August 1, 2012
By Chrystal Smith (USAG Wiesbaden)
WIESBADEN, Germany - Baby Julian was bound to be a Skype superstar by the age of 1.
But months before his birth his parents reached out to the Army Community Service to get vital support on how to take care of him.
Janice and Cody Prescott knew they would need reassurance about bringing a baby into the world. Birthing, breastfeeding and changing diapers were just a few of the questions they had before his birth two months ago.
Thanks to the New Parent Support Program, they get their questions answered often about how things are going.
"I knew I was going to need help, especially with my family being in the States," said Cody, a stay-at-home father, who said a friend referred him and his wife to the NPSP to get baby books and videos."I'd probably be on Skype a lot with family or pretty lost, not knowing how to change a diaper."
"Just the thought of going through labor was very stressful for me," said Janice who said the couple sought out prenatal guidance from the NPSP and started receiving home visits a couple of months before the birth.
In addition to its media resources and home visits, the program also offers classes, playgroups and specialized equipment. Its class offerings include Baby Wearing and Mommy Daddy 101 -- a crash course on labor, delivery and newborn care. Resources also include hospital-grade breast pumps.
"We want to be the go-to place for parents who have questions," said Deborah Lohnes, NPSP home visitor who is also a registered nurse and certified professional midwife, who added that the program maintains connections to other parent and child support programs around the community such as La Leche League and Women, Infants and Children. "If we don't have the answer, we will know where to send them for the help they need."
When the Prescotts initially sought assistance from the NPSP they said they learned of the additional services and took advantage of the Empathetic Dad's program, Mommy Daddy 101 and home visits -- where a home visitor goes to the home and addresses any concerns parents would have about the child's progress and welfare.
"I had to get the 'scare' out of me," said Cody who added that they generally do tummy time and discuss the baby's health. "They really taught me how to keep him calm and swaddle him."
"They brought over videos helped with exercises for being calm and dealing with labor. They even taught Cody how to help me stay calm during labor," said Janice.
While home visits are one aspect of the NPSP and highly encouraged to meet individual needs, participation is voluntary.
Without the help of the NPSP Cody and Janice were unsure of how things with Julian would have gone.
"I think they're awesome. I don't know what we would've done without them. They helped us with a bunch of important stuff," said Janice. "We will probably keep using their services as long as we're here."
Though the name implies it's only for beginner parents, experienced parents with new babies who may need some refresher training or support are encouraged to use the program also.
"We're not only for new parents; it's for anybody having their first or fifth child," said Lohnes. "We help with adjusting siblings and experienced parents to a new baby, because the demands on time are different."
Lohnes said that overall the program exists to provide parents and parents-to-be with the tools they need to enjoy the journey of parenthood.
"We're here to build confidence to let parents know they are not alone and they can do a good job at parenting," said Lohnes.
The New Parent Support Program is located at Texas Strasse 57 in Wiesbaden's Hainerberg Housing. Call mil 335-5330/5331/5234 or civ (0611) 4080 330/331/234 for more information. In Baumholder, stop by Building 8746 in the Hospital Complex or call mil call mil 485-8188 or civ (06783) 6-8188.
Details on the New Parent Support Program The New Parent Support Program offers a wide array of resources and programs to parents expecting children or who have children up to 3 years old. The following are a listing what's offered in Wiesbaden:
Home Visits -- are provided on a voluntary basis to families who are pregnant or have children up to age 3. Parenting support is individually tailored to each family's needs and designed to increase the parents' ability to identify and plan for the challenges and difficulties involved in caring for infants and young children.
Breastfeeding Counseling -- Learn about your baby's hunger cues, positioning and latch to make breastfeeding as successful and enjoyable as it was designed to be. If you're experiencing pain, discomfort or simply want to make sure you're on track, give us a call. We are happy to help and are usually available to come the very same day.
Play Mornings -- is a play group for parents and children, 12 months to 3 years old. The play group allows parents to meet and network with each other while learning about child development, parenting skills and age-appropriate activities for their children such as free play, art, and music; meets Thursday from 10-11:30 a.m.
Newborn Network -- is an informal forum for parents of children under 12 months. At each meeting, parents will receive information related to parenting as well as socialize with other parents who have infants; meets first and third Wednesday monthly from 10--11 a.m.
Baby Wearing -- is a class taught by community volunteers where parents can learn how to wear or carry babies in a sling. Instruction generally includes front and back carry techniques for newborns and children up to 2 years old, and baby wearing safety; meets first Wednesday monthly from 11 a.m. to noon.
Daddy and Me Play Date -- is like the "Play Mornings" play group, but for dads and children from 12 months to 3 years old.
Empathetic Dad's Program -- Now fathers can experience a little of what it's like to be pregnant. Empathy bellies are available for expecting dads to wear two to three hours a day for three to five days.
Mommy Daddy 101 -- is designed to increase parent's ability and understanding of labor and delivery, breastfeeding, postpartum care, newborn care, and relaxation techniques; offered the first Tuesday monthly from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Army Community Service, Hainerberg Housing, Building 7790.