Skip to content
Skip to content

ANA Nursing Resources Hub

Search Resources Hub

ANA Innovation Award Winner Spotlight: Jan Tedder

5 min readJan Tedder

“We need to think outside the box of the hierarchy of education. We have to think about what we have great passion about,” says Jan Tedder, inventor of the HUG Your Baby program. “Even though I was not an organization or professor of nursing, I could not not move forward with the information I had – and that sometimes put me in a vulnerable situation.”

Tedder recalls how early in her career, she would attend conferences at which PhDs would be presenting on areas of interest to her. Unafraid to disagree, she would often raise her hand to offer a different point of view – never dissuaded by naysayers. It is that tenaciousness and passion that have been driving forces in her innovation journey. She became a nurse practitioner at a time when it was not a Master’s program and never acquired a doctorate, but her commitment to lifelong learning and teaching propelled her forward.

Tedder’s impact has been seismic. To date, the HUG Your Baby has been completed by over 3800 birth, lactation, and parenting professionals online, is required curriculum in two major nursing schools, and she has partnered with 14 state-wide and tribal nation Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) programs to bring her resources to a vast audience. The program earned her the individual ANA Innovation Award in 2020.

HUG Your Baby

HUG Your Baby is an evidence-based program that helps new mothers and families better understand their baby’s excessive crying, frequent awakenings, increased stranger anxiety, and perceived inability to latch for breastfeeding. It uses family-friendly and multicultural language, inspiring videos, and engaging content to help parents, and the nurses who serve them, better understand commonly misinterpreted behaviors.

Jan Tedder’s career path, and consequently the HUG Your Baby program, was born out of a lineage of caretaking, meaningful education and mentorship, and Tedder’s preternatural ability to transform complex medical concepts into accessible educational materials.

Tedder is the oldest of four girls and knew from a young age that she was interested in pediatrics and having a family. Today, she’s a third-generation nurse and credits her positive role models and mentors for her trajectory. She spent a year working in primary care before attending Nurse Practitioner school, and it was there that she was exposed to the body of work created by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, which helped parents better understand children’s behavior and the importance of that behavior. Over the course of 20 years, Tedder studied with Dr. Brazelton and took inspiration from that work, converting it into more user-friendly concepts for use in a primary care setting.

 “We believe that parents want to and need to understand their baby. As professionals we can enable parents to see their baby’s behavior and understand it,” Tedder said. “That will increase their confidence as parents, increase their breastfeeding rates, and increase their feeling of attachment to their baby.”

Tedder began developing her innovation using tools to facilitate parents’ understanding of their baby’s behavior. Right from the beginning, she used her flip phone camera and started recording different infant behaviors and teaching classes identifying what different behaviors meant. As the technology improved, she began developing parent education videos using iMovie as well as online courses for professionals.

Tedder would go on to speak at hundreds of national and international conferences over the years – all the while operating her own lactation consulting practice and developing the online courses that are available today. 

A beautiful baby with curly dark hair is wearing a white top with orange polka dots and a happy smile, and is seated on the floor with a toy.

Winning the 2020 ANA Innovation Award

Her arrived at the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, marking a sea change in how her work was distributed. Shifting from in-person to virtual was made possible by the award funds, which enabled her to use the shutdown to spend three years focused on her online and digital training resources. Tedder revamped her website, creating two new online courses, launching a digital resource page, and having her work professionally translating into seven languages. She also taught classes to approximately 4,000 people via Zoom.

Without the award, “I just wouldn’t have spent the money to update by website,” Tedder observed.

Since winning, HUG Your Baby’s reach has grown tremendously, reaching a wider international audience, and widening from 800 online course completions to 3800. The program is now offered through 14 statewide and tribal WIC Special Supplemental Nutrition Programs, which offer breastfeeding support to low-income women. Notably, HUG’s digital resource page is vital to this group. This portal offers 24/7 access to the HUG parent education video; newsletters (birth to 1 year); HUG lullabies; and the interactive Roadmap to Breastfeeding Success, with 12 age-specific, problem-solving video links. Several peer-reviewed articles have credited HUG Your Baby for teaching decreased maternal stress and increasing both nurses’ and parents’ confidence.

The award opened several doors for HUG Your baby as well. Tedder’s national reputation has been bolstered by the honor. She continues to speak at a national WIC conference, leads an international HUG leadership team advancing the program, and is proud of the personal connections she holds with breastfeeding coordinators across the nation.

Like the wider world, Tedder also faced her share of challenges in moving her work forward. She cites the challenges posed by web hosting, virtual interaction, and apps as learning opportunities for her.

“My customers see themselves as my customers, not the hosting company’s,” Tedder mused.

Challenges aside, HUG Your Baby’s successes offer much to take pride in. Tedder prizes her ability to story-tell above all, making scientific information family-friendly.

“The traditional child development and pediatric literature refers to babies having a physiologic-stress response where they have a change in autonomic nervous system and behavior,” She says. “What I teach is that babies send out an SOS – Sign of Over Stimulation – and babies tell us they’re overstimulated by the way they have changes in their body and behavior.”

This is a sophisticated observation of a newborn – and parents immediately understand this and change their behavior.

For other nurse innovators just beginning their journey, Tedder advises to follow your passion and surround yourself by individuals who will support and encourage you.

“I remember early on when I had this idea that I was going to create a new way of teaching parents about their babies. I was careful who I shared that with at first.” Tedder explains. “I had several very supportive people – my husband, sister and close friends – they were most vital to my success.”


Images sourced from Adobe Creative Cloud

Shaping the Future of Healthcare

Explore Nursing Innovations. Discover groundbreaking strategies and technologies that are transforming nursing practice worldwide.

Learn More

Item(s) added to cart

Go to cart Continue Shopping