FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Hundreds of expectant moms and dads are ready to tackle parenthood - even in the most challenging military family environment - now that they are armed with advice, tips and new baby must-haves they received at the 3rd Annual Fort Sam Houston Baby Shower at the Roadrunner Community Center May 13.

In groups, as couples and with their children, both expectant and new parents took home everything from toy trucks to hand-knitted baby booties made by the Bluebonnet Ladies, a non-profit devoted to donating handmade items to military babies at Fort Sam Houston.

"This is the biggest response to date," said Melissa Reyes, Family Advocacy Program acting manager. "Everyone tells me they love the event and really enjoy the fellowship."

Nurses from the New Parent Support Program brought in baby dolls for a diaper-changing competition. The nurses also told the expectant parents about the support and advice available to them.

"We offer one-on-one home visitation services, prenatal education, parenting classes, a discussion group for first time parents and other support," said Brenda L. Perry, one of the nurses with the New Parent Program.. "We want them to know we are here for them now and after their babies are born."

Firefighters with the Fort Sam Houston Fire Department set up a child safety seat and provided information on the new Texas Safety Seat Law, which mandates that children must use safety seats until they reach their eighth birthday, unless they are 4 feet 9 inches tall or more.

"This is an awesome baby shower, especially for people like me who are expecting their first child," said Pvt. Taylor Holloway, Company G, 232nd Medical Battalion. "I didn't know any of this stuff and I'm sure that even some second-time moms can learn something new."

The baby shower aims to give these expectant and new parents who often face extraordinary challenges, an opportunity to exchange ideas and to learn successful parenting strategies, all while taking home some fun and useful gifts for their babies.

The event was planned and organized the event Sonia Greer, an FAP educator.

"A lot of these families don't get baby showers because they are displaced. They love this. They often come with a group of girlfriends and have a lot of fun," Greer said. "Most, importantly, they know we are here to support them."