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.