Midwife Adds The HUG to Her Parent Education

Doreen Lawton, practicing in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has been a midwife for over 10 years and has taught childbirth classes and newborn parenting to many couples. She also has worked as an early interventionist with families who have special needs babies with sensory impairments. In addition Doreen has had 6 children of her own and felt that she knew a thing or two about babies! However, HUG Your Baby has significantly enhanced her ability to teach parents and grandparents. Doreen has frequently heard from second-time parents, "Boy, where was this information when we had our other children?" Here is what Doreen wants to share:

I recently had the privilege of teaching The HUG to a family about to welcome a newborn through adoption. The adopting mother, father and grandmother were in attendance during the first session. We met again once the baby had come home and they had a few days to get to know one another. Mom had lots of questions and concerns about normal newborn behavior and how to meet all the baby's needs. During the first session, the family was very excited to learn the different newborn zones, how to tell them apart, and what TO DO when the baby needs support to reboot. Of greatest concern to this mom, as with most, was what to do when baby cried. "How do I know when she needs to eat or sleep or when she is just bored?" After discussing normal newborn behavior, zones and SOS's and watching the DVD, the family said they felt much more prepared and learned a lot. Since their baby was not yet born, we used a doll and role playing to facilitate learning the calming techniques. We agreed to meet again after the baby came home. 

When we met for the second session, the baby had been home with them for about a week and was 2 weeks old. Though she had not given birth, it had been an emotional journey for this new mother and she felt every bit as overwhelmed as a mother who had physically given birth! I was happy we had already planned this second session and were able to build on previous information. 

This baby was not crying much, but was a very sleepy baby and difficult to wake to feed. (Isn't it funny how sometimes the thing we most fear doesn't happen, while the thing we had not anticipated does?) Because the baby had been born a little early, the mom had been instructed to wake her every 2 hours to try and feed her. This was proving almost impossible as it often took over an hour just to wake her, and then she would fall quickly back to sleep after drinking what mom perceived as a very small amount. Though she had been given information in the hospital NICU as to how much baby needed, she had anticipated that babies, especially small ones, needed more than that. After sharing the information from the HUG on the size of a newborn's stomach and how much they actually need, and given how well baby was gaining weight, she was able to relax a bit and accept the baby's not finishing a bottle. Seeing the PowerPoint picture of the number and amount of newborn "poos" that are normal, her confidence in her daughter's feeds was restored, since she knew her daughter was producing even more poos then shown in the picture. 

We went over the sleep stages again, as well as when and how to try and wake her. The baby cooperated beautifully by moving into active sleep as we were discussing this. I was able to demonstrate how to calmly and gently stimulate her to wake more fully, and get into the Ready Zone to eat, by unwrapping her, holding her upright, and talking to her in a calm, soft voice. Mom was amazed at how alert she became after few minutes of this and how well she ate right after. She even stayed awake for a bit after feeding and was able to show off her talents of turning to her mother's voice which brought tears as she realized that this baby recognized HER as her mother!! What a powerful moment to share with this sweet family!!

Soon I will be relocating and am excited to bring The HUG with me to share with parents and families. I also plan to include The HUG in my childbirth classes and to offer a follow-up refresher class after a baby comes, since many pregnant couples are so focused on the upcoming birth that the information presented on newborn care is often not remembered. I have encouraged many of my colleagues in the birth professions to take The HUG course and to offer its excellent information to their families as well. I'm a believer!!!