Family Advocacy empowers new parents

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jesenia Landaverde
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
When a woman first learns she’s pregnant, she can be filled with many emotions. Once the news sinks in, the question, “what’s next?” can be overwhelming. Women in the military or military spouses sometimes don’t have that option to turn to their family members or friends for guidance through pregnancy. They may be stationed far from home and not have family or friends to help. The joy of having a new baby can come with scarce knowledge, creating stress in all aspects of a new parent’s life.

Fairchild’s Family Advocacy Office offers the New Parent Support Program to provide knowledge and tools to enable new parents to take better care of their babies.

“Supporting and empowering new moms can be challenging,” said Mary Puffet Cook, 92nd Medical Group Family Advocacy nurse. “New Parents sometimes don’t think they can do things well, or have a history of not having a healthy family background.”

“Most parents want to do the best they can and be good parents, they just need some guidance,” added Puffet Cook.

The NPSP teaches parents new skills, which help them with the growth and development of their child and how to respond to their child’s needs.

“When a baby finally latches onto their mother, starts crawling, talking or when we get EFMP [Exceptional Family Member Program] children with special needs, the parent may set different goals,” said Christine Buckholdt, 92nd Medical Group Family Advocacy nurse. “But, any milestone is a huge moment for the parent and us,”

The NSPS program offers:
• Obstetrician orientation: for new parents to discover what to expect of their body, physical and emotional changes, safety, support resources, and Tricare Enrollment and referral assistance. .
• Dads, The Basics: to teach dads how to change diapers, hold a baby, calm a crying baby and what to expect before, during and after the pregnancy.
• Third Trimester Classes: to give mothers insight on birth and newborn care.
• Lactation (breastfeeding) visits: to assist mothers in finding ways to help the baby latch and feed.
• Water babies: to help develop babies’ growth and development skills, through exercise and music, giving parents a place to spend time together or network to build a support system at the Fitness Center indoor pool.

“There’s more to do than we have time to do and there are always more families to reach,” said Buckholdt. “There are people who are not aware of what we are doing and how we can help them with their pregnancy or their babies.”

Expecting parents and children from zero to three years of age who are Tricare beneficiaries are welcome to join the program. For more information about the program or to register, call the 92nd MDG Family Advocacy Office at (509) 247-2687.