Presidio of Monterey ‘Baby Boot Camp’ prepares expectant parents
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. David Muncy and his wife Emily look at a model of babies’ stomachs in the Baby Boot Camp class at Ord Military Community, Calif., March 9. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL
Presidio of Monterey ‘Baby Boot Camp’ prepares expectant parents
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Zoe Merritts, head of the PoM New Parent Support Program and class instructor, demonstrates how to swaddle a baby during the Baby Boot Camp class at Ord Military Community, Calif., March 10. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL
Presidio of Monterey ‘Baby Boot Camp’ prepares expectant parents
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Pfcs. Grace and Lucas Gaddis practice diapering a baby in the Baby Boot Camp class at Ord Military Community, Calif., March 10. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL
Presidio of Monterey ‘Baby Boot Camp’ prepares expectant parents
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. David Muncy and his wife Emily practice swaddling a baby in the Baby Boot Camp class at Ord Military Community, Calif., March 10. (Photo Credit: Winifred Brown) VIEW ORIGINAL

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (March 14, 2022) – Babies do not come with instruction manuals, but the new “Baby Boot Camp” class at the Presidio of Monterey comes close—and allows for questions.

The first in a series of classes kicked off March 9 at PoM Army Community Service at Ord Military Community. The classes provide expectant parents with a wide range of information that will help them bring a newborn home with confidence and ultimately improve the quality of life and well-being of the whole family.

“A lot of times we’re given these newborn babies with little to no experience,” said Zoe Merritts, head of the PoM New Parent Support Program and class instructor. “They say, ‘Here, you’ve been with us at the hospital for 24 hours, now it’s time to go and have this brand new life with you.’ It’s kind of an overwhelming experience.”

The classes will take place every second Wednesday and Thursday of each month through August, and begin at 5 p.m. so working parents can attend. The Wednesday class covers subjects such as community resources, pregnancy nutrition, labor and delivery, self-care and post-partum depression for mothers and fathers. The Thursday class focuses on newborn care, such as diapering, swaddling, bathing, health issues and car seat safety.

The class is open to service members from all branches of service, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserves. Those who attended said they learned a lot and will recommend it to others.

Pfc. Grace Gaddis, who attended with her husband Pfc. Lucas Gaddis, said she and her husband signed up because they wanted to make sure they knew as much as possible about taking care of a newborn. She plans to recommend the class to a friend who recently found out she is pregnant.

“Having a child is such a big difference in your life,” Grace Gaddis said. “I feel like knowing as much as you can about it can help you be a better parent and help you understand your baby a little better.”

Lucas Gaddis said the class helps relieve anxiety about becoming a parent, and increases confidence as well.

Spc. David Muncy and his wife Emily Muncy also attended. They have taken other birthing and parenting classes online, but appreciated the military-specific information the class taught them about Tricare benefits and other resources.

“That’s something that you can’t really find online or Google or ask your pediatrician, and so it’s really nice to come to a military environment and learn about the military side of newborn care,” Emily Muncy said.

The in-person setting for the class was also helpful, Emily Muncy said.

“It’s different being in person and asking questions face-to-face,” Emily Muncy said. “It really does calm your nerves and helps you feel more confident about being a parent.”

Merritts encouraged the couples to contact her with follow-up questions and to participate in the New Parent Support Program’s other opportunities, such as the New Parent Support Group that meets at 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays at ACS.

Families that attend the class receive a gift bag, so it is necessary to register for the class, Merritts said. People can register by sending an email to zoe.r.merritts.civ@army.mil or sending a direct message through the “Presidio New Parent Support Program” Facebook page.