Edwards offers maternal support with 'Bundles for Babies'

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Providing a free baby gift basket, education, and support for pregnant mothers, the Airman and Family Readiness Center hosts "Bundles for Babies." 

Going on its 11th year, the Air Force Aid Society-funded program has been offering pregnant women a way to interact and socialize as well as gain insight on what to expect and how to prepare for the birth of a child. 

The birth of a child is a life-changing event for both the mom and the whole family, said Christopher Marble, AFRC team leader. 

"Bundles for Babies" is for pregnant active-duty Airmen and their spouses. It is held from 11 a.m to noon on the first Thursday of the month. 

The class is currently held every other month, but the frequency of the class is based mainly on the demand for it, Mr. Marble said. 

Although servicemembers and spouses affiliated with the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines can attend, they will not be eligible to receive a gift basket. 

A thermal weave cotton crib blanket, white knit crib sheet and a chambray set are just a few items included in the free bundle valued at more than 65 dollars. 

"Bundles for Babies" also offers information including danger signs in relationships, communicating with the unborn child, prenatal exercises, obstetrician-related issues and financial management. 

"The content of the program focuses on building strong and resilient families, provides great prenatal, nutrition and exercise education, and culminates with an exceptional financial piece," Mr. Marble said. "Plus, it is incentive based. How often does someone offer you 65 dollars worth of merchandise with no expectations?" 

"This is one of the better programs AFAS provides because it offers the help upfront to those who need it the most at an appropriate time, before the baby is born," said John 
Watola, AFRC financial manager. 

"I feel the financial aspect of the program is very important because there are so many young couples that are used to providing for just two," Mr. Watola said. "Financial management changes drastically when there is an addition to the family." 

Team Edwards has also contributed to the cause by having other base organizations involved such as Family Advocacy, the Heath and Wellness Center, and the Airman and Family Readiness center. 

"I believe it is a valuable program because it provides information that will enhance marital and family relationships, minimizing dysfunctional patterns of behaviors and suggest adaptive ways to communicate," Mr. Marble said.