"BEFORE and AFTER" HUG Teaching Photos!
Eliza comes in with Willa, her second child. Eliza is a special mom in a special situation. She had suffered from severe postpartum depression after the birth of her first child. Fortunately, her family and friends gave Eliza and her family the help and support they needed to make it through those difficult months. During this second pregnancy Eliza stayed under the watchful eye of an encouraging pyschiatrist and now seems to be doing great. Eliza is here with her robust, healthy two-week-old for her well child visit.
But Eliza is worried. She is remarkably attentive to her little one and describes the oddest behavior. "I am worried that Willa is bored with me," she reports. She goes on to explain. "I'll be real excited talking to and loving on my little gal when suddenly she'll roll her eyes up and look away from me. Now, I've seen my 13-year-old niece do that to my sister, and I know what that means: 'Mom, you are boring me!'"
Like all moms, Eliza wants to feel connected to her baby. Research on postpartum depression shows that the interaction between a depressed mother and her baby is altered from birth. The ability of the mother to accurately "read" her baby's body language is hampered. Worry about being the perfect mom can similarly impact those early parenting days.
Eliza is understandably more sensitive than some moms would be to how her baby responds to her. She is aware of how much she missed out on those early connections with baby number one, and now she wants to gobble up every morsel of love and attention with this little one. But today, Eliza is misunderstanding important NORMAL newborn behavior.
As Eliza is decribing her concerns, I see little Willa do exactly what Mom is explaining. At first her arms jerk just a bit, her breathing increases slightly, and then she looks away from her mother's face. At once I recognize Willa's common behavior as an SOS (Sign of Over Stimulation). I remind Eliza of the HUG DVD we had watched during her pregnancy and how she had laughed when that cute baby had looked away from her mother's face. Eliza birghtens up as she gently holds Willa's hands against her chest, softly calls her name and is rewarded by her slow turn toward her mother's face. Eliza's sigh of relief is a clear reminder of how important it is that new parents be given skills to read and respond to normal newborn behavior. And in a case such as Eliza's, this information can help heal wounds of the past and set up this special mom for satisfying and effective interactions with her baby for years to come.