There is no stronger bond than the love between a mother and her baby.
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.
Each time we help a new mom and/or create awareness about cleft lip and palate we are advocating the following core values.
- You are not alone; we understand what you’re going through and want to help.
- Developing a loving bond between you and your baby.
- Grief and loss is a process; be kind to yourself, your partner/spouse and extended family. They are grieving the loss of the perfect idea for your baby too.
- Siblings play an important part in a family; don’t leave them out because your focus is diverted.
- Empowering parents to ask medical professionals good questions that relate to their child’s specific diagnosis.
- Equipping parents and children to cope with “difference” and to build their confidence and self-esteem and how to deal with the surgeries.
Cleft Friends is a member of Genetic Alliance South Africa. To read about the Legislation and Regulation of Genetic Services in South Africa, including cleft lip and palate, click here: www.geneticalliance.org.za/resources/legislation-regulation
* 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.
Baby Quilt DonationsWe were overwhelmed with the response from quilters from all over the country when they donated over 20 baby quilts to Cleft Friends. Baby quilts were donated from Knysna, George, East London, Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, Jeffrey’s Bay, Humansdorp and even as far as Durban. Very often moms feel robbed of people saying “congratulations” because the first reaction from others about their baby’s diagnosis is a shocked reaction and “What happened?”. The way others react to your child’s diagnosis can make or break your friendship and adds to how you experience the cleft journey. Cleft Friends wants to celebrate the fact that you just gave birth and you are an amazing mommy. These gifts represent the love and care that every mom deserves to get regardless of her child’s medical diagnosis. When our support moms meet a new mommy with a baby affected by cleft lip and/or palate we will give them this precious baby quilt that has been made with love. Our intention is to let the moms know they are not alone and that there are fellow South Africans who are thinking of them and who made them this gift intentionally; just for them.
Baby Quilt Competition
The WINNER of the Cleft Friends Baby Quilt Competition and an amazing TWO NIGHT STAY at KUZUKO LODGE is LESLEY PRICE from EAST LONDON. The title of the quilt was “Pinkwork Girls”. The design was inspired by embroidery designs bought from OPW. The description of the quilt is grey and white quilt with machine embroidered squares and a scalloped border. A BIG THANK YOU to our accredited judges Shan Fox and Antoinette Kriel as well as Yolanda at Pied Piper Quilt Shop in Port Elizabeth. Cleft Friends has been inundated with donations of the most beautiful quilts that have been made with love and will be treasured by those affected by cleft lip and palate.