Our success stories

Real stories written by real Waikato mums

Danielle K.
Danielle K.

“I recommend the Waikato Family Centre so strongly I put their phone number in every congratulatory card I send to new parents. 

I first started going to the Family Centre when my baby was just over two weeks old. We had just come out of lockdown, my husband had gone back to work, my family were all on the other side of the world and I had terrible post partum anxiety and no idea what I was doing as a mum. 

I attended the six week post natal distress group and started going in to the Centre weekly for help settling my little one. Over the next four months the amazingly knowledgeable and caring nurses diagnosed my baby with reflux and cows milk and soy protein intolerances. 

They also helped me with supply problems, nursing strikes, gentle sleep training and even starting solids. I do not know where I would be without this amazing team and their support. 

From a nervous first time mum who wanted to give up and run away and was convinced that everything that was going wrong was my fault (not helped by people constantly telling me it’s supposed to be hard and babies cry, it’s what they do) I have gained so much confidence and have really come to love being a mum. 

I felt listened to and supported at the Centre and no one ever doubted what I said, even when my daughter slept beautifully through her first few visits and didn’t show any of the behaviours she’d displayed at home. 

If you aren’t sure if the Centre can help, give Jo and the team a call, you’ve got nothing to lose, it’s a lovely place to spend the day and you’ll be blown away by how incredible these ladies truly are and a day at the Centre is also a fantastic way to connect with other mums with similar struggles. 

I enjoyed my visits so much I still pop in for a feed now and then just to say hello and I’m pleased to say my little Mackenzie is doing so much better, but if anything changes I know who to call!”

I am a first time mother and I'm writing in regards to the Family Centre and the unfortunate information that the DHB is considering cutting funding to the Family Centre. Me and my husband were struggling with a very upset newborn who would only ever sleep when being held as well as struggling to breast or bottle feed. 

I was first advised by my midwife to come to the family centre two weeks ago as an option to try and provide the best care we could for our son. In the space of two weeks and after a total of three visits there have been vast improvements. My son has gone from only sleeping when being held and being a very distressed baby, to sleeping in his bassinet for the majority of his naps including overnight. The wonderfully trained staff at the Centre also suggested my son might have a cows milk allergy. 

Theo is my first child, and without the support of the family centre and staff, we would have been quite lost. As a first time mother, I have found the advice of midwives, plunket, G.P’s and nurses to often be conflicting and this lead to confusion and distress for me and my family. The Family centre provided a practical way for me and my baby to be observed by the nursing and midwife staff which allowed them to better direct us and show us techniques that helped with settling the baby as well as providing emotional support through their encouragement and by creating a space where mothers could also share their experiences with each other. 

They helped us establish a routine that works for us as a family and they have been a great source of comfort. I have gone from not feeling like I'm able to cope to being able to get through the day with reasonable confidence. 

Without this centre, I believe my mental and physical health would have declined to the point of needing external support as I was struggling with the emotional, mental and physical demands of being a new mother with a struggling baby. Being here has enabled me to avoid this, and other mothers who use the Centre that I have spoken to, feel the same way. 

The other families and mine have been shocked to hear that the centre may lose its funding. To remove the centre would be a substantial loss not only to the community, but also for the many parents who travel a distance to find that support. Every visit to the centre has been busy and we have found great value in them. 

I believe it would be a great mistake to reduce or take away the funding of the Family centre as it provides an easily accessible support network for mothers who are struggling. They also provide seminars, courses and education to vulnerable groups such as teenage mothers or mothers struggling with anxiety and postpartum depression. 

I believe it would cause further pressure on various DHB programmes if the family centre lost its funding and it would negatively affect the health and wellbeing of many mothers, fathers, and babies. 

Kimberly K
Kimberly K

Sam J.
Sam J.

For close to two months, we had been struggling with our wee man having more than a 10 minute cat nap during the day and then an absolute nightmare getting him to settle for his night sleep.  The only way we could get him to sleep was if he was being held all the time or on me.  This meant I was unable to do anything during the day – couldn’t get something to eat or drink in fear of waking him or having to go to the bathroom with him in my arms.  If I ever worked up the courage to put him in his bassinet he would just cry until I picked him up.  When it came to getting him ready for his nighttime sleep, he would scream the house down from 6pm to 9pm and then fall asleep for half an hour until his next feed at 9.30pm.  

My husband would try to take him from me to settle but he would just get even more worked up and harder to settle.  I could not sit down at all and would have to hold him and walk around the house.  During the night he would be unsettled – so much so I would end up on the couch with him on my chest to try get some rest and to allow my husband to sleep (he is a truck driver and gets up about 2.30am to get to work).   It was putting a lot of strain on me and my relationship.  I was becoming very short tempered, emotional, and building a lot of resentment.

I had a visit from my Plunket nurse, and she suggested I contact the Waikato Family Centre.  At first, I had my doubts but after a really crappy night with baby I made the call the following day.  I thought, “I have nothing to lose”.  I met with Jo and told her what had been going on.  Her support and understanding helped me realise I am not alone, and I don’t have to struggle.  She booked me in to spend the day the following week.  When I arrived on my first day I was super nervous.  Jo introduced me to her team and immediately I felt I was in the right place.  Of course, little man behaved himself and slept nicely (typical) but they booked me in for the following week.  When I returned, he showed them his true colours.  

Now someone could see what he does, and I wouldn’t feel like a liar and overreacting mother.  The team were fantastic.  They showed me some valuable techniques and gave me lots of encouragement.  I took these tips home with me and put them into practice.  Yes, we still had issues getting him to sleep properly initially but I did not want to give in.  I wanted to win this battle.  I went back the following week for some help and learnt some more valuable things.  During my time there, I felt so comfortable that I opened up about my true feelings.  

I have not bonded with my baby and felt like such a failure as a mother.  I sat down with Jo and Kate and just let it all out.  Kate encouraged me to join a 6 week course to help manage my depression and Jo strongly suggested I talk to Neville Puckey in regards to my depression medication.  Jo set the appointment up with my consent and I met with Neville.  We have put a plan in place that I will talk to my GP about in regards to increasing my dosage as well as medication for my anxiety.

We now have a little boy who is having 1 ½ to 2 hour sleeps during the day, self settling, no melt downs at night and is sleeping all the way through.  I do still feel very anxious if I hear him cry but I now know he is able to settle and get back to sleep without too much assistance from my husband and I. I am able to get things done around the house now and the chance to sit and relax before his next feed.

These ladies have been an absolute lifesaver for me.  I don’t know where I would be today if I had not been brave enough to make that phone call.  Thank you does not feel enough.  I will be forever grateful to these lovely ladies and for all their support, encouragement and comforting words.  I can not rave enough about them all – you are all a wonderful contribution to the community.

Have you spent time at the Waikato Family Centre?

We would love to hear about your experience!

Send your stories to help@waikatofamilycentre.com so we can share them on our website and across our social media platforms.


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