Breastfeeding Support

"I first came to the Family Centre when my wee darling was five and half weeks old.  I suspected she wasn't getting enough milk from me, because she was really hard to settle, cried lots and was constantly cueing me with "hungry signals".  My midwife was really pro-breastfeeding, to the point I was expressing every two hours and breastfeeding and exhausted and feeling really inadequate!  It was not acknowledged that all was not as it should have been.  The baby had three poor weeks of weight gain and I was beside myself - it's a really primal thing, wanting your baby not to be hungry.

I went to the Waikato Family Centre.  I was distressed as I knew my supply was down, I had been giving her some formula after my breastfeeds for a few days.  I was concerned as I really wanted to breastfeed my baby for as long as possible.

I was reassured not judged and after feeding my breasts were expressed and this was given to baby with a small amount of formula.  I was given advise and options to possibly maintain/increase my supply and each visit thereafter my feeding was assessed and pertinent options discussed.

We kept that up till a few weeks ago, when I weaned her at 20 weeks, but only as I injured my back and are on really strong painkillers.  I know that if I hadn't come to the Family Centre, I would have given up breastfeeding long before 20 weeks.

Coming to the Family Centre was really important for my self-esteem, and for normalising my experience.  I had felt that I was the only mother in Hamilton who has trouble breastfeeding, but the Family Centre and the other mums who went there with me helped me realised that I wasn't alone, that you can successfully breastfeed and bottle feed at the same time and that it isn't the end of the world if you don't have enough milk.

Thanks to Maureen and her wonderful team, my baby has had the best possible start that I was capable of giving her.  My wee darling is thriving and I couldn't be happier".

 - Laura

Post Natal Distress

"The birth of our second child was anticipated with much excitement and nervousness.  Our first child had many problems with her health and I was anxious that her brother would suffer the same problems.  Lachlan was born by elective caesarean strong and healthy.  Everything seemed to be going OK at first; her was a good feeder and slept OK.  At three weeks he started showing signs of gastric reflux, (a condition his older sister suffers from also) and things just went down hill from there.

I remember my husband coming home from work around that time to find me in the kitchen crying my eyes out.  He couldn't understand why I wasn't coping with two children when others coped so much better with more.  That was when I phoned the Family Centre.  I had been in with my daughter when she was a baby and not settling.

Maureen greeted me at the door with compassion, understanding and a wealth of knowledge.  I burst into tears and poured my heart out to her and after an assessment we came to the conclusion that I was suffering from Post Natal Depression (PND), severe PND in fact.  Maureen phoned my GP and that day was the beginning of a wonderful friendship I developed with the Family Centre.

The Waikato Family Centre runs an eight week Post Natal Depression support group.  During this time I received the support and knowledge I need to get me back on top of things.  I also met two of the best friends I will ever have.  During the eight weeks the course ran, we have support and information from a pharmacist in regards to the different medications available and side effect, doctor and psychologist, plus mum talking about their experience of PND from past PND Groups, and of course the wonderful Maureen.  

For me, I was in denial for some time and couldn't accept that I had depression and the stigma that goes along with that.  The group helped me to understand the mechanics behind the hormone imbalance that lead to the uncontrollable tears, the feelings of worthlessness, the inability to look forward to anything in my life, and the anger and resentment I felt for my husband.  We had a partner's evening which was beneficial for our partners to get an insight into how we were really feeling and how it could be managed.  Maureen also lent me a very easy book to read on post natal depression which I shared with my husband and mother, and that too was invaluable in helping them understand how I was feeling.  Maureen also has the most wonderful insight and intuition in regards to each one of her mums she sees at the centre.

I wanted to move into the centre or at least hire one of the wonderful Karitane nurses to come and move in with us!!  The nurses at the centre helped me with Lachlan's feeding and sleeping issues for weeks and with their knowledge and support through the group and medication to control Lachlan's reflux, I finally began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you are a mum out there reading this and you too are finding things tough going with a new born, please know that you do not need to do it alone.  There is support, great advice and empathy in abundance at the Waikato Family Centre.  Now 3 years on, my son still suffers from gastric reflux, but I however had completely recovered from Post Natal Depression."

 - Jacqui