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Australian Certified HUG Teacher Discovers that Tic Tacs Can Be Critical to Extending Breastfeeding Duration!

Megan Ritchie is a midwife from Sydney, Australia. She provides antenatal care, delivers babies, and makes home visits for up to 6 weeks postpartum. Megan took the HUG course with hopes that using these ideas and resources would help mothers extend breastfeeding duration. Since starting and completing the course she finds herself talking more about a newborn’s body language to her pregnant patients. Information about the baby’s sleep/wake cycle and SOS signs leads seamlessly to further discussion about breastfeeding. Megan admits that, initially, “Broadcasting” a baby’s behavior sounded a bit contrived to her. But parents responded so well to this approach that she has continued with it. In the process Megan also discovered that effective breastfeeding support postpartum can begin in surprising ways, as described below.

Today I visited Baby Jon, a 6 day old Chinese baby born via LSCS for Pathological CTH at 9 cm. Apgars were 6 and 9 and baby spent some time in the NICU due to low cord PH. Grandmother is worried the baby “was brain injured at birth and would never be any good!” And, since Mother’s milk is not in, Grandmother insist on feeding the baby formula in a bottle. 

When I enter the room Grandmother is sitting in the corner energetically giggling the baby who is tightly wrapped. Anticipating a prolonged visit, I turn off my phone and head toward Grandmother with my Tic Tacs! (The HUG course showed me that red Tic Tacs make a good tracking ‘toy” for a newborn). Grandmother and Mother thought he was "very clever” when they saw him follow those Tic Tacs with his eyes.

After seeing how “clever” this baby was, Grandmother and Mother agreed to unwrapping the baby and placing him skin to skin.  In no time the baby had moved himself to The Ready Zone and Grandmother and Mother could hear audible suck and swallow.  Seeing the baby’s readiness to breastfeed reassured both Grandmother and Mother that breastfeeding was going well even though the birth had not gone as hoped.  I was able to end the visit discussing how to help a crying baby and Mother took notes so she could tell her husband what they had learned.  Tomorrow I plan to discuss SOSs since this Grandmother might be expecting him to be doing math a little too soon.