Approximately 50 moms-to-be were showered with gifts Wednesday, June 14, at a baby shower organized by the Family Health Centers at NYU Langone.
The celebration, held at NYU Lutheran Harbor Hill Senior Housing, 5613 Second Avenue in Sunset Park, was meant to inspire the women, all around 27 weeks pregnant, to follow through and keep track of their visits to doctors, as well as to provide them with important information through presentations on poison control, dental health, and the optimal way for women to take care of themselves while pregnant.
Spearheading the program alongside her team, organizer and Managing Care Director Yoly Bazile said, “This is a larger group than our first baby shower; we’ve registered 72 moms. If they come with their kids, we have activities to keep them entertained.” In the meantime, the shower is the second to be thrown so far, hosted in English and in Spanish.
The room brightened with the arrival of the diverse families, with an area for kids tucked away at the side of the room with arts and crafts. During the event, a volunteer painted the arms of the children, who later jumped to have their photo taken to feature the designs.
Towards the end of the event, each woman got a swag bag along with a box of Pampers, and two women won car seats in a raffle after an educational presentation by Safe Kids Coalition representative Renso Vidal of the DOT.
According to Vidal, car seats expire after an average of about six years, or whatever date is found on the registration card attached to receipts. Ideally placed in the middle of the backseat, rear-facing car seats should be used, according to Vidal, until the age of two and can then move on to front-facing car seats until about the age of eight.
Also vital after birth are vaccinations, said Network Chief of Child and Adolescent Health at the Family Health Centers Dr. Norma Villanueva who said the first shot a baby gets after being born is to prevent Hepatitis B, with the goal of staving off liver complications in the human body.
Mothers-to-be should definitely not neglect themselves according to Dr. Farah Yasmeen of NYU Lutheran’s Department of Dental Medicine. Yasmeen said folic acids typically found in tooth hygiene products are vital to health and hygiene, and cited new research which showed that oral hygiene or the lack of it on the mother’s part can impact the baby.
“Fillings are okay, and x-rays are okay,” said Yasmeen, “If you really feel like you just can’t brush your teeth, use high fluoride mouthwash or baking soda for your gums.” Yasmeen also said sharing utensils, kissing your baby on the lips, and extensive amounts of juice can result in mouths full of bacteria.
“I think the most important parts of keeping kids healthy is their nutrition and their living environment,” said guest mom Yana Ivanov. “I’m having two of them!”
That said, their living environment was addressed by Poison Control Center representative Luz Martinez, who mentioned keeping a “poison” cabinet at home to isolate dangerous substances. Comparing liquids that look the same on the surface, Martinez showed that car oil packaged with pictures of bees could very easily be mistaken for honey, and squeezable juice packs could look like heavy cleaners unsuitable to drink.
The key is to slow down, she said, and when it comes to medicine, be sure to supply kids with the correct portion size of any drinkable or edible medicine. As a mother herself, Martinez said, “The most important part is prevention. How to navigate healthcare access falls into that same issue, too.”