When my first child was born almost 11 years ago, I received a phone call: “Hi, this is the Plunket nurse. When can I come see you?” At the time, I didn’t know what Plunket was, let alone what to expect, so I was a bit wary. What would the Plunket nurse think of my messy house, which I hadn’t been able to properly clean since becoming a new mum? What if she didn’t think I was doing a good job of caring for the baby? I’d never been a mum before, after all! I didn’t know what I was doing!
Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, when my third child was six weeks old: “Hi, this is the Plunket nurse. Would you like your baby to be seen by us?” My answer was, “OF COURSE! I love Plunket!” Because I do. Over the past 11 years of motherhood, Plunket has been there for me. And I’m so grateful for it.
As a first-time new parent, the Plunket nurse came to see me on a regular basis, guiding me through my baby’s development and growth. She checked on my mental health and wellbeing and gave me advice and help with the challenges of being a new mum. She was practical and knowledgeable. At times I didn’t agree with her approach and asked her for another option, because no baby or mum is the same – and she would think of alternatives and listen to my point of view. It was a partnership.
When my second child came along, my experience was a little bit different, but still good. We had moved to a new area, so I saw a different Plunket nurse. I was a second-time parent, so I knew what to expect, and I felt more confident. If anything, I took Plunket for granted, and although I still looked forward to our checks and the info and advice, I wasn’t as “into it” as I had been with my first baby.
And now I’ve got a third newborn, and I’m seeing my third Plunket nurse. And this time, I’m more keen than ever to take advantage of the amazing service they offer to new mums. I’ve become hyper-aware of the awesome knowledge and experience that the Plunket nurses have. They have resources I never realised existed! And then there’s Plunket Line – what a godsend! I can call it any time of the day or night and talk to a professional about my baby or my other kids. And play groups! Live Facebook chats with experts! Coffee groups for new mums! They do SO MUCH for families with babies and young children – it blows my mind. I love Plunket. I might have to have another baby after this one, just so I don’t have to stop welcoming them in for a cuppa and a baby weight check. Ha ha, just joking. I think.
The reason for this Ode to Plunket isn’t because they asked me to write any of this – they don’t know I’ve written it or that I feel this way. The reason is because I found out about their 1,000 Days to Raise a Bundle fundraising campaign. The right care in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life makes a significant difference to their futures, and so Plunket is taking 1,000 days to raise funds to continue their vital work with the young families of New Zealand. You can find out more at raiseabundle.org.nz – and make a donation.
Plunket has helped me so much, so it’s time for me – and other mums and dads – to help Plunket so that other parents can experience their wonderful and vital service too. It’s an investment in the future of our country. Thanks, Plunket, for being there for me, and for helping me raise my bundles.
Have a great week.