Fleet and Family Support provides classes to help new mothers

Story and photos by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marissa Valentine (YOKOSUKA, Japan) — Once a month the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) onboard Fleet Activities, Yokosuka educates new parents by providing classes to care for a newborn baby. The most recent class was held July 15. The class, on breastfeeding, was taught by Carol Ayonon, a registered dietician for Women Infant and Children (WIC) overseas. “Breastfeeding is important for mother and baby because it creates a strong bond, and it is a healthy and free way to pass on nutrients from mother to baby,” said Ayonon. The class was taught in conjunction with the New Parent Support (NPS) Program developed by the FFSC to help military personnel and their families prepare for parenthood, said Ayonon. One of the informative classes provided is Baby Basics, which demonstrates how to bathe, diaper and swaddle a newborn. Another class, Relaxation in Birth, covers topics such as anatomy of pregnancy, stages of labor, breathing through labor, and optimal childbirth positions. The New Parent Support Program was developed in 1997 at the FFSC. The program is free of charge to all military and SOFA sponsored families that are new parents and expectant mothers. This program helps to support the Navy’s mission by assisting the families of military personnel,by focusing on the importance and health of the family unit through educational, and medical assistance, said Ayonon. “The NPS Program is open to expectant and new parents with children up to age four,” said New Parent Support Specialist, Cynthia Johnson. “As a voluntary program the only requirement to register for the program is a Family Needs Assessment (FNS),” said Johnson. “The assessment along with additional paperwork is included in the Obstetrician packet given to expectant mothers at the hospital.” The NPS team is comprised of educators and social workers trained in everything from early childhood education to support personnel who can help provide physical support for medical appointments and in connecting with other valuable military and civilian resources. Additional information can be obtained by calling 243-7878 or visiting the Fleet and Family Support Center. ###

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