This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 1 Natural Way, a TRICARE breast pump provider. All opinions are entirely my own.
I’m a military wife, mom of three and my husband and I have PCS’d three times while pregnant. When it comes to having babies in the military, I consider myself to be highly experienced! I’m going to give you some of the top insights I learned (sometimes the hard way) over the last few years.
1) Choose Your Coverage – On-Base or Off?
Not all military hospitals are created equal. The first thing you need to do when that pregnancy test shows a plus sign is figure out if you want to have your pregnancy monitored on or off base. If you are at a really small or even a medium-sized base, there may be no on-base option. If this is the case, you can stay on TriCare Prime (the free insurance) and go to any off-base facility that takes your insurance. If you do have the option of staying on base—ask the hospital for details on care. What happens if your delivery turns into an emergency or if your child needs NICU time—do they have the capability to handle things of this nature? Then, ask around for opinions. Facebook groups are your friend! If you don’t have many friends locally, or perhaps you are brand new to your base or post, there are typically unofficial “wives” groups for every installment. Ask for other’s experiences before making a decision. Once your decision is made, if you decide to go off base, contact TriCare to get your insurance switched to TriCare Standard and you can typically schedule an appointment with your selected provider right away.
2) Take Advantage of Freebies
There are some perks to being a military family, which include discounts and freebies!
Military hospitals often offer a wide range of free pregnancy and parenting classes you can take before your baby arrives. Check with Women’s Health to inquire.
Don’t pay for baby items you can get for free. Did you know you can get a free breast pump through 1 Natural Way? This company offers the popular Medela, Spectra and Kiinde brands, as well as accessories and other postpartum care supplies. All breast pumps are covered under your TriCare insurance plan and are completely free. Fill out this short form and 1 Natural Way will take care of contacting your physician and TriCare for you!
Want to discover more freebies? Here are nine organizations that offer free services and goodies to expecting military moms.
3) Tips If You Are PCSing During Pregnancy
As I mentioned before, we PCS’d three times during pregnancy. It’s not easy, but if you do these couple of things, you will get through. First, do your research for your new base well in advance to moving day. Again, ask a friend, find the “wives” Facebook page for your new location or perhaps your squadron has their own Facebook group and get the details about on and off base care. Try to set up an appointment at your next location before you leave. If you are going on base, this is relatively easy. If you are going off base, contact TriCare and ask what you need to do to set up your first appointment at your next location.
Second, let your current doctor know that you are moving and that at your final appointment you will need all of your records. I say this because, in my experience, records can sometimes take a few days. Sign the release forms and have those records in hand before your movers arrive and keep them with you so you are not searching for them in one of your many packing boxes.
Third, have a baby shower before you move! It may seem like just another thing to add to your already full pre-PCSing plate, but if a friend is offering, just say yes. But again, don’t register for things like Tricare breast pumps that you can get for free.
4) Find Your Community
One of the most valuable lessons my parents taught me growing up was how to make friends. This is crucial when you are a military spouse, even more so when you are a pregnant or a new military mom; you need friends, you need help.
I have found the military community to be incredibly welcoming because we are all in the same boat—we are all living in unfamiliar places away from family. So, put yourself out there.
Join service clubs, take classes on base, try out some churches, go to the parks by your home or on base, take classes at the gym, just get out. If you aren’t meeting people naturally, get online. There are often sub-specialty Facebook groups (at our current base I’m in a military medical spouse group) post a picture of yourself, list your interests, tell which area of town you live in and how many kids you have. Just say that you’re hoping to make friends- there’s no shame because we have all been there.
Build your local family, because you will need them.
5) If Your Spouse is Deployed
My husband has not been deployed, but I asked my closest friends whose husbands have been on multiple deployments while either pregnant or having a brand new baby at home. Here’s the summary of their advice: grace and friends.
You cannot get done what you normally get done at home with two adults when you’re suddenly down to one, period. That’s okay, give yourself grace. When friends offer to help, say yes. I’ll say it again when friends offer to help, say yes.
The deployment will be on you, but when someone offers to lighten your load a bit, let them. Also, if your spouse is deployed during the pregnancy, they may need a special POA to handle all things baby related, contact your JAG office to inquire.
6) When Baby Arrives
Actually, before baby arrives, select a pediatrician. We have had good and bad experiences with on-base pediatric clinics. The bad experiences have been due to poor access to care. Ask around to see if it’s easy or difficult to secure an appointment.
Also, when the baby arrives, enroll that sweet bundle in DEERS right away and choose either standard or prime insurance.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of 1 Natural Way. All opinions are entirely my own.