New Certified HUG Teacher Discovers the Power of the HUG Strategies

Katrina Fuller, Ed.D, CPBF, CPFE, CCCE, CCTE, CLE®, CAPD, CLD, CPD, BPC, IBCLC, DSIII, RMT, is the owner of Natural Nesters, providing pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, and breastfeeding education, support, and integral therapy services in Hobbs, New Mexico. She strives to utilize her background in education to provide classes, assistance, and counseling for families, facilitate trainings and courses for professionals, and contribute to the body of current, evidence-based research. She hopes to share the message of HUG Your Baby with her clients and colleagues throughout the state and nation.

As part of the course requirements, I developed a lesson plan and taught a two-hour HUG Class, including discussion and a multimedia presentation, video, handout, quiz, and evaluation. Topics included newborn zones (resting, ready and rebooting), body signs of overstimulation (changes in movement, color, and breathing), behavior signs of overstimulation (spacing out, switching off, and shutting down), and what to do (talk, observe, and do). Other topics included helping baby eat and sleep well and playing with baby. 

The three expectant couples in attendance showed increased understanding of baby behavior, completing the quiz with 100% accuracy. Furthermore, class evaluations showed parents appreciated the information provided in various formats, especially the video, which illustrated the concepts discussed in practice. Overall, they felt more prepared as parents to understand and care for their babies in the near future.

In addition, I attended two home visits with new parents and their babies to provide help, understanding, and guidance using the HUG strategies “Start Here, Not There,” (their agenda, not yours), “See, Then Share,” (broadcasting and commentating), and “Gaze, Then Engage” (sticky spots and translating). By asking open-ended questions and listening, I learned that the parents of Baby A, who was 4 weeks old and born premature, were concerned about him being fussy while breastfeeding. While affirming their concerns, I observed him displaying the rebooting zone, changes in movement, breathing, and color, and spacing out at the breast. I broadcasted and commentated on this behavior, realizing this was a sticky spot and a perfect opportunity to translate that he was not being fussy, but was trying to tell them he was not getting enough milk. The parents were surprised about his ability to communicate and relieved to learn what to do to transition to the ready zone before adjusting the position and latch to increase milk transfer. 

Using the same techniques, I learned that the adopted parents of Baby B, who was 2 weeks old and born full term, were concerned that her excessive crying meant she did not like them. I observed her displaying the rebooting zone, changes in movement, breathing, and color, and spacing out while they unsuccessfully tried to calm her. I explained that she was not trying to tell them she did not like them, but that she was overstimulated. Once they learned how to help her transition to the ready zone to eat and play, the parents were surprised about her ability to track their voices and imitate facial expressions, prepared to support her in the resting zone, and encouraged in their new, unexpected role. 

Since completing all the HUG Your Baby courses, Helping Parents Understand their Newborn, Roadmap to Breastfeeding Success, HUG Strategies, and Certified HUG Teacher, I feel more confident in my roles as a perinatal educator, doula, lactation consultant, developmental specialist, and professional trainer. I already see the difference it is making in the lives of the expectant and new parents who attend my prenatal classes, support groups, and home visits, where they are empowered with the knowledge and skills to help their babies grow and learn. I am also encouraging the other organizations I am affiliated with to consider the courses as a continuing education opportunity for future trainings. Whoever and wherever you are, do not forget to spread the HUG - your baby will thank you for it! 

Tedder, J. (2017). HUG Your Baby. Retrieved from