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How to prepare for your child’s lip or cleft palate repair?

How to prepare for your child’s lip and palate repair:

1. Consultation: Meet with the surgeon to discuss the procedure, expectations, and any concerns related to their cleft lip/palate and cleft surgery.

2. Medical Evaluation: Ensure the child is in good health for surgery and complete any necessary pre-operative tests. Make sure your pediatrician is aware that your baby is having surgery for their cleft lip and cleft palate and has no concerns about planned procedure.

3. Nutritional Assessment: Ensure the child is well-nourished for optimal healing post-surgery. Make sure your baby is growing and gaining weight consistently leading up to surgery. Though most centers do not have minimum weight requirement prior to cleft surgery, your child should be well-nourished prior to surgery.

4. Mental Preparation: Educate yourself about the procedure and recovery process to alleviate anxiety. Some parents find it helpful to join parent support groups. Ask you cleft surgeon or cleft team to provide educational materials. American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association offers many such resources.

5. Arrange Support: Organize assistance for childcare and household duties during the recovery period. Many families have multiple children whose care needs to be arranged. Take appropriate amount of time off of work. Most babies stay one night in the hospital after their cleft lip and palate repair. Children with a cleft palate may need a longer hospital stay. Typically, babies can return to daycare at 1 week or sooner after their cleft lip repair or cleft palate repair.

6. Follow Pre-Op Instructions: Follow the surgeon’s instructions regarding fasting, medications, and other pre/post-operative protocols. Typically, hard objects and toys should be avoided for 6 weeks, as should crunchy foods such as cheerios/puffs/chips. Pack your child’s favorite stuffies and blankies to recreate a familiar environment at the hospital. Familiar smells and sounds as home can be very comforting. Don’t be afraid to hold and snuggle your baby. Though there may be fresh surgical sites and bandages, physical comfort is very helpful after cleft lip surgery.

7. Emotional Support: Provide emotional support for both the child and family members throughout the process.

If you child has a cleft lip and/or palate and you have questions about recovery, please call our center at (620)669-2500 or direct message us on Instagram @kscleftcraniofacial or contact us through our website