Parents Inspire a New Certified HUG Teacher

Brandi Kulikov-Ramirez is a CAPPA Certified Labor and Postpartum Doula, a Newborn Care Specialist, and a Family Educator/Infant Development Specialist in Santa Ynez, California.

I recently was nicknamed "The Baby Lady" by a client of mine, after teaching them some valuable Hug Your Baby information. This is a nickname I will cherish as it is a symbol of the hard work  and commitment I offer my families, who, for their part, have demonstrated nothing but pure love and dedication to their newborns. Parents' desire to get to know their baby, even in the hardest of times, is what keeps me going as The Baby Lady.

One particular family has benefited the most from my recent Hug Your Baby education. This family is open-minded and always ready to learn. They live every second of their day wanting to understand their babies (yes, babies . . .TWINS!) as much as they possibly can. They ask questions; they ask for advice; and, most importantly, they are not afraid to practice what they learn. They give everything a chance if they feel it may benefit their children. They respect my training and experience, and I can feel their trust in me. However, this is not the reason why I chose them for this reflection. I chose this family because THEY are the amazing ones. THEY are the ones who understand how important it is to know your child. THEY are the ones who apply what they learn to real-life interactions. THEY are the ones who empower other parents to want to get to know their babies too. 

This family is raising twins, with no prior experience, and they are doing one heck of a job! They came to me with questions about newborn sleeping, feeding, and play questions. Baby boy is very docile and easygoing, while baby girl struggles with self-regulation. One of the twins is highly interactive and calm; the other becomes distraught at attempts to engage and interact. One baby slept well; the other rapidly moved through sleep cycles, waking constantly and so forth.

This is not an uncommon story. However, to these parents it was life altering. Adding one baby to a family is significant. Two babies can turn everything upside, but two babies with such different needs and communication responses pose a daunting challenge. Rather than overwhelming them with an entire session/class of Hug Your Baby education, I chose to educate with little bits and pieces as issues arose when I was in the home. Together we tackled one aspect of Hug Your Baby after another. Within a week, this family went from feeling  they were raising two tiny little strangers, to understanding their children as two unique, lovable little people. I could easily send these parents out to teach others about newborn zones, communication signs, and sleep states. I'm sure they would rock every second of it!

Working with this family helped me understand how valuable support and education can be to new parents. Newborns sometimes intimidate their parents, who may feel that they need to "crack their baby's code" in order to give her what she needs. The truth is, newborns are not that hard to figure out. You simply need to be willing to try--and give them the time they need.

As an educator, I learn from my families and their newborns on a daily basis. The least I can do is to share confidence-building information that will help them feel more empowered to care for child and will strengthen the parent-child relationship. HUG Your Baby helps me do that important work!