Amy Leung is a registered nurse with a degree in psychology and sociology. She is currently seeking certification as a CAPPA Postpartum Doula on Ontario Canada. Here she share her thoughts about the value of the HUG Your Baby training.
Many of us have heard of the benefits of secure attachment. When we build a strong bond and attachment with our babies, they feel more competent, learn to give and receive love, have the confidence to explore the world and develop social, emotional and cognitive skills. However, the concepts of “baby-led” or “child-centered” are unheard of in some cultures. In these situations, children are supposed to listen to parents, do what parents say because the parents “know best”. What does it mean to say “parents need to pick up on baby’s cues?” Shouldn’t babies pick up parents’ cues instead?
And, what if a baby cries all the times? How can a mother “bond” with this little person when she is physically exhausted, perhaps has discomfort from an episiotomy or a cesarean section incision? And, what about a single parent who lacks social support leaving them more susceptible to postpartum depression? Feeling inadequate, guilty, incompetent and overwhelmed all inhibit the parent-child relationship, bonding and attachment.
The HUG Your Baby training sheds light on these stressful situations by providing hands-on, accessible, practical strategies to help a parent better understand her baby. HUG stands for “Help., Understanding, and Guidance," and shows us that babies communicate from the start. Though babies don’t come with a manual, they do “speak” with their bodies--no matter which cultural background the baby comes from. Their gestures seem to be universal.
The HUG teaches parents about different “Zones”– “The Resting, Ready and Rebooting Zones”, about “SOSs” - Signs of Over-Stimulation, and what “T.O. DO” to calm a fussy baby. Once parents learn this “language”, they will identify the “Ready Zone” when a baby is ready to play or feed or will learn how to calm a crying baby in the “Rebooting Zone.” These skills will help parents choose the right time to feed their baby, to help a baby sleep longer and to help parents get to know their baby’s personality.
When a parent knows how to read their baby’s cues, it is easier to build that positive parent-child relationship, to create mutual trust in the parent-child dyad and to build confidence and competence in the parents. Babies with secure attachment will be less fussy, whiny and clingy.
I encourage a parent to “listen to your baby and your baby will listen to you in return. Start by learning her secret language and enjoy your bundle of joy for years to come!”