FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – The Army’s New Parent Support Program (NPSP) is moving to virtual platforms here in response to social distancing requirements due to COVID-19.Throughout the installation community, COVID-19 precautionary measures placed restrictions on attending in-person family care classes beginning in March 2020.“New Parent Support Program normally offers scheduled parenting classes and support groups on a variety of topics including; pregnancy and post-partum, breastfeeding, safety, discipline, stress management and advice for parents experiencing deployments or for post-deployment integration,” said Lisa Zamudio, a registered nurse contracted for NPSP under the umbrella of the Soldier & Family Readiness Center (SFRC).From her SFRC office or her home, Zamudio operates one-on-one with new parents using video communications platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Duo, to name a few. She provides a variety of support services such as virtual home visits and parenting classes.“Babies don’t come with an owner’s manual,” Zamudio said. “We are here to provide as much guidance as possible.”With these online assets, NPSP continues to help Soldiers and Families learn to cope with everyday demands of parenthood and delivers an answer to new parents in need of assistance during COVID-19.“COVID[-19] has a profound effect on our childcare routine,” said Amy Austin.Austin balances working in development for the non-profit American Heart Association with being half the parenting team of a six-month-old infant and two-year-old toddler. Her husband is a Soldier instructor at the Army Weather Support Course.At home, Austin activates a Zoom link sent to her by Zamudio and starts an hour-long meeting. They discuss both children in candid conversations about diets, development, how they interact with others, and what Austin’s son is learning at childcare.“Though I am used to working from home, my husband and both kids being home as well, is an adjustment and challenge for our family,” Austin said.At the time of the COVID-19 outbreak, the couple pulled their children out of daycare and from participating in the previously offered home-visit options and employed the NPSP virtual platforms, she said.“I am incredibly thankful for the resources and care the New Parent Support Program has to offer,” Austin said. “I remember feeling extremely overwhelmed about having just moved away from family for the first time; I was seven months pregnant with my first [child]; and I felt like I needed help.”She called SFRC and asked if there were any resources for first-time moms.“The New Parent Support Program helped me calm my fears while still pregnant with my son, provided birth resources, connected me to resources for breastfeeding support, helped me spot post-partum depression, literally being the shoulder to cry on when needed, and helped me be an advocate for my children,” Austin said.The COVID-19 pandemic, though devastating and stressful, helped the couple prioritize where they devote their time and resources, she added.“My husband now does most of the grocery shopping and more household duties than he probably ever anticipated,” Austin said.Sometimes this is help with transportation, attending medical appointments, assisting in cooking and chores.“We have adjusted our home life roles through trial and error, conflict resolution and constant negotiation,” she said.The COVID-19 restrictions also sparked the parent’s imagination caring for their children at home.“We allotted some of our budget that would have gone to childcare and invested in a rooftop tent, which has been an amazing opportunity for us to connect and enjoy nature,” Austin said.“It has been an incredible opportunity to have the New Parent Support Program,” she said. “I strongly encourage new mothers that have access to this program to take full advantage.”# # #Fort Huachuca is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command and more than 48 supported tenants representing a diverse, multiservice population. Our unique environment encompasses 964 square miles of restricted airspace and 2,500 square miles of protected electronic ranges, key components to the national defense mission.Located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico, Fort Huachuca is an Army installation with a rich frontier history. Established in 1877, the Fort was declared a national landmark in 1976.We are the Army’s Home. Learn more at https://home.army.mil/huachuca/