It can be challenging for expectant parents to prepare for a new baby’s arrival. Expectant and new fathers may especially be worried they will do something wrong while caring for their newborn. They may have never have held a newborn or been around infants.
Boot Camp for New Dads, an innovative program presented by Flagstaff Medical Center, can help ease these fears. These men-only classes give dads-to-be a more realistic perspective on what to expect and what to do before, and shortly after, their new babies arrive.
With more than 300,000 “graduates” and 260 programs in 45 states and U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force bases, it is the largest program for dads in the country. Over almost three decades, Boot Camp for New Dads has pioneered the movement to strengthen the institution of fatherhood in America.
Men typically attend the workshop one to two months before their first baby arrives. Veteran dads who previously attended Boot Camp bring their two to 12-month-old babies. Rookies ask questions and express concerns, and veterans answer those questions and share their experiences while educating on parenting topics and facilitating discussion. Rookies get hands-on time holding, changing or feeding babies.
Boot Camp prepares men to be dads in all respects, starting with holding and comforting a real baby. Veteran dads demonstrate burping, changing, swaddling and the “troubleshooter’s guide” to crying babies. They also address a broad set of issues, including bonding, work hours, forming a parenting team, safety, preventing child abuse, dealing with relatives and more. The experiences of thousands of Boot Camp veterans provide the course content, which places the strongest emphasis on the tremendous support new moms need from dads.
Flagstaff Medical Center’s Boot Camp for New Dads is facilitated by an experienced father and coach. Dads learn about:
- How to navigate their transformation into fatherhood.
- Ways to form a healthy parenting team with their partner.
- Steps to create a safe home environment for their new family.
- Helping breastfeeding moms.
- Balancing work hours and baby time.
- Handling household pets that may be confused by a tiny, new family member.
- Bonding with their children.
- Signs and symptoms of postpartum depression.
- Trusting their instincts
- Communication and patience with their new family.
- Raising happy, healthy babies.
Men who attend the program graduate with new skills and heightened levels of enthusiasm, determination and confidence that will bring them enjoyment in their new, active roles as fathers. These benefits prepare them to work closely with their partners to create strong, loving bonds with their new infant and a happy, safe home environment.
Flagstaff Medical Center offers Boot Camp for New Dads every other month. You can find out more information about Boot Camp for New Dads by calling the NAH Education Department at 928-773-2491 or visiting NAHealth.com/events/boot-camp-new-dads. FBN
Autumn Argent, M.S., R.N.C.-O.B., C.C.E., is a childbirth educator with Northern Arizona Healthcare. She has a master’s in nursing education and is an inpatient obstetrics certified registered nurse, certified childbirth educator and coordinator of FMC’s Childbirth Education Program.
Northern Arizona Healthcare is creating healthier communities by providing wellness, prevention and medical care through Flagstaff Medical Center, Verde Valley Medical Center, Verde Valley Medical Center – Sedona Campus, Verde Valley Medical Center – Camp Verde Campus, Northern Arizona Healthcare Medical Group – Flagstaff, Verde Valley Medical Clinic, the Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare, Northern Arizona Healthcare Orthopedic Surgery Center, EntireCare Rehab & Sports Medicine, Weight Management Clinic, the Heart & Vascular Center of Northern Arizona, the Sleep & Pulmonary Center, BeWellNow, Guardian Air and Guardian Medical Transport. We also provide comprehensive imaging, laboratory and pharmacy services throughout the region. Many of the services we provide, including Fit Kids of Arizona, The Taylor House and Valley View Care, receive major funding through the NAH Foundation.
For more information on Northern Arizona Healthcare programs and services, visit NAHealth.com. “Like” NAH at Facebook.com/NorthernArizonaHealthcare.
Autumn Argent, M.S., R.N.C-O.B., C.C.E. is the Northern Arizona Healthcare childbirth education coordinator.