We get this question a lot. It is understandable because I was asking others who have adopted before me how to feed their cleft lip and palate toddlers. So how do our girls eat? We have found they do it just like us, nothing too different. They eat corn on the cob better them my boys. But, they are mess and I mean MESSY eaters. They don’t really know how to use forks and spoons yet so they use their hands and the food gets all over their face, hair and clothes. That is okay because they love baths. They usually go through at least 2 clothes changes a day each.
One difference between us and them is when they drink. Most toddlers their age would be using a sippy cup, but since our girls can not do that with their mouth, they use a bottle. We just cut a big hole out of the nipple part and they basically bite the tip of the bottle and work air into the bottle and liquid out of the bottle. That part isn’t too messy so we are probably going to keep them on a bottle for a while.
The main difference (Ted and I had to get used to this part) is that their food can go up into their nose really easily. It was very common to hear Ted and me saying things like:
“I accidentally just put that bite in her nose”
“There is a noodle coming out of her nose.”
or “I think there is a carrot up there.”
When they sneeze right after they eat, I don’t usually go in with a Kleenex. I have to go with a washrag because whatever they just finished eating that got stuck in their nose just came out. And yes, it goes everywhere.
So when will the surgeries take place? Our first meeting with our cleft lip and palate team is on Sept 12th (hint hint, if you are in Waseca and are able to watch my boys and get them to and from school that would really help). At this initial meeting, we will meet with the entire cleft lip and palette team. This team includes a plastic surgeon, Otolaryngologist, Audiologist, Speech-language pathologist, Oral & maxillofacial surgeon, Pediatric dentist, Dental hygienist, Orthodontist, and a Prosthodontist. We just rotate through all the specialists and then afterwords all the specialists get together to figure out the best plan of attack for our girls. We are expecting to have their first surgeries about a month or so after the initial meeting. This means it will probably be in the October time frame.