Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eating and other news

We first introduced Maddy to solids last month. It has been a long process for Maddy, I think mainly complicated by the cleft palate. For the first few weeks, she would just spit the food out. Also, the food would often go up through the roof of the mouth into the nasal cavity causing her discomfort. She would then sneeze and all the food would go out her nose (and THAT can't be pleasant!)

I did a bit of research online trying to learn about how to successfully feed babies with cleft palates their solids and got a few good suggestions - one was that it is better for them often if the solids are not so watery, that way they can control it better in their mouths and swallow it instead of it going everywhere. (As an interesting side note, other people suggested making the food MORE watery so that if it goes out the nose, it is not as likely to get stuck and will not cause discomfort - and while that may work for other cleft palate babies, it didn't work so well with Maddy). Another suggestion was instead of feeding her in a sitting position, to feed her at a bit of a recline so that gravity helped the food to go to the back of the mouth where it could be swallowed. Both of these tips seemed to help Maddy a little, but we were still struggling.

It wasn't until last week that we had another appointment with the occupational therapist responsible for Maddy's oral motor training that she suggested a particular special needs spoon called the Beckman EZ spoon that we really saw major improvement. This spoon wasn't designed for use for cleft palate kids - but given the size and shape of the spoon, it is very easy to get small amounts into the sides of her mouth where she can easily swallow it. Immediately she went from eating very little to finishing entire bowls of solids! Although she still struggles with anything which has any texture, preferring very smooth purees.

Some mothers of babies with clefts have commented that their children didn't start eating great until after their cleft repairs - but since Maddy's cleft repair will be delayed until she is about two years old, we need to learn to work with it. (I don't want her eating purees until she's two!) The occupational therapist suggested getting a palatal obturator made to close the cleft so she can eat without food going into the nasal cavity, so we have a referral to dentist for that.

In other completely irrelevant medical news, last week we had the MRI follow up appointment with the orthopedic doctor. We got there and he said "I'm sorry but we don't have the official report yet. I'll have to take a look at the slides myself", then after another 20 minutes of him playing around on his computer, he said "I'm sorry but it looks like the network is down so I can't get a very clear picture of the slides!" It was a bit frustrating, particularly after waiting for over an hour for that news! But the good news is that from what he COULD see, and what he could tell from doing a physical examination of Maddy's hips, they appear to be quite well-engaged now so we don't need to do anything different with them (unless the MRI showed something concerning, which he said was unlikely). We don't need to follow up with him for another six months, but when we do follow up, we will be taking another complete set of X-rays then. 

And for completely irrelevant NON-medical news, I'm still waiting on the doctor to get back to us about the medical clearance for flying back to Australia. He has the forms that we need to submit to the airlines but hasn't had the time to really go through them yet. Until he does that (or at the very least, we know he will - or we know someone else who will), we're not booking tickets. But we're still hoping to be back maybe around Easter time until the end of May. But nothing is set in stone yet...

And here are some pictures of Maddy's first swing at the park :) (doesn't she have the CUTEST leg dimples??)


  1. Aww they are so precious! Love them both so much! Hugs and kisses from Aunty Ash!

  2. Glad she is eating solids better :) I love that next to last picture the best... look at the smiles on both of them. So sweet!

  3. So cute! :) It looks like they were having such a good time. And I'm glad Maddy's able to handle solids a little better - I know that's a relief for Mommy and Daddy! :)

  4. lovely to see 2 such happy little girls and to see not much is holding maddie back she is doing a great job with jesus for her who can be against her

  5. So glad to hear that some suggestions worked for Maddy, especially that awesome spoon! How frustrating that must have been waiting to hear the MRI results. I hope things get smoother and you can continue to move forward! Praying things go well and that you will be Australia bound soon! Way cute photos! Such beautiful girls with gorgeous smiles! LOVE!

  6. Truly, very-very adorable kids. Keep the courage to raise these kids. The world in need of future generation. Great job on this one...

  7. They look so sweet together, I'm sure they are are as sweet as they look. Just love that last pic!