Australian Midwife Incorporates The HUG into Her Care of Mums and Babies!

Pam with three-day-old, Olivia,
her first grandchild!
Pam Ahrens is a midwife in a busy maternity ward in North Curl, NSW, Australia. She looks after new mothers and their babies in the hospital and also in their homes during the first week of the baby's life. Here is a story of one of the families she cared for and how The HUG empowered this new mum!

I listened to Kate while she told me that her baby would cry and wave her arms around angrily while her partner and her tried to settle her.

I started with information about the HUG “zones” that babies go through. Olivia had been fed and was awake at the visit, so I held her in front of me while I described what she was doing. Her gaze was right on me so I could describe the “ready zone” and demonstrated how Olivia followed my face from left to right. I then asked Kate to gently talk to her baby and she turned her head towards her mother! They were so excited as they had no idea babies at this age could focus.

The baby soon became tired of this. She squirmed and tossed her arms around while looking away. She then did a “fencing” pose and started to suck her hand! I was able to tell the parents about the "rebooting SOS” that Olivia was sending out to them. I explained that this showed how competent Olivia was by trying to self-calm. It wasn’t long before Olivia started to cry and turn red. I gently held the baby’s arms across her chest to allow her to calm down. I showed Kate and her partner how to swaddle Olivia comfortably so that she would remain supported. I explained how this would allow Olivia to concentrate on the task ahead, i.e., sleeping! And it wasn’t long before that is just what happened. They were so happy with all this new information and were ready to try it out at the next breast-feed/awake/"ready zone" time.

The resting/sleeping zones (deep/still versus active/light cycles) were talked about very briefly, as I thought this would be too much information for one sitting! The next day at their visit I was able to discuss it in more detail.

I later saw Kate out and about at the local mall with her now 3-month-old baby. She said that the HUG information saved her life! This information, offered at this critical time in her life as a new parent, helped her figure out just what Olivia was communicating!

Read Pam's important blog about "When to Swaddle and when to put skin-to-skin?"