Starting Solid Food

Kirstin - posted on 01/11/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My son is almost 6 months old, he was born with a cleft of his soft palate. We did not find out until his birth. I have been pumping and feeding him breast milk using a Mead Johnson bottle. Although I am exhausted I continue to do it. His pediatrician has suggested beginning to feed him rice cereal. The problem I am encountering is that he seems to push the cereal up into the cleft and it is coming out his nose. He is frustrated and so am I. Any suggestion or tips on beginning solids would be greatly appreciated. Thank You!

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Christi - posted on 04/01/2009

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my daughter was born with cleft lip and palate.  It is so hard to adjust to eating.  The most important thing to do is keep your patience!!!  And bulb syringes handy.  Jaylin also had reflux and she would quit breathing on me!!!  I have never been so scared in my life.  I found another trick to use a bottle, I took a playtex bottle (the kind with the bags) and cut a bigger hole in the nipple and I was able to push the bad to get the food to go in her mouth.  This would get it in farther than the mead johnson bottles.   She is 16 months now and still about 3 months behind other kids her age, but she is coming along wonderfully!!!

Cheri - posted on 02/23/2009

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We had the same problems too.  Some days are better than others but in the end I was so frustrated that I started feeding cereal to her in a bottle.  I always hated when people did that but I figured having a cleft palate isn't exactly the norm and she is happier this way so why not.  I used our haberman feeders with no valves in them (and worn out nipples where the slit was bigger than it was when new).  With fruits and veggies we just kept trying it here and there but we were never consistent with feeding those solids because she just hated it.  She quit baby food at 8 months when someone recommended us to try regular food cut up into little pieces.  I was always scared to try finger foods, thinking they'd really irritate her, but this came from a mom with a cleft baby so I figured she knew what she was talking about.  We started with those gerber puffs and Madeleine LOVED it.  Then we added other things like cheerios, bananas, cut up veggies and other fruits (just really soft and really small) and she was sooooooo much happier.  If it goes up her nose it doesn't usually stick like baby food, it just comes back down into her mouth (I assume).  Once in a great while she sneezes out a chunk of food, but not nearly as often as I thought she would!  Now that she's older she eats other things too, like cheese, pasta, even some meat (she has no teeth so everything is just cut up really small).  She absolutely refused baby food once we started this so now my only concern is she won't want to eat it after her palate repair in two weeks!



Good for you for pumping so long too!  I did the same thing, I was able to keep Madeleine exclusively on breast milk for 6 months and half on breast milk for 8 months.  After that we switched to formula, which I hated to do, but I was back to work full time and it was just too much.  You are right, it is absolutely exhausting.  Now that we're getting close to surgery we are giving her some breastmilk I froze and saved for before and after surgery. 



Good luck with the feedings, it does get easier.

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Marley - posted on 12/16/2009

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I recently started testing solids with my son. I found that by feeding it on my finger and actually putting it on his tounge helped. He is taking to it quite well.

Cristy - posted on 11/28/2009

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When my son now 8 started with rice cereal we were told to put a small amount onto a spoon and turn it upside down. To the place it a little farther back then you normally would . It helped quite a bit. it reduce the amount of food that got into the cleft quite a bit. i hope it helps.

Sylvia - posted on 10/31/2009

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I am there with you on wishing I had this group earlier. Tripp will be 3 in December and we adopted him at 10 months. We didn't really have any idea what we were getting into with feeding. Even with him and almost 3 and his face looks good peoe don't realize he can't eat the crackers like there kids. Not hard candies like other kids. Other parents think that I'm being a mean mom because I won't give him certain things nit realizing I just trying to protect his palet or his teath :)

Donna - posted on 10/08/2009

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I also pumped for my son who was born with a unilateral cleft lip/palate. We to didn't find out about this birth defect till he was born. I was only able to pump till he was 3 weeks old. So good for you!! My son also had the same issue with feeding. It was horrible, but you do get used to it. I used a bulb syringe to help keep his nose clean and to minimize the mess the big sneeze caused. I'm so glad I found this community its to bad my son is now 4 and a half I could have used some advice long ago. :)

Gill - posted on 04/02/2009

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My son was born with a cleft lip and palate which has now been repaired.  Reading yor stories I realise how fortunate we have been as Kieran never had any problems taking sold food (although we used a soft bottle with his milk).  I hope you will laugh when I tell you that the way Kieran dealt with his cleft was to stick his tongue out and catch the food coming down his nose!  Disgusting but I hope you'll see the funny side!

Julia - posted on 03/31/2009

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My son is ten and I remember the same thing. Go ahead and feed him cereal. Just keep a bulb syringe handy to suck out the stuff that comes out his nose. When he spits up be sure and suck out his mouth first so he does not choke on it. Take care and God Bless

Julie - posted on 03/31/2009

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My daughter was also born with a cleft palate. We also didnt know until she was born and the nurse noticed it when she was crying in the nursery. We were so suprised. We had a hard time getting her to eat at first and her weight dropped dangerously low. The doctors were really concerned. She had her surgery to close her cleft at 10 months. She immediatly started to put on weight and grow normally. She didnt start having "real' food till after her surgery. Now at 2 she is healthy and you wouldnt even know she had a cleft. She was also born tounge tied and had that fixed when she had her cleft fixed. Along with all this she has had tubes in twice now. It does get better. Just hang in there. There is a light at the end of the road. :)

Kirstin - posted on 03/21/2009

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Okay, so we went to the speech pathologist yesterday. Not such good news. We were working on feeding solids. She made several observations. We are going to have to have Kaeden tested for reflux and the possiblity that he is asperating fluid and food into his lungs. So we are on hold for feeding yet again. Such is life. I know that everything will be okay. I am still pumping and he is still getting breast milk. They are having me fortify it with small amounts of formula, but it is still almost totally breast milk. The surgeon feels that we should put off the surgery until he is 14 months old. He is concerned about his weight. Again, having to digest a lot of information. Any ideas, suggestions, words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated right now. Thank You to all who have responded The stories are beautiful and comforting to me.

Kirstin - posted on 01/24/2009

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I encountered the big sneeze last night.. Not fun. He is getting a little better. Some days are better than others. Thank you for all of the encouragement and advise. It is nice to know I am not alone.

Wendy - posted on 01/21/2009

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my daughter is 7 months old and i started her on solid when she was b/t 5-6 months old.  it was extremely frustrating for me and her at first, but they do get the hand on it and she can even eat cookies (baby mum mums), cantouloupe and she ven have teeth yet.  just don't give up and keep trying it takes a couple of weeks or so...food will come out of their nose until the palate is repaired, just watch out for the sneezes, that's how they clear out what didn't go down.  patience...hope this eases your worries a little.

Carrie - posted on 01/17/2009

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Patience is my only advice.   He will get the hang of it and more will start to go in rather than come out.  Just watch out for the big sneeze, it all comes out.   We had a lot of problems with it coming out his nose at first but he got the hang of it and it got much better.  My son was born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate.    Hang in there.



 

Kim - posted on 01/15/2009

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with my daughter i used a feeding bottle. it is made for baby food. it will still happen food coming out of his nose but he will learn to adjust. also i recommend contacting a occupational therpist who specializes in feeding.

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I remember my daughter (sh's 18 mths now) having the same problem, it is so frustrating, but we also had a baby plate in her mouth which helped a lot.  We just kept trying to feed her pablum etc. and she was able to learn to move the food back with her tongue....it took a lot of  perserverence and a lot of clapping :)

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