HUG Your Baby Website
PO Box 3102 Durham, NC USA

New Certified HUG Teacher attends 1st International HUG Your Baby Gathering

Grace Wagner, MSN, RN, CPNP
Duke University School of Nursing DNP Student

Today I attended the first International HUGs Around the World Zoom gathering. As a new Pediatric Nurse Practitioner I am interested in how best to serve parents and to collaborate effectively with colleagues. Because I am the point person for an upcoming HUG Your Baby research project, I am also eager to hear other’s experience sharing HUG Your Baby. During this 1.5 hour gathering I heard from professionals from five countries, appreciated a short presentation on “Responsive Parenting,” and had an update on HUG’s research and outreach projects.

Now available in 46 countries, HUG Your Baby is having an influence on healthcare professionals all over the world. Certified HUG Teachers from numerous locations are using their knowledge to help new and expecting parents understand their infants. Hearing how HUG Your Baby has been incorporated into care offered in different countries shows how widely applicable and valuable the program is. Seeing all the different healthcare professionals with the same goals come together and share their experiences is inspiring. It’s exciting to see and hear firsthand the positive impact HUG Your Baby is having both in the USA and around the world.

Responsive Parenting is an essential aspect of the HUG Your Baby concepts. Allowing parents to see their infant’s behavior and then respond appropriately plays a vital role in increasing parent confidence. I think Responsive Parenting is especially important for helping caregivers see their infant’s behavior in a positive light. Because I have seen many parents misinterpret their baby’s behaviors, I really love how we can help parents reframe their interactions with accurate information. Then, if needed, we can teach parents to intervene correctly. Knowing that an infant’s first relationships with parents and caregivers play an essential role in healthy brain development makes education with HUG Your Baby concepts immensely important.

Given the uncertain COVID-19 times in which we are all living, HUG Your Baby serves an important role in helping healthcare professionals provide education to new and expecting parents, even from a distance. Its online courses and Zoom classes for parents are a great way for parents to obtain knowledge of infant development and behavior at home. Also, the anticipatory guidance about changes in baby’s development provided by the program is designed to help new mothers increase their breastfeeding duration and meet their breastfeeding goals.

As a new member of the HUG Your Baby community I look forward to discovering ways to incorporate this perspective into my career. I am so grateful to have the HUG concepts to share with families as I help them better understand and connect with their babies. I am also excited to be a part of the international HUG community and to participate in future HUG gatherings, both on Zoom and (one day!) in person.

Grace Wagner, MSN, RN, CPNP; DNP Student Duke University School of Nursing