HUG Your Baby Website
PO Box 3102 Durham, NC USA

Experienced Doula Becomes a Certified HUG Teacher

Doula, Sarah Venzara from Longmont, Colorado, shares her experience using HUG Your Baby in a new mother's class.


After teaching a HUG Your Baby class I really appreciated being able to see the happy mama’s leave feeling more confident in the arrival of their baby and their ability to care for them. One of the mothers was able to address her concern of not getting much rest with a new baby. I was able to discuss with the mothers about babies sleep patterns and how to insure they and their babies were getting the best sleep possible in the postpartum stages of life. The mom’s really appreciated learning about the two different patterns of sleep, deep and active/light. The mom’s were able to share about their concern to comfort their babies and after the class they all said they felt like they had some good tools available now for caring for their baby when he/she arrived. I was able to cover all subjects: zones, SOS, crying, feeding, sleeping, and playing. We all had a lot of laughter and enjoyed the process of learning. All the mothers planned to breastfeed beacause building a confident, strong, secure, and respectable relationship with their new baby was a priority. All the mothers were very pleased with the class.

New Certified HUG Teacher Serves New Orleans Families

Sharon GancarzDavies, LCSW is Director of the We PLAY Center by Training Grounds in New Orleans, LA. 


She is a trauma informed Infant Mental Health Specialist and Certified Infant Massage Instructor. HUG Your Baby is a wonderful component of the support Training Grounds We PLAY Center offers to expectant parents and caregivers of newborns. The information about infant zones, comforting babies, and play are in perfect alignment with the work I have done for years as an Infant Mental Health Consultant. The HUG curriculum presents information in a straightforward way that is easily understood by parents. I learned a lot about newborn eating and sleeping! Parents were excited to learn about early development. I could hear their confidence growing as they discussed what they had heard and seen in the videos. 

 I love the HUG strategy of broadcasting as a means of highlighting moments of attunement and responsive caregiving. All parents want to know when they are successful. And even the parents who are confidently responding to the needs of their children feel seen and celebrated. Broadcasting also works as a gentle tool to give voice to the body communication of the infant. In this way we act as an interpreter who allows the parent to attune to and respond to the early cues, meeting the child’s expressed need. And broadcasting provides support to the parent whose infant’s needs may not be so clear. The parent who knows they are not alone and who is validated, can stay calm and better able to observe and interpret their infant’s cues. 

 The celebrated social worker Virginia Satir is famous for saying, “ We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” I am excited to share HUG Your Baby with families. Whether in person or via zoom the power of connectedness fuels growth for parent and child.

First Certified HUG Teacher from Montana


Amanda Jacobson is a Lactation Consultant in Missoula, Montana. She is the first Certified HUG Teacher from her state and today shares her journey to become a Certified HUG Teacher. I am appreciative of this HUG training because it has allowed me to help parents put their babies behavior into a different perspceptive and has allowed me to help parents engage and interact with their child in a meaningful way.

Before HUG Your Baby training, I ran into so many parents that didn't understand the behavior their child was exhibiting and they would think they were doing something wrong as a parent. Now with the HUG training I have walked parents through these behaviors and have helped parents become more confident in their own skills. As a Lactation Consultant there have been parent's I have helped that have thought their baby no longer wanted to breastfeed at 4 months old. That the baby was self-weaning. Now with HUG training, I have been able to work with the parents through these struggles.

Malaysian Physician/Lactation Consultant becomes a Certified HUG Teacher


Nurhaya Yacob is a physician and lactation consultant in Penang, Malaysia. She shares her HUG Your Baby journey. 

 I am a medical doctor who is currently fully time lactation consultant serving my community. I can never thank Hug Your Baby and all the information I have learn through out. Initially, I was teaching on breastfeeding on its own. After awhile i notice there is a missing puzzle and I notice that breastfeeding can never be stand alone. Then I start digging information on early childhood education and lead me to baby behaviour. 

 I start combining these 2 big part of knowledge, and decided to proceed with Hug Your Baby. Hug Your Baby has completed my missing puzzled. I feel way more calmer now in attending my community. 
It is never easy to break the culture of many wrong doing in breastfeeding. However by acknowledging the SOS and the baby state always make the parents more confident and feeling connected to them. 

And that is breath taking for me more that the oz's they made as I vision breastfeeding more than just a gesture of serving "food" to their babies.

Co-Founder of TrainingGrounds in New Orleans becomes the most recent Certified HUG Teacher


Christine Neely is CO-Founder/COO/Parent Educator at TrainingGrounds in New Orleans. Christine shares her experience becoming a Certified HUG Teacher. 

 I am in awe of the HUG program and so thankful that this information is available to share with parents. I often share with moms that I didn’t know much of this information with my own children. Looking back, I often misread cues of my own children which caused a lot of self-doubt. When delivering a HUG session with a new parent I feel like I am opening a window into the different ways their baby is communicating with them AND giving them a roadmap to how to respond. 

 As a co-founder of the non- profit TrainingGrounds we are always looking for programs that can be offered that help parents understand more about their children’s behavior as a means of communication. The HUG program allows caregivers to do this from birth. By learning to be in-tune with babies from the start, parents are much more likely to continue this practice as their child ages which leads to more secure attachment and less parental stress. 

 All of the HUG tips and strategies are simple, easy to understand and are things parents can start using right away. The way the presentation is designed provides safe opportunities for parents to share about common struggles (eating, crying, sleeping). Parents feel empowered by the information when they are better able to read their babies cues and I get to share in that celebration. Every time I deliver a HUG session with a new parent, I fall more in love with the information. Thank you Jan for entrusting TrainingGrounds to share this with all new parents we work with in New Orleans!

New Certified HUG Teacher in New Orleans Discovers the Power of Giving The HUG


Isis Johnson is a social worker and a parent educator with TrainingGrounds in New Orleans.

My experience with HUG has been amazing so far. As I was going through the HUG training I was amazed by the very simple things babies do to communicate with us that we often overlook or misinterpret. As a new parent it is easy to take things personally like your baby avoiding your gaze and thinking they don’t want to be bothered with you, but instead they are over stimulated and need a moment to calm down. Knowing this can help parents understand that they are not bothering their baby or doing anything wrong, their little one simply needs a break. The same can be said for helping parents understand the differences between active/light sleep and deep sleep, which has been a huge ‘aha’ moment for many of them. I know personally that I could have gotten better sleep with my newborn if I had this information at the time. 

 One of the wonderful things about HUG that I enjoy talking about with parents is that it is all very simple information that we probably haven't thought of because we were never exposed to the information. One of my HUG sessions was with a mother of three, her oldest being four and one of the things she mentioned was how you receive less information the more children you have. That really stood out to me because many programs that are designed to inform parents about their new babies are geared towards new first-time parents, when every child is a new person and parents should still be able to receive helpful resources if it is their first time or their fifth time. I look forward to continuing to enlighten mothers about what to expect with their new babies and give them the tools to help build a long-lasting relationship.

Muneeswari Jeyachandran, a Registered Nurse from India, becomes the newest Certified HUG Teacher




Having spent more than a decade as Registered Nurse, during early days of my Clinical experience, I spent good chunk of time handling Intrapartum mothers along with Antepartum and Postpartum mothers than the New-born. But as time passed on, even though my contact time with New-born in Labor & Delivery room was limited, it has subconsciously developed a desire for me Observe & Understand the New-born behavior. 

 Fortunately, one of the HUG blogs reflected my exact desire to learn on observing & understanding the New-born behavioral cues and that’s how I enrolled myself for Certified HUG teacher course. The topics covered under HUG program imparts knowledge and adds value to Mothers, Professionals with simple explanation, real stories and variety of blogs which covered real life Mother and Father’s experience. I happy to have invested my time in an outstanding curriculum like this. 

 After practicing the learnings from HUG program to my patient, there has been a great improvement on bonding between the mom and Newborn. The ratio of the communication frequency was up between the mother & baby as they were engaged in bonding activities which includes talking, playing with rattles/toys, music / song singing with the baby, feeding, nursing, lullabies and so on. I got a sense of great satisfaction in holding this HUG certification, implementing the learnings from HUG program and to confidently act as a bridge for the mother and Newborn.

Muneeswari Jeyachandran, RN, MSC from Aruppukottai, Tamil Nadu India


Malaysian Pediatrician becomes a Certified HUG Teacher!

Saw Sian Chin, a paediatrician from Malaysia, reflects on her HUG Your Baby training and certification.


I am a Paediatrician and certified lactation consultant. Jan's Hug Your Baby course simplified baby's behaviour in a simple three zones: resting, ready, and rebooting zones, which I use myself, and taught parents on learning about their new babies. Jan's tips on calming babies and interactions have helped me to interact with babies better, therefore able to perform physical examinations more efficiently, do developmental milestone assessments more meaningful, and help mothers to breastfeed in a joyful way.

Here is a description of a parent visit Saw Sian made as part of her certification process:

I met with  1-month-old Baby Q who came to the clinic because her mother noticed that she has been crying a lot in late afternoons for the past 3 days. Baby Q was born term, normal delivery. The mother is breastfeeding with occasional formula feeding. 

On arrival to clinic, Baby Q was in the “rebooting” zone- crying with jerky limbs, screwing up her face. I asked mother about baby's last feed, and checked her nappy. We established that the baby was clearly not hungry or needing nappy change. I advised mother to talk to her baby in a soft voice, swaddled her tightly, and embraced her closely in her arms. I showed mother how to hold both arms together in mid-line as shown by Jan in the teaching video. 

To mother's surprise, the child calmed when mother started to sing to and sway baby in her arms. Her face showed clear relief when the baby stopped crying. Mother obviously has been struggling for the past few days. Since the baby is now calmer, I can examine baby's abdomen in more detailed and assure mother that there is no organic cause for her crying. Perhaps practicing these calming skills will decrease baby's crying and increases mother's confidencešŸ˜Š.

Missouri Public Health Nurse shares The HUG


Sarah Dodson RN, BSN has been a nurse for 10 years. With a background in maternal/child, she is currently working as a public health nurse with the WIC program in Missouri. She shares her reflection on becoming a Certified HUG Teacher.

I am amazed at what I have learned through the HUG Your Baby lessons. I am a mother of three, my son is 17 years old, my daughter is 12 years old and my youngest daughter is 1.5 years old. It always amazes me how much advice and recommendations change with each child. I truly wish that what I have learned now through HUG Your Baby, I knew then with each of my own children. 

 I am excited to be able to share what I have learned through the HUG Your Baby lessons with parents and caregivers. I want to foster their amazement with their own baby through the techniques I have learned. I know that it can only help strengthen the bond between parent/caregiver and child. A strong bond between infant and parent/caregiver will in turn, create a sense of security that can last a lifetime. Looking at this bigger picture is what drives me to want to share the amazing news about HUG Your Baby with everyone.

Sara Bayless, WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, becomes a Certified HUG Teacher


I have really enjoyed using the hugs information during my routine parent visits. I feel this really empowers the parents, help solidify my bond with parents, and parents are more receptive to the information being shared with them. 

 As a peer helper at WIC building my report with parents is very important. The skills I have learned have really helped me do this. There was such a sweet moment at the end of this visit That will always kind of “stick” with me, as a baby entered the resting zone. Baby was doing what appeared to do a smile while laying on mom. Perfectly relaxed and in the resting zone from nursing. Noticing how sweet of a moment it was after successfully helping mom and baby. We brought our attention to the baby rather than the conversation. Using the “start here not there” approach to really “soak in that moment” rather than distract from that moment. It was a sweet moment to share with the parents. It was a very powerful and special moment that positively impacted my relationship with the parents. 

Using the information, I feel confident in my ability to really help my parents through the journey. My goal being to offer the understanding your Newborn Class and to time my postnatal check-ins to the roadmap. Helping to empower parents with the knowledge needed to succeed in their breastfeeding goals. 

The information I have learned has given me the best tools to really help and make a difference for the parent I serve. As I personally can see how this information can really help a parent learn and grow with their baby. To really learn to “trust you baby and trust you body”, helping parents feel more confident in their ability to breastfeed long term. And to see breastfeeding as a journey that is always changing and morphing in time. I am very excited to see the impact this will have.

Wisconsin Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Shares Her HUG Journey


Leah Goldblum from Madison, Wisconsin shares her Certified HUG Teacher experience.

As a breastfeeding peer counselor and soon-to-be doula I am very grateful to have learned so much from these HUG classes. The HUG information has changed the lives of moms already. 

 Having mothers broadcast what their baby is doing at the moment has shown to improve the mother's understanding and relationship with them while building confidence that they are doing things right and they are good parents. Not only has it helped the moms I work with understand their baby's communication and build their confidence with being a mother but it has also helped build our relationship and make moms more open when communicating about their experiences. After learning HUG techniques I have had mom express the differences and improvements it has made with breastfeeding and life in general with baby. 

 I am looking forward to implementing HUG practices in all aspects of my birth work from being a breastfeeding peer councilor to a doula. 

New Certified HUG Teacher shares a HUG in Wisconsin!


Nicole Herubin from Superior, Wisconsin share her HUG Your Baby experience.

I have always been drawn to birth/supporting new moms and babies and the HUG your baby course was a natural next step for me. I have had 9 babies of my own and attended many births as a doula as well as given many consultations on babywearing and breastfeeding support over the years. 

 I was surprised to discover so many new ideas that I had no clue about! I really liked the concepts of active/light and deep/still sleep and wish I had learned about those when my children were babies. 

 I think my favorite HUG your baby moment was when I was able to meet with a very close friend and her new baby and help her learn more about her baby's sleep pattern. When I gave her information about what active/light sleep vs deep/still look like it was a revelation for her. She was so excited to try to use that new knowledge to help her baby get better sleep and in turn she would get better sleep. She reported back a few days later to tell me it had worked amazingly! She was able to get a 5 hour stretch of sleep and she felt like a new person. I was so grateful to have been able to help her. 

 I am excited to be able to continue offering support to parents and implementing my newfound knowledge while doing it!

Certified HUG Teacher shares The HUG with Wisconsin WIC families


Amanda Krueger from Stevens Point Wisconsin.

I am grateful for having the opportunity to participate in the HUG Your Baby program. I serve my community as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor and am working on achieving to become an IBCLC. I am a Doula, have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and breastfed my three children. I feel that my background in Psychology paved the way to noticing behaviors with my own babies and participating in this program validated everything I had noticed and more. In practice I have found it to be beneficial for families; it’s a way to connect and share information. 

 To reflect on a HUG experience that was meaningful to me I met with a pregnant mom in her home in her 9th month of pregnancy. She felt that with how difficult her pregnancy was, all she wants is to be able to breastfeed. It is her first baby and funds are tight and her personal relationships with her family have been a struggle. I broadcasted to her how she beamed when she talked about her baby and that she is already showing how much love she has. This mom was in her 40th week when she contracted Covid-19. She was induced immediately, and she had to give birth without family support. I talked to her after her baby was born in the hospital and thankfully baby tested negative. I believe it to be the breastmilk that was eagerly flowing to this hungry child! I visited mom at home when she ended her quarantine. Her baby was a champion at the breast! Baby was in a deep sleep when I arrived and we discussed baby sleep cycles. Baby soon awakened peacefully and stared into moms’ eyes in the ready zone. I broadcasted how mom and baby look deep into each other’s eyes with warmth and love. Mom’s face lit up. Baby soon began showing hunger cues. I broadcasted how mom saw those very first cues and tended to baby’s needs. While observing a feeding, I helped mom see how baby’s alignment was a bit off and to line up his ears, shoulders and hips. I commentated how it helps baby eat without turning his head, making it easier to swallow. By the end of my visit, mom seemed confident in her skills and at ease. Which made me feel like I have the best job in the world! Despite this moms hardships, she breastfeed with confidence and joy. I feel that taking the time to observe and broadcast shows your investment and builds inner confidence in those individuals.