Make way for baby

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michelle Vickers
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
A classroom at the Airman and Family Readiness Center is full of ladies who are absolutely glowing, but they're also squirming in their chairs struggling to find a comfortable way to remain seated.

All of these women are expectant mothers who hope to become more educated before their lives change drastically. The Bundles for Babies class offers a peek at some of the realities of parenthood and how to navigate through the challenges.

"Bundles for Babies is a program sponsored by the Air Force Aid Society, and the intention is to be able to help families obtain information that can help them prepare for the task of becoming a parent," said Angela Sanclemente, a community readiness consultant of Hurlburt's A&FRC.

The program provides a one-stop shop for learning about base resources that can aid parents on their new adventure. In addition to learning about the proper steps to register a child in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and for TRICARE's insurance, mothers and fathers gain knowledge on child development. The base family advocacy office also has a variety of programs they introduce from home visits to assist in baby-proofing a nursery to counseling services.

"I'm learning because this is my first baby so the more information I can get the better, said Staff Sgt. Jennifer Dantzler, a contracting specialist of 1st Special Operations Contracting Squadron and class participant. "Well I know different avenues that I can use through the base now so I don't feel like I'm alone."

Bundles for Babies seeks to address the potential stress a new baby can add by suggesting ways to overcome common parent stressors like soothing a crying infant. Parents-to-be are also reminded to manage their own stress as "a calmer parent equals a calmer baby."

"The military lifestyle isn't always easy especially with deployments and adding a baby can add stress," said Gary Scott, family advocacy program assistant of 1st Special Operations Medical Operations Squadron.

One of the main focuses of Bundles for Babies is helping parents be financially prepared for the new baby's arrival. From cribs, strollers and diapers, all of the expenses associated with an infant can add up, but the program gives a better picture of exactly how much families should budget.

"The financial piece is very important," Sanclemente said. "That way [the parents] can come up with a plan to be financially ready for this baby so the baby doesn't become a stressor for the family that in the end will impact the mission."

Besides the wealth of information provided through the class, each mother or couple leaves with a gift bag of goodies for baby from the AFAS. Any expecting active-duty member or spouse of an active-duty Airman is encouraged to take the class and bring their partner.

"No one goes to school to have a baby so I think any tool we can utilize to bring information to expectant parents can help make a difference," Sanclemente said.

For more information, please call the A&FRC at 884-5441.