This month our Raise a Bundle team spoke to Emma Pennington. Emma is a first time month with baby girl Amberlie who has just turned 2 years old.
Throughout the interview Amberlie talks about the awesome services and value she gains from Plunket being available to her, she tells us about her struggles with sleep and explains why she is involved with our Raise a Bundle campaign!
Read below for more.
Plunket: Tell me about the first 500 days of Amberlie’s life and what impact that had on you/your family?
Emma: Amberlie had a massive impact on our lives as she was our first child. It honestly doesn’t matter how much preparation you do beforehand, nothing really prepares you for the shock of it all! The first 6 months we really struggled as we were adapting those changes to our lives. I think sleep deprivation played a huge part in it, Amberlie was a bad sleeper and she had colic in the early days, so it only started to improve after 4-5 months. Once we got through the 6 months we noticed the changes and we started to think about heading back to work and moving back into the stream of our normal lives. Amberlie started to sleep more and we started to have more fun as a family which was awesome. My husband is a stay-at-home dad with Amberlie which is completely changed our lives, but massively for the better! Enjoying the new dynamic in our house works so well, and we’ve even recently added a puppy to the mix! Amberlie has really developed this amazing personality, she is very strong-willed and fiery girl, but in a good way, funny and we are really starting to see the little girl she is growing into!
Plunket: As a first time parent, how has the support from Plunket positively enhanced your baby experience?
Emma: Plunket has supported us so much, particularly for the first year or so. We don’t have any family members in NZ as my husband and I are both from the UK. We don’t have the support network from a family perspective to relieve us when we need a break, or to ask the ‘silly’ questions. Plunket has been an awesome resource for us to ask those little questions comfortably and with confidence. We use PlunketLine a lot when we had little problems and they really helped us by giving guidance. Plunket has been a sounding board for us when we needed. We had an amazing Plunket nurse called Linda in Wadestown who was so fantastic, she gave us confidence and made us feel like we were doing the right thing. She backed all our decisions and this made us feel more comfortable as parents. We haven’t needed to consult so much now that Amberlie is older but we do make good use of the playgroups in Upper Hutt once a week. The playgroups are great way for my husband to mix with other parents in the community, but also Amberlie to meet children. Plunket has been fantastic for us!
Plunket: What Plunket services did you find most valuable, or use the most?
Emma: PlunketLine in the early days was huge for us, the baby checks were super valuable and the on-going playgroup that we go to every week. We also went to a lactation consultant for the first 3 weeks who provided really useful guidance for me at that time.
Plunket: What was one of the biggest learnings from your Plunket nurse?
Emma: With our ex-Plunket nurse, Linda, the biggest learning was to have confidence, to trust your intuition and not to over-analyze. We learnt to just go-with-the-flow with Amberlie. Everything is a phase at that age and trying new techniques and approaches are always good! She was a really good sounding board for us as new parents. She taught us to not be afraid to change things up if they aren’t working – there is so much info out there and she encouraged us to go with what was and felt right for us. She was fantastic, inspiring and built confidence in us as parents.
Plunket: You were recently part of our Raise a Bundle campaign for the Raise a Bundle 2nd Birthday – why did you get involved and what did that mean for you and your family?
Emma: It was for us a little way of being a ‘face for Plunket’ and what it is that Plunket does for families in their children’s early years. Being a great user of Plunket services and being so happy with the guidance and value we received and how available it is, it was our way of trying to give something back to not only Plunket, but also the wider community.
Plunket: What is one tip parent-to-parent you would pass on to another first time parent?
Emma: I would say trusting your intuition especially when you’re sleep-deprived and ‘googling’ at 3am in the morning. Going back to your intuition and what feels right to you as parents, is important. Everything really, truly, is a phase – don’t lose your will or tear your hair out. You get through it, it’s about persistence and consistency and acceptance through the tough times, no matter what it is, and it really usually is just phase even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.
Thank you for your time Emma!
Love, Raise a Bundle xx