Reprinted from Bounty, July 7, 2020 | As told to Fiona Wright
Lauren and James from Illawarra, NSW, were beyond excited when they welcomed their gorgeous baby girl, Emilia into the world.
But, the couple had no idea how tough the first year would be. Here, Lauren shares how attending a virtual baby sleep class was life-changing for her little family-of-three.
“At 10-months-old, Emilia was still so unsettled, up every two hours throughout the night and the only way she would settle back to sleep was with breastfeeding, which meant only I could settle her. I was exhausted, drained, and my poor husband James was left feeling helpless,” Lauren begins.
“We needed help getting Emilia to settle without breastfeeding so that James could take over when I was falling off my feet, but in Illawarra where we live, there isn’t any local free parenting service, so we were very much on our own,” she explains.
After a local nurse referred the family to Karitane, they were delighted to be booked in for their Residential Stay services in Sydney – four full days of 24-hour support from professionals. But days prior to their appointment, COVID-19 happened and due to restrictions their stay was cancelled.
“We were devastated,” says Lauren. “But Karitane were quick to offer us their new Virtual Residential Stay service: video calls on a private secure platform, phone calls, emails and texts which meant we could receive the same four days of support services, virtually, within the comfort of our own home.”
“Initially, we had very mixed feelings about the efficiency of a virtual service, asking ourselves if virtual support be as good as being face to face? Would it be enough? Would we be able to achieve the outcomes we wanted? However our minds were immediately put at ease, as the clinicians treated us like VIPs.”