England: Jan Brings The HUG, and Her Mother, to England

I arrived in Portsmouth, England, to present at the Lactation Consultants of Great Britain (LCGB) annual conference. But, on the way from New Zealand to England, I “stopped by North Carolina” to pick up my mother to join us for this adventure. 

Mom is always eager to participate in her four daughters’ activities, and she had no problem finding a way to be a part of setting up the HUG Your Baby table in Portsmouth.

Though I am, understandably, a fan of the phrase, “HUG Your Baby,” one of our first encounters in England was with a Welsh LC who insisted on giving me a "Cwtch"! “Cwtch Your Baby” works for me as well! When she described a "cwtch" as an embrace that is halfway between a hug and a cuddle, I decided I must make a trip to South Wales for a few more "cwtch" (es) before this trip is over! Plans for this visit to Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan are in the works for summer.

As usual, I had spent hours customizing my plenary HUG presentation for the LCGB conference. Imagine my surprise (and horror) when twenty minutes before my presentation my computer crashed! But after a few deep breaths, two IT "blokes," Jim and I pieced together my program, "Applying Attachment Theory: Helping parents understand the language of the newborn." I then jumped right into sharing these HUG concepts with 140 lactation specialists from around the British Isles.

Attachment theorists teach us how mothers’ understanding of and sensitivity to their babies can increase their responsiveness to their babies, their effectiveness as new parents, and their confidence to care for their babies. These LCs loved the new "BBC accent" version of the HUG DVD and had good follow-up comments about swaddling, active sleep, and skin to skin.

“Applying Child Development Theory to Extend Breastfeeding Duration” was my second presentation. The conference organized the afternoon into comfortable, small groups. The conference format gave me the opportunity to present this workshop three times with lots of time for asking questions and sharing ideas.

Though breastfeeding initiation is increasing worldwide, parents’ misunderstanding a baby’s normal behavior is one variable that causes mothers to discontinue breastfeeding. 

My presentation advanced the idea that LCs need to develop and/or participate in systems that give parents information about normal changes in a baby’s behavior and breastfeeding “two days before instead of three days after the mother stops breastfeeding!” The Roadmap to Breastfeeding Success is one such approach to consider. Three different groups of British LCs are interested in participating in a pilot study using the Roadmap, the HUG DVD, and the HUG’s weekly E-newsletters with their patients. That’s good news for all of us!

After a few hard-working HUG days, my mother, Jim and I set out to be full-time tourists in the Portsmouth and surrounding area. "How can you drive on the wrong side of the road?" Mom asks. And, "How does that iPad know where we are going?" and "How much does that cost in 'real' money (US dollars)?" Mom wonders.

My mother loved our "fairy tale" farm stay on the Isle of Wight and our close encounters with sheep, llamas, horses, (hairy) pigs, ducks and chickens.

We are reminded how "young" America is when we visit a 1,000-year-old church or dress up in Renaissance garb at a Tudor house. But, what was most special about those two weeks was the joy of being with my mother. Sharing a pint, a coffee, a ferry ride, or a family story gave me the warm feeling of "home" during a year of world travels!