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Why I Created A Hug Plan and You Should Too

January 19, 2017

To celebrate National Hugging Day (Jan. 21), I hugged my baby boy and reminisced about our very first hug when he arrived this past September. I am so glad that I was able to use the Hug Plan to ensure we connected skin-to-skin in those first precious moments of my baby’s life. Why I Created A Hug Plan and You Should Too

I was first introduced to the Huggies Hug Plan this past summer when I interviewed Dr. Christine Chambers and Dr. Marsha Campbell-Yeo about the power of hugs. These medical experts (and mothers) reviewed hundreds of scientific papers on skin-to-skin and wanted to promote the benefits of skin-to-skin hugs for babies. Why I Created A Hug Plan and You Should Too

What is a Hug Plan?

Cue the creation of the Hug Plan; an extension to the birth plan that focuses on the immediate moments post-delivery. According to the studies behind the Hug Plan, continued skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby can lead to less postpartum depression, a greater exchange of sleep, and babies that cry less. The best part of skin-to-skin is that it can never be overdone. Hugging baby helps mother and baby understand each other and bond. Why I Created A Hug Plan and You Should Too

You can read these facts and more in this white paper on ‘The Power of Touch for Babies’ here.

I was mid pregnancy when I discovered this research by Dr. Chambers & Dr. Campbell-Yeo and had just started to think about labour, and how I wanted to bring my little one into the world. It was the perfect time for me to develop my own Hug Plan to ensure we were prepared for baby’s first hug. Why I Created A Hug Plan and You Should Too

Why I Created A Hug Plan and You Should Too

My Hug Plan

I used a midwife, as opposed to an OB-GYN, and she was very supportive of immediate skin-to-skin after delivery. It was part of her practice to ensure that baby and mother were connected as soon as possible. Together, we went through my Hug Plan and made decisions such as placing the baby on my stomach before the cord was cut and he was cleaned off, and designating my husband as the alternate hugger should I be unavailable for whatever reason.

My Labour

I was very lucky in labour. Although I was mentally prepared to do whatever it took to deliver a happy and healthy baby, I gave birth naturally on September 21st at 11:21 pm. My entire labour lasted 17 hours but active labour (the super painful part) only lasted 5 hours with 50 minutes of pushing. I laboured the majority of the day at home while watching a Blue Jays playoff game (they lost), and headed to the hospital about 2 hours before I actually gave birth. It was the most exhilarating, painful, overwhelming, terrifying, and amazing experience of my entire life.

Our Skin-To-Skin Experience

As we had decided, my baby was placed directly on my chest after he was born. I stared down at him, mouth open, and he stared right back at me. We just lay there looking at one another – My husband leaned over and kissed us both. For the next hour, I held my son on my bare chest, adrenaline-fuelled and overcome with emotion as I attempted to comprehend the overwhelming reality of what had just occurred. Having my little man on my chest calmed me (and him), and when he began to root for something to eat, breastfeeding and latching seemed to come naturally.

 

Over the next few weeks, I continued to practice skin-to-skin. I held the baby on my chest constantly and for a while, he would only sleep soundly on my husband or me. The baby never seemed to cry extensively, he breastfed easily, gained weight beautifully and according to our midwife, was the perfect baby. Holding him close seemed to (and still does) calm us both.

As I have said before, I was very lucky in my labour and in my mothering experience thus far. Although the first three months were very, very difficult emotionally, I feel as though having my baby close and practicing skin-to-skin helped me cope with some of the intense post-partum anxiety, mine and the baby’s ability to physically adjust to one another, as well as establishing the synched emotional connection that we now enjoy.

My Husband and Skin-to-Skin

My husband also practiced skin-to-skin with our son. At the hospital, my husband removed his shirt and held our son, also overwhelmed with the emotion of meeting his new baby boy. At home, he would also sleep with the baby on his chest and often wore our son around the house in a wrap or carrier. Both he and the baby seemed comfortable and content being so close and to this day, my husband loves putting our son in the carrier and wearing him for walks, naps or just around the house.

Writing Your Own Hug Plan

From my experience, having a Hug Plan and practicing skin-to-skin has been emotionally and physically beneficial for my family. I am so happy to have had those precious moments with my son right after his delivery and to continue our bonding experience with skin-to-skin. Why I Created A Hug Plan and You Should Too

You can download your own copy of the Hug Plan here to prepare for your first hug with baby.

Share this article with another ‘Mom-to-be’ to help her create her own Hug Plan or share your own skin-to-skin experience online using #NoBabyUnhugged.

Leave a comment below to be entered for your chance to win a Huggies Hug Pack!

Happy Hugging!

(You can also read this article of The Baby Post)

*This post was sponsored by Huggies Canada

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19 Comments

  • Reply Elaine January 19, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Such a beautiful story! I’ve never heard of a hug plan before but I was lucky enough that the hospital where I gave birth at was a big promoter of skin-to-skin so any chance I got the nurses helped me to keep the baby on my chest as much as possible.

  • Reply Rhoda January 19, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Love this!

  • Reply Erica January 19, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Love this Natty! Birth stories are so beautiful. We also had a midwife and did lots of skin to skin, but I’ve never heard of the hug plan.Such a good idea, especially for those who don’t have a midwife to promote it ❤

  • Reply Michelle January 19, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Although I’ve never heard of a ‘hug plan’ all three of my son’s had skin to skin time after birth (two with OB’s & one with a midwife). I don’t know if it has had an effect on us since I have nothing to compare but all of our babies have been very content and happy boys. ❤
    Love birth stories. Nothing compares to meeting your newest love for the first time. Nothing.

  • Reply Marra January 19, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    I just created a hug plan and plan to do skin-to-skin with my baby. There’s so many benefits! Thanks so much for the chance, I could use a Hug Pack – my little one arrives in 2 months.

    • Reply Natalie Preddie January 19, 2017 at 5:30 pm

      Congrats!!! So exciting! Those first moments with baby are priceless.

  • Reply Erika January 19, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    I’m so happy to see that skin to skin is becoming more mainstream. I also had a midwife that supported immediate skin to skin. My second birth was at home and of course we had lots of cuddling and hugs right after.

  • Reply Karin January 19, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Loved your article and I fully agree with how amazing that first initial hug can be! I was so grateful to have those moments as well! Xo

  • Reply Allison January 19, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Great article reiterating the benefits and precious moments linked with skin to skin. I too will always cherish this time I had with both of my kids upon delivery.

  • Reply Nicole January 19, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    This made me happy cry… it also made me want to have another baby. I am so happy you had such an incredible experience. I had an unofficial Hug plan, skin to skin is THE BEST. Enjoy all the cuddles, unfortuantly they reach an age where it is awkward for everyone to try and recreate this special moment in both mom and babies life.

  • Reply Lisa January 19, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    sending this to my sister who is expecting her first next week! <3 – an excited first time auntie!

  • Reply Danielle January 19, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    What a beautiful story!! The whole process really is beautiful. I have never heard of the hug plan what a wonderful idea.

  • Reply The Curious Creature January 20, 2017 at 1:28 am

    Love this! I actually never knew your full labour story — 17 hrs and the majority was while watching the Blue Jays game?! lol you are AMAZING. Also, I love that hubby had skin-to-skin time with C. Think that is super important. Can’t wait to have our little man join the boys club 😉

  • Reply Jessy January 20, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Sounds like you had an amazing birth experience. It is such a blessing to have your babies first hug after birth.

  • Reply Jennifer January 21, 2017 at 1:45 am

    I love this idea! I wasn’t able to do skin-to-skin immediately with my first baby as he was a c-section, but I was able to do it with my second baby, Maxwell, and I definitely felt the benefits. I love the instant bond it seems to create between mama and baby. Great article!

  • Reply Megan January 24, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    I think it’s a great idea to encourage others to spend lots of time skin to skin with their baby. So many benefits!

  • Reply Kathleen January 26, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Great read! I never had a “hug plan” but knew I wanted to do skin-to-skin with my son as soon as he was born. It was such a magical moment that I will never forget.

  • Reply Haley Jackson February 6, 2017 at 5:10 am

    I wish I would have spent more time skin to skin!

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