Helping Teagan Thrive
When her twins were just a grainy image on an ultrasound, Jennifer’s doctor pointed out an important difference in their faces.
Teagan had a cleft lip. She would later be diagnosed with a cleft palate as well.
The discovery jolted Jennifer into constant worry. She feared what people would think when they saw her daughter’s face. And she would learn that babies with cleft lip and palate have a difficult time feeding because of the malformation. So how would she feed Teagan?
While still pregnant, Jennifer received help from the Cleft Lip and Palate Center Feeding Team at Nationwide Children’s. The team included a nurse, speech pathologist, nurse practitioner, dietician, social worker and surgeons.
By offering Jennifer consistent support and instruction, the team members ensured she was prepared physically, mentally and emotionally for the feeding challenges she would face. They made sure Jennifer had special bottles and nipples to try and had an understanding of techniques that would help Teagan eat. After Teagan was born, they continued to support and instruct Jennifer as she learned to feed her new baby.
In early infancy, Teagan was not gaining enough weight and was diagnosed with failure to thrive (FTT). Additionally, severe acid reflux left Teagan crying, gagging and spitting up after her meals.
“Teagan’s face would turn beet red, her eyes would bulge, and her whole body would stiffen,” says Jennifer. “I was very scared.”
With the help of the feeding team, Teagan’s reflux was managed with medication, and Jennifer learned effective ways to position Teagan during and after each feeding. She was also instructed on appropriate use of the special bottle-nipple systems and how to ensure Teagan had adequate nutrition to grow. Over the course of several months, Teagan’s weight gradually climbed into the 70th percentile.