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Canadian Sleep Consultant Incorporates HUG Your Baby

Kim Sopman is a Sleep Consultant in Ontario, Canada. Though she has supported young families for a number of years, she finds that HUG Your Baby increased both her understanding of newborn behavior and her ability to teach parents. Here she shares her work with one young mother . . . 

When I reflect on the wonderful families I have worked with during the HUG training, I beam with pride. I think of one mom in particular who was having a really rough time not only with breastfeeding her baby but also with helping her overtired baby get the sleep she needed.

Since breastfeeding was challenging in the beginning, this mom had an overtired baby from the word GO and couldn’t tell if the baby was hungry or tired or maybe both. Though this mom felt completely overwhelmed, she wanted to be the best mom she could be. However, I could tell she was lacking confidence, and I wanted to help her achieve success with her little baby.

When we first met, I could tell that three-week-old Chloe was having trouble regulating. Mom was holding her tightly trying to calm her down. When she turned to me in desperation, I suggested that she sit down and chat as she tried to offer Chloe a feed. She looked at me with relief, as if I might suggest something different for her to try. 

I realize that in my line of business, some sleep professionals are trying to eliminate feeds, not encourage them.  It is difficult not to jump in with advice right away, but rather to focus on the now and on the positives that are clearly in front of me with this mom and her new baby. I was able to "Broadcast" how clear it was that this mom and baby already had a deep connection as they looked into each other's eyes while the baby nursed. Chloe seemed very comfortable, and mom was relaxed. When I told mom this, she smiled and said that breastfeeding was going much smoother now, but sleep was still a struggle.

Mom then said that Chloe was always hungry, even while she slept! "Chloe would be moving around and wiggling with her eyes closed," this mother stated. I asked Mom if she ever waited a couple of minutes to see what Chloe might do? Mom said she hadn't. 

I then spoke about how babies have both active and light sleep, and that during light sleep babies may move around or make noises as they transition into a deeper, still sleep. Mom found this information very useful and said she would try this during Chloe’s next nap time. Mom was upset that she could have been misreading Chole's body language. I reassured her that she was a great mom, and now that this information was brought to light, she could wait and watch what Chloe might do before rushing to feed.

Chloe’s mom called me a couple of days later, very excited. Chloe was becoming more and more rested and less irritable. Mom had watched Chloe a couple of minutes and saw that the baby was now able to transition, on her own, back to deep sleep! 

Something so simple had such a huge impact for this parent, as the whole family were now getting more rest. By incorporating the HUG Your Baby methodology, I felt I was really able to listen to the mother before giving advice and also to boost her confidence to try my simple suggestion. I look forward to incorporating the HUG into all my sleep consultations!