching. 

I have been teaching parents for over 35 years and am always looking for better ways to support new families. The HUG is giving me those new tools and techniques. I look forward to consolidating my HUG skills and to convincing colleagues to join me in this exciting, new approach to parent teaching.