Many of you will find this website at different stages in your cleft journey. Maybe you have just found out your baby has a cleft lip and/or palate and you are scared. Maybe your baby is going into surgery or has just come out of surgery. Maybe your child needs speech therapy and you are at your wit’s end because he or she is being teased at school. The maybes are endless… We really don’t want you to leave our site feeling sad but rather to be encouraged that you are not alone.
Cleft Friends connects with the moms of babies that have clefts, and positively shares personal experiences as a new mom is often shocked when she first finds out about her baby’s diagnosis; this can be traumatic. We provide information, share experiences, create shared platforms, introduce the support of a mom, care, build a support community, create awareness and make connections, so that after the initial shock of finding out your baby is going to need plastic surgery, parents can be gently guided back to what really matters during the precious moments after birth. We believe that kissing, cuddling and talking to your baby is so important, as skin to skin contact and hearing your voice develops their senses and self-worth as an individual. We are passionate about encouraging parents to love their babies as a baby first, after which we can tackle what *the cleft journey is all about. Kanga care and letting your baby hear your heartbeat are all valuable things to do during the precious moments after birth.
How can Cleft Friends offer support to a new parent?
- One-on-one support from a trained mom who understands the emotions experienced by a new parent affected by cleft lip and palate.
- Hospital visitation when baby is born and when baby has his/her operations. It’s important for parents or caregivers to inform us of these dates.
- Access to informative articles and newsletters.
- Helpful tips from other parents affected by cleft lip and palate on Cleft Moms SA – Facebook Group (Closed). This is a place for you to interact with the Cleft Friends community, share stories, photos and ask for advice on any aspect of cleft.
- Connecting with local parents in your community via Regional Whatsapp Groups. We have seen a tremendous amount of support and care on the Cleft Friends Whatsapp groups and gladly welcome you to request to join a group in your area.
- Community Events where medical professionals and parents with children affected by clefts can engage and share their stories. This platform empowers and educates parents about *the cleft journey.
- You can download a South African Cleft Lip and Palate Parent Guide as well as additional resources from our site that will be pure gold on your cleft journey.
To benefit from all that Cleft Friends offers simply hit the “Join” button and become a member. There is no cost to becoming a member of Cleft Friends, all you have to do is complete the form and you will be added to the growing cleft community in South Africa.
* The cleft journey is a term that Cleft Friends uses to describe everything relating to your baby’s cleft lip and palate experience from the time they are born to their last operation. This can include the following medical professionals Paediatrician, Specialist “Feeding” Nurse or Lactation Consultant, Speech and Language Therapist, Plastic Surgeon, Audiologist, Otologist; ENT Surgeon, Paediatric Dentist, Orthodontist, Maxillo-Facial Surgeon, Clinical Geneticist, Psychologist – Counsellor.