How Is Your Health?

Getting Ready for Your Child's Cleft Palate Reconstructive Procedure

by Camila Davidson

If you have a child with a cleft lip, it is wise to have the cleft repaired while they are still quite young. This can allow for the best possible feeding, talking, and self-esteem development as your child grows. There are some things that you will need to do to prepare for the hospital stay once the cleft lip facial reconstruction is completed. Keep reading to learn about what to do.

Get Your Milk Ready

Your surgeon will give you information about what to expect on the day of surgery and the days following. Typically, the cleft lip operation itself will take as long as six hours to complete depending on palate involvement. Your child will need to stay for at least one day at the hospital as long as there are no complications. This means that you will need to arrange for feedings for a day or more and you should get your formula of breast milk ready for this.

For safety reasons, hospitals will typically ask that you bring in formula that is unopened, so buy a new tin or container. And, you may be able to mix the formula yourself or it might be mixed by the nurses on staff. The mixing allows for an accurate assessment of your child's intake after the operation is completed.

If you are breastfeeding, then you will need to store your milk in a special refrigerator at the hospital. All containers of milk must be labeled, so ask for some labels before the surgery date so you can get the milk ready. 

Pack Belongings

Most hospitals have accommodations where parents can stay in the hospital room with their children. So, you want to bring belongings to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Bring clothes, blankets, and toiletries and get these items together for your child too. Since some children can become scared of the unfamiliar atmosphere of the hospital, you want to be sure to pack your child's favorite blankets, toys, and stuffed animals. 

A tablet that can play your child's favorite TV show is a good option too, and this device can also play soothing music for after the operation. 

Keep in mind that a hospital stay with your child can be exhausting. Both parents do have the option of staying together in the room after the operation, so pack your spouse's belongings as well. You should do this even if you are not both staying at the same time as this can make it easier to trade off on different shifts during the day or evening.