VILSECK, Germany -- It was a gaggle of giggles and coos as a handful of babies gathered together for the Newborn Network program, crawling their way into introductions. Each baby brought their mom along for support and a helping hand with difficult tasks such as sitting up and sharing toys.

"She loves other babies," said Meike Jocham of her seven-month-old daughter Lani.

Lani screeched in agreement and attempted to grab at the hem of a plaid dress worn by nine-month-old Hailey Manning.

Manning was hesitant at first but sensed a budding friendship and placed her tiny hand on her new playmate's forehead.

Across the room, 5-month-old Marcus Walker, let his presence be known by blowing spit bubbles and grinning ear to ear.

Newborn network is a weekly parents group, geared towards parents with children age 0 - 3. Children gather together to play and enjoy each other's company while learning developmentally appropriate activities and parents are given a forum to ask questions and discuss the growth, development and behaviors of their little ones. Parents dictate the structure and flow of the group allowing questions and stories to pass with candidness.

Topics range from breastfeeding and delivery processes to baby's manners and mischief.

All children are unique and meet milestones at their own pace, according to Olivia Bourke, a social worker and New Parent Support Program home visitor who facilitates the group.

With the Newborn Network and other New Parent Support Program programs, parents can gain information to understand their child's development and assist them in reaching their full potential.

The program is especially helpful for new moms like Mallory Duck.

"I come for advice from the other moms," said Duck, holding her four-month-old daughter Madeline. "I sometimes think I have no idea what I'm doing so it's good to share ideas and make sure I'm on the right track."

The Newborn Network is a healthy way to validate parenting skills while enjoying a relaxing hour of conversation.

"You learn that other moms have the same struggles and joys that you do as a parent," said Duck.

Newborn Network is part of NPSP in conjunction with the Family Advocacy Program and Army Community Service.

The Newborn Network meets every Tuesday, 1 - 3 p.m., at Rose Barracks Army Community Services, Bldg. 322 and every Thursday, 1 - 3 p.m., at the Main Post Library. For more, contact the ACS offices, Rose Barracks DSN 476-2650 and Main Post, DSN 475-8371.

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