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Cleft Surgery and Nutrition

Many beautiful new smiles were made during our Cleft Medical Exchange this April!

Mary Beth before and after cleft repair surgery

Before the surgeons could work their magic, the children all had to meet several important milestones, one being that babies must weigh at least ten pounds before having surgery. Ten pounds doesn’t sound like a difficult weight to meet; however, one of the most immediate concerns for a baby born with a cleft lip and palate is weight gain. Little Violet, for example, weighed just 2.2 kilograms when she entered Heartbridge and was very weak.

Violet 11.17.15Violet before entering our healing home

Sucking for babies with a cleft palate is difficult because of the poorly formed roof of the mouth. This leads to babies not getting enough to eat or getting too tired when feeding.

In addition, to safely undergo anesthesia, babies must not be anemic or have an iron deficiency. If a baby is anemic, their body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to bring oxygen to the body tissues.

The nannies in our Healing Homes know the importance of quality formula in ensuring that the babies meet both of these important milestones for surgery. Frequent, small feedings of nutritious formula fortified with iron help babies slowly but surely gain weight and keeps their blood iron at healthy levels!

2016-03-13 Violet (6)

As you can see, Violet and Mary Beth were champs at putting on the required weight and were truly transformed after their cleft repair surgeries. This transformation is not just cosmetic but will allow them to lead healthier lives.

Violet looking lovely (and a bit surprised) after her cleft repair surgery

Baby Henry lives at our Heartbridge Healing Home, and just like Mary Beth and Violet were doing a few months ago, he is preparing for cleft repair surgery.

Henry’s first photo at Heartbridge

The nannies are feeding Henry specialized formula to help him put on weight and are are making sure he is strong, healthy, and happy so that his repair will be a success just like the girls who came before him!

Henry feeling good with his nanny

Please consider making a donation of any amount to our Healing Home Nutrition Fund to help other babies like Henry have the best start in life as they prepare for their own cleft repair transformation!

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