Guest Blogger, Registered Nurse and Mom of 3, Eileen Robbins with Mama Coach
Based on True Events
The content is NOT intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your pediatrician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
A Mama Coach for Baby Cleft Journeys
Hi! My name is Eileen, registered nurse, and mom of 3 beautiful children. My youngest was born with a cleft lip and palate. Like many families, we found out at my 20 weeks anatomy scan. I remember being so completely overwhelmed by the diagnosis. I was sad I probably wouldn’t be able to breastfeed like I did with my first 2 children. I was terrified she would need a feeding tube. I was afraid about how other people would look at her and treat her. I was worried how my other children would see her. I did not know how I would handle having 2 busy toddlers and a child with medical needs.
Doing the research: I started doing a lot of research. I desperately wanted to be able to breastfeed Julia and I spent a lot of time looking into how I could do that. I learned all I could about her diagnosis and looked at every before and after picture I could find. To my big surprise, when Julia was born, she did not have much trouble with feeding. She was a little breastfeeding champ! She was taking in milk and gaining weight. All the feeding issues I worried about didn’t seem to exist and I thought we would bypass all that trouble.
The trouble starts: After we brought her home, things became very difficult. She began having so many feeding issues. I stopped breastfeeding her and switched to bottles. We were visiting the doctor every few days for weight checks. I was fortifying my pumped milk with formula. This caused even more issues. Julia had a lot of tummy and gas troubles and she seemed so uncomfortable. She cried all the time and refused the bottle. Julia had to be admitted to the hospital for being malnourished. I felt like such a bad mom and as a nurse I was embarrassed by this diagnosis. How could I not keep my baby healthy?
Here come the chubby baby rolls: Things changed for the better after that. I went from being terrified of a feeding tube to being so grateful she finally got one. While in the hospital, it was discovered Julia wasn’t swallowing correctly and she wasn’t allowed to have anything by mouth. Once we started using the feeding tube full time, Julia finally started gaining weight and looking so healthy and full. She was finally able to have her lip and palate surgeries. We worked on Julia’s swallowing and she was able to graduate from the feeding tube. Now she is a healthy, happy 3 year old running around getting into all kinds of trouble with her brother and sister.
When we were having so much trouble with everything, I did not think we would survive. Now I am so happy to say there is light at the end of the tunnel. We made it through! I want to be able to help other families make it through. Even though I had a lot of support and help from my family, and many doctor’s visits to keep an eye on Julia’s progress, I felt like somehow we slipped through the cracks. There was not one person knowledgeable about every aspect of Julia’s diagnosis to give us the support we needed.
Light bulb moment: This is where the Mama Coach came in. I became a Mama Coach so I could be that person who is knowledgeable about every aspect of a cleft diagnosis to provide one on one care and support to families. It is my wish that I could help every family get to the light at the end of the tunnel. I want to be there to support and help them so they do not have to go through all of these challenges feeling like they were left in the dark.
As a Mama Coach, I specialize in supporting families who have babies diagnosed with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate. I offer many classes and workshops to support you through your baby’s needs from before birth, through surgeries, to starting solid foods. I offer support packages virtually or in person to help get your baby eating and gaining weight. One of my most popular workshops is “Preparing for the Arrival of your Cleft Cutie.” In this workshop, I go over what to expect in the first year of life for your cleft affected baby. I also recommend different products that will help you care for your baby during their first year of life.
One of the products I recommend in this workshop is the CozeeCoo. There are not many new products that have come on the market to help babies with a cleft. This product is such a game changer for cleft surgeries! The no nos were so hard to deal with and Julia hated not being able to move her arms. I didn’t want to make them too loose (because she was a little magician and could wiggle out of them) and I didn’t want to make them too tight (especially with the velcro possibly rubbing up on her skin). I love that the CozeeCoo is made with soft fabric and baby is able to move her arms around while also being safe moving or rolling. I really wish I had the CozeeCoo when Julia was going through her surgeries.
I frequently offer this particular workshop (along with other workshops at different times) for free or for a much lower cost. I want to make sure the information I share is available to all families who need and want the information. I never want not being able to afford my services stop any family from reaching out to me.
Hearing about your baby’s cleft diagnosis is overwhelming. Working though the challenges of a cleft diagnosis (feeding, weight gain, surgeries, etc,) is difficult. I would love to take the “difficult” part out of this diagnosis so you can enjoy all of the amazing moments you will have with your beautiful baby. This is what you were meant to do and you can do it! Check out my website and instagram page for all the ways I can help and support you!
Curious about CozeeCoo™'s full story? Please check it out.
CEO and Inventor at CozeeCoo™
Helping babies thrive.