• A Reason to Celebrate

    At Infant Crisis Services, it always seems there is someone on our staff who is either getting married or having a baby. This year, our outreach coordinator, Nicole Gifford, is tying the knot.  

    She and her longtime sweetheart, Zak, are getting married in November. The two of them make a beautiful couple! I am not exaggerating when I say they look like Barbie and Ken!

    Nicole came to us in September 2013 as a bilingual client services coordinator. Her love for the babies and her passion for our mission are evident. She stepped into the outreach position a few months later and is primarily responsible for expanding awareness in the communities that we serve so potential clients know about us. She has done a great job in that position and has been a true blessing to have on staff!

    As I've said before, we are like a big extended family at Infant Crisis Services. So in true family form, we celebrated Nicole's big day by hosting a wedding shower the bride-to-be. I wanted to share a few pictures from the shower. Feel free to leave your best wishes and best advice to the bride and groom in the comment section.

    Congratulations Nicole and Zak! We love you!

     

  • Diaper Need Awareness Week

     

    Every day, we see the sad reality of poverty and crisis. We see the negative effects on our tiniest citizens and the stress it puts on their parents and caretakers. Imagine for just a moment having to choose between buying diapers for your child or putting food on the table. That may be a scary thought for you, but for one in three parents, that is life. 
    That's why elected officials across the nation have proclaimed the week of September 8-14 as Diaper Need Awareness Week. This nationwide campaign is aimed at drawing attention the critical need for diaper banks, like Infant Crisis Services. 
    It's a great opportunity to get involved and give babies in our community a chance to thrive. You can help make sure babies and toddlers in Oklahoma go to bed in a dry diaper, and have a chance to win something for yourself. Through September 14, if you drop off a package of diapers or a $10 dollar donation at Gil's Clothing & Denim Bar or The Lingerie Store USA in Wilshire Village in Oklahoma City, you will be entered to win one of several $250 gift cards. Uptown Kids in Classen Curve is also hosting a diaper drive and offering incentives to customers who donate.
    All of the donations will be used to to help babies and toddlers in need in central Oklahoma.
    If you don't feel like shopping, you can always drop off diapers at Infant Crisis Services or our other designated drop-off locations.

  • 5 Tips for a Picky Eater

    Many parents dread those terrible twos... sometimes those terrible two also carry over into the threes and fours. The toddler years can be challenging for parents, trying to establish boundaries, teaching proper manners, and correcting bad habits or behavior. It may feel like a never-ending battle between you and your tiny tot.

    One of the battles many parents who come to Infant Crisis Services lament about is their toddler's picky eating habits. We've had many mothers desperately express "He just won't eat anything I give him!" "She won't touch her vegetables!"

    If you've been there, you understand.

    While we don't claim to be nutritionists, we are somewhat experienced when it comes to babies and toddlers.

    So in honor of National Toddler Month, here are 5 tips we like to give parents when dealing with your protesting picky eater.

    1) Start early. This one may come a little too late if you're child is already out of the infant stage. But it's an import step in preventing the picky eating behavior. When first introducing your child to baby food and solid foods, think vegetables first. Let them develop a liking to vegetables before introducing sweeter fruits and food varieties. So instead of starting with mashed bananas or other sweet fruits, introduce them to peas, green beans, carrots and sweet potatoes.

    2) Present foods in new ways. If your toddler won't touch raw carrots, try steaming them. If celery is a no go, try putting peanut butter and raisins on top (ants on a log). Get creative and present the foods in a way your toddler might find appealing.

    3) Give food fun names. This one may sound silly, but it may just be silly enough to work. To a picky toddler who doesn't want to touch any green food, broccoli probably sounds like the worst word in the world. But if you call it tasty tree tops your curious little one might just take a bite. Kiwi can become fuzzy fun food. Once again, creativity is key here.

    4) Involve your child in picking out and prepping the food. Let your child have a say in what produce you buy at the grocery store. Then get him a step stool and let him lend a hand in the kitchen. If he helps prepare it, your mini chef might be more willing to taste his creation. 

    5) Don't give up. I know it seems easier to give in, surrender to your tiny opponent and hand over the Cheetos, but don't. Keep trying. It's in your toddlers best nutritional interest. Plus, you want to establish healthy eating habits while they're young, so they grow up to snack on celery instead of ice cream.

     

  • 5 Tips to Make Breastfeeding Easier

    Every day at Infant Crisis Services, we sit across from new mothers who are at their wits end. Their intention throughout their pregnancy was to breastfeed as long as possible, but just weeks after giving birth they're faced with the high cost of formula because breastfeeding was no longer an option. While we know the amazing health benefits a mother's milk can provide for a baby, we also recognize just how hard breastfeeding can be. That is why Infant Crisis Services is here to assist families in need who cannot afford the high cost of formula each week. But if you can and are willing to breastfeed your child, we encourage and support that decision. This week is World Breastfeeding Week, so we reaching out to one of our Young Professionals Board members, Petra Calindres, who is a maternal-child nutritionist and owner of Happi Lives, a family-focused nutritional support system for infants, children and families. She addresses mothers' number one breastfeeding complaint and offers her top 5 tips to make breastfeeding easier.

    Q: What is the number one complication mothers run into while trying to breastfeed?

    A: The number one complaint mothers have regarding breastfeeding is the fear of insufficient milk production. In all actuality, most mothers produce far more milk then they need, especially if they follow some basic steps in the hospital (details provided below). Mother's were made to make milk for their infants, and there are tons of benefits for both mother and child. For the infant, those who exclusively breastfeed have an increased IQ; reduction in disease states such as obesity, cancer and diabetes; better cognitive development long term; reduced incidences in ear aches, diarrhea; and much more! Even for the mother, breastfeeding helps reduce their incidence of cancers and helps them return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster.

    What are the five tips you’d give new mothers to make breastfeeding more successful?
    There are many things mothers/parents can do to help make their breastfeeding experience with their new little one successful.

    1. Let your hospital team know your intention to breastfeed, and exclusively breastfeed. From the head doctor to the nurse, the whole team needs to be aware of your decision to help support you in every way possible. If you can get your hospital team on board with your vision, and can talk about this intention prior to delivery, the better breastfeeding outcomes for all. Also, if at all possible, deliver at a baby-friendly hospital. This is a designation that hospitals receive if they help in all ways parents succeed in breastfeeding.

    2. Do tons of skin-to-skin with your child, especially in the early days. Skin-to-skin is personal contact time with both the mom (or dad) with their new baby, bare chested with just a blanket wrapped over. It's also called kangaroo care. For a good information on skin-to-skin, check out the following link. https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/importance-skin-skin-contact

    3. Allow on-demand feeding. Let your child eat any time he or she wants! This will not only garauntee that you have an ample milk supply (note the biggest fear in breastfeeding woman) BUT also will lead to a happy, full and growing baby. It is common for a child within the first 6 months of life to feed anywhere between 8 to 12 times today, sometimes (if they're going through a growth spurt or are just super hungry) up to 15! Don't fret, it's normal. Allow your infant to tell you when he or she is hungry and allow them to eat as long as they want.

    4. No artificial nipples. This includes anything that's not a breast, from bottle nipples to pacifiers. The way an infant nurses on a breast is completely opposite than how the suck on a bottle or pacifier. Why confuse little infants any more then they have to be? They're learning everything when they are first born! It is recommended by the AAP to allow the infant to understand how to nurse on the breast well, about one month, before introducing any bottles or pacifiers.

    5. Have support. Every Mom, new or old, needs breastfeeding support. This can be found in your husband, your friends, or even local organizations. Groups like La Leche League and WIC provide groups that get together to help woman continue breastfeeding, and feel empowered to do so. Infant Crisis Services can help you get in contact with these groups, or answer any questions you may have on breastfeeding, so never hesitate to ask.


  • Vaccinating is Caring

    At Infant Crisis Services, we are all about building healthy communities. We know that starts with healthy babies, that's why we've made it our mission to make sure no baby goes hungry. But it takes more than proper nutrition to keep kids healthy. Children need immunizations to protect them from infectious diseases, like the measles and whooping cough, both of which have made an unfortunate comeback in the United States in recent months. 

    August is Immunization Awareness Month, and we are doing everything possible to educate parents about the importance of vaccinating their children. We are partnering with the Caring Van Program, which targets children in low-income and under-served areas who encounter difficulties in accessing traditional health providers. They provide immunizations at no charge to children in need. We will be joining the Caring Van this Thursday, July 31, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Buy for Less location on SW 29th Street and May Avenue. And on Friday, August 1, from 4-7 p.m. at Buy for Less on Penn and 23rd Street. 

    Both of these back-to-school events are free and open to the public. We know many families with school-aged children also have little ones at home. Our BabyMobile will be on hand to provide basic necessities for those families as the Caring Van makes sure all children are properly immunized. 

    For a schedule of all Caring Van events and locations, click here.

  • Jammin' for Babies

    If you've read our blog before, you probably already know how much we love our volunteers. They are dedicated, talented, creative and they love the babies! 

    Today, one of our regular volunteers, Sherry Park, brought in lots of jars of yummy homemade jam! I'm a sucker for homemade jam. When I was a kid, I would often help my grandmother make jam in her kitchen. Grandma lived close to a cherry orchard where you could pay to pick your own cherries, so we would go pick our cherries together and then take them home and make tons of jars of jam. Those are still some of my fondest childhood memories.

    Anyway, now that you understand my deep love for jam, I'll get back to Sherry. She brought in all of these jars of homemade jam today that she is selling for $10 a jar. Even the presentation of the jars is pretty! All of them are trimmed with fabric. You can tell she put a lot of work into not only making the jam, but packaging it. But the story doesn't stop there. Sherry is donating all of the money from her jam sales to Infant Crisis Services! She's calling it "Jammin' for the Babies." Aren't our volunteers creative?!

    Thanks Sherry for devoting your time, talents and financial resources to help the babies! And thank you for making me reflect back on one of my favorite memories. Can't wait to try the Plum Crazy Peach!


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