Phyllis Huesman, PCD,(DONA), is a postpartum certified doula in Harrison, Ohio and will soon be teaching monthly HUG classes. Though an experienced professional, she is enjoying sharing new information with the families she serves.
As a Postpartum Doula, I often see how tempting it is for new parents to spend precious moments observing the screen of their favorite device, rather than the signals from their new favorite person, their baby. I love sharing the HUG with parents and grandparents because it helps them to SEE their baby in a whole new way. Using what they see to increase the very real “communication” between parent and baby. Helping them realize that their baby as also their greatest teacher in this shared journey.
I love that the evidence based information presented through the HUG program empowers parents to stay ahead of and actually prevent many common causes of stress for their baby. How wonderful it is to see a parent picking up on an early hunger cue such as; their baby’s body wiggling and squirming or a baby bringing fist to mouth and responding lovingly before baby gets so upset that he or she is left to engage the last resort of crying for his/her meal. While most parents will not need more reasons to look at their precious baby, the HUG program does provide them specific benefits to observing what their baby is communicating to them through both body movements as well as changes in behavior.
Many new parents also benefit from what HUG Your Baby teaches them about the developmental stages that bring on changes in a baby’s behavior and eating habits. How gratifying to see the look of relief on a new mom’s face when she learns that most babies experience an increase in crying at around six weeks or the equivalent of 46 weeks gestational age and therefore this increase is a normal phase and not necessarily an indication of milk supply or parenting skill.
As I work with newborns and their families, I am aware that when stress does creep into the blissful baby world, it is often ushered in by either too much crying or too little sleep. The HUG, not only teaches ways to head excessive crying off at the pass, it also provides concrete techniques for calming a baby such as gently bringing a baby’s hands to their chest or a safe swaddle and sway when they are crying.
By helping parents learn baby’s sleep patterns and how to recognize when their baby is in Active/Light or Still/Sleep, parents will be less likely to misread normal sleep as restlessness, resulting in an increase of safe sleep time which helps everyone in the family get more rest.
I have a personal fondness for the areas of THE HUG that help parents learn to play and engage with their baby in a way that provides both family bonding as well as healthy cognitive development for their baby. Understanding the behavioral changes that come around significant developmental advancements can also boost parent confidence.
It is a true joy to share the HUG!