This session was presented at the 2020 ILCA Conference by Elsa Quintana BA, BCJ, IBCLC, CLE and Jan Tedder BSN, FNP, IBCLC, and this review was written by ALCI President Sue Jameson.
Elsa had worked with Jan in New Mexico to improve breastfeeding outcomes by referencing Child Development Milestones. As this is an area that I have read and presented on, on many occasions I was interested to learn how they had used Jan’s HUG programme to make changes. HUG stands for Help, Understanding and Guidance and from this Jan has developed a Parent Information Sheet that provides anticipatory guidance for what to expect in the early months. She uses the term GPS – Great Parenting Skills and the road map analogy is used throughout. This is very good as it follows the theme that breastfeeding and parenting is a journey with many twists and turns and that some of these can be avoided or planned for if one has a map.
Brazletons Touchpoint Theory is used to underpin the programme as it identifies significant events or Touchpoints (referred to as Leaps in the more familiar Wonder Weeks materials by Frans X. Plooij & Hetty van de Rijt-Plooij seen in Europe) which signal change is on the way.
Often surges or leaps in development cause changes in baby’s eating and sleeping patterns, which are often misunderstood by parents and can cause them considerable distress. The other point to note is that these developmental surges are predictable. Research has shown that understanding infant behaviour and responding effectively to infant cues contributes to longer breastfeeding duration (Shloim et al., 2017); promotes positive interactions between parent and child (Nugent et al., 2007); boosts parental confidence, reduces risk of postnatal depression, and positively impacts both attachment of baby to parents and baby’s development (Lester & Sparrow, 2010).
The materials were used to educate health professionals so that they had an increased awareness and confidence in discussing all aspects of normal developmental behaviours with parents and providing anticipatory guidance to them from an increased knowledge base. Over the areas the scores on all aspects were improved see slide showing results.
The HUG programme is available to purchase and training is available for anyone wishing to be a HUG consultant. Referring to the material, it mirrors what community based support groups in Ireland provide by way of trained breastfeeding helpers and Peer support.
The studies confirm what we know – that is parents do better when they receive timely skilled help and information about infant behaviour to help them understand what’s happening for their little ones.
It was reassuring to hear from another country that similar programmes make a difference to all population groups and to those in the lower SE groups in particular. The HUG programme is child centred and optimizes parent responsiveness to their infant’s needs.
Listening to this talk and speaking to the presenters afterwards I noted that it was an approach that any of us working in the voluntary sector would immediately recognise. Working on improving parents’ knowledge of the normal newborn’s behaviour makes breastfeeding a more enjoyable experience as anticipatory guidance provides them with a road map for the journey over the first year.
Further information on HUG here https://hugyourbaby.org/jan-tedder-bsn-fnp-ibclc/
Sue Jameson, ALCI President, October 2019.
Sue attended the ILCA Conference, representing and funded by ALCI.