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Quality Nutrition for Violet

One immediate concern for a baby with cleft lip and/or palate, like little Violet, is feeding and good nutrition.

2015-11-30 Violet (19)Baby Violet when she entered our Healing Home in November 2015

Because of the cleft lip or palate, an opening between the mouth and nasal cavity, the baby cannot create the suction needed to efficiently pull milk from the bottle or breast. It is like trying to drink from a straw with a crack in it.

So babies born with cleft lip and palate, like little Violet, require small, frequent feedings. Babies may also swallow more air while feeding. If a baby cannot breastfeed, a specially designed cleft bottle that allows the caregiver to slowly squeeze formula into the baby’s mouth can be very effective in helping the baby to eat properly.

cleft bottle

Because it takes so much effort for a cleft-affected baby to eat, they expend more calories eating than they take in…so every calorie they do get needs to count even more!

Violet is a good example of how important high-quality nutrition is for a baby born with cleft. Here is a photo of Violet when she was five months of age, weighing just 2.2 kilograms.

Violet 11.17.15

Look how much she has filled out in just three months’s time! Our healing home nannies used the special cleft bottles and a preemie formula called Prenan to help Violet gain weight.

Violet 2.16Violet in February 2016

Now we feel confident that she is going to be okay! Violet takes four ounces of Prenan every four hours, and she still sleeps a great deal as she works on catching up to her peers.

2016-03-13 Violet (6)

During her waking hours, this little sweetheart smiles, makes funny faces, and loves to interact with her nanny. She can now hold her head up during tummy time.

2016-03-13 Violet (2)

Violet is making great progress!  We expect that she will be up to a safe weight for her lip repair before long, and we hope to see her at the Cleft Medical Exchange in April.

Please consider making a $20 donation towards our Healing Home Nutrition Fund to help Violet and other babies like her get the nutrition that they need to develop, gain weight — and be eligible for their life-changing cleft repairs!

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