Blog Post #1
January 14, 2010
By: Mary E. Campise, LICSW
Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy
Family Advocacy Program
Just last weekend, I was watching a new mom proudly introduce her newborn to her friends and family. There were smiles and "oohs" and "aahs" all over the place as each family member peered into the baby carrier where little Lydia lay sleeping, all snug and warm. I noticed the mom gently lift her baby out of the seat with great care given to supporting her neck while positioning her for feeding. An expecting mom-to-be scooted in close to ask all kinds of questions about delivery, nursing, sleeping schedules, baby equipment and whether she should ask her mom to come for the first week or so to help out. I, as a grandmother, chimed in, "Absolutely, let your mom come!" Everyone in the room became animated and engaged in the conversation. As I watched and listened, I saw how important a community of support is to new and expecting parents, and how vital that community of support is in relaying reliable and trustworthy information. So many new concerns surface when either anticipating the arrival of a new baby or bringing baby home. One of the most common but significant challenges for parents is sleep. There never seems to be enough of it in those first few months. And it is in those first sleep-deprived weeks and months that new parents need good solid info and support in creating safe sleep environments and practices to ensure that everyone gets off to a good start. Add in frequent relocations, deployment cycles and parenting solo due to military operations, and you can see how military moms and dads could use some unique support.
So, if you are an expectant or new parent or are supporting someone who is, we've created this blog series just for you. In the next four months, join us to see what your military community experts have to say about creating safe sleep environments and practices. Here are just some of the topics: preparing the nursery, on the move - yikes, what if the baby comes and the packers are here, managing parental sleep deprivation and fatigue during a deployment cycle, health concerns related to sleep, talking to other caregivers and extended family about safe sleep practices and more. Not only will you gather ideas and tips from many different perspectives, but we promise to include easily tapped and useful resources. I'm feeling a delightful yawn coming on, not because of the topic, but in remembering how sweet the slumber is of a brand new baby.
If you have questions about safe sleep practices, please contact your local New Parent Support Program. For those who are not near a military installation, please contact your state's Joint Family Support Assistance Program or Military OneSource.