FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. --New programs are available on Fort Huachuca to assist new parents and parents to be. Army Community Services now offers the New Parent Support Program and Baby Boot Camp. The programs are free to all active duty personnel and their families.

Baby Boot Camp was developed to give expecting parents the education they need before their baby arrives.

"You know parents have a ton of questions when they come home [from the hospital], and they don't have the nurse right there to ask those questions to," said Crystal Ramos, New Parent Support Program home visitation advocate. Ramos is a registered nurse; she developed Baby Boot Camp to provide parents with education.

"It doesn't matter whether this is your first pregnancy or your tenth pregnancy. As long as you're an ID-card holder you can attend," Ramos said. "Bring the dads along, too."

The first Baby Boot Camp held Jan. 18 went over baby basics. Everything from what to pack in the hospital bag when getting ready to deliver to swaddling a baby and changing diapers was discussed. My husband and I attended the first class as we are expecting parents. I thought the information was extremely beneficial.

Not only did the class get to learn about diapers and swaddling, but they also got to practice the techniques. Simulated babies, the size of real infants, were available so expecting parents could practice wiping and changing a diaper as well as swaddling the baby. The class was full of laughter as the expecting moms and dads went over the techniques with their dolls.

As Ramos said, bring the dads along too! One lucky dad, who happened to be my husband, got to experience what a full term pregnancy feels like through the "pregnancy simulator." The device simulates 35 added pounds with pressure to the bladder, much like a pregnant women feels towards the end. During each class Ramos said there will be a surprise for the dads.

"The ones who are really going to make the class worthwhile are the expecting parents. They're the ones that need the information, so the information they want is what we'll give to them," Ramos said.

Baby Boot Camp is held the third Tuesday of every month from 3-4 p.m. at Murr Community Center. Each month a different topic will be discussed. Topics include newborn safety and newborn findings. Breast feeding basics will be the topic of discussion at the next class, Feb. 15.

The New Parent Support Program is for all military families, including single parents and teenage parents expecting a child or those with a child younger than 3. The program provides one-on-one counseling through home visits or sessions at the ACS office. The purpose of the visit is to provide parenting education and support on an individual basis.

"We can discuss newborn care, breast feeding, potty training, behaviors, discipline ... basically anything that has to do with parenting and raising kids up until the child is 3 is what we're here for," explained Ramos.

Those who are not a new parent can still take part in the program. Often, adding a brother or sister into the family presents a real change in the family. Demands on one's time are different with more than one child in the home. The New Parent Support Program helps develop support networks and answers questions while one's family experiences changes.

For more information on The New Parent Support Program or Baby Boot Camp, call ACS, 533.2330. Parents need to register and/or make an appointment for both programs. ACS is located in Building 41415, Rhea St., Fort Huachuca.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16