Tags: Health Pregnancy Family Real Wellbeing factors

“For me, BumptoBaby was a really safe place where Nadine could train and help me, but it was also like being able to talk to a friend.”—Anne Grunsell.

Key points

  • BumptoBaby provides eligible customers with personalised information relating to pregnancy, birth and new parenthood.
  • As part of the program, midwives and maternal child health nurses provide expert advice and support via telephone and email.
  • BumptoBaby was a saviour for Anne Grunsell, giving her an expert to talk to about the issues she was having, from morning sickness to lack of sleep.

Sometimes the difference between hope and despair is a good night’s sleep. Just ask Anne Grunsell. The Sydney mum is familiar with that bleary-eyed feeling of total exhaustion given that she’s got two little boys—aged eight months and two years old—alongside two stepchildren who are 14 and 12. 

But while she’s used to wearily soldiering on, recently Anne found herself really struggling. “Harvey, my second baby, doesn't sleep,” she says. “He just doesn't sleep.”

Harvey’s nocturnal habits plummeted to a new low when he began waking up with alarming regularity. 

The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index—a 20-year study into the wellbeing and life satisfaction of Australians, created in partnership with Deakin University—shows a relationship between better sleep and better wellbeing. More tired than ever, Anne began to feel desperate. “It's debilitating when you are that tired,” she admits. 

Two women lie sleeping on the couch with their baby

Baby experts on call

Luckily, however, Anne had a solution—a trusted form of salvation on the end of a phone. An Australian Unity program delivered by its healthcare division Remedy Healthcare. Upon registering, BumptoBaby gives eligible customers who are new or expectant parents access to a dedicated team of midwives and maternal child health nurses. 

You can call them and harness their wealth of knowledge whether that pertains to sleep, feeding support or whatever else you are going through. Essentially, it’s a hotline to a team of maternal health experts—making them a vital source of wellbeing support for stressed new parents and parents-to-be.

“When I rang the other day, I was almost in tears because Harvey wouldn't sleep through the night,” Anne recalls. “But the sleep tips from Nadine, a midwife at BumptoBaby, were amazing. She got me to try all these things, from starting a routine to putting a T-shirt I’d been wearing close by. Now Harvey even has day sleeps! It’s been a real game changer.”

Anne tapped into the BumptoBaby resource during both her pregnancies. When she was expecting her first child, the experience was especially challenging. “With Henry, my first baby, I had a bit of a rough pregnancy,” she says. “I had that sort of morning sickness that lasted  the entire pregnancy and was vomiting seven or eight times, day and night. It was just constant. Then I got influenza and ended up in hospital.” 

Two men holding their baby

Phone a friend

Compounding these issues was the problem that many mums face—a blizzard of unsolicited “tips” from well-meaning friends and family, often based on half-baked home remedies or old wives’ tales. 

During these times, Anne found BumptoBaby to be a source of emotional as well as practical support. “What I found amazing was that I could ring Nadine or she'd ring me, and I could just vent like: ‘If someone tells me to eat a cracker again to help my morning sickness, I'm going to scream!’” Anne laughs.

“For me, BumptoBaby was a really safe place where Nadine could train and help me, but it was also like being able to talk to a friend.”

Having that source of solidarity just a phone call away was particularly welcome for Anne, who had become pregnant later than most of her friends. “It was a bit isolating because I didn't know anyone else who was pregnant at the same time,” she says. “I didn’t have any close friends to go and say, ‘So this thing happened. Is that normal?’”

The value of BumptoBaby’s support system was underlined with child number two. Harvey was not only born a month premature, but also arrived in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdowns that prevented family and friends from rallying around. 

“Because of that, we haven’t had people being able to physically come and help us,” Anne admits. “So coping with the baby has often very much been a lone-wolf exercise. My husband is very hands-on, but with four kids, it's full on!”

Woman holding her baby laughing and smiling with another woman

Expert information at your fingertips

Anne believes the fact that BumptoBaby’s services are accessible over the phone—rather than face-to-face—also encourages you to be brutally honest about how you’re really coping. “You can tell them anything,” she insists. “I would describe it as being a completely non-judgmental, safe place that’s also a centre of all information.”

Having a trusted source of expert information was something that Anne found invaluable. When she had an excessive supply of milk with Henry, for example, the Australian Unity service quickly connected her with the milk bank, making the process as simple and painless as possible. 

“If you have a question on something and they can't answer it, they'll just be like, ‘OK, let me look into it, and I'll come back to you’,” Anne says. 

When you’re sleep-deprived and scrambling to learn the ropes of being a new parent, life can sometimes feel overwhelming. But for Anne, BumptoBaby helped her family to manage by providing her with a reassuring source of practical expertise and personal support. Life with a newborn can be tough, so why wouldn’t you make use of all the help you can get?

Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is not medical advice and you should consult with your healthcare practitioner. Australian Unity accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the opinions, advice, representations or information contained in this publication. Readers should rely on their own advice and enquiries in making decisions affecting their own health, wellbeing or interest. Interviewee titles and employer are cited as at the time of interview and may have changed since publication.