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Thailand: Chiang Mai Gets a HUG!

Chiang Mai, Thailand

After a short plane ride, Jim and I find ourselves at Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand. We had several days to rest after a busy teaching schedule in Bangkok. We found the temperature cool, the food hot, and the people warm and welcoming!

Jim and I were delighted to spend an afternoon this week with Dr. Kannika Bangsainoi, a recently retired pediatrician, who is a long-time friend of Dr. Siraporn Sawasdivorn and a committee member of the Thai Breastfeeding Center. Needless to say, Jim and I had a lot to talk about as we discussed HUG Your Baby and Dr. Kannika’s many projects to support breastfeeding mothers in Thailand.

In addition to conversations about babies, we were treated to a tour of the magical world outside Chiang Mai, our “home” for 10 days. I especially enjoyed our visit to the Royal Park, Rajapruek, which hosts gardens from 21 countries around the world. Jim enjoyed our trip to the nearby temple and (size large!) Buddha watching over Chiang Mai. Jim bought a Thai flute and enjoyed playing with the man who makes and plays this distinctive instrument. And, of course there was more amazing food. But, we especially appreciated a short history lesson as Dr. Kannika helped us better understand the “Red” and “Yellow” political tension in Bangkok (See Jim's blog on this subject.) She will be attending the all-day HUG workshop at Chiang Mai School of Nursing. I am eager to get her feedback!

Chiang Mai School of Nursing

Sometimes a HUG Your Baby experience can be quite magical! This was the case with our all-day HUG training on Friday, when Jim and I met eight faculty and twenty-two graduate and undergraduate students at Chiang Mai School of Nursing, Thailand. 

In this full-day workshop we were able to cover: the needs of today’s young families, the value of using accessible language and ideas with new mothers and fathers, and The HUG strategies and techniques for helping families prevent and solve problems around a baby’s, sleeping, crying and attachment. Special attention was given to supporting breastfeeding and sharing The HUG Your Baby Roadmap to Breastfeeding Success.

Attendees enjoyed watching Jim demonstrate a baby’s SOSs (which is quite funny) and having time to practice HUG techniques. Students and faculty especially enjoyed the HUG demonstration with two two-day-old babies. And, as is always the case, each baby had something special to show us. 

One baby demonstrated a remarkable rooting reflex that I quickly connected to mother’s ability to successfully breastfeed. Swaddling this baby enhanced his ability to engage. 

The other baby showed us what self-regulation looks like as he moved smoothly from the Resting Zone to the Ready Zone. Both mothers were delighted to have their sons “teach” this group of nurses!