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New Parent Support Program

Benefit overview

Expecting a baby is an exciting time that can be filled with joy as you embark on this new experience in your life. You may be juggling many competing priorities that involve meeting the demands of military life, working, taking care of toddlers and children, and taking care of your family, while also trying to take care of yourself.

It may also be a time filled with some anxiety and questions. But the New Parent Support Program can help you navigate through pregnancy, transition successfully into parenthood and provide a nurturing environment for your baby and young children.

The primary goal of the NPSP is to enhance the lives of infants, toddlers, children and parents; promote safety, health and well-being; and help families thrive by empowering parents with information to meet the challenges of parenthood while maintaining a military lifestyle. The program offers a variety of services, including providing information about prenatal health, infant care, nursing/breastfeeding, early child development, bonding with your baby, safe sleep environments, shaken baby syndrome (abusive head trauma), parenting education and more.

The NPSP helps military parents, including expectant parents, provide a nurturing environment for their children. Parenthood is like any other job — there’s a lot of learning at first no matter if it is your first child or not. The more guidance you get, the more confident you feel in carrying out your duties. The program offers support and guidance by helping parents:

  • Build strong, healthy bonds with their infants and toddlers, which will lay the foundation for their social and emotional development.
  • Manage the demands of parenting, especially when it is impacted by deployments and other military operations.
  • Remain flexible and responsive when navigating daily life or balancing more than one child’s needs.
  • Build a strong support network through connections to other parents and local resources.
  • Respond to infant and toddler behavior sensitively and be attuned to their developmental needs.
  • Find services in your community when you need them.

How this benefit helps

The New Parent Support Home Visitation Program can help you:

  • Cope with stress
  • Manage the additional physical and emotional demands of parenting due to military life, separation and deployment of the service member
  • Cope with being a single parent
  • Nurture children to promote growth and development
  • Answer questions about the everyday challenges of parenthood
  • Locate local services and resources that can help parents with young children

The New Parent Support Program is a voluntary program designed to help families thrive. NPSP services are free and may include home visits, parenting classes, playgroups, prenatal classes and/or information and referrals.

The NPSP consists of a team of professionals (social workers, nurses and home visitation specialists) providing supportive and caring services to expectant parents and military families with new babies. Expectant parents and new moms and dads are eligible to participate in the free voluntary home visitation program.

The program focuses on providing one-on-one support for expectant parents or those who have a young child through home visits. Some installations may offer parenting classes and groups as well. Services vary by service branch and by installation, but they can include:

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Home visits

You may feel more comfortable asking questions and expressing your concerns about parenthood ─ including sleep, nutrition, behavior management, breastfeeding, sibling dynamics and other concerns ─ in the privacy of your own home.

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Referrals to other resources

Home visitation specialists can help you find and take advantage of additional services offered through the military health care system, your installation or the local community that best suit your needs.

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Prenatal classes

Prenatal classes help you know what to expect when you bring your baby home from the hospital. Topics include feeding and nutrition, bathing and preventative health care.

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Parenting classes

Hands-on classes for both parents of infants and toddlers focus on a variety of parenting issues, ranging from discipline to feeding to navigating sibling dynamics. Classes for fathers can help them adjust to life with a new baby and be an active parent.

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Structured activities in program playgroups help children improve their social and motor skills. These playgroups also help parents get to know one another and develop a support system within the military community.

The NPSP assists military families with support, which helps when family and friends may not be near. It offers expectant parents and parents of newborn and young children the opportunity to learn new skills as parents and to improve existing parenting skills in the privacy of their homes.

NPSP playgroups offer an opportunity for you to connect with other new parents, share ideas and learn about resources, while also enjoying your baby.

Contact the Family Advocacy Program to participate in a NPSP playgroup and to find out what is available on your installation.

Learn More

Confidential standards

Anything you share with a program staff member is confidential, including health-related information (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects that). Feel free to discuss personal issues with the staff so that they can better help you with your parenting concerns.

There is one exception to confidentiality: The registered nurses or licensed clinical home visitation specialists of the New Parent Support Program are obligated under the duty to warn to report maltreatment or if they suspect that you may harm yourself or others.

Eligibility for this benefit

The New Parent Support Program’s services are free to active-duty service members and their families who meet one of the criteria listed below. Service members who have separated from active duty may still be eligible for the program depending on the nature of the separation. If you have access to a military treatment facility, you may be entitled to program benefits on a space-available basis.

  • Expecting a child
  • Have at least one child age 3 and younger (Army, Navy and the Department of the Air Force)
  • Have at least one child younger than 5 years of age (Marine Corps)

How to access this benefit

If you would like to participate in the program, you can enroll through your installation’s:

  • Family Advocacy Program
  • Military and Family Support Center

Find your local New Parent Support Program »

What happens if you don't live near an installation?

There are similar programs for new parents available in many locations. You can find new parent support programs by:

  • Asking your pediatrician for help
  • Visiting Military OneSource’s non-medical counseling page for information about free, confidential sessions
  • Contacting Military OneSource to schedule a New MilParent Specialty Consultation, which provides personalized, confidential help for a wide range of issues for expectant parents and parents of children up to age 5
  • Locating additional resources about parenting and child care on the Military OneSource website, or calling 800-342-9647. OCONUS/International? View calling options.
  • Accessing Thrive, a parenting-education program developed by the Defense Department in partnership with the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State. The program’s free, interactive resources promote positive parenting, stress management and healthy lifestyle practices for children from birth to age 18. Supplemental modules ─ including content for exceptional families, grandparents as caregivers, mental health and wellness ─ are added regularly.

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