Certified HUG Teacher Helps Teen Mother Bond with Her Baby

Emily Walden is a labor, delivery, and postpartum RN in Olmsted Township, Ohio. Her patients are especially lucky because Emily is also a DONA-trained Birth Doula. She has just become a Certified HUG Teacher as yet another way to learn from and serve the young families in her community. Here is her story.

I was on the search of obtaining contact hours for ICEA certification and DONA recertification when I stumbled across HUG Your Baby, a program I had not heard about before. I immediately turned to my experience as a mother of a thirteen-week-old and recognized many of the behaviors Jan mentioned in the class. I was learning information to not only share at work, but to apply to my own baby as well. And, The HUG tips and techniques worked great! I noticed that after observing and understanidng her behavior, I felt even more bonded than before and breastfeeding improved. I felt more confident and had a more complete understanding of what she was "saying" with her behavior.

Working as a Labor and Delivery RN has always been very rewarding. But, after my HUG training I am better able to help a mother bond with her baby after I have helped bring that life into the world is priceless.

Recently I had a visit was with a young adolescent mother having her first baby. This young mother was very passive and quiet in her personality. It was challenging for me to care for this couplet because I felt I needed to watch for emotional cues indicating distress in both the baby and the mother. It was as if both were giving me S.O.Ss (Signs of )ver-Stimulation. I had to be vigilant in my observations.

This young mother, only one day postpartum, was hesitant and unclear when her baby needed to eat. She would wait until he was wailing to try and bring him to breast.  Of course, she would then get frustrated because he wouldn’t latch. I could see that this mother wanted to breastfeed and  that the baby really wanted to eat! I discussed the baby's "Ready" and "Rebooting Zones" and suggesting that waiting to feed in the "Rebooting Zone" did not seem to be working well. The young mother was immediately boosted in her confidence level after seeing these S.O.Ss. She then was able to feed her baby for 45 minutes.

We then discussed the many triumphs and challenges of life with a newborn during the first few weeks of life. She really was thankful for the insight I was able to give and  was able to then open up and share her feelings of inadequacy as a “teenage mother.” Her whole face changed as I watched her bond with her baby. It was a gift for me to be a part of supporting this young mother. I value the teachings I was able to give her and feel more knowledgeable in my profession as a labor and delivery nurse. Thanks Jan!