"Starting Here, not There" Empowers Parents and Enhances Parent Learning

Carol Pywell (shown here on the right with a "graduate" of her HUG class) is a Maternal and Child Health Nurse in Victoria Australia and a newly Certified HUG Your Baby Teacher!  Although she has years of experience and training as a Australian professional, she has discovered that "Giving a HUG" complements the skills and information she uses everyday!

The HUG your baby course has been an empowering and fantastic tool to utilize as a  I work in a busy practice where we have limited time (30minutes) for each consultation and a lot of information and anticipatory guidance on childhood development and health to cover. The concept of “Starting Here and not There” and not trying to teach the entire HUG course in one consultation had been really useful to me.

I see most families frequently in the first couple of months so I have opportunities to teach snippets depending on where the family is at and also by following the opportunities that their baby presents. If a baby is crying and clearly demonstrating the Rebooting Zone on the change table then I can talk about Zones and how parents can help their infant move from one zone to another. Reassuring parents that crying is their infant’s form of communication and that by tuning in to their infant’s communication this will enhance the bond that they have and also ensure more effective feeding and sleeping by the infant.

In my previous practice I usually always talked about the crying peak in the early few weeks, I didn’t however relate that to gestational age and alter the crying peak accordingly. When I see a baby that is lying on the change table bright eyed and tracking beautifully with his eyes, I now “Broadcast” (“See and Share” Strategy) this fact to the parents rather than just making a mental note myself for the child’s health record. Parents just beam when you give a compliment about their infant (rather than just that they are wearing a cute outfit!)

The HUG Your Baby DVD encapsulates in one DVD the amazing talents of the newborn as well as practical suggestions for calming the infant and encouraging good sleeping patterns. I am a very practical person so I love the practical suggestions that you can give to the families. Some are so simple yet very powerful such as holding the infant’s hands to help the infant calm. Since doing the Hug training I have suggested this numerous times, especially when the infant is being examined, being able to demonstrate this if the infant hasn’t calmed to mum’s voice or hasn’t been able to initiate any self-calming behaviors has been very easy to integrate into practice.

Waiting and watching some infants however is also a powerful tool, I have observed many infants in the fencing position but hadn’t realized that it was used by the infant to calm.  I now take a breath and pause when an infant is crying and give the infant a chance to initiate some self-soothing behaviors. I have noted the infant suck vigorously on a finger and some turn to the side and self-settle. Broadcasting these behaviors is now part of my everyday practice.


Thanks very much for giving me the opportunity to complete this fantastic course I am excited about learning and developing new ways to integrate the HUG information into my daily Maternal and Child Health Nurse practice.