When we went to the big O a few weeks a go, we found baby Sophia. She was the baby whose Chinese and English name means Wisdom.
I have always had a really hard time with the cleft lip and palate (CLP) babies. Sophia has turned out to be so much different. To sum it all up she has been sleeping since she got here. If you look at the pictures, you can see she slept straight through the CNY photo session. Not only that, but she has been eating very well and without much fuss. Trying to feed the cleft babies is usually such an ordeal. As you can tell from her pictures she is way past the preemie stage, her jaundice is gone and she has been packing on the poundage. She started out at 2.1 kg ( 41/2 pounds) and she currently weighs a whopping 5.5kg (12 pounds). Her double chin rivals mine. On top of that she is only 9 weeks old. We are all very impressed with her skills for picking up weight. I think there is going to be a lot to work with when her lips gets repaired.
My secret weapon for all babies and in particular the CLP babies, is still Woodward's Gripe Water and I have heard recently that you can buy it again on www.amazon.com after a long absence. It is back on the Starfish Wish List again too. I cannot imagine all the gas, colic, teething and eating problems we would have in this foster home, if it was not for this magic water/oil (they use linseed oil). I am sorry to say that I have not found a good substitute for Woodward's. Harley's Gripe Water from Australia will do too, but only as a second option and that there is not any American gripe water even comes close to what Woodward's can do. I give it to the babies about 10 minutes before having a bottle, burp good and then feed them. I found there are two ways to burp that work really well. My favorite is to flip them over and then put their head around your elbow with the top of the palm of your hand just below their ribcage and then pat their backs. The second way which works better when they are a little older is to hold their knees closer to their chest and bounce them slightly. Even a combination of the two will work. It would be one of my first gifts to any new mom, a life saver should she need it.
As you might have noticed on the CNY pictures, Sophia and our new baby Joseph both have mold in their mouth. This gives CLP babies a fake palate and that will help with eating more. Secondly, it will realign their gums and straighten their teeth some for when the surgery is done, so everything will be in place and lastly, it will help when they start to make sounds and hopefully avoid any speech impediments which are so common with cleft babies. They will wear this for 3 to five months depending on what happens. We have to clean the mold with every feed and change the tape and elastics every day.
Life, Love and Laughter,
Starfish Foster Home