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Tips and Support for Soon-to-be Military Dads

Image of A child holding his dad's face. Grady Grissom, 3, greets his dad, Army Sgt. Justin Grissom, at the welcome home ceremony, after completing a nine-month deployment. (Photo: U.S. Army Sgt. Ken Scar)

Being in the military is a demanding journey with continuous change. Factor in beginning a family and the stakes become higher.

In today’s active-duty force, close to 40% of men are dads.

In recognition of the needs of military families, the Defense Department provides a host of resources, services, policies, and programs to support family members across the globe.

Support for new dads and new families includes tips for parenting and support with early childhood education among others. Many local installations also offer a parenting boot camp class for new parents like the one at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

The Partner Bootcamp Wellness Class is a prenatal class designed specifically for soon-to-be parents, said Samantha Bryant, a Women’s Health Nurse Educator at BACH, who offers the class for moms and dads.

“The class content includes the unique role fathers or patient supporters play in pregnancy, birth, and infancy,” said Bryant.

During the class, participants tour BACH’s maternal health floor and receive instruction “on how to best support the laboring and postpartum recovery period of the mother,” she said.

They learn information that may be new to them, such as why “breastfeeding is best for the mom and infant, what partners can do to best support a breastfeeding mom, how to recognize signs of post-partum depression, and coping techniques on how to deal with the frustrations of caring for a newborn, with emphasis on prevention of shaking baby syndrome,” she said.

In addition, class participants learn the following practical skills with simulated infant dolls:

  • Swaddling an infant
  • How to hold an infant
  • Emergency response techniques for a choking or unconscious baby

They also receive education material discussed in the partner boot camp wellness class, which includes information about:

  • Comfort techniques for pain management during labor
  • Home care Instructions for postpartum mothers
  • Infant choking and infant CPR guidelines
  • Infant car safety
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) prevention
  • Immunizations and developmental milestones for your child from birth to 6 years

“In addition, attendees receive information on scheduling a well-child appointment and strengthening relations through the on-post Family Advocacy Program,” said Bryant.

“The single most important thing I would like new military fathers to be most aware of as their military parenting journey begins is how important their support will be."

For more information, contact your primary health care provider or your local facility.

 

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