Giving a Bigger "HUG" -- by Becoming a Certified HUG Teacher!

Nancy Winn works as a Childbirth Educator and Case Manager for a non-profit child abuse prevention agency in Salida, California. Though she has years of experience serving young families, she is completing the Certified HUG Teacher program to better prepare these men and women for parenthood. She shares her efforts and this journey with us.

As part of my CAPPA childbirth educator training, I took Part 1 of the HUG training.  I was immediately anxious to learn more about HUG Your Baby and become a Certified HUG Teacher so that I could teach The HUG tips and techniques to the new the families I serve.  I hoped that adding this class to my childbirth education series, would prepare new families to understand newborn behaviors and be more confident in meeting the needs of their infants.

It is easy for new parents to become overwhelmed with advice from well- meaning friends and family.  But, The HUG approach is fun to teach!  Describing the HUG Zones and SOSs (Signs of Over-Stimulation) and teaching calming techniques helps to enhance the bond these new parents have with their child. 

Recently I met with a mom and her 3-week-old baby. This breastfeeding baby had regained her birth weight and was steadily growing an ounce a day.  When I arrived the baby was initially fussy, turning red in the face, crying and showing SOSs and signs of beginning to Reboot.  Mom attempted to calm the baby by swaddling her and then putting baby to breast.  The baby wouldn’t latch. Mom sighs, “she keeps doing this. I thought she was hungry, but I guess she's not. Am I doing something wrong”?    

I talked with mom about the HUG Zones. Practicing the HUG Strategy, "Gaze and Engage" (I learned in HUG's Part II course), I observed the baby and the mother's reaction to her child's behavior. I then discussed the SOS signals the baby was sending out.  I was then able to show mom different calming techniques and how to get the baby from the Rebooting to the Ready Zone. Using The HUG approach of swaddling, talking softly and swaying the baby was all the baby (and the mother) needed. Giving this mother skills to calm her fussy baby was an important step to helping her continue to breastfeed and to enhance her confidence as a new mother!

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