Photo Information

Cpl. Richard Sherin, a Casualty Cell clerk with II Marine Expeditionary Force, tries on a pregnancy vest during Baby Boot Camp, May 24, 2011, at the Midway Park Marine & Family Services Annex aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Sherin tried on the vest to get a feel for what his expecting wife is dealing with on a daily basis.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Johnston

Baby Boot Camp whips new parents into shape

26 May 2011 | Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Johnston 2nd Marine Division

It’s a familiar scene – someone has a new child and asks an unsuspecting friend if he would like to hold their little one. Not to be rude, he graciously takes the infant. Unsure of what to do, he places his hands under the baby’s arms and holds the child directly in front of him. With a smiling tot now drooling in his face, he asks himself, “Now what?”

Thanks to resources like the New Parent Support Program, Marine Corps Community Service employees are offering courses like Baby Boot Camp for expecting military families. The course is designed to take the, “now what?” out of the equation.

“It gives moms and dads the proper tools to make a smooth transition into parenthood,” said Gena Hill, a certified social worker with the NPSP.

Marines and spouses from 2nd Marine Division attended the most recent Baby Boot Camp, May 24, 2011, at the Midway Park Marine & Family Services Annex, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.

“The main purpose of the class is that it helps new parents prepare to take care of the baby once they leave the hospital,” Hill explained. “Then we go further into detail about what to expect through their baby’s first six months of childhood.”

With baby replicas in hand, the expecting families spent two days learning about parenting techniques through hands-on workshops, lectures and movies. Instructors covered a multitude of topics ranging from brain development, bathing, diapering and feeding.

“We like to focus mainly on infant care, a lot of safety information, safe sleep practices, proper infant nutrition and how to handle a crying baby,” said Hill

Cpl. Richard Sherin, a Casualty Cell clerk with II Marine Expeditionary Force, attended the class with his expecting wife and said that, although he grew up surrounded by nieces and nephews, the class was beneficial.

Sherin was put on the spot before the class began. One of the class instructors pulled out an infant bathtub and had him demonstrate how to properly bathe a newborn. At the time, he was the only male present and was surrounded by a room full of pregnant women. In typical Marine Corps fashion, Sherin gracefully accepted the challenge.

“This is probably a lot harder when they’re moving around and crying,” said Sherin as he put clothes back on the dummy. “You don’t want to hurt them.”

After successfully completing the bathing, diapering and clothing, Sherin received a round of applause from the classroom and a kiss from his wife.

Classes are free to anyone with a Department of Defense identification card and are scheduled two to three times a month. To register, or for more information call (910) 449-9501 or visit the Midway Park Marine and Family Services Annex, Building LC 4012B.

“Everyone that comes out ends up really enjoying the whole experience and learns a lot,” said Hill. “People absolutely love, love this class!”