Sr. Ricky Baptista, exercise physiologist, 65th Medical Operations Squadron, talks with expecting parents about how to properly exercise during pregnancy at the Lajes Field Airman and Family Readiness Center’s “Bundles for Babies” program, August 31. Baptista touched on safe exercise practices during and after pregnancy.
Staff Sgt. Yvette Baldwin, NCOIC of Flight Medicine, 65th Medical Operations Squadron, talks with expecting parents about proper nutrition during and after pregnancy at the Lajes Field Airman and Family Readiness Center’s “Bundles for Babies” program, August 31. Baldwin, the mother of one child, relayed her personal experiences and professional expertise to parents.
Mara Duque and Beth Waddell, expecting mothers, listen to presenters at the Lajes Field Airman and Family Readiness Center’s “Bundles for Babies” program, August 31. Expecting parents attended the event to learn about preparing and caring for their newborns and received Air Force Aid Society-sponsored “bundles” full of baby items.
by 1st Lt Mark Graff
65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
9/5/2012 - LAJES FIELD, Azores -- At the Lajes Field Airman and Family Readiness Center, the conversation was all about babies, Aug. 31. But, despite what you might think, there wasn't a baby in sight.
That's because about 15 expecting parents attended the Lajes AFR&C's "Bundles for Babies" program to learn about preparing and caring for their newborns. Attendees receive an Air Force Aid Society-sponsored bundle - or gift bag - filled with items such as blankets and baby clothing.
The quarterly program seeks to put expecting moms and dads in touch with information and resources to help them welcome their baby to the world, said Cynthia Burney, a community readiness consultant at the Lajes Field AFR&C.
"Each of the bundles for the families is worth about 70 dollars, but that's just the incentive to get the families into the event. The information is really the key," said Burney.
Professionals from many organizations at Lajes Field present information on topics including mother and child nutrition, exercising while pregnant, dental care, budgeting and car seat safety.
When it comes to nutrition, Staff Sgt. Yvette Baldwin stressed the importance of mothers-to-be taking care of themselves and getting all the nutrients required to nurse a newborn.
"The whole time you should be worried about yourself, because the baby is going to get what he needs from 'Mom," said Baldwin, NCOIC of Flight Medicine who also works at the Health and Wellness Center.
Baldwin, a mother of one, told expecting mothers about getting enough iron and calcium and that taking pre-natal vitamins helps mothers develop healthy breast milk.
When it comes to the baby's eating habits, Baldwin said that parents should take it slow when introducing a baby to food.
"Don't introduce foods too soon. You'll know when the baby is ready to start eating table food. You want to introduce vegetables before fruits, because they'll get that taste of the sweet fruits and they won't want those vegetables," said Baldwin.
In addition to proper nutrition, Baldwin said that the HAWC can help mothers with tips on how to exercise while pregnant and during the post-partum period.
Monique Fees, a speech language pathologist with the Educational Developmental Intervention Services, also part of the HAWC, talked with expecting families about how a baby learns during the first few months.
"Enjoy the time that you have with your newborn and recognize that they're pre-disposed to learn a lot of things when they're born," said Fees. "Use those opportunities to teach them as much as you can, because communicating and interacting with them promotes motor development, speech development and problem solving skills."
Beth Waddell, who is expecting her fourth child attended "Bundles for Babies" and was grateful for the wealth of information.
"It's been awhile, since our youngest has been born for about eight years. So, it's still good to hear everything, because I forgot a few things," said Waddell, wife of Tech Sgt. Jonathan Waddell of the 65th Communications Squadron.
Staff Sgt. Gus Cifuentes, of the 65th Operations Support Squadron attended "Bundles for Babies" with his wife, Jessica. The couple are expecting their first child.
"Even though she's already been talking to some of the people, it's very refreshing. We're taking notes and just trying to be as prepared as possible," said Cifuentes.
In addition to the special bundle and the plentiful information designed to help expecting parents, Burney eluded to an intangible benefit for attendees of "Bundles for Babies."
"These families, when they come to these classes together, (they end up) raising their children together because they're meeting each other here. So, I just love the networking that comes from this event," said Burney.