The Early Parenting Store is now OPEN!

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05 March 2018

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5 min read

Mental Health

On the 26th February we officially opened the doors to the first Karitane Early Parenting Store at Westfield Bondi Junction.

The Karitane Early Parenting Store  provides new mums and dads a range of services that address common parenting challenges such as sleep and settling, feeding, toddlers, adjusting to parenthood and much more. Karitane patron Ita Buttrose said the service is a much needed innovation in health care.

“Parenting is the hardest job you will ever do and families need support. When my son Ben was born I was editing Cleo, Karitane provided invaluable support and guidance during this hectic time of my life. Today, 8 out of 10 mums with young children need support but yet less than 30% will seek assistance".

It is easier than ever to drop in for a free chat with an experienced Child and Family Health Nurse, book in for parenting workshops and Child and Family Health consultations, with all profits reinvested into other Karitane services supporting vulnerable families across NSW.

We hosted a weeklong party for families, offering our popular parenting workshops for FREE in store, as well as having children’s activities such as face painting, balloons, magic and games for the kids. A VIP launch party was also held on Tuesday the 27th where the Karitane community came together with our Patron, Ita Buttrose, and the Karitane Board.

During the evening we heard from our CEO, Grainne O’Loughlin, Ita Buttrose and Vyonne Hughes a Karitane client and now volunteer at our Randwick Parenting Centre. Although we all know how important the work our team does with families it was particularly touching to hear first-hand how Karitane changed a mother’s life. Read a transcript of Yvonnes speech below:

“Hello, my name is Yvonne.

I wanted to talk to you about asking for help. I was looking for quotes about this to share with you today, and I came across this one:

“When we work alone, we focus only on surviving. When we work together, our focus expands and we actually begin to thrive. We go fast alone. We go further together.

I also came across this one: “Asking for help boosts happiness, because not only does it make your life easier, it demonstrates that you have a social network that supports you".

I’m the mum who asks for help. With one thing or another, I’ve needed it over the years. And we’re so lucky to have such brilliant services that are available to us when we do need help.

One of the reasons that I was a mum who needed help was because I had a baby that didn’t sleep. Unless you counted 45 minute cycles. When he was being held. In a rocking chair.

My first call to Karitane was when my little guy was about 14 months old. I was so tired! I didn’t know it at the time but that call literally changed my life. The nurse I was assigned to was so kind and compassionate and caring, and she taught me a lot. And when we moved house and the disruption caused further problems with sleeping, she arranged for us to stay at the residential facility to get more support.

If this was a magazine, I’d show you a ‘before’ and ‘after’ photo. But as I’m talking, I’ll just have to describe them.

I arrived at Karitane Carramar in tears. I’d had a fight with my husband over driving directions – as you do when you’re both exhausted – and he’d dropped me off in the carpark with a bag, a pram, and a crying baby. When I knocked on the door and they told me I’d actually come to the wrong place, the floodgates opened.

Luckily I wasn’t too far away, and a staff member took me to where I needed to go. As I checked in sobbing, she said, ‘Don’t worry, this is why you’ve come.’

The first night the corridor was filled with crying mums and the echoes of crying babies.

Fast forward to the last night. The corridors were quiet. The babies were asleep. The mums, having had some education, more rest than we were used to, and even a massage, were sitting together having a late night snack and a giggle. For us, this could have been a holiday!

 I wasn’t exaggerating when I said life changing. With both of us getting sleep, we were able to have more fun as a mother-son duo, and everything became easier. 

 I know that lots of people avoid getting help because they feel like it’s a failure on their part and they don’t want to be judged or patronised - I know for sure that this would never happen at Karitane. Every time one of the nurses wanted to demonstrate a settling technique, she would always explain it first, and ask if I agreed to it. Because of this, I always felt comfortable and reassured.

 I cannot recommend Karitane highly enough. In fact, I’ve just started volunteering at the Randwick centre settling other babies, so I really did learn a lot.

 I was lucky enough to have heard about Karitane from my mothers group, so all I had to do was ask my doctor for a referral. Now, with Karitane being right here in Westfield, where all the mums are anyway – coffee and parents rooms, why wouldn’t you – it’s even easier!

 I would encourage any mums who are struggling to pop in for a chat and find out how they can access help. It’s right here".

To find out more about The Early Parenting Store or to book a consultation or workshop go to:

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