Sharing The HUG with a Second-Time Mother


Kory Houser is a DONA-trained Birth Doula from Berryville, Arkansas. Eager to enhance the care she provides young families, Kory recently completed the Certified HUG Teacher program. She plans to offer a HUG class for expectant and new parents as well as to share the HUG concepts with new and second-time parents during their postpartum visits. "The HUG offers so much wonderful information I wish I had known with our son, now 3 years," Kory states. Read on to hear Kory's story below!

While studying for HUG Certification I shared the HUG with a number of new parents. My last client, Jane, was a second-time mother and felt certain that she had little to learn from this HUG Your Baby visit!

When our visit began, I was holding her one-week-old, full-term baby. I talked to him in a soft, sing-song voice and made different faces. I watched as the small baby first made his way around the outline of my face before taking in my whole face. I pointed out this observation to his mother, who then seemed intrigued. The HUG has taught me that "Broadcasting" a baby's behavior is a great way to draw parents in.

After a few minutes, the baby turned away from me. Jane told me how the baby often does that with her--behavior the mother feared meant that he did not really care for her. I explained, “He is sending out an SOS. He's just overstimulated.”

I now looked away from the baby and talked to Jane in my normal voice. As I swaddled the baby I gave Jane a quick run-down about SOSs (Sign of Over-Stimulation). Jane noticed immediately that her baby began looking at me again as soon as I had finished swaddling him.

Delighted to help Jane see more about her baby's body language, I began playing with him again. After a while, he turned his gaze away from me once more. In response, I looked away and lowered my voice. I quietly told Jane to watch. Pretty soon the baby turned toward me and was back in the Ready Zone--for more play time. However, this time he was yawning a lot. As we were playing he started to drift off, or "Shut Down." I suggested to Jane that we lie the baby down while I explained the "Resting Zone" to her and the importance of letting a baby get to still/deep sleep on his own.

Jane and I quietly watched the baby, and before long he was completely still. His eyes were not moving, and his breathing was regular. I asked Jane which sleep state he was in, based on what I had just told her. She replied, “Why he’s in that deep sleep!” About 30 minutes later he made a few noises and wiggled a little bit. When Jane went to pick him up, I suggested that she not wake the baby from this active/light sleep. Sure enough, about 10 minutes later the baby went back into his still/deep sleep cycle again. Jane was amazed. “I’m going to get much more sleep this time!” she replied with enthusiasm.

Watching an experienced mother come to all these new realizations as she learned how to understand her baby was a wonderful feeling! I can't wait to share HUG concepts and strategies with many more parents to come!