Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Rumailah Hospital’s Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Rehabilitation team has successfully treated a young girl with a medical condition that has made feeding difficult.
Problems with feeding and swallowing is a condition which can lead to serious health problems if left untreated and can cause a great deal of stress for both the parents and child. Baby Andrea was born in August 2015 and diagnosed with a cleft palate which led to milk escaping from her nose upon feeding. As she needed to be fourteen months for the surgery required to treat the cleft palate, alternative methods of managing feeding were needed.
Initially Andrea was fed with a special Habermann nipple bottles to make feeding easier however her weight continued to drop before eventually stabilizing. As a result, she was referred to the Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Rehabilitation team for treatment. Following the referral and with close monitoring and management of her formula milk, Andrea began to slowly gain weight. She then began to move on to eating pureed food when she was six months old using a feeding bottle with an attached spoon as spoon feeding proved to be problematic.
The Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Rehabilitation team resolved to work together to help Andrea overcome her feeding issue. Ms. Asha Gopinath, Speech Language Pathologist and Ms. Rowena Candappa, Occupational Therapist, advised her parents to use a flat feeding spoon in conjunction with carrying out some exercises with the baby to improve her chewing. After several appointments, Andrea learned to eat with the spoon while continuing to do her chewing exercises until she was able to have the surgery needed to cure her cleft palate.
Andrea’s parents, Mr. Roji and Mrs. Eve said: “We are so grateful to the Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Rehabilitation team for all their support and efforts in helping us with Andrea’s feeding. The months leading up to her surgery were a difficult time for us as we were constantly worried about her however with all the help we received Andrea has grown into a happy and healthy child.” Andrea’s palate repair surgery was carried out on 24 October 2016 at Hamad General Hospital. The operation was a success and Andrea is now recovering well.
Her parents concluded: “Andrea is doing really well after her surgery and we are hoping that she will soon be eating and drinking like any other normal child. We are looking forward to seeing enjoy her food with her friends and family and watching her grow up without any further feeding and swallowing issues.”