SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.-- --
The Airman and Family Readiness Center provided an opportunity for expecting parents to learn important child care methods and receive expert advice during a free Bundles for Babies class Jan. 10.
A handful of Airmen attended the class, which covered everything from proper use of car seats to financial preparation.
"The class is a great source for new parents," said Liz Archuleta, 50th Force Support Squadron community readiness consultant. "It details the many resources available for them and what to expect.”
The start of the class gave participants a chance to introduce themselves; most were first-time parents.
They then spent the evening learning from several childcare experts, such as Staff Sgt. Ashley Green, Advanced Space Operations School non-comissioned officer in-charge, executive services and command section, who shared the importance of making sure parents use child car seats properly - citing her own personal experience.
"Seven years ago, I was a first time parent. I thought strapping a child into a car seat was as simple as just placing them in the chair and buckling up. I left the straps loose, put the seat front facing, and I did everything wrong,” she said. “Luckily, my ex-husband knew how to do it properly. On Feb. 25, 2014, my ex-husband and I were on the way to the hospital as I was going into labor. He ran a red light and we crashed."
Her daughter survived thanks to being properly secured in her car seat.
Since then, Green said she dedicated part of her life to raising awareness of proper car seat use, sharing how parents should always strap their children in securely, but not too tight, rear facing and with the chest clip at armpit level.
Other briefings included a presentation from a Military Family Life Counselor explaining MFLAC services, a Family Advocacy nurse who shared her advice about breastfeeding and Archuleta’s personal financial readiness class, which highlighted the financial costs of rearing a child and ways to manage income.
"New parents tend to buy everything up front, investing in everything right away when they should spread it out as the child grows,” Archuleta said. "Becoming a parent is forever, and can be a challenge. Raising a child from one-year-old to 18 costs, on average $200,000 - 250,000. The benefit of being a military member is you have things like Tricare and family advocacy to cut costs.”
The "bundles" in step with the classes' namesake, was a bag which featured a $50 Army and Air Force Exchange service gift card and other goods to help new parents, such as toys, clothes and educational pamphlets. Participants also had a choice of a hand-knitted baby hat.
First time parents Capt. Robert Allen, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron eagle flight commander, and his wife Tiffany, said the advice and information they learned from the course will help them in their parenthood journey.
"The class was really helpful," Tiffany said. “I learned a lot and really appreciated the information.”
Her husband concurred.
"It (the class) was really informative, allowing us to get a better idea of what to expect as new parents,” he said. “I think everyone should try to take it."
Archuleta, herself a mother of three children, says she enjoys teaching the class and helping parents with their future adventure.
"I wish I had a class like this when I was expecting my first child,” Archuleta said. “This class is one of my favorites to teach. It has more of a baby shower feeling and we can have a lot of fun with it.”
The Bundles for Babies class is held quarterly, the next class will be announced in April.
The A&FRC provides year-round classes and advice for dealing with a variety of life's stressors, including those associated with childcare. To find out more about their services and upcoming classes, call 567-3920.