Olivia Kononyuk was born on 22 Sept, 2016 and has since followed Plunket’s annual fundraising campaign ‘Raise a Bundle’ (RAB). Onto day 610 of Raise a Bundle's life Olivia has had an amazing start to life.
We have a chat with Tetiana, Olivia's mother, about the first 500 days of Olivia's life, and the value Tetiana has gained from having access to Plunket nurses in her area and resource provided by Plunket. Read below for more.
Plunket: How were the first 500 days of Olivia’s life – for you and Olivia?
Tetiana: It was definitely challenging because we have got one other, older child. It was quite easy going at first – up until Olivia was about 8 months, where we discovered she was lactose intolerant. It was a very frustrating process as it took us 2-3 weeks to find out what was actually wrong with her. Her symptoms included a very upset tummy, all the time, so it was frustrating trying to pin-point what was wrong – so we could fix it for her! But, life so far with Olivia has been fun, and she is an easy baby so we are not complaining.
Plunket: To you, how crucial are the first 500 days of a child’s life? In terms of progression and making the difference of a lifetime?
Tetiana: I think the first 500 days are very crucial and very important for not only critical development but also mental development of a child. They learn so many new things in the first 500 days – not only to sit up with their heads up and other necessary skills, but also how to react emotionally. Olivia learnt very quickly how to use her emotions and she can be quite manipulative! It’s so important for a child to have so much attention and giving their small bodies attention at all times, as they learn and grow
Plunket: What has been the biggest value of using Plunket and your Plunket nurse?
Tetiana: The biggest value for me was having the great advice available to me at all the necessary times. For example, during each visit with our Plunket nurse we covered big milestones and it was really important for me to get given advice on those milestones, as well as how they were growing, and developing in other ways. Our Plunket nurse always had great advice to give and to support me, as well as answer any questions. She helped me to understand what I could do help push Olivia along in terms of her development and help progress her milestones. I am very thankful for the Plunket nurses we had for Olivia, and our oldest child as well.
Plunket: What has been your biggest learning from your Plunket nurse, and the resources you were provided?
Tetiana: For me it was the advice given about various things! Both our children struggled with ear infections at an early age – our Plunket nurse advised us on how to deal with this, how to monitor it and just gave great general advice on how to manage these. I also must include that our Plunket nurse helped us a lot once we knew about Olivia lactose intolerance. We were advised to keep an eye on her at all times, monitor what we were feeding her, and when and how to introduce various foods back into her diet. She can now eat soft cheese and yoghurt in small doses, thanks to our Plunket nurse who helped us to understand when to introduce these back into her diet.
Plunket: How has the support from Plunket positively enhanced your baby experience?
Tetiana: Plunket has influenced both our children and our lives, as parents. Plunket has influenced the way Olivia has developed in all ways, but they have also taken care of me immensely over this challenging time of my life. I have always had valuable and great advice given to me, and we really appreciate the help Plunket has provided for us.
Thank you Tetiana for your time, we appreciate those kind words!
Raise a Bundle (RAB) will be doing a monthly story and interview with each of the RAB babies and families we have associated with this Plunket National Campaign. Check out https://raiseabundle.org.nz/articles for more stories and updates!